West Ham joint chairman David Gold dies aged 86 after a 'short illness'

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Stepney-born Gold played for West Ham's boys team between the ages of 13 and 16 and, after a successful career in business, became joint-chairman of the Premier League club in 2010. His fellow co-chairman David Sullivan told the club's website: "On behalf of everyone at the football club, it is with profound sorrow and a heavy heart that we mourn the passing of our colleague and friend, David Gold. "Of all our joint ventures, none gave us more pride and happiness than the day we took ownership of West Ham United, our club, in January 2010." Sullivan added: "David had a long-standing connection with the Hammers, having grown up opposite the Boleyn Ground in Green Street, and represented the club at junior level. "He always wanted what was best for West Ham United, and his passing is a great loss for all of us." West Ham manager David Moyes said: "I am extremely sad to hear this news and, on behalf of all of the players and my staff at the training ground, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to David Gold's family at this very difficult time. "Mr Gold was a regular visitor to Rush Green and always a source of great support and encouragement to myself and the players. "It was clear that he had a genuine and sincere love for the club and was a true supporter at heart. "He took a great interest in the people working behind-the-scenes and was always keen to help in any way he could. He will be greatly missed." Gold had previously been the chairman of Birmingham before selling his shares in the club in 2009. He became joint chairman of West Ham in January 2010 following a takeover of the club, which the Hammers said "helped to steady the ship and protect the club's future during a period of great financial uncertainty". West Ham said Gold died on Wednesday morning following a short illness, with his daughters, Jacqueline and Vanessa, and his fiancee Lesley by his side. Hammers vice-chairman Karren Brady also worked with Gold at Birmingham. She wrote on Twitter: "To a great man, a great friend for over 30 years and a complete gentleman - you will be missed. Rest in peace x" Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish paid tribute to an "absolute gentleman". Parish wrote on Twitter: "Terrible news, David was an absolute gentleman, always had kind and supportive words for me when things were tough. "He knew how to win with grace and lose with dignity. He loved football and he loved his club. I will miss him. My deepest condolences to his family and friends." Former players also recalled fond personal memories of Gold's time in football. "Mr. Gold was a favourite of mine at the club," ex-Hammers forward Carlton Cole wrote on social media. "Always had time for me and wanted me to win in life. A very kind & warm-hearted man. Thank you for the conversations and memories. RIP" Tony Cottee scored 146 goals in 336 appearances during his two spells with the east London club. "I'm sad to hear the news of David Gold passing away," the former England striker wrote on Twitter. "He was a nice man who cared passionately about West Ham. RIP David". Gold had previously been the chairman of Birmingham before selling his shares in the club in 2009. Curtis Woodhouse recalled the support Gold had shown him while with the Blues. "I had some difficult times at @BCFC and when everybody else was trying to sack me, David reached out to try and help me," said the former midfielder who went on to become a professional boxer. "That meant a lot to me then but even more to me now I'm older and I understand. RIP David." Former Blues striker Clinton Morrison wrote on social media: "Such sad news rip David. He looked after me and my family when I signed for Birmingham city made me feel welcome at the club. "Such a nice guy sending thoughts and prayers to his family and friends." Birmingham passed on condolences to Gold's family. "The club is devastated to learn of the passing of former chairman David Gold at the age of 86," a Birmingham statement on Twitter read. "Our thoughts are with his daughters Jacqueline and Vanessa, and his fiancée Lesley at this incredibly difficult time."

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