West Ham joint chairman David Sullivan has called a £400m offer to buy the club ‘derisory’ and insisted that rejecting the takeover bid is in the interest of the Hammers and fans because it was at best a ‘vague approach’ that didn’t have football at the heart of it.
The bid came from a UK-based consortium that includes former QPR chief executive Philip Beard.
But despite initial media reports suggesting the group had plans to take West Ham to the next level and turn the club into a ‘major force’, including an increased transfer budget for manager David Moyes, Sullivan has conversely claimed the interest is driven by an opportunity to profit.
“They never produced any proof of funds,” Sullivan told The Athletic. “[They] had zero interest in the football side and saw it as a property move. It was a property not a football deal to them.
“We have no desire to sell the club, but get approached by many weird and wonderful people who lack the funds and have no experience in running a football club.”
Sullivan and business partner David Gold became joint chairmen of West Ham in January 2010 upon acquiring a 50% stake in the club. They increased that to 60% later that year, while Sullivan himself became the single largest shareholder in 2013 when he bought a further 25% stake.
West Ham’s fortunes on the pitch have been up and down over the last decade. The Hammers were relegated from the Premier League in 2011, returning immediately via the Championship playoffs. They later enjoyed a seventh place finish in 2015/16, resulting in Europa League qualification, but placed in the bottom half four times out of five seasons between 2013 and 2018.
Recruitment policy has also largely been criticised, either overspending on the wrong players – such as Felipe Anderson, Sebastian Haller or Andre Ayew, or not spending enough.
Moyes’ first full year in his second spell as manager saw West Ham finish sixth last season, a highest league finish in 22 years and qualifying directly for the Europa League group stage.
Prior to their involvement with West Ham, Sullivan and Gold co-owned Birmingham for 16 years.