West Ham United co-chairman David Sullivan has dismissed suggestions that he and David Gold are actively seeking to sell their shares in the club.
Newspaper reports have claimed the duo were looking to sell part of their stake but Sullivan, who owns 51% of West Ham, branded the rumours “utterly false”.
“It is no secret that both David Gold and I see our long-term futures as custodians of West Ham United. We have never once viewed West Ham United as a short-term project and plan to be here for many, many years, bringing further progress to the club on and off the pitch and success to our loyal supporters. It disappoints me to see an article published that is so utterly false.”
Sullivan turned down an approach from energy drink company Red Bull to take over the club last summer, just before West Ham moved into the former Olympic Stadium.
And in December he reiterated that he and Gold, who bought West Ham in 2010, have no desire to sell “unless it’s to someone like the King of Saudi Arabia who can take it to a level we cannot ourselves hope to reach”.
West Ham have struggled on the pitch this season but should maintain their Premier League status after beating Swansea last Saturday, their first win in eight matches.
However, this has still been a disappointing campaign for the Hammers, who last term flirted with a top-four finish that would have given them a shot at Champions League football. Instead, they went into the Europa League and lost in the qualifiers to Romanian side Astra Giurgiu for the second consecutive season.
Also under scrutiny recently has been the future of manager Slaven Bilic, who is approaching the end of his second full season with West Ham.
Other managers such as Rafael Benitez and Roberto Mancini have been linked with the club, but the Croat was given a vote of confidence despite a run of five consecutive defeats that preceded the 1-0 win against Swansea – a result that lifted West Ham to 14th position in the Premier League table.