Joint-Chairman David Gold has revealed his excitement, desire and apprehension ahead of the 2012/13 Barclays Premier League season.

Cutting the figure of a true West Ham United fan, Mr Gold explained that despite his optimism he still finds it hard to shun the nerves from his mind ahead of Saturday's big kick-off at home to Aston Villa.

Speaking at a special community event at the Boleyn Ground which also saw Olympic Silver medal winner Mark Hunter make an appearance, Mr Gold admitted to having mixed emotions.

"It is very exciting but at the same time I am very nervous," he said. "We just want to get started now. We have a good squad and it certainly looks like a determined one, but we won't be able to judge until after the first game.

"Even though I am nervous I think we can come out firing on all cylinders and start well. Confidence will play a massive part and if we get off to a good start it will be sky high."

The Hammers have only lost once at home this calendar year and after promotion back to the big time there is a good vibe around the club, but Mr Gold insists the Premier League will offer a very different challenge.

"There is a big difference going back into the Premier League. Each of us have different ways of dealing with the pressure of a new season. I'm confident, but I still can't stop myself from being equally nervous.

"Around ten years ago when I was at Birmingham City I thought we had the best team we had ever had, but things went against us, we had injury after injury and a lot of bad luck.

"That said the lads have looked terrific this week, and to be honest with you if we didn't come out on Saturday looking like a Premier League team I would be very disappointed."

Mr Gold also took the time to chat to rowing hero and West Ham fan Hunter, and the Joint-Chairman believes everyone can be inspired by the 2008 Olympic lightweight double sculls champion.

David Gold

Joint-Chairman David Gold and Mark Hunter enjoyed a game of tennis

"He is a very inspirational figure, but I must tell you I've beaten him in five sets of tennis and I want everyone to know I've beaten the champion!" joked Mr Gold, alluding to the pair joining local youngsters playing tennis on the Boleyn Ground pitch. "It is amazing what he has achieved, his determination and his courage is outstanding.

"But from a motivational point of view he is a young man who has worked very hard and quite rightly reaped the rewards.

"He is not only inspirational to the team but also the youngsters here today, it is great to see him here."


Local youngsters were able to play on the Boleyn Ground pitch

Mr Gold, like Hunter is a lifelong West Ham supporter, and like all of us he has been in awe of the 2012 London Olympic Games. Looking ahead, the Joint-Chairman hopes the club can continue to embrace the Olympic spirit as he and the club continue to champion the ethos of 'Moore Than a Club'.

"Seeing the success and positive effect of the Olympics is unbelievable, especially seeing as I was born and raised in east London," explained Gold. "You wouldn't have seen community days like this in the past where young people are allowed out onto the hallowed turf, but the policy of the club is now to make everyone feel a part of it.

"We want them to embrace what we're trying to accomplish whereas in yesteryears the only way you could get into Upton Park was to bunk in before being chased out by the groundstaff!

"People have a good feeling that has been generated from the Olympics and we want to keep that going, if we win on Saturday we can do that and keeping the momentum going which is key for everybody within the community."

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