Zola comes out fighting

WEST HAM manager Gianfranco Zola has publicly criticised the club s new co-owner David Sullivan for revealing the Hammers financial plight ahead of their must-win game against Birmingham City (tonight). Earlier in the week Sullivan had said the Upton Par

WEST HAM manager Gianfranco Zola has publicly criticised the club's new co-owner David Sullivan for revealing the Hammers' financial plight ahead of their must-win game against Birmingham City (tonight).

Earlier in the week Sullivan had said the Upton Park club were on the precipice of "Armageddon".

The former Birmingham City chairman, who bought a 50 per cent stake in his boyhood club with fellow fan and business partner, David Gold, has revealed the club's finances are rotting at the core.

But Zola is angry he was not consulted ahead of the game, claiming Sullivan's comments could unsettle the team ahead of a vital match.


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"They can talk to the press as much as they want. Obviously, when an article comes before a match, then I am not happy because I don't think it is any good for the whole team," blasted the Italian.

With estimated debts of �110 million, the club's fiscal nightmare would further implode if they were relegated to the Championship - a harsh reality the club are flirting dangerously with.

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After taking only six points from their last 10 league games, the Hammers are third from bottom in the Premier League, with 14 games to play.

"It'll be Armageddon if we go down. It'll be worse than what's gone on at Newcastle," said Sullivan.

Zola is outraged at the timing of the comments with the pressure mounting on the players.

"I think the article should have been done at another time and maybe they (the owners) should talk to us before talking to the newspapers," said the former Chelsea player.

In the midst of financial meltdown, Sullivan has warned the club's staff that everyone will be asked to take a pay cut, which could include the manager, but Zola is adamant he is not in the job to line his pockets.

"Personally I can say I am not here for the money. Last year when I signed the contract I didn't even know how much I was going to earn," he said.

"I came here because I had a plan, I had a project and I liked what I was going to do. I didn't even know what I was going to earn and then after a while the club came to me, called me in and offered me a new contract, but it's not about money, it's just about working for something positive.

"I always enjoy working for this club and the money was something that came after.

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