West Ham sacked manager Avram Grant on the weekend and now face a period of financial freefall after being relegated from the Premier League.

David Sullivan and David Gold, the West Ham co-owners, must count the cost and it is hurting them as deeply as the footballing plight of the club that they supported as boys.

The pair saved West Ham from going to the wall when they took over in January 2010 from the Icelandic owners, whose spending spree in the summer of 2007 had crippled the club’s finances.

However, despite putting cost-cutting measures in place, which have saved an estimated £25m, the debts still stand at £80m, with Sullivan saying last week that “this club is in a worse financial position than any other in the country”.

In his assertion, he might have factored in that West Ham have the eighth-highest wage bill in the Premier League.

“All the debts are football or bank debts secured on the stadium and training ground so there is no route via administration,” Sullivan said. “West Ham really is a football club where the football and bank debts exceed the value of the club.”