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De-friend or Defoe?

Filed: Tuesday, 25th November 2003
By: Kit Robinson

Yes a naff title to an increasingly naff situation that West Ham and their long suffering fans find themselves in with their much coveted superstar striker. Will he or wont he go? Red cards, attitude, a new manager and the same old chairman all point to Jermain man’s departure, but how soon is now?

The arrival of Marlon Harewood from Nottingham Forest surely points to Jermain Defoe finally getting the move he has so obviously wanted for the past year. It has taken one day for the press to start speculating on Defoe’s departure by linking him with Manchester United and Arsenal in the same breath. It would seem that the question of whether Defoe leaving has changed from if to when, but how should we feel as West Ham fans towards him and the club?

Anyone who reads KUMB on a regular basis would know that opinion is very divided as to whether fans should be cursing Defoe for his lack of interest in staying at West Ham and moving to a Premiership club, or whether he should be free to move and have such ambitions because the club are not as ambitious as he is. When he is sold, are we to again slate the club for its lack of desire and forward thinking or praise them for selling Defoe before his market value goes down?

Two factors would reduce Jermain Defoe’s financial worth on the transfer market. The longer West Ham stay in Division 1, particularly if they are nowhere near the top of the league being the first. Secondly, if he continues to be sent off because this will reduce the interest in him from potential buyers (as with DiCanio after the Alcock incident) and reduce the interest in him from West Ham, who would not want to have a player constantly being suspended and being reduced to 10 men.

West Ham are currently in a period of transition under the new management of Alan Pardew. Obviously Pardew would rather keep a player as naturally talented as Jermain obviously is, but if Defoe constantly shows that he would rather be elsewhere then Pardew (or any other manager) would not get the best out of him. Jermain already handed in a transfer request when West Ham were relegated and I really wouldn’t be surprised if he has since stated to the club that he wants to leave, as Joe Cole did.

Because the club did not deem fit to release funds, when it was necessary, to help the club avoid relegation, West Ham has been in a constant downward spiral of decline. Not only in being relegated and releasing most of the squad, but because they are seen as nothing more than a feeder club to other teams, selling its young talent to keep the club afloat. The players themselves would not be happy at such a club and their agents have no sentiments towards clubs in a dire financial situation, all they want is money for themselves and their clients.

So yes, there should still be anger towards Terence Brown and his cohorts for making the club so unattractive but on the other hand perhaps now is the right time to sell, whilst Jermain still holds his value in an increasingly depressed transfer market. With regard to the fans feelings towards Jermain, I personally feel aggrieved that he doesn’t want to play for West Ham but on the other hand, considering the state of flux at the club at the moment, I really wouldn’t blame him for leaving. I believe Alan Pardew will turn the clubs fortunes around but without Defoe. He’s just in the wrong place at the wrong time and selling him is perhaps the best thing for all concerned.

However, this obviously begs the question of what will happen with the money? Obviously Marlon Harewood will be on a pretty good wage at West Ham, but at least he sees the club going places as opposed to Jermain who apparently doesn’t. I believe that his decision would be largely influenced by the fact that Alan Pardew is the new West Ham manager. Yes, I know Pardew has yet to prove himself with West Ham without a win under his belt as yet, but I believe that the board have at least chosen the right type of manager to take the club forward, even if he should not succeed

West Ham, as Alan Pardew has stated, are also desperately short of wide players and could do with signing two. Apart from the less than impressive Alexandersson loan, the club has not used a right winger, although it does still baffle me that Youssef Soffiane has not been used in that role as yet. There is also no right back currently in the squad, although Tomas Repka seems to be doing a reasonably admiral job in that position.

I personally never felt as though Jermain Defoe was ever going to be a long term West Ham player. I always felt that this was always going to be a stop-gap before he moved onto bigger and better things. But it is about time this club had the desire and ambition to be one of those “bigger and better things” rather than a poor excuse of a club ran only to tick over as a going concern. This is the only reason we need to sell such a talented player, because they have made West Ham United Football Club so unattractive.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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