'We want to have some fun'

David Sullivan has revealed his immense pride after taking joint control of West Ham United.

The new joint chairman, who has acquired a controlling 50 per cent interest in the club along with long-time business partner and friend David Gold - a former Hammers youth-team player who was raised in Green Street - spoke of his pride at taking the helm at the Boleyn Ground.

The 59-year-old unveiled plans to turn the Hammers into a 'fun' club on a strong financial footing. "I'd like West Ham United to be a family club and a club where everyone is welcome and the supporters have respect for other supporters. Gradually, we will improve things for the club.

"What we really want is to have some fun. We want the supporters to have some fun and the people to enjoy it. More than anything, that's what we want for everybody."

A former student at Queen Mary College in Mile End, where he graduated in economics, Sullivan said both he and Gold were proud to be returning to their roots, having initially owned a stake in the club in the late 1980s. They previously owned Birmingham City, buying the Blues in 1993 before selling the Midlands club in October last year.

"I said it at Birmingham, that the people who should buy Birmingham should be born and bred in Birmingham. We only bought it because no one actually born and bred in Birmingham would buy it. I think it is nice when local people own or part-own the local football club.

To fulfil the pair's long-term goals for the club they adore, Sullivan issued an open invite to other Hammers-supporting businessmen to invest in the club.

"I don't know what the football term is, but this is like a government of national unity in a crisis situation. The more people we've got to join up in unity it would be for the good of the club. That's what we'd like."

Having met the press and office staff and posed for the traditional pitch-side photographs at the Boleyn Ground, Sullivan said he and Gold would introduce themselves to the players later this week.

"We will probably meet them on Wednesday or Thursday, whatever is convenient with the manager. I am not a person who spends their life at the training ground, but I would like to meet the players. We might have a little celebration dinner and get to know each other.

Sullivan spoke candidly about plans to reduce the club's debts, which currently total £100m. As well as inviting in investment from outside, the joint chairman revealed his intention to move, if possible, to the nearby Olympic Stadium.

"We have got to look at all sorts of ways of bringing in revenue. We will be looking at everything, from saving money to bringing money in. We want to spend the money on the team not everything else."