Monday 9 December 2019

West Ham sack recruitment director Tony Henry over 'unacceptable comments' about African players

"The comments are wrong," David Moyes said. "We were signing two players from Africa on deadline day so I can only say they are wrong". Getty

Samuel Lovett

West Ham United have sacked director of recruitment Tony Henry over alleged comments made regarding African players as manager David Moyes attempted to distance him and the club from the figure.

Following a brief investigation, the club have decided to part ways with Henry after the Daily Mail claimed he said that African players "have a bad attitude" and "cause mayhem" when not selected.

He was allegedly speaking in response to suggestions he had told football agents the Hammers wanted to avoid recruiting further African players.

Moyes insisted that West Ham do not have a discriminatory transfer policy and criticised Henry for the remarks.

The Scot, who has also worked with Henry at Everton, pointed to the Irons' failed efforts to sign both Algerian international Islam Slimani and the Cameroon-born midfielder Ibrahim Amadou on deadline day as evidence of an open policy.

He said: "The comments are wrong. We were signing two players from Africa on deadline day so I can only say they are wrong.

"You can see the players the club has signed over the years - we sign good quality players, the best we can get. It doesn't matter where they are from.

"Never, ever, never at all (have I experienced prejudice like that).

"I think my first signing at Everton was Joseph Yobo, I went to his testimonial in Nigeria last year. I've signed (South African) Steven Pienaar three times.

"I don't think there are many other clubs who have as many African players as West Ham. I find it difficult to believe anyone could say we are not a multi-national team who sign good players, the best available.

"Over my time I've had good African players and bad African players - it's just like having good Scottish players and bad Scottish players."

When quizzed on whether the reports had caused an effect on African players in his squad, Moyes revealed he has talked to them and found no ill will: "I have spoken with one or two of the African players and they seem fine.

"They have trained well and morale in the camp is good because we are on the back of a pretty good run.

"The players are doing well so hopefully we can keep it going."

Reports claim Slimani went on loan to Newcastle instead of West Ham because vice-chair Karren Brady had previously offended Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the owner of his parent club Leicester, with comments she made about their sacking of Claudio Ranieri.

However, Moyes said: "That's not a question for me. You need to go to the club and ask them that.

"We were in for Slimani but he had another option to go to Newcastle that he chose. We had interest in [Anderlecht starlet Leander] Dendoncker and we hoped to get one of those two but for different reasons they didn't come up."

As a consequence they instead signed Jordan Hugill from Preston and he could make his debut when they visit Brighton on Saturday.

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