West Ham could move to Olympic stadium, says new chairman

LONDON (Reuters) - Icelandic FA president Eggert Magnusson, whose 85 million pounds takeover bid for West Ham United was accepted on Tuesday, said the club could move into London’s Olympic stadium after the 2012 Games.

Magnusson also backed manager Alan Pardew and said he would protect the club’s tradition for nurturing young English talent.

West Ham’s 35,000-capacity Upton Park ground is near the site of the proposed 80,000-seat Olympic stadium.

London 2012 organisers have already held talks with West Ham about the possibility of the stadium being taken over by the club, although last week they again stressed an athletics legacy would have to remain.

“In terms of the location we are buying what we see, which is West Ham United at Upton Park,” Magnusson told the club’s Web site.

“However, if there is an opportunity to discuss a long-term move to the Olympic stadium I would like to explore that, recognising there will also need to be an athletics legacy from the 2012 Games.”

West Ham, traditionally a family-owned club, are the sixth Premier League team to be taken over by foreign investors, but Magnusson moved quickly to reassure any sceptical fans.

“As we move forward we must not forget the club’s great traditions, particularly in the training and development of young English players,” he said.

“All the way back to 1966 and the World Cup-winning team of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters, this is something I have admired about the club. I am very committed to protecting and growing this part of the club’s work.”

Magnusson said funds would be made available to strengthen the squad in the January transfer window.

“I will be continuing talks with Alan Pardew on how he sees the future on the playing side,” he said.

“This is very much his domain and he has my full confidence and support. He knows funds will be made available for January but we need to discuss his needs and the investment that might be required to strengthen the squad.

“There is a genuine excitement in the club about what we can achieve together which I hope the fans will share.

“This club has so much to be proud of and I want everyone who loves and supports the club to bring their pride and passion to help build this next stage of West Ham United’s future.”