Coming home

THEY may face a mountain of debt, a shortage of players and a team battling against relegation, but for new West Ham owners and lifelong fans David Sullivan and David Gold, it was like coming home , writes DAVE EVANS. The new Upton Park supremos met the

THEY may face a mountain of debt, a shortage of players and a team battling against relegation, but for new West Ham owners and lifelong fans David Sullivan and David Gold, it was like "coming home", writes DAVE EVANS.

The new Upton Park supremos met the press on Tuesday morning and despite their obvious delight at the successful takeover, they know that the hard work has only just begun.

"We have wanted this for over 20 years," confessed Sullivan. "We owned 27 per cent of the shares here 22 years ago, but we thought we had missed our chance and it was never going to happen, so we are in a state of shock really."

The pair were undoubtedly in shock about the debt that they have now inherited, something that Sullivan was at pains to point out.


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"There is still over �100million of debt here," confirmed Sullivan. "The position was, if somebody didn't buy the club in the next 10 days, they had to raise �8million in this transfer window to survive and then another �12million in the summer.

"We wouldn't have bought this club at all if it wasn't West Ham. It makes no commercial sense for anyone to buy this club."

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Sullivan and Gold have bought 50 per cent of the club, securing the controlling interest from the Icelandic owners at the same time, but the new bosses are keen for more investors to get on board with them.

"We will talk to Tony Fernandes, who is a West Ham fan, about coming in, and what we would like is three or four others to invest and come on to the board," he said.

"We are here to the end, this is our plan. We haven't come to sell to a Russian in five years time."

The former Birmingham owners have backed manager Gianfranco Zola and will sit down with him this week to discuss possible transfer targets during this window.

However, the futures of technical director Gianluca Nani seems to be much more precarious as the club looks to save money.

Despite that, they are expected to give Zola �8m for new recruits this month, with Benni McCarthy seemingly topping the shopping list.

The more softly-spoken Gold, who lived just down the road from the ground for 20 years, summed up the situation.

"I think it is important to say that West Ham is in better shape today than it was yesterday," he said.

"We wouldn't have bought this club unless we were fans, but I'd like to say that we are not potty fans.

"You need to have a delicate balance, and what we have achieved over the years is that we are fans, we are passionate about football, but we are sensible too."

That will be a nice change.

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