West Ham United statement

West Ham United's Non-Executive Chairman Andrew Bernhardt is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead and believes the club can build on last season's successes.

"I have been so impressed with what has been achieved here in the last 12 months with a proper strategy that everyone has bought into. Gianfranco Zola has not even been at the club a year, yet he has put his indelible mark on a young, skilful, vibrant team.

"The club has a buzz about it, from the people you meet at reception to those involved in the first team. I have complete faith in how CEO Scott Duxbury and Gianfranco work together in improving the squad without external investment.

"Scott's self-sufficient business model is sensible and prudent in theses challenging times and will deliver success. I am confident there are strong foundations we can all build on."

He dismissed reports that West Ham would be forced to sell players to balance the books. "That is absolutely untrue. No business likes to have debts, but with a £100m turnover, increased TV revenues and a focused commercial operation, the club is on sound financial footing.

"The wage bill has been reduced and the settlement agreed with Sheffield United is budgeted for.

"I can assure fans that Gianfranco absolutely does not have to sell any players for financial reasons and new players will be arriving in the summer to augment what is already a strong playing staff.

"We totally support his philosophy of following the West Ham tradition of bringing young players through, as well as investing in new talent where appropriate.

"But we also believe the club should not spend more than it earns and thus increase the debt. It simply isn't necessary when you have such a talented management team and pool of up-and-coming young players. It seems pointless to invest in West Ham United's world famous academy if you are then not going to use the players you have nurtured and developed."

Mr. Bernhardt said Straumur Bank - the majority shareholder in CB Holdings who took control of the club this week - is going through a restructuring process following the recent global financial downturn. "Our creditors and the Icelandic Financial Services Authority are fully aware of our plans and are completely supportive. But that situation will take a few months to resolve and will not impact on West Ham United."