Beaten West Ham bidder slams sale process

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MILAN - Massimo Cellino criticised the way West Ham United's takeover had been conducted after losing out in the bidding to David Gold and David Sullivan.

Cellino, the president of modest Italian Serie A club Cagliari, thought he was close to a deal but Icelandic bank Straumur sold subsidiary CB Holding's 50 percent stake in the club to the former owners of Birmingham City.

Other parties were also interested.

"I am astonished more than disappointed, in many years in football I've never seen anything like this," the guitar-playing Italian told ANSA on Tuesday.

"Everything was ready, I was poised to buy 100 percent of the club and instead this morning when I arrived in London I discovered they'd decided to sell to people they've been talking to for eight months, who have taken only 50 percent.

"I would have paid all the debts and I was ready to make some big buys. I think England didn't want me."

Cellino, who has become slightly disillusioned at Cagliari following low attendances despite the side flying high in seventh in Serie A, said he never planned to abandon the Sardinian club.

"I will continue to do for Cagliari what I've always done," he added.