David Gold: West Ham co-chairman dies aged 86 following short illness - career and net worth explained

West Ham co-chairman and lifelong Hammers fan has died aged 86

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David Gold, one of West Ham’s chairmen has died at the age of 86 following a short illness. West Ham released a statement saying: “It is with deep sadness that West Ham United FC confirm that our beloved joint-chairman David Gold passed away on Wednesday morning following a short illness. David Gold, 86, died peacefully with his devoted daughters, Jacqueline and Vanessa, and his fiancee Lesley, by his side.”

Gold had been in charge of West Ham, along with David Sullivan, since 2010 when the pair purchased the controlling stake in the club. He was a life-long West Ham fan and grew up opposite the Boleyn Ground, the club’s former stadium.

Who was David Gold?

Gold was born in Stepney, East London, and was offered forms to sign as an apprentice for the West Ham professional first team but his father refused to counter sign. Gold made his money through the Gold Group International which was the parent company of the retailer Ann Summers and lingerie chain Knickerbox. GGI was initially jointly owned by Gold and his brother, Ralph, before David bought out Ralph’s shares in 2008.

He also co-owned the adult magazine company Gold Star Publications with his brother before selling his interests in 2006. In 2007, the brothers also sold their share in Sport Newspapers following falling sales and profits. Gold was also the owner of the corporate air service, Gold Air International until seeling it for £4.4m in 2006.

Gold was first married in 1957 to Beryl Hunt but divorced 15 years later. The pair had two children, Jaqueline and Vanessa, who are the CEO and Managing Director of Ann Summers and Knickerbox Ltd respectively. Since 2012, he had been living with his fiancee Lesley Manning.

Gold with co-chairman David Sullivan (L) in 2010Gold with co-chairman David Sullivan (L) in 2010
Gold with co-chairman David Sullivan (L) in 2010

David Gold and Football

Before co-chairing West Ham, Gold was the former chairman of Birmingham City. He sold his shares of the club in 2009 after having been quoted the year before saying he was considering stepping down as joint head of the board following the club’s relegation back down to the Championship.

In 2010, Gold and Sullivan acquired a 50% share of West Ham which gave them operational and commercial control. This then increased by 30% each in May 2010 at a cost of £8m. Just over a year ago, Gold, Sullivan and other investors sold their 27% of the club to Czech Businessman Daniel Kretinsky, fuelling the idea they were planning to leave altogether sometime after March this year.

What has been said?

West Ham’s manager, David Moyes, said: “I am extremely sad to hear this news and, on behalf of all 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 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.”

His partner, Sullivan, said: “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. He always wanted what was best for West Ham United, and his passing is a great loss for all of us.”

What was Gold’s net worth?

In 2020, the Sunday Times Rich List reported that Gold and his family were worth £460 million.

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