Thu, Nov 23, 2006 - Page 19 News List

New Hammers boss says Pardew's job in safe

AFP , LONDON

Eggert Magnusson leaves West Ham United's Upton Park stadium in London on Tuesday. The club announced on Tuesday that it had accepted a takeover bid from an Icelandic group headed by Magnusson, who is also the president of the Football Association of Iceland.

PHOTO: AP

Eggert Magnusson, the head of the Icelandic consortium which Tuesday won its bid for control of West Ham, has promised manager Alan Pardew that his job is safe and that he will be given funds for new players.

Magnusson, currently head of the Iceland FA and a UEFA executive committee member, also revealed that he would be exploring the possibility of moving the club from Upton Park to the new stadium being built to host track and field events at the 2012 Olympics.

Magnusson's assurances for Pardew came after his consortium confirmed to the Stock Exchange that West Ham's main shareholders, including current chairman Terry Brown, had agreed to sell their stakes at a price which values the club at ?85 million (US$161 million).

The new owners are also taking on the club's ?22.5 million of debt.

Magnusson, 59, said: "I am both delighted and honored that Terry Brown and his colleagues wish to support our offer for West Ham."

"We can now end the uncertainty of recent weeks and move forward into the next phase of development of this great club, with Alan Pardew leading our efforts on the pitch," he said.

Magnusson indicated that funds would be available for new players in January.

"I will be continuing talks with Alan Pardew on how he sees the future on the playing side. This is very much his domain and he has my full confidence and support. He already knows that funds will be made available for the January transfer window but we need to discuss his needs and the investment that might be required to strengthen the squad," Magnusson said.

Pardew, whose position looked under threat after a poor start to the season though a win over Arsenal and a set of better results has eased the pressure, said he was looking forward to working with Magnusson.

"He [Magnusson] likes the style of football we play," Pardew said. "Now we can take the club forward. The uncertainty has been there and that will now disappear."

Magnusson suggested that he favoured a move, in the longer-term, to a new stadium, although a switch to the Olympic stadium would be complicated by the government's assurances to the International Olympic Committee that it will continue to be available for athletics meetings after the Games.

"In terms of the club's location we are buying what we see, which is West Ham United at Upton Park," Magnusson said.

"However, if there is an opportunity to discuss a long-term move to the Olympic Stadium I would like to explore that, recognizing that there will also need to be an athletics legacy from the London 2012 Olympic Games," he said.

Magnusson plans to take an active role in running West Ham and will take over as chairman in a couple of weeks, at which point he will resign his Icelandic FA position. He is considering whether to step down from the UEFA executive committee.

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