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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 06:56 GMT
Magnusson 'to succeed' at Hammers
By John Sinnott

Iceland businessman Eggert Magnusson is leading the consortium
Magnusson is based in Reykjavik
Eggert Magnusson, the head of the Icelandic consortium which is taking over at West Ham, has been backed to revive the Upton Park club.

"Eggert will make West Ham successful," Icelandic lawyer and agent Olafur Gardarsson, who has known Magnusson for nine years, told BBC Sport.

"He's enthusiastic, powerful, and tells you his meaning straight to your face.

"Whatever he does he is usually successful and it's difficult to stop him if he gets involved in a project."

Magnusson, the president of the Icelandic Football Association and a member of Uefa's executive committee, is to replace Terry Brown as chairman at Upton Park.

Under Magnusson the Icelandic Football Association has run a surplus in its accounts each year, testament to his financial acumen, says Gardarsson.

"It's a stable organisation and even when they've had less TV revenue from a bad European Championship or World Cup qualifying group they'd have money put aside from previous years to help."

606: DEBATE
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Gardasson has also been impressed by Magnusson's negotiation and organisation skills in his dealings with the Icelandic government, Fifa and Uefa.

"Six years ago Iceland didn't have any indoor football halls - now we've got up to six," said Gardasson. "They are used all the time as well as in the evening.

"The Icelandic FA has also built up to up to 100 small artificial grounds for children to play in.

"This was a response to parents complaining there were no spaces for their kids to play due to the housing development that has gone on in Iceland, which has reduced the number of green spaces.

"The Icelandic government spoke to Fifa and the government and together they have made a start to improve this problem.

"Under Magnusson, again with Fifa and the Icelandic government's help, the national stadium has also been improved, with the building of a second stand.

"I know within Uefa he's well known and well respected."

Gardarsson believes billionaire financier Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, who is chairman of the Icelandic bank Landsbanki and is backing the Magnusson consortium, will be an important figure at Upton Park.

"I have known Gudmundsson for over 15 years," said Gardasson.

"He was chairman of Icelandic club KR for many years. He is clever, successful and an extremely likeable gentleman.

"From what I understand he would be a quiet partner, but it is a strength to have him in the background.

"Despite his wealth he treats everyone the same way whatever their status. He is a good people person."

Gardasson added: "There are always more dangers taking over a football club rather than an ordinary business.

"But Iceland is not far from you and I think we are similar peoples.

"We have watched English football avidly since 1965 and hundreds of people travel each weekend from Iceland to watch English clubs.

"West Ham is a big name with a long history. You only have to think of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters.

"There are possibilites with a name like that, you don't have to build from scratch. It is known all round the world."

SEE ALSO
Comment: The Ice Man cometh
21 Nov 06 |  Football
Magnusson closes on Hammers deal
20 Nov 06 |  West Ham Utd
Pardew keen for takeover decision
16 Nov 06 |  West Ham Utd
Hammers 'takeover decision close'
30 Oct 06 |  West Ham Utd


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