Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'I'd like Us to Win the Title It's Not Impossible and We Can All Dream'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'I'd like Us to Win the Title It's Not Impossible and We Can All Dream'

Article excerpt

Byline: Ken Dyer EXCLUSIVE

FIVE years ago today David Sullivan and David Gold took control at their first football love, West Ham United. Here, the club's co-owners reflect on an eventful half-decade in charge at Upton Park.

HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP YOUR FIRST FIVE YEARS AT WEST HAM? DAVID SULLIVAN: It's been a rollercoaster. The one thing we didn't allow for was relegation. We picked the wrong manager [Avram Grant] and we paid the price.

We're in much better shape after five years, though, both on and off the field. What we said at the beginning of the season still stands. It's no good saying the ambition is to finish 17th because that is not acceptable to supporters.

Our target? To finish in a Champions League spot. That's not to say we will but why not aim high? The other target is to win the FA Cup which is becoming harder every year.

DAVID GOLD: A rollercoaster ride, an amazing adventure. First of all, David and I becoming the owners of West Ham was like destiny. It had always been a dream of ours to be involved in West Ham but we just didn't perceive the dream would become a reality.

I had been looking at other clubs Brighton, Crystal Palace and Charlton. Then one morning I woke up to learn that, sadly, West Ham were in difficulties but that became an opportunity for us.

David felt the same and it was his action which set the ball rolling and it happened!

That was only the beginning. Every time you opened a cupboard another skeleton fell out. We would never have taken on this challenge had it not been our beloved West Ham.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE LOWEST POINT SINCE YOU TOOK OVER? DS: Relegation. The biggest challenge we've faced is trying to pay the banks. We inherited PS120million of debt and it has to be paid.

You also have to try and match some of the bigger clubs paying a third of their wages our salary cap is PS56m.

But I'm optimistic and if things go our way we could beat Real Madrid tomorrow. It's unlikely but not impossible. If we get some new players in, we could be challenging these big teams in the future.

DG: Relegation was the real low. In a way it would almost have been better had we been relegated the first season, rather than the one after. …

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