Hammers have Bernhardt buzzing
West Ham have made a positive first impression on their new non-executive chairman Andrew Bernhardt. The Hammers have been hit hard by the ongoing global recession, with their Icelandic owners seeing their assets decimated. However, a positive 2008/09 campaign on the field has been accompanied by ambitious plans off it. The club have rediscovered financial stability and Bernhardt, who has been appointed to help maintain that progress, believes the club can be proud of their achievements in the face of adversity. "I have been so impressed with what has been achieved here in the last 12 months with a proper strategy that everyone has bought into," he told the club's official website. "Gianfranco Zola has not even been at the club a year, yet he has put his indelible mark on a young, skilful, vibrant team. "The club has a buzz about it, from the people you meet at reception to those involved in the first-team. I have complete faith in how CEO Scott Duxbury and Gianfranco work together in improving the squad without external investment. "Scott's self-sufficient business model is sensible and prudent in these challenging times and will deliver success. I am confident there are strong foundations we can all build on." Meanwhile, Bernhardt has dismissed suggestions that the Hammers will be forced to sell this summer in order to balance the books. "That is absolutely untrue," he added. "No business likes to have debts, but with a £100m turnover, increased TV revenues and a focused commercial operation, the club is on sound financial footing. "The wage bill has been reduced and the settlement agreed with Sheffield United (regarding the Carlos Tevez affair) is budgeted for. "I can assure fans that Gianfranco absolutely does not have to sell any players for financial reasons and new players will be arriving in the summer to augment what is already a strong playing staff. "We totally support his philosophy of following the West Ham tradition of bringing young players through, as well as investing in new talent where appropriate. "But we also believe the club should not spend more than it earns and thus increase the debt. It simply isn't necessary when you have a talented management team and a pool of up-and-coming young players. "It seems pointless to invest in West Ham United's world famous academy if you are then not going to use the players you have nurtured and developed."
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