Eastern promise but Hammers’ future unsure

IT WAS as if some angelic Pearly Kings hovered above London’s East End and then descended on Upton Park.

The Davids, Sullivan and Gold, are greeted as the pair that will save West Ham from the mountain of debt allegedly inflicted by some dodgy Icelandic fly-by-nights.

I’m not so sure. That isn’t to say that the former owners of Birmingham City, now returned to their first and only true love, haven’t said some good things. I like the way the Champions League isn’t being promised next season but rather in seven years. I welcome, too, their honesty in telling the club’s supporters just how bad things are. Barring the arrival of an Arab Sheik as a co-investor, it will take quite a while to eradicate £110m: perhaps never. And, for the moment, they have guaranteed the future of manager Gianfranco Zola. But, remember, they may be fans but, before that, they’re businessmen. They bought Birmingham for £1m and sold it for £82m. Tasty profit, eh? All they’ve put into West Ham is £50m – between them.

And talk of a move to the Olympic Stadium is questionable. It’ll hold, after alteration, 55,000. The Hammers haven’t got 55,000 fans. Recently they had to advertise that tickets were for sale for the Chelsea game!

No, I’ll reserve judgment on the long-term benefits of Sullivan and Gold’s return, not least because they’ve brought Karren Brady with them. Goodness, she wants to rename the club West Ham Olympic!

Alan Green is chief football commentator with BBC Radio 5 Live.

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Saturday, February 27, 2021

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