West Ham: Boleyn Ground demolished; Allardyce fall-out sparks investigation; club deny wrongdoing
After 112 years as the home of West Ham United came to an end in May, demolition work has now begun on the Boleyn Ground, also known as Upton Park. The demolition is expected to take several months to complete as Barratt London plan to replace the ground with 842 new homes, shops, a library, cycle routes and a new statue of Hammers legend Bobby Moore. Some aspects will also remain, with the centre circle to be used as a circular courtyard within the development.
Hammers fans will be gutted to see the stadium which they called home for so long go, particularly given the difficult start to life at the London Stadium. They will be pleased to see developers recognising the history of the site, and even more pleased given the final game of football to be played there was a charity match which raised over £75,000 for local and national charities. The Boleyn Ground will always be remembered by Irons fans and it is likely that it will never be replaced.
Another legacy at the club is that of former manager Sam Allardyce, as the controversy over his transfer dealings has now had implications on the club. One of the deals which is set to be investigated is Ravel Morrison’s loan move from the London club to Cardiff City, with an agent reportedly telling the Welsh club that a payment was made to Allardyce in the deal. Cardiff investigated and found no evidence, but did not report it to the FA as rules state they must.
The Evening Standard, reporting on claims in the Telegraph, believe that the FA will now conduct a full investigation into the move in September 2014 as Ravel Morrison continues to cause controversy even after his departure from the club, but he is likely not to be the only player to have his transfer scrutinised given the recent revelations.
Another deal likely to come under scrutiny is the signing of Enner Valencia, who was this summer sold to Everton. Allardyce claimed that the winger, signed from Pachuca for £14 million in July 2014, was partly owned by a third party. However, West Ham owner David Sullivan has denied that claims, saying:
“Valencia’s economic rights were wholly owned by Pachuca when we bought him. Sam is wrong. But he didn’t know much about the actual transfer deal other than wanting the player. We have not broken any rules on third party ownership.”
The Ecuadorian struggled to adapt to life at Upton Park and was not rated by current boss Slaven Bilic, but could still cost the club heavily. This comes only ten years after the club was fined a record £5.5 million for the role of third party ownership in the deals which brought Argentine duo Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez to London as the two players went on to save the club from relegation on the final day, much to the annoyance of then Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock.
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