West Ham owners reveal ten-point plan for club
West Ham co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold have issued a ten-point plan for transforming the fortunes of the club, after a tumultuous season that saw the Hammers narrowly avoid relegation and popular manager Gianfranco Zola subsequently sacked.
Gold and Sullivan courted their fair share of controversy after a series of outspoken comments about the team and the manager. But now they are aiming to turn things around at the club and win back the fans, who have become increasingly sceptical about the pair's ownership.
"It may be the close-season but here at West Ham United we are all busy preparing for 2010-11 and putting in place the next steps to take this club forward," a statement released on the club's official website read. "Having admittedly had a tough end to the last campaign, we are determined to build on the many positives we have at the club and use the summer months to make sure we hit the ground running next time around."
Gold and Sullivan also promise to appoint a "high calibre manager with the necessary experience to deliver good football", and an intention to follow through plans to turn the Olympic Stadium into West Ham's new home.
GOLD AND SULLIVAN'S TEN-POINT PLAN
As the Board of West Ham United our pledge to you is to do the following:
1. Appoint the right manager
Our efforts are focused on recruiting a high-calibre manager with the necessary experience to deliver good football and, most importantly, results. A shortlist of candidates has been identified and the appointment will be made with enough time to prepare for pre-season.
2. Sign new players
For too long, the focus has been on players leaving rather than arriving. We will strengthen in the right areas to ensure an exciting and balanced squad that is well placed to cope with the rigours of a Premier League season. Our main aim will be to bring in players hungry to do well who share our ambitions and aspirations.
3. More investment in the Academy
Tony Carr remains at the heart of the club and his work in developing future first-team players remains essential for the long-term success of this club. We will make sure homegrown talent nurtured in the 'West Ham way' will always be given the chance to complement established players brought in from elsewhere.
4. Continue to clear the debt
We have a responsibility to ensure this club is never again placed in a perilous position. Great strides have been taken to get us on a sound financial footing but there is still a way to go. Difficult decisions have had to be made - and that will continue to be the case - but our bottom line on the bottom line is to ensure the club survives.
5. Freeze season ticket prices for renewals
We are delighted we have been able to freeze season ticket prices, save for the VAT increase, but we will not stop there. We are looking at more ways of rewarding those fans who make such a long-term commitment and have excellent offers for younger supporters, who are the lifeblood of this club. Member benefits will also improve.
6. Build the status and image of the club
Our standing at home and abroad is rightly built on our proud history and our commitment to young talent. The values of the Academy of Football developed since the days of Bobby Moore define what we are all about. With the world's spotlight set to shine on this part of London, the time is right to spread the word further.
7. Make it enjoyable to come and watch
We want to bring the fun back. It is a serious business but we know you work hard all week and want to kick back at the weekend and enjoy yourselves. We want you to be excited on a matchday, and not just about the style of football. We are looking at ways to improve our pre-match and half-time entertainment and will welcome suggestions.
8. Get closer to the community
This club does excellent work in the local area already but we want to move even closer to schools and businesses on our doorstep. We can extend our commitment to multi-sports, education and healthy living and show there is more to this club than just first-team football. We take our social responsibility very seriously.
9. Go for the Olympic Stadium
Leaving the Boleyn Ground will be a wrench but the Olympic Stadium is an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in a financial and football sense. Our potential partnership with Newham Council promises to take this club to a new level, while protecting our history and traditions. To move forward, we have to move - but always with an eye on the past.
10. Listen to supporters
Arguably the most important of all is our commitment to listen to what you have to say. We know we are just the custodians of this club. You who follow us every week, whether near or far, are the true owners. Whether talking to you online or in print, or face to face at fan forums, we will be open, transparent and available.
This ten-point pledge is just the start. We are here for the long term and our goals will evolve as we progress. We are proud to be here and will never stop working for you.
All of us share the same hopes and dreams. It is not just about aiming for cup finals or derby victories but about feeling part of something together and all pulling in the same direction. As the name says, we are very much West Ham. United.