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And so the saga continues

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Crisis hit West Ham set Friday deadline for takeover with former Birmingham owners in pole position

West Ham have set a deadline of Friday for takeover offers as the club’s crisis-hit Icelandic owners battle to fend off creditors back home.

Icelandic investment bank Straumur, who own West Ham, have employed prestigious private firm Rothschild to handle takeover bids for the club and the Icelanders will aim for a quick sale this month if they fail to get an extension to a current moratorium keeping creditors at bay.

David Sullivan and the Gold brothers, who recently sold Birmingham, are favourites to get control of Upton Park should the club be sold off soon.

The Essex-based businessmen are putting the final touches to their formal offer which will be tabled to Rothschild later this week.

They hope to buy West Ham for a knockdown price due to the club’s crippling debts of more than £100million, including running losses of £30m this season.

The trio are waiting to learn if Straumur have managed to extend a moratorium in Iceland on their creditors.

Straumur has already been forced to close branches in Stockholm and Prague and undergone huge restructuring following nationalisation earlier this year but they still have numerous creditors demanding cash when the moratorium ends on Friday and Straumur want firm offers on the table for West Ham by then should they be forced to sell the club to generate money.

Straumur have proposed extending their moratorium for up to a further nine months but Sullivan and the Golds – David was a former youth team player – are ready to step in immediately should Straumur’s cash crisis deepen.

They are desperate to get their hands on the club quickly with Gianfranco Zola’s side languishing 17th in the Premier League after losing 4-0 to Manchester United.

If successful, Sullivan and the Gold brothers David and Ralph intend to retain the club’s star players in January and invest funds for new players but they are insisting on a quick decision as relegation would be a disaster for West Ham.

Sullivan and the Golds have signed confidentiality agreements preventing them from discussing West Ham.

They have also opened talks with League One Charlton in case they fail to get West Ham.

Both Sullivan and the Golds have money to spend after each camp earned around £25m from selling Birmingham to Carson Yeung and they are keen to stay in football and have an emotional attachment to the Upton Park club after growing up in the area but Sullivan and the Golds are seriously worried about West Ham’s huge debts.

Mirror Sport revealed on October 5 that West Ham’s debts included £45m to several different banks, £19m to Sheffield United over the Carlos Tevez affair, £15m to other clubs for players - plus huge running losses.

West Ham visit St Andrews on Saturday.

Who would be a West Ham fan eh? :(

It is also reported that Zola is keen to sign Adriano (Talk about living in a dreamland)

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