After lots of speculation, and the Czech businessmen showing up at West Ham’s most recent Premier League match, this week saw the confirmation Daniel Křetínský has purchased a stake in the London club.
Taking 27%, Křetínský isn’t a majority shareholder, but his share is still significant, and there’s even been suggestions it could be part of a longer term plan to take a bigger stake in the Hammers.
The Czech media have been covering the situation closely, but are struggling to get anything from Křetínský himself. Thursday’s edition of DNES, a major newspaper in the country, explained the businessman used to be quite happy to speak to the media, but has become more secretive in recent years.
Therefore, DNES approached Petr Zahradník, who is described as an economics expert in Czechia, to ask what he believes the motives are behind the move to take a shareholding in West Ham.
Zahradník explained there are several reasons, and it’s not simply related to football.
DNES quote him as saying: “First, he invests in a country where football is an alternative to religion. As a result, he is trying to gain favour in the huge masses.
“Second, he sees his capital invested in the football club as a useful way to get an even bigger share of the market in which he is good. And thirdly? I would say it is a new form of philanthropy. He supports something that is strong and has a cut.
“As purely an investor return, it is very risky, but achievable. And as an expansion of his portfolio in the UK, it’s a perfect move. I can imagine how he invites potential business partners: Where will we meet? My office at the Olympic Stadium!
“I see everything as a thoughtful connection. In addition, traditional. It is said that every successful businessman should have his own newspaper and his own football club.”
Křetínský already owns a chunk of Sparta Praha, although he doesn’t have a newspaper yet.
DNES point out the businessman has shares in Royal Mail and Sainsbury’s, with the suggestion the West Ham move could be aimed at raising his profile in the UK, and perhaps aiding further investments.