West Ham To Be Sold By Christmas … Or Else

The resignations of two West Ham directors this week have attracted little comment so far. But they are indicative of a situation on the West Ham Board which is far from healthy. Mike Lee and Gudmundur Oddsson left the board this week after apparent concerns about personal liability issues.

There are strong rumours that West Ham chairman Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson’s business empire is close to collapse and that he will be forced to offload the club before Christmas. He had been thought to be worth more than £360 million, but the Icelandic banking collapse saw his major stake in the Lansbanki Bank nationalized. It is thought he lost £230 million. One of his other major businesses, Samson Holdings, went into administration earlier this week. He has previously said that there was no way that he would be forced into selling West Ham, but there is now a recognition that his financial position is so serious that a sale needs to happen before Christmas. There seem to be two dimensions to the resignations. The first is that power has very much shifted back to Iceland as the sale process begins, while Lee and Oddson have clearly recognized that they could become personally liable if the club was held responsible for debts relating to the Holding Company, or if it could not meet its obligations.

While the situation is serious, we should recognize that Gudmundsson seems to be a very unfortunate victim of circumstance, rather than the architect of his downfall. While the club is not officially up for sale, potential buyers are indeed being sought. Mike Lee, although no longer on the board, appears to retain a key role and is continuing to advise the board on communications and might even be a key player in the sale process. His contacts from his time with UEFA are legendary. It is thought that the selling price will be almost double the £85 million paid to Terry Brown in 2006, but the longer it goes on, the lower the price will go. They key thing is not to sell to just anyone, but to try and find a buyer who will see the potential of the club and be willing to invest the requisite sums in the transfer window.

While there may be no fire sale in the transfer window, it is quite clear that there are no further investment funds available from the current owners. The club is financially stable, as debts have been reduced along with the wage bill.

There can be little doubt that the Club is about to enter a very rocky period. We can but hope that the team’s performance is unaffected by what is happening at Board level, although judging from yesterday, that is far from the case.

I for one with the Icelandic owners well in their search for a buyer. I hope I am not being naïve, but I actually trust them to sell to the right buyer. It is a great shame that their own vision for the club can never be realized.


36 Responses to West Ham To Be Sold By Christmas … Or Else

  1. jon.london colney says:

    i dont think there going to come out and say the club is in financial crisis when there trying to flog it? that would be just plain crazy.all this talk is just that,talk.there trying to present the club as a stable viable business.very hard with 30mill or what ever court case hanging around.i for one would have thought clarke should sholder the blame here to.he is far more experienced in the tactics and planning all of which zola is still learning.i cant help but think for your first job in management should it be a club in the premiership? i think not.

  2. sam h says:

    good article Iain, I’m pleased you included that they are not the architects of their own downfall, rather bad circumstances.

    I personally have been more than happy with them at the helm, but for the sake of the financial security of our club, perhaps it is right for them to move on. to the right buyer though please!

  3. chris says:

    We are well short on quality Iain we need a major cash injection for players after curbs terrible buys,especailly up front,otherwise its curtains,cant see us getting a win against anyone except WBA STOKE.hope BG does the decent thing and sell us on to a trillion air.

  4. Dave Hall says:

    It is right for them to sell the club to the right buyer. He has lost plenty of money, and must realise that for his own good as well as our clubs, he must find a buyer with our interests at heart. Many people say the money won’t mean it will bring us success. Maybe not, but it will give Zola cash to bring in some quality to stabilize the team in January, especially up front and in the back four. Otherwise we could find ourselves in another relegation battle…please not again.

  5. WHU Kim says:

    I think you missed out the equally important Scott Duxbury to be sacked by Christmas…or else.

  6. I wonder how much money finding the “right buyer” is worth to BG.
    Do any of you really think BG would say no thanks to an additional £10M for the sake of the Clubs future? I for one have no such illusions.

    He isn’t exactly holding all the trumphs in the deck. In addition to the fact that he is the one forced to do the deal – not the buyer, the financial doubt over the Sheffield soap is not exactly working for him.

  7. Brian Sains says:

    Totally right Iain, BG is a victim of circumstance, and i also think he will do the best for the club.

  8. Prince H says:

    Bad circumstances right. But the whole fragile Islandic economy was built on (unfounded) speculations in the bank business world aka the capitalist system. And Gudmundsson is one of the main men to have built the system. I don’t say he is better or worse than anybody else, speculating.
    We all know that fotball business is built by these money nowadays, so we can’t complain. I hope he sells to someone really interested, that will continue the work that is started, mainly by Nani I guess.

  9. Gary says:

    Thanks Iain for this info.

    Very worring times for Hammers fans .

  10. Goatygav says:

    One one hand uncertainty is not good and the sooner the club’s ownership moves on the better. A new owner with the right intentions, however, is vitally important and may take a little longer.

    Joppe’s comment about extra cash is always going to ring true. With all the best will and intention he’s a man under massive financial pressure and he’s going to put his own situation before that of the club.

    My gut feel is that we will get an owner who will have the means to invest heavily in the club. Even with the impending, ridiculous, compensation judgement hanging over West Ham we’re still an attractive prospect to any potential purchaser.

  11. jon.london colney says:

    just had an idea….kia.

    he gives it the large one .time to get your cheque book out?

  12. jon.london colney says:

    oh dear,just found this.

    English West Ham United football club is in advanced negotiations with betting company SBOBet regarding an 18-month contract for shirt sponsorship worth around GBP 2 million.

    Philippines-based SBOBet is one of the companies in the center of the Football Association’s match-fixing investigation regarding the October 4 match between Norwich City and Derby County.

    SBOBet have refused to cooperate with the FA and provide trading information related to the match, deeming such a move is an “excessive” breach of customer privacy.

    The deal is due to replace the previous three-year shirt sponsor arrangement with XL, worth GBP 2.5 million per season, which fell through after one year due to the collapse of the company.

  13. Bedd Gelert says:

    Perhaps Gordon Brown could mandate that Newcastle be ‘Nationalised’, and that West Ham should be allowed to ‘take over’ Spurs, after a mechanism is agreed for the Government to take stakes in both companies to allow them to survive this tough season and then form one strong Premier League called West Hotspur United ???

  14. Paul O'Decanyo says:

    I said in August that I was nervous about this season when it appeared we weren’t investing during the transfer window. The situation now appears to be considerably worse. It’s difficult to see where the next win is coming from, the club may have to be sold, there is no money for January and Zola is talking about selling players. Now it seems we have a potentially questionable sponsor. With Spurs winning and the Sheffield snouts in the trough, this is as bad as it gets.

  15. Hakan says:

    A key component to determine the time-table for the sale of the club is the amount of money that Samson owes its creditors. If this amount is low enough for a sale of WH for, say, 75 mill GBP to satisfy the creditors they are likely to force Bjorgolfur to strike a deal quickly. But if Samson’s debts are considerably higher, which I suspect they are, it is probably in the creditors’ interest to take their time to try to get a higher price. Unfortunately this would mean a prolonged period of uncertainty.

  16. StainesWestHam says:

    The main problem is that the club cannot be sold until a decision is made on the Sheffield Utd case. The club is effectively worth 30mill less if our right to appeal is denied. One positive thing is that we don’t want our new owners to pay top whack as that reduces the amount they will be prepared to invest in new playing staff, the stadium etc. The club is still an attractive investment, with a solid fan base and resonable potential – on a par certainly with a Newcastle Utd or even Manchester City and available for less money. We don’t seem able to genreate any positive press at the moment – one would hope that at the very least a new owner would draw a line under the previous regime and it’s failings. We must move on and the quicker the better.

  17. chris says:

    Sorry guys more moaning I just cant help it I feel so bitter,but what pratt went to france and said that they have found a good player called faubert lets pay 6 million,,,he along with BLM are unplayable,no way can faubert play midfield hes passing is rubbish he scuffs at the ball everytime,hes a fullback at best, and there he an’t much good,hes just got pace, what a blinking mess, how how how how can you get it so wrong.lets go back to 4 5 1 and shut up shop we a’nt got the finishers for this free flowing football not without deano anyway,feel sorry for zola no one saw the deano injurt coming,seems we need to revert back to being more solid until we find a finisher.
    cole up front 5 in midfield matty collinson mullins parker bellamy.

  18. BAC says:

    The key thing is for the club to be sold to an owner whose financial health is not in question, and who will back the club come what may, both on and off the pitch.

    A new owner might also consider that the ‘Director of Football’ and novice manager combination might not be the best formula for success in the Premier League.

  19. djclipz says:

    its obvious that most of the squad is championship standard!! All we want to know now is that we have the money to get some new european standard quality players in and be able to get rid of the rubbish. If BG can’t guarantee us the money then he should def get out and try get as much money bak as he can (i think he needs it) from selling us to a billionaire that actually has the money to take us forward!! You can’t just buy a perfect team, look at man city, but u also can’t do anything at all without a reasonable input!!

  20. Roshi says:

    Until this Sheffield nonsense is sorted out finding a buyer will be almost impossible. We really need the FA to step up to the plate, admit their failings over the whole sorry affair and give WHU a clean slate.
    If they don’t WHU will go into a downward spiral that they will not recover from.

  21. dmyeo66 says:

    Personally I think that we will struggle big time this season until a new owner with real clout can come in. As with the Tevez saga I think the club should honour whatever the High Court say and then sue Terry Brown etc for the sum involved plus compensation for dragging the clubs name through the mud. It was his board that decided on the Tevez deal that has now bought all this crap down onto us.

  22. sam h says:

    @ chris….

    …i’m feeling your optimism mate. really encouraging.

    guess u’ll be first to boo faubert off too

  23. sam h says:

    and @ djclipz, yes most of the squad is championship standard. Players like Bellamy, Upson, Parker, Noble, Collins, Green, Ashton all belong there dont they?

    People need to not let these last 6 games run you into the ground. I’m not denying that a lot of work does need to be done, but I am in no doubt that we have the quality to be playing European football.

    Don’t be getting on individual players’ backs even if it is hard. We confidence is low, the last thing players need are the fans booing.

    It’s the last thing anyone needs

  24. Hammeron says:

    Ian, Great website that always talks sense.
    Due to the Icelandic situation I would like them to sell the club to someone with money and ambition but I fear that this will not happen before the transfer window leaving us perilisly close to being relegated and with the possible pay out to the Blunts the the next step would be administration.
    Please sell BG and sell NOW!!!!

  25. chris says:

    agreed brown must be sued its the only option,

  26. Martin of Surbiton says:

    It’s frightening how close we are to the bottom three – just 2 points – and yet we played superbly on Saturday until the last 20 minutes or so. If Bellamy, Sears, Collison, Parker, Ilunga can keep playing as well as they did against Everton, then we’ll survive, but if and only if Steve Clarke can figure out a way to shore up the back 4 in the last quarter of every match. LBM and Faubert, I’m afraid, while eager enough, did not seem to make any correct decisions.

    Portsmouth will be tricky next week because they’ve just won away and Defoe and Johnson will be fired up. But we can beat them if we play well for fully 90 minutes, especially if Behrami and Upson are fit.

    Kieren Dyer would add value – any news?

  27. Another football club sold to a foreign land how wonderful where are all the UK rich people?

  28. confusedhammer says:

    I’m a little concerned but also i am not. The fact tht we are playing very well suggests that we have the ability to perform well and excel. Just a little shocked by the way we have sacrificed points this season. There seems to be a bit of criticism of Faubert but there shouldn’t be as he should be playing at RM not at RB as he is smooth going forward and is more of a creative player with speed to take on the defence. I’m tempted to see Cole and Sears up front however with Bellars storming through midfield using his pace to run at defenders. We just need to ensure tht we can score more than one goal in a game and we should be alrite to get three points. I’ll take 2-1 wins at this stage and will happily sacrifice clean sheets for it. Keep the faith at least they are showing u tht we can play well, the tide will turn and evrything will start going in and we will turn it around. If we were playing hopeless i would be scared however i see good times ahead. I would like to see Lopez play however, not sure y he hasnt been given a go. Any one got news?? COYI!!!

  29. chris says:

    just heard upsons out for season someone tell me its a wind up.

  30. chris says:

    confused you are coz faubert played at right mid and was pig awful,worse than when he plays right back ,no way can he play right mid hes passing is rubbish ,,,forget him hes unplayable money down the drain.

  31. Kim says:

    I agree with WHU Kim. Duxbury out! He was the person who said we would tear up the third party agreement and then (allegedly) said to slimy chops KJ that he didn’t mean it really. He should be hung out to dry by the club. Oh and he supports Man U!!

  32. jpt says:

    Just how bad can things get?
    Well Sheffield United (can’t do it on the pitch so do it in the courts) have of course been awarded £30 million as a club and now of course their players are claiming compensation for lack of earnings.
    ‘Warlock’ is now making noises about claiming also.
    What next – the Sheffield fans?
    Perhaps they’ll claim for emotional turmoil caused by being relegated?
    What about shopkeepers and publicans for example in Sheffield who may have lost money through the reduced gates and general malaise in the city (red half) caused by United’s fall from the premiership.
    How far could it go?!
    It’s pathetic, and logically knows no bounds.
    The courts should tell them to take a running jump – and to grow up and stop sulking.

    And my personal message to all Sheffield United fans/players/officials is a very grown up ‘we’re up you’re down!’

  33. […] West Ham To Be Sold By Christmas … Or Else The resignations of two West Ham directors this week have attracted little comment so far. But they are indicative of a […] […]

  34. chris says:

    dont worry signs look positive after yesterdays hearing,judge delaying decision seems to indicate in favour of us,and quite right,he must realize the crazy ness of it all.

  35. colin says:

    l,ve heard that there is talk at the training ground that the lndian steel people 5th richest in the world are going to buy Westham, ( appropriate name the irons.) l have heard a few things come out this way before, and they have been spot on, but i have sadly heard that Dean Aston is on his way.

  36. Goatygav says:

    Sounds promising Colin. Any info on who these Indian Steel people are. It sounds very much like it’s the Mittal family (headed up by Lakshmi Mittal). If this is the case he’d be blocked by the rules banning ownership of more than one club (he’s already the major shareholder at QPR) in the English leagues.

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