Fernandes rules out bid

WEST HAM may have been buoyed by their battling 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Sunday, but two other pieces of news this week will have tempered that optimism, WRITES DAVE EVANS. Sunday s result means that the Hammers will not be bottom at Christmas, a position

WEST HAM may have been buoyed by their battling 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Sunday, but two other pieces of news this week will have tempered that optimism, WRITES DAVE EVANS.

Sunday's result means that the Hammers will not be bottom at Christmas, a position almost certainly guaranteeing relegation if Premier League history is to be believed.

But the prospect of new proprietors early in the New Year has been hit by the news that Air Asia owner Tony Fernandes - an ardent West Ham fan - has distanced himself from a possible takeover bid.

Fernandes has spoken to the club and even met manager Gianfranco Zola, but he is currently occupied backing the return of Lotus to Formula One.


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"I've got my hands full setting up a Formula One team so it's not something I'm going to do," he insisted.

"I do worry about the future of the club. They're in a precarious situation and have been badly managed. The fans, of which I'm one, deserve better, but it's not tempting for a buyer. West Ham are a fantastic club that deserve a fantastic owner and they haven't had one for a long time."

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While that particular avenue seems to have closed, the �50million bid by former Birmingham owners David Sullivan and David Gold is still on the table but likely to be rejected by the Icelandic owners, who have been given a stay of execution on payment of their debts until next September.

A more pressing problem could be holding on to captain Matthew Upson during the transfer window.

Speaking after the Chelsea game, he was vague about his future at the club.

"It's a difficult question because there are so many things out of my control and things that may happen," said Upson. "All I can focus on is the next game and being in the best form I can to pick up points for West Ham.

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