Fun times at Upton Park, ladies and gentleman. The relegation bound Hammers have seen Matthew Etherington enter treatment for a gambling addicition, the club are facing a possible points deduction for their handling of the Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascheran acquisitions, and yesterday’s 4-3 loss to Spurs? Enough to make you think someone from West Ham had money on the game, as I’m sure the Fiver’s Barry Glendenning and Paul Doyle might concur.
Newspaper allegations about reckless and morale-sapping gambling, dressing room divisions and Anton Ferdinand’s breathtaking tomfoolery ensured that yesterday started badly for West Ham before going very quickly downhill. Today hasn’t been a great deal better, with Alan Curbishley scratching his head and surveying the wreckage in a bid to figure out what the devil he should do next. First up for discussion was the subject of Master Ferdinand’s arduous journey to visit a sick relative on the Isle of Wight that called for an unauthorised four-day stopover in South Carolina. “He will be disciplined,” harrumphed Curbs. “We have changed the disciplining structure since we arrived. The players’ fines are heavier than they were.”
As are some of their losses at the poker table, with one unnamed senior professional reported to have won over £38,000 from team-mates in a single afternoon. “The card schools were stopped from day one. It couldn’t go on like that,” declared Curbs, who is an intelligent man that probably doesn’t need the Fiver to tell him that if young men are determined to play high-stakes Hold’em with each other, there’s very little Alan Curbishley or anyone else can do to stop them. According to today’s Lahn’s Lahn E’ning Stannah, unlucky Curbs will get to keep his job when West Ham are relegated but most of his “star” players will be shown an “Exit” door big enough to accommodate both them and their over-inflated opinions of themselves. No matter how wide it is, the Fiver reckons Marlon Harewood (above) will still miss it.