West Ham United’s Co-Chairman David Gold Dies At 86!
David Gold, who passed away at the age of 86 following a brief illness, had West Ham in his heart his entire life. Gold didn’t have to travel far to find his childhood club when he was a boy. There was never any chance that the former co-owner of West Ham, who grew up at 442 Green Street in a home right across from Upton Park, would become anything other than a lifelong Hammer.
David Gold, whose passing was reported by the Premier League team on Wednesday, cherished West Ham. He was a talented schoolboy football player who played for the Club’s boys’ squad between 13 and 16 before making an appearance for the youth team. He had a natural affinity for football. Though he was unsuccessful as a professional, he would eventually find a way to return to the game after building a prosperous business career.
It was a difficult journey. David Gold described his upbringing in “abject squalor” and said his family was destitute. At age 14, he began working to support himself. In the future, Gold and his brother Ralph would own Gold Group International, the parent firm of Knickerbox and the Ann Summers network of adult stores. The Gold brothers assisted David Sullivan in establishing the low-class Sunday Sport newspaper in 1986.
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The relationship between David Gold and Sullivan blossomed. When they acquired Birmingham City in 1993, they made their debut in football. Nine years later, Birmingham City would be promoted to the Premier League. As managing director of the Midlands club, Karren Brady became the first female member of a Football League team’s board of directors.
A successful partnership started to develop. Sullivan, Gold, and Brady left Birmingham in 2009 and arrived at West Ham in January 2010. It was a difficult period. Relegation from the top division was possible after West Ham’s Icelandic owners left the team in severe financial distress. As West Ham stated yesterday, Gold played a role in helping “to steady the ship and secure the Club’s future during a period of considerable financial instability.”
It was not always straightforward. West Ham was demoted in 2011 and earned a promotion the following season. Supporters have occasionally criticized Sullivan and Gold, claiming they haven’t put enough money into the team. But many who knew Gold, who helped lead the effort to move West Ham from Upton Park to the London Stadium in 2016, constantly spoke of his love for the east London team.
Yesterday, Sullivan paid tribute to his longtime friend David Gold, saying, “On behalf of everyone at the football club, we grieve the demise of our colleague and friend, David Gold.
“Of all our joint ventures, none brought us greater joy and satisfaction than when we acquired ownership of West Ham United, our Club, in January 2010. David had a long history with the Hammers because he spent his formative years playing for the Club and grew up across the street from the Boleyn Ground on Green Street. His demise is a significant loss for all of us since he always wanted what was best for West Ham United.
David Gold was a well-liked person who was proud of his Jewish background. He was a frequent visitor to West Ham’s practice facility and was remembered by many as a friendly and generous man.
David Moyes, the manager of West Ham, expressed his sadness at the news, saying, “I am unfortunate to hear this news and, on behalf of all of the players and my staff at the training facility, I would like to convey our sincere sympathies to David Gold’s family at this tough time.” “Mr. Gold frequently stopped by Rush Green and was a terrific source of inspiration and support for the players and me.
It was evident that he truly loved the Club and was a devoted supporter. He had a genuine interest in those working in the background and was always eager to lend a hand. He will be sorely missed.
The Club’s 25% ownership by Gold is expected to pass to his daughters, Vanessa and Jacqueline, and the family will likely remain on the board. With a 38.8% interest, Sullivan is the Club’s largest shareholder. Daniel Kretinsky, a Czech billionaire who acquired a 27% share in November 2021, is a voice with growing clout.
West Ham noted that David Gold’s fiancee, Lesley, and daughters were by his side when he passed away.