Gianfranco Zola staying as West Ham manager, says David Sullivan

19 January 2010 10:06
Former Birmingham owners Sullivan and David Gold completed their takeover of West Ham last night.

Karren Brady, who was managing director at Birmingham, will become vice-chairman at Upton Park.

West Ham target Rod Fanni and Matthew Bates to replace Lucas Neill at Upton ParkLucas Neill leaves West Ham as Gianfranco Zola plans for the futureGianfranco Zola to open talks with Lucas Neill at West HamOn Zola, Sullivan said: "He is staying, and I will be sitting down with him tonight to work on some transfers as we realise as fans that the team needs a few additions."

Sullivan also said that he and Gold would welcome additional investors.

"We will spell out the book we are taking over," said Sullivan. "The imbalance in the squad and the crazy wages the Icelandics were paying that brought the club to its knees.

"I say to anyone else out there, if they want to get involved they are most welcome. It's a long-term job and we want people to come and join us. We welcome other investors."

Sullivan admitted the fact that the pair are West Ham fans had a big influence on their desire to get involved at Upton Park.

He said: "I don't think we would have bought West Ham if we weren't fans.

"We have a seven-year plan to get West Ham into the Champions League and turn them into big club.

"We represent east London and Essex and we are deeply and passionately involved with West Ham. It's where we have always wanted to be.

"We plan to spend a lot of money and we hope to persuade the government to let us move to the new Olympic Stadium, and I believe the people of east London would support that move."

A full statement from Sullivan read: "I have been interested in running West Ham United for 20 years and I can't wait to start work.

"I enjoyed running Birmingham City for 16-and-half years, but everyone there knew my true love was always West Ham United.

"It will be an immense privilege to lead this great football club and more importantly its supporters.

"Our first priority has to be securing the Premier League status of West Ham. I believe the players at this club have shown great commitment in trying circumstances and the new board and I will get behind them in every way we can.

"We will also look to bring in new players to supplement the squad where needed once we have met with the manager.

"I would like to thank former executive chairman Andrew Bernhardt and CB Holding who assumed control of the club in difficult circumstances through no fault of their own.

"Our long-term aim will be to put the club on a stronger financial footing. I believe with our new board we have the expertise and experience to do just that and bring the good times back to this great football club.

"West Ham United need stability after all the recent upheavals. We appointed four managers and parted company with two at Birmingham in 16 years. We believe in our managers and give them the time and support they need.

"The club is now back in the hands of East Enders, people who understand the community and its passion for the Hammers. I believe that depth of feeling will also bring us through what has been a difficult period."

Source: Telegraph