Saturday 23 March 2019

Hammers suspend Henry amid African players furore

West Ham director of player recruitment Tony Henry. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
West Ham director of player recruitment Tony Henry. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Jason Burt

West Ham United have suspended their director of player recruitment Tony Henry amid allegations that he said that the Hammers would not be signing any more African players because they "can have a bad attitude" and "cause mayhem".

The alleged comments are also being fully investigated by the English FA. West Ham say their investigation into Henry's conduct will be carried out independently.

In a statement the club also said it will not tolerate discrimination and have "therefore acted swiftly due to the serious nature of these claims".

The suspension and subsequent investigation followed a newspaper report that Henry allegedly told an agent, via an email also sent to another West Ham official regarding an inquiry about a player of Cameroonian descent, that the club did not want to sign any African players in the transfer window.

"We don't want any more Africans and he's not good enough," it is claimed the email said.


Asked for a response, Henry is reported to have explained that West Ham now wanted to limit the number of African players because "they have a bad attitude" and "cause mayhem".

Henry appeared to suggest this was a policy supported by the club's management.

When pressed, Henry is alleged to have said "it's nothing racist at all" adding: "We had problems with Sakho, Diafra Sakho. We find that when they are not in the team they cause mayhem.

"It's nothing against the African race at all. I mean, look, there are top African players. There's not a problem with them.

"It's just sometimes they cause a lot of problems when they are not playing - as we did with Diafra. He's left, so great. It's nothing personal, at all."

Henry allegedly went on to say that Italian and Russian players also find it difficult to "settle" in England.

"As a club we are not discriminatory at all," it is claimed he said. "If you've got too many, they all sit together and it becomes a situation where you can have problems. But then you can have problems with English players."

West Ham sold two African players during the January window, with Sakho, the Senegal striker, moving to French club Rennes and Ghana forward Andre Ayew returning to Swansea City. Both players pushed for the moves.

Henry, 60, joined West Ham in 2014 having previously worked for Everton - alongside current West Ham manager David Moyes, Sunderland and Chelsea. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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