No hammer blow for Whistle

West Ham have been warned they will not succeed in gagging a group of rebel shareholders intent on ousting chairman Terence Brown.

Pressure group Whistle took their campaign to the City this week in a bid to drum up support in London’s financial world, despite West Ham issuing legal proceedings against three of their members.

And Whistle spokesman Mike Hanna insists the club are heading for a “massive embarrassment” if the case against him and two of his colleagues ever comes to court.

He said: “I want to see the people who run this club on the witness stand answering our questions. It will be a massive embarrassment for them.

“They have issued writs against three supporters. That is unprecedented in the history of football.

“They have undertaken to use my money as a shareholder and season ticket holder, although I haven’t renewed this year, to instruct solicitors to come after myself and others.

“That is a completely inappropriate response to the fact that we are asking questions. It won’t stop us speaking out.

“We will continue the campaign and we made a presentation this week in the City. I don’t call that gagging, and our strategy hasn’t been shaken by this. It has no impact on us.”

The group are calling for a share issue to raise capital and attract outside investors into the club, and for the resignation of Brown and his key allies from the board over alleged mismanagement.

The Hammers are still in debt to the tune of around £33m (€49.4m) despite selling off players like Joe Cole and Jermain Defoe, with Michael Carrick the next expected to leave.

The club took action against what it called the “lies” and “scurrilous allegations” thrown around by Whistle in April, issuing legal proceedings against three members of the group.

But that did not stop Whistle putting on a presentation for a group of potential investors from some of London’s top financial institutions on Tuesday night.

Whistle spokesman David Bick claimed: “We’ve sold a team of international players but the club is still in a very poor financial state.

“The club need new management and new money urgently and West Ham have some very influential supporters in the City.”

The club refused to comment while legal proceedings were under way.

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