West Ham joint-chairman David Gold has revealed he and business partner David Sullivan would be happy to sell part of their stake in the club to a new "very wealthy" investor.
The pair took charge of the Hammers in January 2010, three months after selling their share of Birmingham City to Carson Yeung for £80 million.
Gold indicated that the duo are not willing to sell their entire holdings in the east London team, insisting they will not put the future of the club at risk, but did suggest that the only way to take the side forward is to accept huge investment from a Roman Abramovich-type figure.
“You have to be a billionaire to make a major difference and there aren’t many of them about,” Gold told reporters.
“In an ideal world, though, if you ask what I’d like to see happen, I would like a very wealthy person to come and join us.
“We would be reluctant to sell the whole football club because we feel part of it. It’s taken us a lifetime to earn enough money to return to our roots and we won’t give that up lightly. We’re doing our best but it would be that much easier if there were three of us.
“There’s also the danger that when you think you’re passing a club to a super-wealthy person that [the progress] can all evaporate, as happened at [former club] Birmingham and other clubs. There’s that great danger here as well. We have plenty of experience.”
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Gold then explained that securing the Olympic Stadium would be a massive boost to the club in terms of attracting big-name players and help boost revenues, but assured fans that the chairmen will not take any unnecessary risks or sign over-demanding players.
He said: “We’re not going to be a top four club straightaway. But one day, it’s possible, if there is a super-wealthy West Ham fan who wants to come and join the club, that could change things for us.
“Now we have to do the best we can within the areas of our ability.
“To grow the club, fingers crossed to get to the Olympic Stadium which could change our whole image, would help us attract better players. But it all boils down to income and we have to generate more income.
“Arsenal doubled theirs by moving, [Manchester] City, even before Sheikh Mansour bought the club, doubled their income by moving to a stadium that they didn’t buy, but rented.
“In the meantime, we must keep strengthening the club and that means not selling our best players. I want good players but I won’t want players who might bankrupt the football club."