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Hammers target improved Premier League position

Filed: Tuesday, 21st May 2019
By: Staff Writer

It's a long time since there's been talk of qualifying for the Champions League in the Boardroom at West Ham.

Prior to moving from the Boleyn Ground three years ago, co-owner David Sullivan spoke excitedly and effusively about West Ham's prospects of qualifying for the continent's primary competition - the Board's "seven-year plan", first spoken of in 2010.

"We have a seven-year plan to get them into the Champions League and turn them into a big club," he said shortly after purchasing a controlling stake in the club. "And, over the seven-year period, we do plan to spend a lot of money."

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But having seen the likes of cash-rich Manchester City and Liverpool leave all other clubs trailing in their wake - and even neighbours Tottenham's annual income dwarf that of West Ham (who remain without a naming rights partner for their new stadium three years after moving from Upton Park) - the Board's ambitions appear to now be somewhat more realistic for owners with their means.

For a joint statement released on behalf of co-owners Sullivan and partner David Gold has set the club's stall out within more attainable parameters, having seen that seven-year deadline pass without any great fanfare nor improvement in terms of Premier League placings.

“Manuel Pellegrini and his players have produced some magical moments, marvellous performances and memorable victories – most recently in a certain part of north London! – and, above all, have created a spirit and identity that we believe all Hammers fans have genuine faith in," read a statement published in the name of both individuals.

"There is great anticipation and excitement about what lies in store for next season, and everyone is looking forward to the challenge of further improving our Premier League position."

Despite that freshly-established realignment of the club's hopes and ambitions - where, it seems, finishing ninth (or above) in the 2019/20 Premier League would be viewed as a successful campaign - the pair believe that the club have also managed to breath fresh life into the waning Academy.

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"It has been another hugely successful year for our Academy, too, with the likes of Grady Diangana, Joe Powell, Conor Coventry and Ben Johnson all graduating to first team honours, following in the exceptionally talented footsteps of our latest full England international, Declan Rice," read the statement.

"Last month it was our honour and privilege to officially open the brand-new Academy facility at the iconic Chadwell Heath training ground and there can be no doubt that the redevelopment will give us even greater opportunities to identify, develop and nurture the best young players in the country."

And this, claim Sullivan and Gold via their joint statement, is just the initial stage of a "long term plan" - the details of which are not revealed - to enhance and improve the club's position.

"This time last year, we made a strategic decision to invest significantly in the football operation, appointing a world-class manager and backing him with the largest transfer budget in our history," they added.

"It was the first step in a long-term plan that remains on schedule and is heading in the right direction."

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