Filed: Monday, 1st July 2013
By: Staff Writer
Former Sunderland defender Titus Bramble was a surprise addition to the first team squad who returned to training at Chadwell Heath this morning.
With the brief summer break over, Sam Allardyce's squad - including new additions Adrian San Miguel del Castillo, Danny Whitehead plus club record signing Andy Carroll - reported back to the club's training ground for their first session of pre-season.
But there was also one unexpected face in the crowd who arrived shortly after 10am - that of 31-year-old Titus Bramble, who is currently out of contract having been released by the Black Cats at the end of last season.
Bramble, of course, has previously been linked with a move to east London as a back-up for the first choice defensive partnership of James Collins and KUMB.com Player of the Year Winston Reid.
However the sight of the error-prone defender at Chadwell Heath has met with a fairly resounding chorus of disapproval from Hammers fans this morning.
Paolo Mulgrew, posting on Twitter said: "Please God, West Ham DO NOT sign Titus Bramble!" - thoughts echoed by Carys Baker who retorted: "Today couldn't get much worse - and now I find out Titus Bramble is training with us."
The first team squad - including Bramble - at Chadwell Heath this morning
Bramble began his career with home town club Ipswich Town, before making a £6million switch to Newcastle United in 2002. At the end of his five-year contract on Tyneside he joined Steve Bruce's Wigan Athletic on a free transfer, signing a two-year deal.
Rewarded for his good form at the DW Stadium - where he was voted both Player of the Year and Player's Player of the Year in 2009 - with an extended one-year contract, Bramble rejoined Bruce at his new club Sunderland in 2010.
But his return to the North East proved to be a troubled one; in 2011, Bramble was fined by Sunderland for bringing the club into disrepute after he was charged with sexual assault. He later appeared in court charged with two counts of sexual assault and one of urinating in a public place, before being cleared of all charges.
Now 31, Bramble was made a free agent at the end of the 2012/13 season when he was released by new Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio - who he called "a strange person who thinks he knows everything".
Only last month he rejected the opportunity to return to former club Ipswich.
*Image courtesy of whufc.com
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