West Ham co-owner David Sullivan has warned relegation from the Barclays Premier League would be likely to cost him and David Gold up to £40million more of their own money to keep the debt-riddled club afloat.
The Irons remain at the foot of the Barclays Premier League following the 1-1 draw against fellow strugglers Blackburn, which left them four points adrift of safety after Wolves beat West Brom on Sunday.
Sullivan told the London Evening Standard: "West Ham really is a club where the football and bank debts exceed the value of the club. It's a pretty thankless task and the criticism hurts. Should the worst happen, we will have to inject loans of £20-£40million, depending on circumstances, which will probably never be repaid."
He added: "The fans should know though this club is in a worse financial position than any other in the country. All the debts are football or bank debts secures on the stadium and training ground, so there is no route via administration.
"I don't believe the supporters realise the potential real cost to us.
"Nobody out there wants to take on the burden of West Ham United.
"We do, as we are supporters but our resources don't match foreign-based oligarchs who pay no UK tax."
Sullivan and Gold experienced plenty of highs and lows during their 16 years in charge of Birmingham, but given their personal ties to West Ham, the current plight is an emotional rollercoaster.
"We are not down yet, but I admit it is not looking good," Sullivan added.
"I have been relegated three times before, on every occasion gaining automatic promotion the following season, but this one will hurt me the most if it happens. David and I have taken criticism and, should we be relegated, will accept the responsibility."
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