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Apr 29, 2011

Sullivan expecting relegation

West Ham co-owner David Sullivan has admitted he believes the club is '75% likely' to be playing in the Championship next season.

• Sullivan: Stars won't go on cheap
Hammers dealt Noble blow
Parker: Survival is most important

Sullivan and David Gold took charge of the club in January 2010 and last summer replaced Gianfranco Zola with Avram Grant as well as strengthening the squad, but the changes have failed to pay dividends and the Hammers are currently bottom of the Premier League with four games remaining.

"Obviously we are facing the reality that 70-75% we are likely to be in the Championship next year, but there is still a 25-30 per cent chance we won't be," he told the Daily Telegraph. "We have to be realistic. The bookmakers put our chances at 28% and you have to accept that.

"I feel for the supporters. We have fantastic supporters and I feel myself and David [Gold] have let them down. We have failed to deliver and the bottom line in football is that it's a delivery business.

"Forget all the excuses - the bad luck, the good luck, the injuries - because over a season it sort of averages out. Okay, it probably hasn't quite averaged out for us this year, but you can't blame that.

"We didn't come here to be relegated. We didn't think at the start of the season that we would be relegated and we have to put it right next season. If we are in the Premier League, we have to make sure we are not fighting relegation; if we are in the Championship, we have to make sure we are in the top two this time next year."

Sullivan believes certain members of the squad may not be giving their all despite the club's current predicament.

"I could go in there and give them a Churchill speech but whether it's going to do any good I don't know," he said. "I think some players are spoilt - I don't say just with our players, I'm saying with all clubs.

"How do you motivate millionaires? It's a problem all managers have. Alex Ferguson has got that fear factor and I do think that a manager needs that fear factor. You look at Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho.

"The players are a little bit frightened of them, but I'm sure a few of the players are already looking at where they will be next season - their contracts are up, they'll be off.

"It means the manager might have a hard decision to make if we go into the last game of the season needing a win to stay up - do you trust the fate of the club to them or do you make the decision that you will not play those players?

"It's a very difficult decision. Do you go for players who are committed to the club? If you look at that last game and someone is on a Bosman, will that player risk injury? Some will, some won't. It depends on the mentality of the player."

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