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Under pressure

Filed: Wednesday, 7th October 2009
By: Staff Writer

The pressure on CB Holdings to sell West Ham United FC intensified today after a story appeared in the press suggesting that Gianfranco Zola could be on the verge of resigning from his post.

The Daily Telegraph story, credited to Jason Burt, suggested that Zola - along with techical director Gianluca Nani and CEO Scott Duxbury - were the targets of Italian Serie A side Napoli, who defeated United in a pre-season friendly at the Boleyn back in August.

Napoli recently sacked Roberto Donadoni, who was on the shortlist at West Ham to replace Alan Curbishley last autumn. Although he has since been replaced by Walter Mazzarri the story suggests that should Zola be willing to return to Italy, a deal could be done next summer.

Although the majority of West Ham fans are unlikely to be too disappointed at the prospect of parting company with Duxbury and Nani, the quiet and thoughtful Zola has become hugely popular with supporters - although even he has not been without criticism following United's dreadful start to the current campaign.

CB Holdings - who represent former creditors of former Chairman Bjorgolfur Gudmundson - are thought to have received a number of enquiries with regards to the potential purchase of the football club but none have yet reached the stage of due diligence.

A string of parties are rumoured to be interested, including former board members David Gold and David Sullivan despite denials this week - but CB Holdings appear determined to hang on to the club for as long as possible, something described recently as 'the worst possible outcome' due to the finance group's continued policy of asset-stripping which has seen the club lose the likes of Craig Bellamy, Lucas Neill and James Collins from the first team during 2009.

Duxbury, who, it has been claimed, paid for the salary of new signing Guillermo Franco out of his own pocket (along with Nani) is thought to have threatened to quit his post, again, after CBH refused to sanction the signing of Alessandro Diamanti. The deal is said to have only gone through as a result of club sponsors SBO Betting providing next year's fees in advance.

CB Holdings' Andrew Bernhardt, also West Ham's non-executive Chairman has refused to be drawn on West Ham's parlous situation since the beginning of the season.

Speaking back in August ahead of the new season, he told whufc.com: "The club is on a sound financial footing. We fully support Scott and Gianfranco and endorse their continued efforts in strengthening the squad as quickly as possible, with a new striker their top priority."

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by Simon Dalessandro
10:18PM 7th Oct 2009
''As a good friend of the Sporting Director of another Premier League team close to GFZ's heart but a Hammer myself, I can say that you should never believe what they write in the sports columns. Total and utter rubbish and I am sure they are all quietly laughing into their bowl of pasta. Nani and Zola, only they know what's going on, not a two-bit sports writer getting information from third and fourth parties and huge complexes!''

by g portugal
08:23PM 7th Oct 2009
''Exactly right - the stalling tactics of the Icelandics is the worst possible thing for the club, its players and its supporters. All these Icelandic mugs do is pay millions of interest on loans and watch the potential sale price of the club go down as they get more desperate and asset strip the club. The Icelandics should be castrated for the deceitful, totally unprofessional manner in which they have created this debacle.''

by raymond lucas
07:09PM 7th Oct 2009
''I believe it's the press starting, have a pop at West Ham time again and there is most probably no truth in the story whatsoever. I believe that Zola is an honourable man who will fulfil his contract, of course he's fed up at the moment but the smiles will come back as soon as we start to get results.

As for Nani and Duxbury I can't comment, but I would have thought that anybody who is prepared to put their own money in to help the club must have known the situation with regards to CB Holdings, and I wouldn't have thought that after such a gesture they would want to quit a couple of weeks later.''

by west london hammer
01:52PM 7th Oct 2009
''Do most Hammers fans want to se the back of Nani? Really? Isn't he the man who signed Behrami and Ilunga? I'd be very surprised to see Zola leave yet - I think he has more honour than that and once the ownership situation is sorted out, we should be able to get the season back on track even though it's going to be hard work judging by the last couple of games. But then again, I think Zola will relish the challenge to restore our momentum. He doesn't strike me as one to run away.''

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