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Exclusive Daniel Kretinsky: New West Ham shareholder on January plans, long-term strategy and Czech connection

he historic bond between West Ham United and the Czech Republic is stronger than many fans of the wider football world fully appreciate. It was a connection that began when Czech goalkeeper legend Ludek Miklosko signed for the Hammers in 1990.

Since then, Ludek has been followed by several other players from his homeland, including the current trio Claret and Blue, Tomas Soucek, Vladimir Coufal and Alex Kral. I am only the last Czech to follow this well-marked path.

Our investment will bring a positive improvement to the club’s capital structure, initially enabling a reduction in its long-term debt and increasing the ability to direct the funds generated further into key areas. I hope our business acumen and football experience will be of benefit to West Ham United as well.

We have come to support the club but – in order to manage the expectations of the supporters – that does not mean big expenses in the January transfer window. I am extremely impressed with the work of David Moyes and his team who have improved the results over a long period of time. This gradual evolution is, in my opinion, the healthiest way to build a strong club on a solid foundation and with the right attitudes and the right culture.

I speak from experience. We tried to speed up the development of Sparta Prague a few years ago and the results have been disappointing. Improving the quality of the workforce is of course, but we prefer a gradual approach that preserves and protects the club’s ethics and values, including team spirit.

Success demands that the focus be as much on the academy as it is on the first team. Once again, the world famous academy was a big attraction in West Ham.

Working with young players, as well as engaging with local communities and other social initiatives, is an integral part of football today. We must use the power of our sport for the benefit of society. Football’s ability to influence people from disadvantaged or difficult backgrounds is unique. We have a duty to use this ability, so I look forward to helping expand the good work in place at the club.

The unique strength of football comes not only from its appeal, but also from its welcoming environment. You don’t need much to play football and therefore everyone has a chance to be successful. I remember a former Sparta Prague player who didn’t own a good pair of shoes before high school and played barefoot, but he built a career and played brilliantly for us in the Europa League as well as nationally. .

Your nationality or your economic background does not matter in the field. Only your skills, mental toughness, character, and hard work. On this day, anyone with the right determination can win. This key principle must be protected. This is why football can inspire so much.


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