David Sullivan Exclusive - Part One

With no first-team game this weekend, whufc.com sat down with West Ham United Joint-Chairman David Sullivan to bring you an exclusive interview on the Hammers' encouraging start to the 2014/15 season.

The extensive interview will be split over two days; part one will look at the summer's transfer activity, the team's start to the season and the much-discussed West Ham way, while part two will look at the next two transfer windows, the final season at the Boleyn Ground and the upcoming move to the New Stadium. To view the full interview, make sure you log on to the Club's official YouTube channel, or watch the embedded video in the story below.

West Ham United joint Chairman David Sullivan believes the Club are fulfilling the promise of returning to the West Ham way, after a strong start to the 2014/15 season.

Several eye-catching displays have seen the team climb to seventh position in the fledgling Barclays Premier League table, but it is more the manner of ascent that has pleased the lifelong Hammers fan the most. Mr Sullivan has been impressed by the entertaining style of play from Big Sam's team this season, but also the work of the Club away from the pitch - both two key components of what he believes demonstrates a return to the 'West Ham way'.

"The West Ham way is how we played in the first half against Liverpool - quick, strong tackling, everybody giving 100%, attacking and trying to score goals," Mr Sullivan said.

"It's about behaving in a responsible way, it's playing with passion, playing attacking football and passing football. We were at Manchester United and they were back to the walls. The last half of that game we were entrenched in their half trying to score and they were kicking it out anywhere, panicking. We were the footballing side.

"Beyond the football, it's about being a Club that gives back to the community. We've completely shaken up the Community Sports Trust and look at the work they're doing.

"We've got a fantastic guy [Joe Lyons] running the Trust and he's doing a wonderful job. That's part of the West Ham ethos of giving back."

The Joint-Chairman added that while he was pleased with the 'promising start', he believes the team's performances have actually deserved more. Aside from the defeat to Southampton, Mr Sullivan particularly felt the players' efforts in the defeats against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United and the draw at Hull City warranted a better return.

"I think it's a very promising start and it could have been so much better. What's good, aside from Southampton, are in all the games we've lost or drawn, we could've won. We could have beaten Tottenham, Hull and Manchester United, so we could've been on 18 points.

"What's pleasing is that we haven't looked bad against anybody so we, perhaps foolishly, think we can play against anyone and give them a run for their money. It's very optimistic times at West Ham and we've got the best team we've had for many years.

"As a supporter, last season you go to every game thinking 'how are we going to get anything from this?' This year you think 'how are we going to win this?' We are looking to win games."

Much of the side's promising start has been linked to the Club's transfer activity this summer, where a total of nine first-team players - with an average age of just 24.4 - were signed. Aaron Cresswell and Carl Jenkinson have slotted in seamlessly at full-back, Alex Song, Diego Poyet and Cheik Kouyate have added steel in midfield and Diafra Sakho, Mauro Zarate, Morgan Amalfitano and Enner Valencia have provided potency in attack.

"We've bought good forwards and good players but you do need a bit of luck and you need players to hit the ground running and maybe we've had that bit of luck," he said.

"We decided as a club that unless an outstanding older player came along we would sign younger players but that didn't rule out anybody but we wanted attacking players. We signed two full-backs who can both bomb forward.

"We signed three forwards, Mauro Zarate, Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho, who were the three top goalscorers in Argentina, Mexico and the French Ligue 2 respectively. We signed two fantastic midfielders and one for the future [Poyet].

"They've all got a lot to prove and we're not signing players at the end of their career on huge wages who are perhaps too comfortable. They are hungry players bought into the West Ham way, bought into working hard and as they achieve more they will be rewarded more."

The deadline day capture of Amalfitano completed a busy summer for the Club and, in particular, Mr Sullivan personally. After a flurry of early activity, the latter signings were able to be more considered, with Song unveiled in front of the Boleyn Ground crowd before the Southampton match just two days before the close of the window.

"Ideally you'd love to do all of your business early but you'd want to hold some back for someone like Alex Song. The good thing was that because we had a bit of time we got good players in and didn't have to make desperation buys. I don't think people realise how many hours go into the transfer side and how stressful it is. For every player you buy you've probably tried to buy three or four more.

"Sam [Allardyce] and I spoke every day and we pursued targets that either he or I had identified. You work around the clock. On Alex Song, we were speaking to him at eleven or 12 at night to get him to get on a plane and come to us.

"With some agents you were negotiating with weeks and nobody can comprehend how stressful it is. It was the hardest window I've ever known.

"In the end I think it was our best transfer window by a long, long way. All of the players are incentivised to play and we want them to want to play and that's all they want to do. We've got players that are desperate to do their bit for the Club."