David Sullivan would love to be "involved" with West Ham but is concerned by the Premier League strugglers' financial position, following his preliminary discussions with the club.
Sullivan and former Birmingham co-owner David Gold are seeking another club after selling their stake in City to the Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung.
West Ham are the club Sullivan supported as a boy. But their finances are reportedly in a desperate state, and he could be put off by a possible £100m asking price for the club.
"The debts that appear to be at West Ham seem huge," Sullivan said. "I'm not sure I could face what is going on there, but West Ham do need help and quickly. I hope someone gets involved in the next week or next month or two; otherwise they could be in the Championship or bust, or both."
West Ham are currently controlled by CB Holdings who, in turn, are owned largely by Icelandic investment bank Straumur-Burdaras. They have made no public response to Sullivan's comments. But while the initial talks are understood to have revolved around a cash injection, a complete takeover is still a possibility. Straumur remain keen to sell but may prefer to wait until the financial climate improves.
Sullivan and Gold, who was also brought up in the East End, are keen to buy into West Ham but remain cautious about the level of the debt and the team's position in the league. "As one door shuts another one opens," Sullivan said. "West Ham is a club close to my heart, and I would love to be involved with them."
Meanwhile, the defender James Tomkins has spoken about the spirit in the West Ham as they prepare for their trip to Stoke on Saturday. He has fond memories of playing at the Britannia Stadium after last season's 1-0 victory there.
"It was a very physical game, but we came away with all three points and we would look to try and do that again," Tomkins said. "It is a noisy stadium with their fans, but that is also good for an away team, it is good to play in front of that sort of atmosphere and we are looking forward to the game.
"We are working hard all the time in training and looking to improve – and we all believe, if we keep doing this, then the results will improve," he added. "It is still early on in the season, but we are looking to turn results around and will be aiming to try and do that starting this Saturday.
"We're not short of confidence, we believe in the way we play, the way the manager wants us to play and we are focusing on getting the right result."Reuse content