15 January ~ When an Icelandic consortium took over West Ham, supporters couldn't be blamed for thinking their financial worries were over. Skip forward a few years and the club is riddled with debt but still attracting the attention of buyers. Fans beware though – new ownership doesn't necessarily mean happier times, as QPR followers have found out in recent weeks. The frontrunners at Upton Park are now Tony Fernandes, a Hammers fan and boss of Formula One team Lotus, and Massimo Cellino, convicted fraudster and President of Cagliari, where he has gone through 22 managers in 18 years.
Arguably Fernandes's record puts that of football's other Formula One owner, Flavio Briatore, to shame. With Briatore's actions regarding managers and court cases giving Formula One owners a bad name, it's unsurprising that on the messageboards fans are wary of motorsport being Fernandes's primary interest, especially with the costs involved to compete in the sport. However, compared to Cellino he is thought to be a good choice, especially as far as former Cagliari player Zola's position is concerned. Former Birmingham owners David Gold and David Sullivan now seem to be longshots for a prospective takeover. It says something for the other candidates that their bid could even be seen as relatively clean in comparison. Chris Hasker