A message from the Vice-Chairman

If most West Ham United fans cast their minds back to how they were feeling about their team at the start of 2010, one of the most likely emotions that would spring to mind would be concern.

The club were on the precipice of financial meltdown and were being forced to sell some of their prized assets just to stay in business. The likes of Craig Bellamy, James Collins and George McCartney had been sold and more were set to join the Boleyn Ground exodus.

I remember speaking to some of my West Ham-supporting friends at the time and there was a genuine sense of unease that if their team's flirtation with relegation became something more serious, then they could follow some of the other 'fallen giants' into the lower divisions of English football and never return.

But on the 19 January 2010, David Sullivan and David Gold clinched a deal to become majority shareholders and Joint-Chairmen of the club they have supported all of their lives. I believe it will turn out to be a significant and monumental day in the history of West Ham United and one I'm sure Hammers fans will look back on in the future as a turning point for their club.

David Sullivan said at the time: "It will be an immense privilege to lead this great football club and more importantly its supporters. The club is now back in the hands of East Enders, people who understand the community and its passion for the Hammers. I believe that depth of feeling will also bring us through what has been a difficult period."

David Gold also has a great affinity with the club; he was born across the road from Upton Park at number 442 Green Street and also represented the club as a youth team player.

And on the day they were confirmed as the new owners, he added: "Finally I have come home to the club I love with all my heart. This is an incredibly sweet moment but we have to put the romance aside now and get on with a difficult job."

Having worked with them for 25 years I know how much those words were from the heart. Even when we were at Birmingham City, a club we all care passionately about, they would often spend time talking about how things were going at the Boleyn Ground.

When it was confirmed that their offer to buy West Ham United had been accepted, they could hardly contain their excitement. But I remember when we walked into the stadium together for the very first time that day, they were deeply emotional.

David Gold and David Sullivan

19 January 2010 was an emotional day for David Sullivan and David Gold

Despite their obvious happiness at buying the club and saving it from the looming threat of administration, we knew we had a huge job on our hands so we quickly set about putting things right.

Fast-forward exactly three years to today and the picture is a lot rosier.

The playing squad is arguably one of the strongest West Ham have ever had in the Premier League, with seasoned internationals complementing a host of exciting Academy graduates.

Interestingly, I can pinpoint the exact time when the philosophy behind the assembly of this squad began, just a week after the only real disappointment of the last three years - relegation to the Championship at the end of the 2010/11 season.

At a long and intense Board meeting, David Sullivan and David Gold decided on an ambitious transfer policy that would aim to get the club back to the top table of English football within two years and keep us there.

Of course this wasn't going to be easy given the financial repercussions of relegation, but both of them agreed that they would continue to support the club financially with millions of pounds of their own life savings to try and get us back up as quickly as possible.

The first decisive action was to appoint a highly-rated manager with Premier League pedigree and we got that in abundance with Sam Allardyce's arrival on 1 June 2011. Sam should be credited for being willing to take on the daunting task of rebuilding a broken squad following the knockback of relegation.

David Gold, Sam Allardyce and David Sullivan

Sam Allardyce's appointment was key to the club's turnaround

The signing of Newcastle United captain Kevin Nolan a few weeks later was a sign of things to come, as he was joined over the course of the season by experienced pros Matt Taylor, Ricardo Vaz Te, Guy Demel, Papa Bouba Diop and Abdoulaye Faye.

The rest, as they say, is history, as their forward-thinking mentality paid off and we were promoted back to the Premier League at the first attempt. And in doing so, the players provided one of the greatest days for the claret and blue army in recent times as West Ham overcame Blackpool to lift the Play-Off trophy at Wembley last May.

David Gold

The win at Wembley will live long in the memory of Hammers fans

But the Joint-Chairmen did not rest on their laurels and oversaw a summer of transfer activity that had the Hammers' fans buzzing with excitement. But to ensure the club continued to move forward, they once again had to dip into their own pockets to fund the moves. In my opinion they went above and beyond what could be reasonably expected of them as owners and I know that they wouldn't have done it for any other club than West Ham. It just means too much.

After re-signing former Boleyn Ground favourites McCartney and Collins on permanent deals, Matt Jarvis was soon added for a club record-fee, along with powerful midfielder Mo Diame. But our business was not done there as soon after, through their sheer persistence and doggedness, Andy Carroll, Britain's most expensive footballer to date, agreed a season-long loan deal from Liverpool.

Our reward for their ambitious transfer policy has been a hugely impressive start to life back in the Premier League, which was boosted further by the recent signing of former Hammer of the Year and England international Joe Cole.

The situation off the pitch is also looking a lot healthier. Although the club debts are some way from being cleared, the latest set of accounts we published showed the club had turned its first operating profit for a number of years last year.

We have a clear strategy to continue that turnaround and possess the ability to process and plan it. But let me be clear that it is not just down to the Board, we have ensured we have the very best people in the right jobs to help manage a thriving business. Our retail sales have doubled, commercial income is at a record high and we are expecting to return to profitability this season with our home games selling out and our total revenues at an all-time high.

The culture we inherited of West Ham selling their biggest names and brightest Academy products also immediately come to an end; with the wantaway Scott Parker being the only first-team player sold since we came to the club, despite numerous offers for our star players.

We understand what a jewel we have in our Academy, which was why we were so determined to ensure it continued to attract the best young players from across the globe by securing Category One Academy status in the new Elite Player Performance system. Again, the Joint-Chairmen dug into their reserves to ensure Tony Carr's team had everything they needed to achieve that prestigious accolade.

Tony Carr and Joe Cole

Tony Carr's staff have been well supported by the Joint-Chairmen as
they seek to unearth the next Academy star

We have developed the 'Moore than a Football Club' campaign, which seeks to highlight just why West Ham United is held in such high esteem in East London. And as you'll read elsewhere in today's programme, the club will be marking Holocaust Memorial Day ahead of kick-off today. The activity is part of an ongoing campaign we are running to highlight anti-discrimination causes. Both Joint- Chairmen care passionately about the initiative and we should all join them in supporting and embracing it.

I have also benefitted from their vision and perseverance during the long, drawn-out battle to secure the tenancy of the Olympic Stadium. We hope to reach an agreement soon, with negotiations with the Local London Development Committee continuing. Should a deal be reached that the Board and the supporters are happy with, we could see our home shifted across Newham into one of the most iconic sporting venues on the planet.

I have listed some of the progress we have made already, but should we make that move, that is when things would really take off for us and we would be in a position to attract the best talent in the world, both on the pitch and off it.

David Gold, Karren Brady and David Sullivan

A move to the Olympic Stadium could see the club reach new heights

It has been a tremendous three years at West Ham United and I have been proud to work with two Chairmen who I respect and admire, a manager who has been an inspiration, colleagues who never cease to amaze me with their ideas, their energy and their commitment to the club and everything it stands for.

I believe fortune might not be hiding for too much longer.

Karren Brady

Karren Brady