An American consortium interested in buying West Ham has had a second bid rejected by the current owners.
Since 2010 the Hammers have been majority owned by David Gould and David Sullivan, who have seen their relationship with fans decline since the club’s controversial move to the London Stadium in 2016.
Gould and Sullivan have attracted the ire of Hammers fans since relocating the club from their Boleyn ground home / Catherine Iwell – AMA/Getty Images
Despite the promise of a team capable of finishing in the Premier League’s top six, West Ham’s change of home has met with little success.
Along with fans’ anger at the stadium move, Gould and Sullivan’s poor record of squad recruitment and management have also drawn considerable criticism.
Earlier this month, long-serving club captain Mark Noble took to Twitter to criticize the Hammers’ hierarchy over their decision to sell youth prospect Grady Diangana to West Brom – a stance he has the support of numerous teammates as well as fans.
Mark Noble is really not happy with his club’s decision to sell Grady Diangana to West Brom! ? pic.twitter.com/MY8jHAFraR
— 90 Minutes (@90min_Football) September 4, 2020
However, despite the many problems, Gould and Sullivan have no interest in selling to West Ham unless an interested party significantly increases their bid.
According to the Guardian, the consortium is currently involved in American sports and rejected an initial offer of £350m at the start of August.
More recently, they increased their bid to £400m but this was again rejected by the current ownership who paid £105m for a 50% stake in the club in January 2010.
After being knocked out a second time, the US consortium is now enjoying a ‘cooling-off period’ in which it will consider its options. It is understood that the potential new owners have drawn up a business plan to improve the club’s finances.
West Ham made a pre-tax loss of £28.8m in the last financial year. A significant part of their costs is the £2.5 million a year they pay in London Stadium rent. It is believed that the consortium is considering the possibility of buying the arena in Stratford.
Despite their lofty ambitions, possession can be difficult to contend with. As part of the deal which saw the Hammers move to their new home, Gould and Sullivan will have to pay a 20% penalty to the taxpayer if the club is sold for more than £300m before March 2023.
However, if West Ham endure another difficult start to the season, the pressure from fans to sell Gould and Sullivan could prove overwhelming.