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Gold: Beware fake Santas

Filed: Friday, 16th November 2012
By: Staff Writer

David Gold admits that he'd be happy to bring a wealthy benefactor on board at West Ham - but only in the right circumstances.

United's septuagenarian co-owner purchased a 51 per cent share of West Ham along with business partner David Sullivan in January 2010. And although they recently extended their joint ownership of the club to more than two-thirds, Gold confesses that he'd be delighted to bring a third party on board.

However he warned that not everyone with access to vast financial sums would necessarily be fit for purpose.

"I'd like a very wealthy person to come and join us," he told a tabloid newspaper. "Of course, Iíd welcome a Father Christmas. But then you look and discover that it might not be the real Father Christmas.

"And you know why? Because there isnít a real Father Christmas; he doesnít exist. In an ideal world, though, if you ask what Iíd like to see happen, I would like a very wealthy person to come and join us.

ďDavid [Sullivan] and myself are wealthy by normal standards but not by football standards. We would be reluctant to sell the whole football club because we feel part of it.

"Itís taken us a lifetime to earn enough money to return to our roots and we wonít give that up lightly. Weíre doing our best but it would be that much easier if there were three of us."

In order to purchase West Ham, Gold and Sullivan sold previous club Birmingham City to Asian businessman Carson Yeung. The Hong Kong tycoon in now trying to sell the Championship club for half the figure he paid for it having seen his business empire collapse.

It was a similar situation at West Ham five years ago when Icelandic businessman Bjorgolffur Gudmundsson nearly destroyed West Ham when the banking collapse wiped out his £2.3billion fortune almost overnight - a scenario that Gold is keen to avoid revisiting.

"When we sold Birmingham we thought that, under those people, Birmingham would probably win the Premier League within a few years. But it all turned out a bit unfortunate," he added.

"In football, there is no certainty. Thereís also the danger that when you think youíre passing a club to a super-wealthy person that it can all evaporate, as happened at Birmingham and other clubs. Thereís that great danger here as well."

But should West Ham eventually find that elusive benefactor - the search for whom would no doubt be enhanced by a move to the Olympic Stadium - Gold believes that West Ham could challenge the very best.

"Weíre not going to be a top four club straightaway," he admitted, "but one day itís possible, if there is a super-wealthy West Ham fan who wants to come and join the club. That could change things for us.

"For now we have to do the best we can within the areas of our ability. To grow the club and, fingers crossed, get to the Olympic Stadium which could change our whole image [and] help us attract better players. But it all boils down to income and we have to generate more.

"Arsenal doubled theirs by moving and Manchester City - even before Sheikh Mansour bought the club - doubled their income by moving to a stadium that they didnít buy, but rented. It can be done."

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