West Ham have just sacked their director of player recruitment, Tony Henry, after he reportedly said African players “cause mayhem” when not in the team and they will not be signing any more. West Ham manager David Moyes was quick to distance himself from such comments, that have been widely condemned as racist.
Moyes said yesterday: “We sign good, quality players and it doesn’t matter where they are from”. He continued: “I’ve never, ever witnessed any prejudicial transfer policy at any club I’ve been at.” The former Everton, Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Sunderland boss added: “My first African player was Joseph Yobo [at Everton]. It was only last year when I went to Nigeria to Joseph’s testimonial and it was really good.”
Moyes, who was speaking at a press conference before West Ham’s away trip to Brighton, reminded his audience that he had also signed South African midfielder Steven Pienaar three times. To emphasise his point he said: “Over my time, we’ve had good African players and bad African players just like we’ve had good Scottish players and bad Scottish players as well, no difference.”
Former Nigeria skipper and defender Joseph Yobo joined Everton in 2002 and spent 10 years at the Merseyside club, playing under Moyes. Another Nigerian international, Victor Anichebe, played for Moyes at Everton and Sunderland.