The Sean Whetstone Column

Anyone from the outside of the West Ham family could be forgiven that our current situation resembles a pantomime at the moment at best or a complete laughing stock at worst.

On transfer deadline day we had the first act of the Hammers pantomime with the Diafra Sakho show. The Senegal striker decided to follow Payet in claiming he had to return to France for personal reasons so decided to skip training and fly to France to undertake a private medical. He then stayed in France on transfer deadline day in a failed attempt to force through a move. The real pantomime villain behind all of this is his agent Mark McKay, son of Willie McKay. He was the architect of bringing Payet to Marseille and taking him back there again so it should have come as little surprise with his involvement.

The West Ham board held a telephone call in which they unanimously agreed to stand firm and not sell their striker. By the afternoon of the transfer deadline, day and Mark McKay briefing Sky Sports News every move Sakho and McKay jumped on a plane back to Stansted with a quick detour to Chelmsford race course. McKay’s horse ‘Siege of Boston’ was running in the 3.20. The horse won at 9/2 while Sakho stayed in the car park speaking to Club Secretary Andy Pincher but the player is said to have put £100 on his agent’s horse pocketing £550 in winnings. A non-runner in the race was called Happy Hammer. Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.

Despite the club secretary telling Sakho that no directors were available, McKay and Sakho went to the London Stadium late evening. David Sullivan was on holiday in Marbella, David Gold was at home in Redhill and Karren Brady was out of the office on non-West Ham business. This didn’t deter Sakho who sat down with Andy Pincher to be told there was nothing that could be done.

Sakho returned to training on Friday with his tail between his legs to be read the riot act by Slaven Bilic and told to knuckle down. He was offered a new contract or a move in January if plays at least 50% of the games between now and January and scores at least six goals. In many ways, this is the last chance of his career despite so many other second chances with the Hammers.

Not to be outdone by the Sakho and McKay show, enter act two of the pantomime with the David Sullivan and Sporting Lisbon show.

Sullivan made an ill advised and poorly timed statement on the official website which not only appeared to throw Slaven Bilic under the bus but upset Sporting Lisbon at the same time. Sullivan said:

“Overall Slaven is happy with the business we have done during the summer transfer window,” he told "We received the manager’s wish-list before the window opened and we have managed to get the top four players on it. It is no secret that we made a club record bid for Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho but unfortunately that offer was rejected a couple of weeks ago.

“Late last night Sporting Lisbon made contact to accept the original offer, but unfortunately it was just too late in the day, and we simply did not have enough time to put the player through a medical. We were not prepared, as a club, to buy a player for that amount of money without him having gone through adequate medical checks.
“Grzegorz Krychowiak and Renato Sanches were both offered to the manager before their switches elsewhere, but he told us that he is happy with the squad he has.

“As a Board we are behind Slaven, and he believes he has the tools to turn around our form and rectify our disappointing start to the season.”

Sporting’s president Bruno de Carvalho responded saying he had not received a single concrete offer for their defensive midfielder William Carvalho.

“There was no single proposal for William Carvalho, we did not refuse an offer or anything, there were approaches, but not proposals! Why did he play in the National Team? No one said he had a permanent injury”

Sporting Lisbon went one step further when their director of communications Nuno Saraiva has hit out at West Ham co-owner David Sullivan

Speaking on Facebook Saraiva said:

“Mr David Sullivan lies. Sporting Club de Portugal, as was said by its president, did not receive any proposal for the player William Carvalho. The football industry is not the stage of an adult film in which all obscenities are allowed. For this reason, the owner of a club requires much more than this intellectual pornography.Mr Sullivan has a duty to prove what he says. For this reason, Sporting Clube de Portugal challenges him to publicly show the proposals he says have been made as well as the evidence that Sporting CP has received them.”

The communications director admits that agents may have been offering William around, but insists that was nothing to do with Sporting Lisbon. He explained that

“We have nothing to do with the actions of businessmen or relatives who live on the expense of players and who are offering them from club to club at a price, without a mandate, as if they are cheap merchandise in a supermarket, thus devaluing the player and the club, and creating lamentable situations that have already forced, in this case, Sporting Club de Portugal to take drastic measures to defend against these characters that are parasites in the lives of some players.”

In an ongoing war of words, David Sullivan spoke to me yesterday at Claret and Hugh to give his version of events.

He flatly denied claims from Sporting Lisbon that West Ham never made bids for the defensive midfielder for William Carvalho saying bluntly:

“They are NOT TRUE!”

He added:

“But he (Bruno de Carvalho) can’t admit publicly that he was prepared to sell him. Our bid was submitted via the player’s agent and our negotiators in Portugal. We also put in a written bid.”

Sunday Evening Update:

Writing via his personal Twitter account, owner’s son David Sullivan Jnr said: ‘West Ham are commencing legal proceedings against the communications director of sporting Lisbon as a written offer for the player was made. he continued ’To Bruno de Carvalho the president of sporting Lisbon. To say we never made an offer is nonsense and serious libel.’

The Telegraph claim West Ham have an email showing that they did, indeed, on August 10, contact Sporting and their president Bruno de Carvalho to make an offer for William Carvalho which amounted to a minimum €25million (£23million), to be paid over three years, with additional terms and bonuses “to be discussed”.

David Sullivan has confirmed he intends to go ahead with legal action against Sporting Lisbon and their director of communications, Nuno Saraiva, who claimed West Ham made no formal written offer to sign the midfielder William Carvalho.

Saraiva also dubbed the Hammers co chairman a “parasite” and “liar” which Sullivan claims has left him no alternative but to sue.

Speaking exclusively to Claretandhugh on Sunday night he said:

“I will be starting legal action against Sporting Lisbon and their media director.I hate suing people in football, but the accusation is so strong we have no alternative.”

However, he says he is not looking for any financial reward adding:

“We’ll just look for a retraction and apology and a payment to charity. I’m not looking for financial gain.”

Anti board feelings are at an all time high and anti manager feelings are at an all time high with no final act to the pantomime in sight at the moment.

Keep calm and continue supporting West Ham