Hammers’ Fall Could Cost £40 Million

If West Ham United is relegated from the English Premiership it could well cost the soccer club £40 million, according to one of those who’ll be expected to pick up the bill.

Co-owner David Sullivan said he and partner David Gold, who last year bought control of the club from troubled Icelandic bank Straumur, told the Daily Telegraph that the fans should know that the club is “in a worse financial position than any other in the country.”

It’s a comment that might bring a wry smile to the face of Daniel Levy, chairman of London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, which is appealing the government’s decision to award the Hammers the future use of the stadium built for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Levy says his club, which would tear up the athletics track and demolish part of the £570 million building to replace it with a custom-built 60,000-capacity soccer ground, has made the more financially sustainable bid.

West Ham has debts estimated at £105 million. Relegation to the second stream of English soccer, which means matches against Manchester United and Chelsea would be replaced by matches against the likes of Watford and Doncaster Rovers, could have an adverse effect on revenues.

The club is in 20th position (bottom) in the Premier League and winning its three remaining matches wouldn’t be enough to guarantee it avoids the drop.