West Ham United are looking to a bright future after a summer of consolidation and a positive start to the new season at the Boleyn Ground.
The club is fully committed to a high-quality first-team squad based on solid financial foundations that will challenge at the top end of the Premier League and in the cup competitions. This is mirrored by the efforts being made off the field, with the club not only investing in playing personnel but dedicating significant resources to support staff around the squad and also the new training ground project. These investments will make major contributions to the long-term future of the club.
Only last December, the chairman demonstrated his commitment to a long-term strategy for success by investing a further £30.5m to bolster the club's financial base. This came as he assumed full control 12 months after the initial takeover. In the 18 months since the takeover the club invested a net £40m in transfer fees and the annual player wage bill has increased by £25m.
As stated before and during the close-season, our intention was always to hone the size of the playing staff with several key performers returning to fitness and the emergence of homegrown talent. This has now been achieved with seven players sold or released and four recruited. Along with the importance of adding quality new signings with bright futures, a key aim has been to secure important players on long-term contracts.
Such investment has ensured the club can keep together its strong spine of England internationals Robert Green, Matthew Upson, Scott Parker, Kieron Dyer and Dean Ashton along with players with proven international pedigree like Lucas Neill, Valon Behrami, Julien Faubert and Craig Bellamy, who are vastly experienced in top-level UEFA competitions including the Champions League.
Unsurprisingly, this summer we received a number of significant bids for leading players - in itself emphasising the high number of quality internationals in the squad - and all were rejected.
However, in particular, the transfers of Anton Ferdinand and George McCartney along with the release of Freddie Ljungberg were right for the club and decisions had to be taken based on our best long-term interests. In the past week, agreement could not be reached with Ferdinand on a new contract to replace his original deal that had just two years left to run while McCartney handed in a formal written transfer request after failing to resolve his personal reasons for wanting a move away.
West Ham United Chairman and Owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson said: "In my first full season as chairman of this great football club, I can assure our loyal supporters that we are working hard to bring sustained success to West Ham United. Everyone, including the CEO and Board, is committed to this common goal. We have a long-term strategy that takes into account all aspects of West Ham United's past, present and future and we will not be deterred. Our fans can look forward to many positive years on and off the pitch."