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Page last updated at 23:15 GMT, Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Man City and Chelsea bad for football, says Sullivan


Sullivan says football's spending must be reined in

West Ham owner David Sullivan says the wealth of Chelsea and Manchester City is bad for football and a salary cap is needed to avoid financial meltdown.

After buying the club, Sullivan and partner David Gold - both West Ham fans - revealed the club's debts were £110m.

"They're bad for football. Maybe the ultimate solution is a wage cap," ex-Birmingham owner Sullivan told the BBC.

"I've always been against it but I'm starting to swing towards it. It's the only way to keep clubs solvent."

When former Birmingham owners Gold and Sullivan bought West Ham, Sullivan admitted they had only invested in the club because they were fans.


"It makes no commercial sense to buy this club," he said.

"If there was any other club in this situation, then we would not be buying it. We bought this as supporters, not from a business point of view."

Before the recent sale, the club had been run by Straumur-Burdaras Investment Bank, which owned 70% of the club's holding company, Icelandic company CB Holding, who had encountered financial problems in the credit crunch.

And Sullivan said the overall financial climate in football was not being helped by the riches of Roman Abramovich at Chelsea and Sheikh Mansour at Manchester City.

"There was a reality coming into the world until (Abramovich bought) Chelsea," he told the BBC's HARDtalk programme.

"After Chelsea there was some levelling off, then then Icelanders came to West Ham and it was madness what they were paying people relative to what they were - then Manchester City have done the same thing."

In the transfer window, Sullivan said he was prepared to offer an unnamed player £100,000 per week, but ultimately the club ended up signing Benni McCarthy from Blackburn, and taking Mido and Brazilian striker Ilan on loan.

Egyptian striker Mido is on £1,000 a week at West Ham, a figure Sullivan called "one of the most amazing deals of all time."

He admitted they would have liked to sign Tottenham's Robbie Keane, who ended up joining Celtic on loan, but the deal would have been more than the club could afford.

And without referring to the Republic of Ireland striker, he said players and their agents seeking to make as much money as they could also needed a reality check.

"The players are driven by their agents. Some are very nice people, some are greedy," he said.

"They have very short careers, they want to maximise their income.

"There is no loyalty to the local club, or the club they play for, most of them will move for more money and if you have a foreign player they will just go back home."

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see also
Mido & Ilan join West Ham on loan
01 Feb 10 |  West Ham
McCarthy completes West Ham move
01 Feb 10 |  West Ham
Hammers want 100,000-a-week star
21 Jan 10 |  West Ham
Hammers debt is 110m - Sullivan
19 Jan 10 |  West Ham
Gold & Sullivan take over Hammers
19 Jan 10 |  West Ham
Top-flight finances stun Sullivan
11 Jan 10 |  Premier League
Mansour takes control of Man City
23 Sep 09 |  Man City

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