Belfast Telegraph

Sullivan targets European glory

David Sullivan has astonishingly laid out his ambition for West Ham to be English and European champions within five years.

The Hammers are enjoying a fine campaign, easing the pre-season pressure on manager Sam Allardyce with a run to seventh in the Barclays Premier League and at one point having been as high as third.

And that form has joint chairman Sullivan - who along with David Gold bought the club five years ago - reaching for the stars, starting with his aim for this year - "to finish in a Champions League spot".

Asked how he sees the next five years for the club, he told the London Evening Standard: "I'd like to see us win the Premier League and then the Champions League.

"Yes, I know it's unlikely but again, not impossible - look at Atletico Madrid. We can all dream.

"We are West Ham United, we're a big club, one of four big clubs in London. We have some catching up to do but we've closed the gap.

"I'm optimistic and if things go our way we could beat Real Madrid tomorrow. It's unlikely but not impossible."

Atletico broke the duopoly of their city rivals and Barcelona to win Spain's Primera Division last season and also reached the Champions League final, where they were beaten in extra time by Real.

Gold's aims are not as fanciful as those of his colleague but he too believes his side can establish themselves as challengers for Europe for years to come.

"I would be disappointed if we don't join the so-called top six within the next five years," he said. "We know the fanbase is there and it will grow when we move [to the London Olympic Stadium in the summer of 2016].

"This isn't blind optimism. I can see everything coming together, culminating in us becoming a top club, challenging at the highest level with top players in an amazing stadium supported by amazing fans."

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