West Ham owner David Gold says stars could leave
West Ham will allow their England internationals to leave if the club are relegated, says co-owner David Gold.
The Hammers are bottom of the Premier League, three points from safety with only three games remaining.
"It's unfair to tell a player to forego your potential England career to come down and play in the Championship," Gold told the BBC's Football Focus.
Scott Parker, Carlton Cole, Robert Green and Matthew Upson are all now established England squad regulars.
With home games against Blackburn and Sunderland, sandwiched by a trip to fellow-strugglers Wigan, the prospects of the east London side playing in the top-flight next season look bleak.
The Hammers have won only twice away from Upton Park in the league this season.
Co-owner David Sullivan admitted he opted not to attend his side's 2-1 defeat at Manchester City on 1 May because of their miserable away form.
And Gold's words to Football Focus, to be broadcast on Saturday, are another stark warning to what could be in store for the Upton Park faithful if the Hammers go down.
Football Focus David Gold
“When the transfer window closed I thought we had done enough”
"It's unrealistic to ask an England player to come down and play in the Championship," warned Gold, who has recently been in hospital, where he was treated for cholangitis - an infection of the common bile duct - and septicaemia.
"It impacts on his career. Would I try [to stop them]? Of course, I would try but you would have a one in 10 chance."
And regarding the increasing likelihood of the east Londoners dropping out of the Premier League, 74-year-old Gold added: "Do I blame myself? There is no doubt you end up blaming yourself.
"You go over the decisions you have made and yes, you have to take the blame. At the time you think you have done the best job. When the [January transfer] window closed I thought we had done enough."
Midfielder Parker would be a prime target for many of the league's top clubs, having been voted Player of the Year for 2011 by the Football Writers' Association.
Other players who have forced their way into England manager Fabio Capello's plans that could also be set for a Hammers exit are goalkeeper Green, defender Upson and striker Cole.
Gold bought West Ham in 2010 with Sullivan, his business partner and fellow former co-owner of Birmingham City.
Meanwhile, West Ham manager Avram Grant said on Friday that he is fed up with all the negative talk surrounding the club at the moment and believes they should not be in the bottom three.
"We want to stay in the league, we believe we can stay in the league and we believe we deserve to stay in the league," he said ahead of Saturday's visit of Blackburn.
"We are playing football that deserves to stay in the league. We will do everything to do this because it is not easy but still possible. I don't want to think negatively.
"I say to the players and everybody it is not a time to think about yourselves. It is time to think about the team.
"I have been in this job a long time. I have faced a lot of speculation. I have a job to do and that is the only thing that is important right now."
The full interview with David Gold can be seen on Football Focus on Saturday 7 May on BBC One and the BBC Sport website.