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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov, 21, 2006

Pardew: Hammers can thrive under Iceman

West Ham boss Alan Pardew is targeting an immediate return to European football now the club's long-running takeover saga has been settled.

Icelandic businessman Eggert Magnusson is set to take over as chairman after the Hammers accepted an offer for the club of £85million plus an agreement to take on £22.5million of debt.

The takeover wranglings stretch back to the summer and Pardew believes the off-field distractions had an adverse impact on the club's form in the opening months of the season.

They lost a record eight games in a row, failed to score a goal for more than 10 hours and were knocked out of the UEFA Cup at the first hurdle by Palermo.

Magnusson wants West Ham to be challenging for Champions League qualification every year - and Pardew shares those same ambitions.

'We are very pleased Eggert has bought the club. We have this new consortium in place and we can move forward,' said Pardew.

'Like all organisations, you need leadership from the top with a new vision of what they want to do. I have been enthused by that in my conversation with Mr Magnusson.

'He has a strong feeling he would like to see European football here at Upton Park. We had a brief taste of it and unfortunately drew the best team in Italy.

'But there is no reason we can't try and achieve that this year with a great cup run or very strong finish to the league programme.

'You have to set your goals high, we have always done that here and hopefully we can achieve those aims in the next three or four years.

'The base we are building on is a good base. We perhaps lost our way at the start of this season due to the indecision but it is nothing we can't put right very quickly.

'We are all looking forward to this new challenge. I am excited.'

Outgoing chairman Terence Brown met with Magnusson after West Ham's 1-0 victory over Arsenal on November 5 and was hugely impressed.

'We always promised when the right type of investor came along, who could take the club in the right direction, we would talk to them and see of there was a deal to be done,' Brown told WHUTV.

'I think we have found the right people and I think it will be great for the club.

'I have been very impressed with him (Magnusson). His backers are world class businessmen. They have done this before and that was clear to see.

'I couldn't be more impressed. I am absolutely sure the club is being passed into good hands. I am very pleased he is taking the club on. I think he will be tremendous for West Ham.'

Magnusson finds the club in rude health.

Brown added: 'We made a £13million operating profit last year, which was one of the records.

'I believe we are the 18th biggest club in the world, certainly in Europe. We have a huge turnover and great prospects. We have very good assets with players, a very good academy. I'd like to think the club is in good shape.

'What it needs is the stability wealth can bring and people that can invest in the future of the club and ensure we can grow from here.'

Magnusson has promised to back manager Alan Pardew in the transfer market.

However, the future of Argentina duo Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano - brought to West Ham by Iranian-born Kia Joorabchian, who then led his own failed takeover attempt - remains uncertain.

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