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Bishop: the truth about Morley

Filed: Tuesday, 25th February 2014
By: Staff Writer

Former West Ham United star Ian Bishop has revealed the full details of what really happened on the infamous night that team mate Trevor Morley was stabbed.

In March 1991, the news that Morley was critically ill in hospital having been wounded in a domestic incident shook West Ham. The striker's Norwegian wife Hege was held responsible, although the reasons for the dispute were unclear.

Shortly after the incident occurred two main rumours regarding the source of Mrs Morley's fury emerged. Firstly it was claimed that that Morley and team mate Bishop had been caught with two women in a compromising position by Hege - but secondly, and with far wider consequences for the two players' careers, that no women had been involved in the liaison.

The latter rumour - that the two friends and team mates were involved in a gay relationship - is a falsehood that pervades to this day. It is an allegation that Bishop, speaking exclusively in the latest episode of the KUMB.com Podcast, calls "evil" - and a record he was keen to finally set straight.

Taking up the story, Bishop, 48 - who now resides in the United States - said: "We were at a function for Tony Gale in Chigwell and we shouldn't have been because it was two nights before a game. But we did it for Galey.

"We thought 'we won't drink too much', because you're not allowed to before a game. As much as we were a bit of a drinking squad at the time we didn't abuse it, we didn't go out after a Wednesday.

"You couldn't, because it was your club, your team - you wouldn't disrespect the club and the supporters in that way. But this night was a function with our wives in Chigwell, where I lived; Trevor lived in Waltham Abbey.

"After the function, Trevor and his wife came back to our house; we'd had a couple of beers and they were arguing. After that, she waited in a cab outside whilst he was finishing a beer in the house. My next-door neighbour and his wife were there too. Eventually, Trevor and Hege went home together."

That was the last Bishop saw of his team mate that night - and news of what had happened upon the couple's return home was broken to him by manager Billy Bonds the next day after Bish's regular chauffeur at the time - Morley - failed to collect him for work.

"I was on a driving ban at the time and Trevor was picking me up every morning," he continued. "I was late for training because he didn't turn up. When Bill told me [what had happened], it was the first I knew of it.

"Bill said apparently his [Morley's] wife had come home and found us with two birds - which, considering what the other rumours were, I would have taken as that would have been a far better story for me! My wife would have killed me, but luckily enough, she was there at the time..."

It wasn't long before rumours of an alleged relationship between the two players began to emerge - and soon Bishop and Morley were fending off not only disgusting abuse from the terraces the length and breadth of the country, but also the unwelcome advances of the press who sniffed a big story.

"It was ugly and evil; you know what football fans are like," Bishop recalled. "We got dogs abuse and I don't think Trevor dealt with it too well. Obviously he nearly died as well.

"I had the press come to my house offering me tons of money to do a story. I could have made something up, taken the money and just laughed at them. But it was at every game we went to.

"Every time we turned up the sports press, who you thought were your friends, would come up to you and say 'look, the story's going out tomorrow, do you want to put your side across? Is there anything you'd like us to say on your behalf?' And I said 'yeah - write the story and I'll sue you'.

"I can talk about it now. The thing was, I was getting abused but I wouldn't speak because it wasn't my story. It was Trevor's, and what went on in their house was between him and his wife."

Although he admits that he used to occasionally react to the very worst abuse - "I showed my arse to the Manchester United fans once, but I got away with it because I did it really sneakily", he admits - the slurs are something that have stayed with him ever since.

And despite some 23 years having passed since Morley was hospitalised and the subsequent false rumours festered, homophobia remains a major issue within both football (and sport in general, see the recent Olympic protests).

* To listen to the full interview with Bishop, download the latest episode of the KUMB.com Podcast.

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