West Ham takeover complete but worries remain
It must have been a huge relief for Hammers fans when David Gold and David Sullivan completed their takeover of West Ham this week.
With the side effectively in the hands of an Icelandic state bank, inertia and stagnation were threatening to pull the club apart.
The players, staff and fans had no idea what was going to happen and, although they won’t admit it, I’m sure this will have affected results on the pitch.
But now the uncertainty is over and the club can start to head in the right direction. However, as revealed by the new owners shortly after their deal was completed, the problems inherited from the old regime still remain.
This is no Abu Dhabi style takeover. There will be no war chest for Zola to spend and no debts will be written off as small change. In fact only now is the true extent of the old regime’s lavish spending being revealed.
Three years ago with the club struggling near the foot of the table big-money players like Lucas Neil, Luis Boa-Morte and Matthew Upson were signed during the January transfer window in a bid to keep the club up.
That year they did defy the football odds, just, but the wage bill incurred in the process has been a millstone around the club’s neck ever since. The latest debt figure – including a pay-off to former boss Alan Curbishley – stands at scarily high £110 million.
It is a worrying figure, especially with West Ham’s Premier League status under threat. Sullivan himself admitted this was not a business decision – he has little hope of making money out the move. The takeover was motivated by desire to help his favourite club out of trouble.
In a way West Ham are quite lucky to have found Gold and Sullivan. At least they know they now have two men at the helm with the best interested of the club at heart. Their bold aim of Champions League football in seven years is perhaps a tad too ambitious, but the fans can at least take heart at their attempts to steer the club to plainer seas when it looked like floundering under a sea of Icelandic debt.
Right now, the biggest cause for concern among West Ham fans has to be the club’s Premier League relegation odds.