West Ham takeover deal completed

Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson
Owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson has resigned from the club’s board

West Ham have been taken over by asset management company CB Holding.

Chairman Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson and vice-chairman Asgeir Fridgeirsson have resigned from the club’s board.

The new non-executive chairman will be Andrew Bernhardt, a senior director with Iceland’s Straumur Bank, which is the major shareholder of CB Holding.

He told the club’s website: “I can assure fans we will sanction investment in new players but all within the parameters of sensible budgeting.”

Bernhardt also made it clear that the football management team of Gianfranco Zola and Steve Clarke remain central to their plans for the club.

“CB Holding has no intention of changing the executive management or direction of this club,” added Bernhardt.

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“It will be my job to help facilitate this continued process on the pitch, while ensuring the club’s success is built on a strong financial footing.

“We have an initial two-year plan, which includes improving the infrastructure at the club, and we will be getting to work on this as soon as the new board is appointed.”

Scott Duxbury remains as chief executive at Upton Park – and said the takeover ends a period of uncertainty.

“This is an agreement that will secure the long-term future of this football club,” stated Duxbury.

“Change is always unsettling but I believe the new owners led by Andrew Bernhardt will bring stability to West Ham United and I hope all our staff and fans will join me in welcoming them to our club.

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“This will allow us all to concentrate on next season and beyond, with Gianfranco Zola, technical director Gianluca Nani and I working to build on what we have achieved. We are all committed to a long-term vision.”

Hansa, the holding company for the Hammerd, had until Monday 8 June to sell the club in order to prevent creditors seizing its assets and forcing the sale of West Ham.

CB Holding was set up last week by a selection of the club’s major creditors.

Gudmundsson, who lost heavily in the credit crunch, commented: “I want to thank everybody at Upton Park for unforgettable years. As my fortunes have changed I now have to withdraw from the board of directors.

“I do that with great regret but I am convinced this change of ownership and control of West Ham will advance the club.

Upson welcomes West Ham takeover

“I will remain forever a West Ham fan and hope I will have many returns to West Ham.”

The Hammers finished ninth in the Premier League last season and defender Matthew Upson said the takeover was crucial to the club’s hopes of continuing to improve.

“The club is in a really crucial position because we had a positive season and it would be really nice to build on that,” said Upson, who joined the club from Birmingham in January 2007.

“I am very positive that the club has got some good financial investment, and hopefully we can go on and strengthen the squad.

“I want to improve as a player and see the club develop. My future is there, I am very happy enjoying my football under Zola, so the times are good.”

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