west ham takeover

Sullivan: Hammers should not have accepted Tevez guilt

January 22, 2010
By Harry Harris, Football Correspondent

West Ham co-owner David Sullivan has told Soccernet the club should not have pleaded guilty in the Carlos Tevez affair and says they do not yet know the full cost of the various lawsuits against the club.

Eggert Magnusson, Carlos Tevez
GettyImagesFormer chairman Eggert Magnusson with Tevez in 2007

Sullivan has rated the club's debt at £110 million. There is £50 million to be paid to banks, £40 million to other clubs and £20 million to Sheffield United over Tevez.

West Ham reached an agreement regarding compensation over Tevez in March last year after the player - whose signing was deemed to have breached Premier League third-party rules - helped the Hammers avoid relegation at Sheffield United's expense in 2007.

Sullivan told Soccernet in an exclusive interview: "West Ham pleaded guilty. They shouldn't have done. They should have fought the case.

"Instead, this club has to pay out. We have a well-documented legal settlement and there is no way out of it, other than to offer to pay Sheffield United a lump sum - then they might accept a slight deduction. Does anyone have a spare £30 million?

"And that is not where it ends. Clubs like Fulham are still suing West Ham over Tevez, and as new owners we intend to fight these issues."

The size of a payment due to former manager Alan Curbishley has also still to be decided. The manager won a compensation claim late last year after having left West Ham in September 2008, and Soccernet understands that Curbishley could be owed up to £3.5 million, although West Ham might try to settle at £1.25 million.

Sullivan said: "The club have already lost their case with Alan. It's a question of how much, and we shall now try to settle. We are all hoping Alan gets himself another job, as it would mitigate his loss!"