Another fine boardroom mess

So here we are again, very rich people playing with the future of OUR club for their own financial advantage.

OK, that sounds painfully naive, I know the world we live in, but the current mess over the ownership leaves a very bad taste. It eats away at the very heart of West Ham United and is frustrating because there’s nothing we can do about it, as those leeches in the posh seats dangling their shares at any passing potential owner.

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Of course it’s the way business is run and my misgivings pretty much explain my beliefs, political and otherwise. Surely is just the sort of situation that the FSA and all the government committees discussing football’s future would flinch at. The fans have no say in the way their clubs is run and this just underlines it.

Where we are now was expertly explained in Jacob Steinberg’s latest article in the Guardian [Wednesday].

The Gold family want to hold onto the shares of the late joint owner, David Gold. And don’t give me all the guff about legacy. Bet they will sell in an instant if any passing Czech, American, Qatari or Manc billionaire makes it worth their while.

David Sullivan seemingly can’t get the price he wants and doesn’t seem too bothered now about selling to Daniel Kretinsky.

And it seems from Steinberg’s article that our current majority shareholder aims to sit tight despite the end of the month date when he can sell without bothering the taxman unduly. That has been the argument ever since we took over the tenancy of the London Stadium and there are many fans who have naively believed that Sullivan would be gone straight away.

Never going to happen was it? And if anyone thinks Sullivan will end the impasse by buying Gold’s 25.1 per cent stake, they are in cloud cuckoo land. Nobody has denied the Sun story this week that Kretinsky has offered the Gold’s £150m for their shares, can you see Sullivan stepping in to spend that amount now he has first crack at his old business partner’s stake?

Kretinsky has an agreed first option on Sullivan’s 38.8 per cent holding and second option after Sullivan’s first call on the Gold family stake. But nobody seems interested in doing either deal and with the possibility of relegation, the Czech may cool his interest anyway.

None of this is doing anything to solve the club’s future or present plans and problems. And it’s even being suggested that the West Ham’s board’s unwillingness to axe David Moyes has something to do with not wanting to spend money on paying up his contract or the expense of bringing in a new manager and his own coaches.

The Gold family holding, with Dan Cunningham becoming influential, is likely to remain in probate for six months after David Gold’s death, claims the Guardian article. Cunningham is Gold’s son in law and married to daughter Jackie. He was co-opted onto the board of West Ham United FC in January 2021, and then onto the board of WH Holding Ltd in November of that year.

Dan Cunningham [pic: twitter]

It became known only this week that the Gold family wanted to hold onto their shares, which just adds to the limbo the club is in. There is even a suggestion that inheritance tax is an issue and could last for two years.

It’s pretty much accepted that the current splintered regime cannot take the club any further against the sovereign wealth of middle eastern buyers at Newcastle, Manchester City and potentially Manchester United. Chelsea and Liverpool have American controllers, and likewise we as a club are out of this league.

Many fans felt that our one hope of genuine progress would come from Czech billionaire Kretinsky, but seemingly that is very much on hold.

Kretinsky has been adding to his British share portfolio as well as expanding his business interests here, with in some instances, government approval. You would suggest that the longer the Ukraine war continues, the more chance of encountering problems with Russian gas would emerge.

The messy jostling for position has confirmed KUMB’s article earlier this month that Kretinsky had put his takeover on hold until the relegation issue was sorted out. And it is now common knowledge that another KUMB article stating that Kretinsky had approached the London Legacy Development Corporation’s chief executive Lyn Garner to discuss his future plans, was accurate, despite denials from client fans’ sites.

Tellingly, LLDC made no attempt to deny that contact. And frankly, KUMB would be astonished if the London Mayor had not been briefed on the current situation, but obviously we have no confirmation of that.

And so the saga continues. Jose Mourinho’s name has again been dragged into the argument over Moyes’ position, as has Michael Carrick’s - this in a Times story - while Slaven Bilic has some support from fans now he’s been axed by Watford. I think we can forget that one.

Now the club’s senior players have allegedly told the club hierarchy that they are backing Moyes, with the club facing a European Conference tie in Larnaca tomorrow and a crunch home league game with Aston Villa on Sunday

Sometimes you wonder if this club of ours - I repeat, OUR club - can find time to play football matches.

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