West Ham United owner David Sullivan dismisses informal takeover approach as 'derisory'

By Simon StoneBBC Sport
David Gold (left) and David Sullivan (right)
David Gold (left) and majority shareholder David Sullivan took control of West Ham in 2010

West Ham owner David Sullivan has dismissed an informal approach to buy the club as "derisory" and says he has "no desire" to sell to a consortium that includes former Queens Park Rangers chief executive Philip Beard.

Beard's consortium made an informal approach in February and was prepared to submit an offer in excess of £400m.

It remains interested in the club and is now considering its next move.

However, it seems it might be wasting its time. "The offer was derisory," Sullivan told BBC Sport.

"They never produced any proof of funds and were looking to raise funds to do the deal."

Sullivan says he felt it was a "property not a football deal" and that the "vague proposal was not in the best interests of West Ham, its shareholders or supporters".

It has been suggested the consortium was prepared to give manager David Moyes funds to strengthen his squad after a low bid for West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, which was rejected out of hand by the Championship club.

However, Sullivan said: "At no time did they mention any money being available for new players."

Sullivan and co-owner David Gold bought the Hammers in 2010. Their time at the helm has been controversial, with criticism of investment in the Hammers' playing squad in addition to the anger generated by both the move to London Stadium in 2016 and perceived broken promises about what the switch would mean for the club.

Despite significant fan unrest, Sullivan said: "We have no desire to sell the club but get approached by many weird and wonderful people who lack the funds and have no experience in running a football club.

"Mr Beard did a truly exceptional job at QPR working with Tony Fernandes. Having done so well there he no doubt wanted to repeat the success at West Ham."

West Ham's status is complicated by restrictions over its 99-year tenancy at London Stadium.

And if the club were sold before 2023, Sullivan and David Gold would be subject to a 'windfall tax' on a rising scale up to 20% of anything over £300m.

West Ham enjoyed their best season since the switch to London Stadium under manager David Moyes last term.

The club secured a place in the group stage of the Europa League through their sixth-placed finish and are about to enjoy a 10th consecutive season of top-flight football.

That has not been bettered since the two decades between 1958 and 1979, which included two of the club's three FA Cup wins and their 1965 European Cup Winners' Cup triumph.

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