West Ham directors accept takeover

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The Independent Online

A consortium of Icelandic businessmen look set to complete a takeover of West Ham after the club's board accepted an offer which values the Hammers at £85million.

The group - led by Eggert Magnusson, president of the Icelandic football association - have already secured agreements to buy 83 per cent of shares and the West Ham board have recommended the offer to remaining shareholders.

West Ham manager Alan Pardew will retain his job but Argentina internationals Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez, brought to the club by Kia Joorabchian who had headed a rival takeover bid, could leave in January.

Magnusson will replace Terry Brown as chairman after resigning his post at the Icelandic FA as well as stepping down as a member of UEFA's executive committee.

Magnusson said: "I am both delighted and honoured that Terry Brown and his colleagues wish to support our offer for West Ham.

"We can now end the uncertainty of recent weeks and move forward into the next phase of development of this great club, with Alan Pardew leading our efforts on the pitch.

"I fully appreciate the personal responsibility that will come with becoming chairman of West Ham in due course and pledge to the staff, the players and the fans that I am here to serve and to do all that I can to deliver genuine success on and off the field.

"This change of ownership comes at a very important time in the history of the club.

"Terry Brown and his fellow directors have done a great job in recent years strengthening the club's foundations - I want to build on that, ensure continuity in the running of the club and help West Ham move to a new era."

Brown said: "The offer from WH Holding reflects fair value for West Ham, considering its significant history, recent performances and prospects."

Magnusson also said funds would be made available for new signings in the January transfer window.

He added: "I will be continuing talks with Alan Pardew on how he sees the future on the playing side. This is very much his domain and he has my full confidence and support.

"He already knows that funds will be made available for the January transfer window but we need to discuss his needs and the investment that might be required to strengthen the squad."

Regarding a possible move to the Olympic Stadium, Magnusson added: "In terms of the club's location we are buying what we see, which is West Ham United at Upton Park.

"However, if there is an opportunity to discuss a long-term move to the Olympic Stadium I would like to explore that, recognising that there will also need to be an athletics legacy from the London 2012 Olympic Games."

Magnusson insisted there was "genuine excitement about what the club could achieve" and praised billonaire financier Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson's role in the takeover.

He added: "The main financial supporter of our bid, Mr Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, has given me full backing and responsibility to take the club forward. He and I have known each other through football for many years and we share a passion for the game, particularly here in England.

"Mr Gudmundsson's commitment to the club is vital and he also believes that we can build something very special here at West Ham.

"There is a genuine excitement in the club about what we can achieve together, which I hope the fans will share.

"This club has so much to be proud of and I want everyone who loves and supports the club to bring their pride and passion to help build this next stage of West Ham's future."

Magnusson also said he is keen to maintain West Ham's reputation for passing football.

He added: "As we move forward we must not forget the club's great traditions, particularly in the training and development of young English players.

"All the way back to 1966 and the World Cup winning team of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters, this is something that I have admired about the club. I am very committed to protecting and growing this part of the club's work."

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