This week, an independent hearing ruled that West Ham are to pay Sheffield United at least £20 million in compensation. To cut a long story short, West Ham broke Premier League rules when signing Carlos Tevez, who was thus ineligible to play for them during much of the 2006/2007 season. The tribunal concluded that, West Ham should have been docked points and should have been relegated as a result – meaning Sheffield United would have survived the drop.
Now, much could be argued by either side on the validity of this decision, but I don’t intend to go into that here. For the sake of the argument, I’m willing to accept that the result of the hearing is correct, and Sheffield United are indeed owed £20 million. What I do have problem with is Neil (insert expletive of choice) Warnock thinking he now has the right to sue West Ham as well.
Warnock, manager of Sheffield United at the time of their relegation, apparently believes that he is also due compensation as, had they not been relegated, he would still be a Premier League manager.
To give you a better idea of the character of Neil Warnock, I only need point you to his reaction to former player and notorious thug, Chris Morgan’s shameful elbow of Ian Hume. The assault left Hume with a fractured skull, internal bleeding and a fight for his life. Neil Warnock felt it appropriate to defend his former player, stating that Hume ‘ran into his elbow’ and claiming that the emergency services should have responded more quickly. I hate to think of what Warnock would say if Hume even so much as contemplated seeking compensation for his injuries.
Of course, when it comes to his own pocket, Warnock can’t wait to get what he thinks he deserves. Unfortunately, Warnock’s argument has more flaws in it than a French battle plan. If we follow his characteristically misguided logic through to its conclusion, had Sheffield United not have been relegated, they would not have been out of pocket, and he would have remained a Premier League manager. (Despite his conviction that he would be snapped up by another Premier League club immediately after United’s relegation, Warnock joined the ranks of the unemployed and we were forced to endure even more of his idiotic ponderings in his brief reincarnation as a TV pundit for the ensuing months).
Yet, surely, once Sheffield United have received compensation for their untimely demotion, they can no longer claim to be out of pocket due to the Tevez débâcle? And, as such, shouldn’t Warnock claim back any lost earnings from them?
If United had stayed in the Premiership, they would not have salted away their extra income in the bank and cut back on spending, as they were subsequently forced to do. They would have spent it, as football clubs do, principally on wages – Warnock included. Sheffield United now have their money, so West Ham no longer owe Warnock anything – Sheffield United do.
However, seeing as Warnock jumped ship quicker than a rat with no armbands, I don’t see that anyone owes him anything. In fact, the time I have spent writing about him could have been better spent doing almost anything, so, perhaps I should charge this wasted time to him and claim back my expenses – the bill’s in the post Mr Warnock.