West Ham United co-owner David Sullivan has spoken out about PAI Capital’s claims that a second bid was made to take over the club and says the firm would have been ‘unsuitable custodians’.
PAI Capital released a statement on Thursday saying it had stepped aside after seeing a second bid for West Ham rebuffed by majority owner Sullivan (Evening Standard).
The firm’s bid had been backed by club legend Tony Cottee and fellow former West Ham academy graduates Rio Ferdinand and his brother Anton.
PAI claimed it had pulled out of a takeover bid for West Ham after having a second offer knocked back
The firm – with Azerbaijani businessman and self-professed West Ham fan Nasib Piriyev at its heart and former QPR CEO Philip Beard fronting the supposed bid – has done the rounds since, getting backing from the Ferdinand brothers as well as goalscoring legend Cottee.
But many supporters were far from convinced.
PAI divided opinion with much of their PR failing to persuade West Ham fans they were the right people to take the club on from Sullivan and Gold.
Hammers co-owner Sullivan insists there was no bid, labelling PAI ‘unsuitable custodians’ for a club that’s ‘never been in better shape’
And now in an exclusive interview with Hammers News, Sullivan says West Ham fans were right to be sceptical, insisting there was no ‘second bid’ from PAI.
David Moyes has helped transform West Ham from relegation battlers to a genuine European outfit in just over 18 months.
To that end the Hammers face their first bona fide European home game for 15 years against Rapid Wien this Thursday night with Moyes’s side topping their group after a memorable 2-0 win away to Dinamo Zagreb two weeks ago.
‘Why change a winning formula?’ – Sullivan
And Sullivan says there is ‘total unity’ at the club, questioning why anyone would want to change a winning formula in the wake of PAI’s supposed interest.
“There never was a second bid, ask them what it was for and how they made it and to whom?” Sullivan told Hammers News regarding PAI’s claims of a second bid to take over West Ham.
“Ask to see the rejection of the bid. Proper business people don’t conduct their negotiations via the media.
“They saw West Ham United as a property deal and would have been unsuitable custodians of the club.
‘Total unity between board, manager and team at West Ham’
“The club has never been in better shape. There is total unity between the board, the manager and the team.
“If you include the last three games last season we have one defeat in the last 11 league and cup games and that was an unlucky defeat by Man Utd.
“We were the fourth or fifth highest net spenders in the last transfer window. Why change a winning formula?”
Sullivan’s claims about being the Premier League’s fourth highest net spenders ring true.
Despite Moyes success story, Sullivan DOES want new investment at West Ham after Covid pushed debt up to £150m
Meanwhile loan fees were paid to bring in Alex Kral and Alphonse Areola, with West Ham having the option to buy both players. Craig Dawson’s £2.5m move was also made permanent on July 1st.
But while Sullivan says West Ham have never been in better shape, he did reiterate that the impact of Covid has opened his mind to the idea of new investment in the club.
“That said and done, partially due to Covid that cost West Ham United £70m, the club is £150m in debt and we’d welcome new investors to reduce this debt,” Sullivan told Hammers News.
Some supporters will highlight the irony of Sullivan claiming the club has never been in better shape while confirming the Hammers now have £150m of debt – more than the reported figure when he and Gold took over the club in 2010.
And some West Ham fans will continue to make their feelings clear about the owners when supporter group Hammers United stages its latest protest before the Brentford game this weekend.