Michael Farrow's sports blog

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…on the departure of Eggert Magnusson

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Eggert Magnusson

The Eggman Leaveth

The big bald head departs and we see the man behind the curtain. Eggert Magnusson departed this week, as Icelanding banking billionaire Björgólfur Guðmundsson has come to the fore as the main driver at the club. It would seem that the massive spending during Magnusson’s tenure as executive chairman under the past year was not as sustainable as he’d have us believe. The haphazard spending, including large sums on injury-prone players like Kieron Dyer, Freddie Ljungberg and Matthew Upson, has prompted some different noises to emerge from the club.

 

Unfortunately, despite him playing up his UEFA credentials, Magnusson has made some amateurish mistakes in his tenure as chairman. In his early days, it was clear he was naively going around, trying to entice signings with his mythical list of top drawer signings, throwing cash around as if it were going out of fashion. Along with the fall-out from the Tevez affair, West Ham’s reputation has suffered irreparable damage. It was rumoured that former chief executive Paul Aldridge was contacted early on, as Magnusson had no idea how to sign a player and it was a mistake not to bring in a professional football executive. Guðmundsson has made no secret of his desire to install a sporting director to handle the football side, with Leonardo and Franco Baldini apparently being courted for the role. The Eggman’s switch to a non-executive role was the first step and now we’re transforming from the board that took the club over to the board Guðmundsson thinks can take the club forward at a reduced budget.

To an extent, Guðmundsson has always been the man behind the curtain. He was the primary financial backer of the consortium that his old friend, the biscuit magnate Magnusson, fronted. However, Magnusson’s football expertise has been clearly overstated. There have been changes; new business models for kit sales, a new website and supposedly a new stadium, a front which has been suspiciously quiet in recent weeks. It has been said Magnusson was only ever going to stay for a short time but it still feels like he’s being shunted out the door for incompetence.

I suppose what will be missed is Magnusson the press personality. The seemingly-deluded Icelander making grandstand bids for Darren Bent, looking sullen in the stands when West Ham are trailing 1-0 and his overwhelming optimism for the future. Maybe I have it wrong but I feel us West Ham fans will miss him and curse him in equal measures.

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Written by Michael Farrow

December 14, 2007 at 7:38 am

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