Eggy hits back
By Tom Dowsett
Friday 22 Jan 2010 10:23:00
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Former West Ham United Chairman Eggert Magnusson has hit back at claims he plunged West Ham into financial meltdown, reports The Sun.

New owner David Sullivan labelled Magnusson's time at the helm as "crazy" for shelling out over-the-top wages to over-the-hill players - leaving the club "on its knees".

Sullivan has inherited debts of £110million after getting the keys to Upton Park this week.

He singled out Magnusson's deal for Freddie Ljungberg, who signed for West Ham on a reported £80,000-a-week deal at the age of 30.

But Icelandic biscuit baron Magnusson, 62, said: "There was much criticism about wages when we signed Ljungberg, Matthew Upson, Lucas Neill, Craig Bellamy and Scott Parker.

"Does anyone honestly think I did that on my own? That I did it without the full knowledge and support of the owner, the chief executive and the manager Alan Curbishley? Of course not.

"And people have quickly forgotten we managed to maintain our Premier League status in that first year - and that was a miracle.

"Things could have got a lot worse had the club dropped into the Championship.

"Most of it was down to the manager and the team but I like to think I played some part in it, giving the club belief. I was always positive and we never gave up.

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     "And everybody was aware of the deals we were doing, it wasn't just down to me.

"Some players will be a success and others will not, whenever you make a signing.

"It happens at every club. Look at Andriy Shevchenko and Chelsea for example.

"If people are blaming me, so be it. But I know better and am still proud of my time at West Ham United.

"Maybe I wasn't told the right things about the club when I went there.

"Maybe I was led to believe there was more money available than there was. I was told that there was a lot of money to do things.

"I still think West Ham may have made a mistake letting Neill leave. He was a superb right-back and a great character in the dressing room.

"And look at Bellamy. He is playing pretty well at Manchester City and look how much West Ham made as profit out of that transfer."

Magnusson has been forced to abandon his own action to reclaim around £1m in unpaid wages from Gudmundsson, who owned the club at the time.

Swede Ljungberg became the highest-paid player in West Ham's history but played just 25 games, scoring two goals.

Magnusson insists he still has a soft spot for West Ham.

And he added: "I love the club. They are real football people and they have real football fans."



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