West Ham takeover

Gold and Sullivan take control of West Ham United

January 19, 2010
By Harry Harris, Football Correspondent

David Sullivan and David Gold have completed their takeover of West Ham and Sullivan has already confirmed to Soccernet that he has a seven-year plan to take the Hammers into the Champions League.

David Sullivan
GettyImagesDavid Sullivan: New owner at West Ham

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Sullivan said: "We have a seven-year plan to take West Ham into the top four. We mean business with our seven-year plan, and if we don't make West Ham such a big club we will have failed. That is the extent of our ambitions for West Ham.

"We want to do it in the name of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters. We want West Ham back to their former glories when these guys played for the club.

"People forget that I gave Bobby Moore a job a few years after he finished in football. I made him sports editor of my sports publication, gave him £100,000 when that was a lot of money and it was only really a PR job as he worked one day a week for me, but he deserved to be looked after."

Sullivan is a big West Ham fan and fought to win the battle for control of the club. He added: "It was a struggle all the way, and we finally pulled it off close to midnight. There were two others fighting hard as well, Tony Fernandes came close and the Italian deposited £50 million with Rothschilds as a sign of good faith, but we have got it and I cannot tell you how delighted we are."

Sullivan confirmed that Karen Brady will be hired to oversee the transformation of the club. Sullivan said: "She's on her way there now."

A City insider close to the deal revealed on Tuesday morning: "The deal was sealed around 2330 GMT last night and means the enterprise value of the club is £105 million.

"The debts are £70 million including the monies still owed to Sheffield United, and is between £15 million and £20 million owed to clubs in transfer instalments."

Sullivan and Gold have paid around £50 million for a 50% stake in the club, with an option to buy the other 50%. The source added: "All the money goes straight into the club."

That will enable Sullivan and Gold to conclude at least two transfers immediately. It is understood that the new owners have had two signings in the pipeline for some time and were getting frustrated with the end of the transfer window approaching, so demanded that the deal went through on Monday night.

Nevertheless, with the club in perilous financial straits, Sullivan is hopeful of attracting a team of wealthy investors to help get the Hammers back on track.

''We own 50% of the club but I have an option on the other 50. I would share that with David but I would like to have four or five West Ham supporters with lots of money to come in,'' he said. ''The debts here are so large that most Englishmen can't carry them so we would like to share them with others and help take West Ham to the next level.

''The bank Straumur own the other 50% right now and my option to buy is for anytime in the next four years.

''Our preferred option is that we find other people who want five or 10% and we will go to Tony Fernandes, who was one of the others interested in buying the club.''