Avram 'on for another five years'

Gold: I was not always a happy Hammer


By Danny Caro, December 9, 2010
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David Gold

David Gold

EXCLUSIVE: David Gold, co-owner of West Ham, wants manager Avram Grant to build a legacy at Upton Park.

The Hammers returned to the foot of the table after the 1-0 defeat against Sunderland but Gold says that both he and David Sullivan will give the Israeli time to put things right.

Grant is the bookies' favourite to be the next Premier League manager to get sacked but Gold is keen to keep faith in the former Chelsea boss.

"Historically, David Sullivan and I support our managers. I've employed more than 60 inside and outside football and am pretty good at it.

"I'd be disappointed if Avram is not with us in five years. The team is improving. If we were getting thrashed on a regular basis then we'd be concerned but that's not happened. Avram has brought professionalism, stability and a will to win to the club.

"A team that beats Manchester United 4-0 gives you belief that we can turn things around."

Speaking at the sixth annual London Maccabi Recreational Trust lunch in Central London, Gold reflected on his childhood when he was the victim of antisemitic attacks.

"I've never experienced antisemitism in football," he said. "But my experiences as a young boy in the East End of London were quite distressing.

"The synagogue across the road from where I lived in Green Street was daubed with Nazi signs and anti-Jewish slogans. I found that very upsetting.

"Religion didn't really play a large part in my life, but I was mindful of my grandparents. They were devout Jews and I was pained for them. I didn't have a barmitzvah as my father was in prison. I had to work on Saturdays as we lived in deprivation."

Gold recalled a night that changed his life. "I went to a boxing dinner. One of the men on my table made antisemitic remarks and I remember laughing with them. I felt sick with myself.

"My real chance to stand up to as came later in life when I was picked on by Combat 18. I received vile letters and calls for more than six years. It was a form of terrorism. I was fearful of being attacked by them so I changed my life.

"As a young boy, I didn't stand up to antisemitism. There is nothing worse than, as a schoolboy, being spat at because you are a Jew. It was a life-changing experience in many ways and made me stand up for myself.

A member of the Premier League counsel, Gold firmly believes that the next and future England managers should be English. "The top 60 nations in world football should abide by the same rule. They can only have players from that country and the same should apply to the manager. It's something that the FA must address.

"The FA and Premier League are great football organisations but they have to show strength of character." Looking back on the failed World Cup bid, Gold said: "Our bid was stunning, but it was never going to win. I don't think that the Premier League put enough money into it.

"But we shouldn't pull out of FIFA. We must adopt a different approach as it's FIFA that needs to change."

    Last updated: 3:17pm, December 10 2010