Friday 15 December 2017

Zola promised transfer cash as new owners take stock

Steve Tongue

West Ham United's new owners and joint-chairmen, David Sullivan and David Gold, have told Gianfranco Zola that he will remain as manager and that there will be money for him to spend in the remaining week-and-a-half of the January transfer window.

Gold said that players would have had to be sold had they not taken over the club from its Icelandic owners and that debts stood at close to £110m. Karren Brady will become vice-chairperson, working again with Sullivan and Gold as she did at Birmingham City. The chief executive officer Scott Duxbury is leaving.

Zola has been bravely insisting that even amid the previous financial uncertainty, he would be able to keep players like the England internationals Robert Green, Matthew Upson, Carlton Cole and Scott Parker.


With the team only above the relegation places on goal difference, losing any of them would have been a blow, but Gold insisted it would have happened because of what the new owners called the "serious mess of debt."

They have paid £50m for 50pc of the club and hope that other potential investors will come forward, including Tony Fernandes, the Malaysian businessman who was a rival bidder.

The huge debts include roughly £50m to the banks and over £40m to other clubs. Further investment will be required not only in new players, but, in the longer term, a new ground.

Sullivan confirmed that they would like to take over the nearby Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games, keeping it at its full capacity of 80,000.

He said of Fernandes and other bidders: "I am not quite sure if he looked at the books properly, but if he did, he might have walked away. We will raise more money and, with other people, will dig the club out of the mess it is in." Sullivan said. (© Independent News Service)

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