Graham Keeffe > Since taking over the club in 2010, David Sullivan, David Gold and Baroness Karen Brady (dubbed GSB), have rarely managed to deliver on lofty ambitions and promises. Since moving to the London Stadium, the echoing of “world class stadium” and “world class players” has been consistently thrown back in their faces. Fans have been repeatedly let down by lack of action and investment during a critical transition in the club’s history. The end of their tenure however, may well be in sight.
In recent weeks, PAI Capital, an international investment consortium, has made their intentions of purchasing West Ham clear. Describing themselves as a company seeking to build “long-term value and generate attractive returns… in investments”, it appears as though they now wish to transition this mantra to the running a football club.
An initial approach for the purchasing of the club was made in February of this year but this was swiftly shot down by Sullivan and Gold who believed such an offer was not in the club’s best interests. Phillip Beard, former QPR Chief Executive, is acting as the public face of the consortium and has openly criticised the inability of West Ham’s owners to enter into “constructive and realistic” negotiations.
The heat upon Sullivan and Gold to enter into selling negotiations has been further turned up this week with a statement from the consortium on the 5th of August stipulating that an in-principle agreement has been reached with the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) to take control of the London Stadium should they attain majority ownership. The official statement has sent a clear message to GSB. “The Boleyn has gone, times move on and with the right adjustments – and under single ownership – we believe that this stadium can meet the needs of fans old and new.” PAI maintain that “divergent interests” currently prevent theground from reaching its full potential, undoubtedly a tongue in cheek reference to the current board’s inability to act on the demand of fans for an improved match day experience. The adding of a claret carpet around the pitch is surprisingly notconducive to a greater football experience.
PAI Capital has now enlisted the services of the Ferdinand brothers, Rio and Anton, to further endorse their potential takeover. “We love this club with a passion, both Anton and I are really happy that PAI want to come in and help improve the experience for fans, and I’m delighted they have asked us to play a big part in the club if their bid succeeds.” Having two of West Ham’s most prominent academy graduates backing the bid will certainly boost PAI’s public standing with fans. Apprentice star and entrepreneur Thomas Skinner (bosh!) has also been utilizing his social media platforms to endorse the PAI takeover. Thomas has outlined that he knows some of those involved personally and that they are indeed “100 percent football people.”
Takeover bids are often tricky processes, particularly when the current owners do not wish to sell up. Funded by Azerbaijani millionaire Nasib Piriyev, who is a self-proclaimed Hammers fan since 1986, PAI Capital most certainly means business. Mounting pressure to do business in the transfer market coupled with this fresh news of an in-principle stadium agreement may prove to be the breaking point for GSB’s resolve to hold on. Any sensible Hammers fan knows however that nothing is guaranteed when supporting the claret and blue and until pen has been put to paper, breaths shall remain bated.