CandH’s exclusive interview with David Sullivan

david-sullivan_1822192c (1)ClaretandHugh is publishing this question and answer interview simultaneously with www.goal.com who requested a piece from us for their preview of tonight’s match.

Tuesday night will be one of the most emotional in West Ham United‘s history as they play their last ever game at the Boleyn Ground against Manchester United.

And the club’s chief shareholder and co-chairman David Sullivan has spoken exclusively to Goal via Hugh Southon – the founding editor of ClaretandHugh ­- ahead of the final match in Upton Park history.

He speaks of his emotions, how he became a Hammer, his favourite player of all time, what Tuesday night means in real terms and of the club’s future at the Olympic Stadium.

Whilst I understand as a businessman you can’t afford to become emotional over too much, how difficult will it be for you to say goodbye to this grand old stadium on Tuesday night and what emotions do you expect to feel?

Great sadness, but I know within 12 months 95 per cent of supporters will realise it’s the right move. However, on the night it will be very emotional for us all. There might be more tears spilt than at any place in the UK at one time for a very long time.

In the end, Manchester United as the final fixture could hardly be bettered. ­ What sort of feelings do you have of the rivalry down the years and can you recall your best memory against them? How important is victory?

The best climax, but the way results went at the weekend we have to win to keep the European dream alive. The best win was the great escape win at Old Trafford and 4­0 in the Carling Cup at Upton Park a few years ago.

As a lifelong Hammer, is it possible for you to name your top club player and why?

It has to be Bobby Moore as I knew him and he was so modest and a gentleman. But Geoff Hurst, Trevor Brooking and Billy Bonds were all close seconds. It’s hard to separate great players.

You were born a Cardiff boy, ­ how did you become a Hammer?

I moved to Hornchurch, which was and is real West Ham United territory, when my Dad, who was in the Air Force, got posted to the Air Ministry. We lived in airport houses in South Hornchurch opposite the old aerodrome. The latter is now a housing estate.

Is it fair to say that of all your achievements taking charge of the club is your greatest and where do you think we can be in two years?

Yes, but we are only halfway to where we want to be. However, it’s very hard to compete with clubs. Like great corporate and brand support built up over decades, like Arsenal, Liverpool and Man United, or clubs funded by foreign tax zillionaires who pay no British tax like Chelsea, Man City etc. But if Leicester can do it, why not us?

 

About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon