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Page last updated at 13:16 GMT, Thursday, 4 September 2008 14:16 UK

West Ham reject Curbishley claims

By Simon Austin

Alan Curbishley
Curbishley took over at Upton Park in December 2006

West Ham's vice chairman has rejected Alan Curbishley's claim that the club's transfer policy represented a "breach of trust and confidence".

Curbishley stepped down as Hammers boss on Wednesday, complaining that transfer decisions had been made without him.

"We agreed a transfer budget and the way forward at an April board meeting," Asgeir Fridgeirsson told BBC Sport.

"Alan agreed with the plans, but was then reluctant to reach all the difficult decisions about the squad."

The final straw for Curbishley was the transfer deadline day sale of George McCartney to Sunderland.

Only a few days earlier, the 50-year-old had vowed not to sell any more players following the summer departures of John Pantsil, Bobby Zamora, Richard Wright and Anton Ferdinand.

We began to feel we were vulnerable in having a structure with one manager who runs all football matters

Asgeir Fridgeirsson
West Ham vice chairman

But Fridgeirsson, who is owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson's right-hand man, said Curbishley was fully aware of the need to trim the club's wage bill.

"If Alan had made this claim in April, when discussing our budget and plans for the forthcoming season, he might have a legitimate complaint," added Fridgeirsson.

"But he went to all the board meetings and was a dominant voice."

Fridgeirsson also defended the management structure at the club, under which chief executive Scott Duxbury and technical director Gianluca Nani take a lead in transfer policy.

"About a year ago, we began to feel we were vulnerable in having a structure with one manager who runs all football matters," he said.

"If the manager leaves, where does it leave you? So we decided to build an infrastructure and philosophy for the club, which would provide continuity.

"We want a strong English club with English players, with its roots in the academy."

Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson
Owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson has been eager to build a more "sustainable" club

The Hammers have also invested heavily in their medical and training facilities in the last year.

Work on a new training ground is planned to start early next summer and several new appointments have been made to the medical department.

"We have 100m in assets in terms of players and a 55m-plus salary bill, so it's crucial to look after the players and get the best out of them," said the vice chairman.

"We have been gathering experience from other clubs on the continent in this regard. We have recruited an osteopath from AC Milan, who has done excellent work with players such as Craig Bellamy.

"If you look at a club like Milan, the medical department belongs to the club. A manager might be tempted to take a short-term view to medical matters, choosing to field an injured player in a crucial match.

"But at AC Milan, the same doctor has been looking after Paolo Maldini's knee for the last 20 years."


The board has already embarked on the process of finding a new manager.

A checklist of qualities needed by the new man were drawn up on Wednesday, before Nani and Duxbury started compiling a list of potential candidates.

"I have asked for a comprehensive list, in terms of nationality, experience and qualifications," Fridgeirsson said.

"The parameters go along with what we are trying to achieve at the club. The key element is that we want this to be a sustainable club."

This list will be whittled down to a shortlist of five to seven names as early as next week.

Fridgeirsson admitted that a few names had already been thrown into the mix but that "it is totally innaccurate to say we have anyone lined up for the job already".

see also
Curbishley quits as West Ham boss
03 Sep 08 |  West Ham
Curbishley 'made transfer errors'
04 Sep 08 |  West Ham
McCartney makes Sunderland return
01 Sep 08 |  West Ham
Ferdinand makes Sunderland switch
27 Aug 08 |  Sunderland
Curbishley backed over Ljungberg
08 Aug 08 |  West Ham
End of big spending at West Ham
09 May 08 |  West Ham
West Ham confirm Nani appointment
17 Mar 08 |  West Ham
Curbishley named West Ham manager
13 Dec 06 |  West Ham

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