Karren Brady's minor miracle at West Ham has earned her a place alongside Mother Teresa on inspirational list

Karren Brady

West Ham United's vice chairman Karren Brady has been named as one of the 50 most inspirational people in the history of the world in a new poll.

Raconteur Media's poll of 2,000 readers to find the World's 50 most inspirational people of all time saw some famous names from throughout history feature.

The likes of Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Oscar Wilde, Anne Frank, Alan Turing, Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King and Gandhi made it into the top 50 ... alongside none other than Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge.

While many have scoffed at her somewhat surprise inclusion, the work Brady has done in turning West Ham's fortunes around from their perilous financial state when she was brought in by co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan after their takeover in 2010.

West Ham were staring into the footballing abyss

Back then the Hammers were staring into the footballing abyss. And they should forever be grateful to the Irons Lady.

Left in more than £110 million of debt following the disastrous Icelandic regime of Eggert Magnusson and Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson in the wake of the recession-causing banking collapse, administration was calling - as reported by The Telegraph at the time.

But Brady, known as 'the first lady of football' after Sullivan and Gold appointed her as managing director of former club Birmingham City aged just 23, had other ideas.

Her ruthless, pragmatic approach and expertise were just what West Ham needed. On being appointed she vowed: "To West Ham fans I'll make a single pledge – while we are on the board, we will hang in the Tower of London before your club again goes through the financial turmoil which so nearly brought it down."

Brady's diligent work in the ensuing five years has not only driven down debts to manageable levels but she has also improved the Hammers as a business in virtually every aspect.

From how the club's media and retail arms operate to streamlining and cutting costs where necessary. If there was a tough decision to be made at West Ham over the last five years, she did not hesitate to make it in the best interests of the club.

Irons Lady delivers an Olympic legacy

Sorting out the finances has not been her only achievement, though.

She led the club's successful bid to be anchor tenants at the London Olympic Stadium, which will be converted to a 54,000 seater arena at very little cost to the club ahead of their big move next summer.

It also didn't hurt that she saw off competition from the club's fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the process.

While some fans may be sad to say goodbye to their Boleyn Ground home of 112 years this season, it is Brady's drive, determination and efforts to make West Ham better than their rivals and compete with the Premier League's elite that has seen them outgrow it.

Brady's shock inclusion on such a prestigious list is very much open for debate and her work at an English football club are not going to qualify her to live in such illustrious company.

But it must not be forgotten the extent of the trail the 46-year-old has blazed for women, football, business and more recently politics in her career.

Yes she is handsomely paid for the job she does - although her six-figure salary is a drop in the ocean against the backdrop of the Premier League gravy train.

But if West Ham continue their rise on and off the pitch thanks to the sound footings she has helped put them over what promises to be an exciting few years, it will prove to be money very well spent.

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