Hammers overlord Gudmundsson plans investment
West Ham United owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson outlined his immediate ambitions after assuming full control of the club in a parting of the ways with chairman Eggert Magnusson.
Magnusson, the club's figurehead in the year since the £108million takeover by an Icelandic consortium, has sold his five per cent shareholding to Gudmundsson - who also takes over as chairman.
Gudmundsson, a banker and businessman known as 'BG', is rated among the world's richest 800 people. He becomes the sole owner of West Ham and will now pursue his aims to move to a new £250million stadium and for the club to break into the Premier League's top four.
He is investing a further £30.5million in the club, but the cash will not be used for transfers after the summer spending spree.
Gudmundsson wants to push ahead with a move to a new 60,000-seater stadium - a site has been identified at an old Parcelforce depot next to West Ham tube station.
He said: 'We are seeking to build some truly solid foundations for the future ambitions of West Ham United. This is a great football club with tremendous heritage and tradition and the most wonderful set of supporters.
'My job as owner is to help plan for the future and create the right conditions off the field to help Alan Curbishley and the playing squad deliver success on the field.
'I am particularly delighted that we have been able to take the first real step in our plans for a new stadium, which is crucial to the long-term ambitions of the club.'
Gudmundsson also paid tribute to Magnusson who oversaw the Hammers' unlikely top-flight survival and the Carlos Tevez affair, still not entirely resolved.
'Eggert Magnusson has done a tremendous job as chairman, often in difficult circumstances, since our consortium bought the club 12 months ago,' Gudmundsson said.
'Eggert has decided to move on to new pastures and to pursue his other interests. We wish him well for the future and express our thanks for all that he has done for West Ham.'
Magnusson, expected to take up committee work on UEFA and FIFA, admits there have been tough challenges.
'I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at West Ham. From the moment that Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson and I formed the consortium to bid for the club, it has been an honour to be involved,' he said.
'Now that I have sold my financial stake in the club and I need to focus a little more on my interests overseas, I think it is the right time to stand down as chairman.
'The last 12 months have not been without their challenges, but I feel that we have emerged stronger and fitter as a club.'
Gudmundsson has appointed his trusted aide Asgeir Fridgeirsson as vice-chairman and Mike Lee, the former Premier League, UEFA and London 2012 Olympic bid communications director, to be a board member.
The new board will comprise Gudmundsson (chairman), Fridgeirsson (vice-chairman), Mike Lee, Thor Kristjansson, Gudmundur Oddsson - with executive directors Scott Duxbury (chief executive) and Nick Igoe (finance director).