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Five Aside

New Hammers owner Sullivan slams ''Mr Egghead''

New West Ham co-owner David Sullivan has slammed "Mr Egghead'' - ex-chairman Eggert Magnusson - for the £110 million worth of debt that the club has run up.

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Ex-Birmingham owner Sullivan took over the Hammers with business partner David Gold on Tuesday and bought a 50% stake in the club for £52.5 million from the Icelandic owners. However, he is not happy with the level of debt accrued by the Magnusson regime.

"Clearly Mr Magnusson, or Mr Egghead, thought the owner would subsidise the club," said Sullivan in the Sun. "It was a crazy way that wages were paid out by the Icelandics, that brought the club to its knees. You pay good wages, not crazy wages.

"I'm sure some fans will be fearful that we might be like Eggert and decimate the club. We won't. Magnusson phoned us six weeks ago and said he would like to be involved again. I don't know what the man is thinking."

Sullivan, who is joint chairman with Gold, revealed the extent of the debt at the club and claimed that it was as much as £110 million.

"We wouldn't buy this club at all if this wasn't West Ham,'' he said. ''It makes no commercial sense. We must be mad. But there's £50 million owed to banks, £40 million owed to other clubs and there's not a penny to come in. Then there's the settlement of the Alan Curbishley case. So the real debt is about £110 million."

Sullivan also slammed the signing of Freddie Ljungberg from Arsenal in 2007 for £3 million, as the Swedish midfielder played just 28 games.

"West Ham took a player from Arsenal who was on £30,000 a week and paid him £80,000. That wasn't good business or necessary," he added.


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