Gold and Sullivan take over West Ham, Zola’s job safe

  • Other Sport
  • Wednesday, 20 Jan 2010

LONDON: David Gold and David Sullivan, the former owners of Birmingham City, have completed the takeover of Premier League club West Ham United, and want the new Olympic Stadium to be the club’s future home.

Straumur bank said it had sold CB Holding’s 50% stake in the club and that Sullivan and Gold would take immediate operational and commercial control.

“We are West Ham fans, we have a seven-year plan to get them into the Champions League and turn them into a big club,” Gold told Sky Sports News.

“We hope we can persuade the government to let us move to the Olympic Stadium which is in the same borough.

“It’s a natural home for West Ham United.”

Gold said manager Gianfranco Zola’s position was safe despite the club hovering above the relegation zone after winning just four league matches this season.

A spokesman for Straumur said the deal valued West Ham at £105mil (US$172.5mil).

West Ham were acquired by CB Holding, a unit of Iceland’s bailed-out Straumur-Burdaras bank, in June.

That takeover followed the collapse of the business empire of former owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, who bought West Ham in 2006 for about £85mil and who had borrowed heavily from the Icelandic bank.

Straumur, a major lender to Gudmundsson’s holding company, was taken over by Iceland’s financial authorities in March.

Sullivan, David and Ralph Gold sold Premier League Birmingham City to Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung in October.

Gold and Sullivan were among a clutch of suitors for the east London club.

Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, the CEO and founder of AirAsia, was among the interested parties, but his bid was reported to have floundered when he failed to gain the 100% ownership he was seeking.

“Deal lost on West Ham. Hopefully new owners protect what’s good. We gave awesome deal and new ideas to rejuvenate a club,” Fernandes posted on his Twitter social networking site. — Reuters

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