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West Ham director accused of racism on signing policy

TonyWest Ham United have left themselves open to accusations of racism and potentially unlawful discrimination after telling agents in the transfer window that they don’t want to sign any more African players.

In an email printed by the Daily Mail, recruitment director to the board, Tony Henry Henry wrote of an unnamed player: ‘We don’t want any more Africans and he’s not good enough. I sent Thomas to watch him and the other lad last week and he said no. If Palace take them good luck.’

Henry then confirmed it was true and suggested it was a policy supported by club management. ‘Yeah,’ Henry replied. ‘Because we had three and we felt we didn’t particularly want any more African players.’

Asked why, Henry replied: ‘Erm, no reason. It’s nothing racist at all. It’s just sometimes they can have a bad attitude.

‘We had problems with Sakho, with Diafra Sakho. We find that when they are not in the team they cause mayhem. It’s nothing against the African race at all. I mean, look, there are top African players. There’s not a problem with them. It’s just sometimes they cause a lot of problems when they are not playing, as we had with Diafra. He’s left, so great. It’s nothing personal at all.’

Asked if he thought his view was discriminatory towards African players, Henry asked: ‘In what way?’ 

Asked then if he thought his comments amounted to a slight on African players, he replied: ‘No. I don’t know what you are trying to get at here. All I said was, look, we have a great lad in (Cheikhou) Kouyate, he’s brilliant, a great player for us, he’s a good lad.But the likes of Sakho have caused mayhem. When he’s not playing … he always wants a new deal. That’s all it was. It was nothing discriminatory at all.

‘I could say we get offered Russian players. I just find with Russian players that they don’t settle in England. It’s like Italians. How many Italians come and settle in England? As a club we are not discriminatory at all.If you’ve got too many, they all sit together and it becomes a situation where you can have problems. But then you can have problems with English players. I don’t know what you are driving at.’

West Ham has responded to say “We take any allegations of discrimination extremely seriously and are now in the process of ascertaining the full facts behind this accusation.”

ClaretandHugh says…..

By Hugh Southon and Sean Whetstone

Associate Editors

There is absolutely no defence for the comments included in Tony Henry’s e mail and the board needs to make a total condemnation of its contents  or face the consequences.

We believe these remarks are utterly disgraceful and have brought the club’s name into total disrepute. The West Ham board must explain fully and precisely where they stand – nothing else will do.

We at ClaretandHugh cannot stand by and say nothing because we believe the alleged remarks of Mr Henry’s are discriminatory and have no place in our society.

A full and frank response is required from the board of directors forthwith. 

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About Sean Whetstone

I am Season Ticket Holder in West stand lower at the London Stadium and before that, I used to stand in the Sir Trevor Brooking Lower Row R seat 159 in the Boleyn Ground and in the Eighties I stood on the terraces of the old South Bank. I am a presenter on the West Ham Podcast called MooreThanJustaPodcast.co.uk. A Blogger on WestHamTillIdie.com a member of the West Ham Supporters Advisory Board (SAB), Founder of a Youtube channel called Mr West Ham Football at http://www.youtube.com/MrWestHamFootball, I am also the associate editor here at Claret and Hugh. Life Long singer of bubbles! Come on you Irons! Follow me at @Westhamfootball on twitter

40 comments on “West Ham director accused of racism on signing policy

  1. Melt down!!!
    Now we know why no players came in , none evidently as they are foreigners ?
    Wow ! 🚕🚕🚕🚕

  2. He needs to be shown the door tomorrow.

  3. The Board need to have a long hard look at themselves, as the Club is beyond toxic at the moment. Worse than a circus, Leicester wouldn’t deal with us over Slimani thanks to Brady’s article in her newspaper column about their Chairman and sacking of Raneri.

  4. Disgusting & indefensible, everyone involved in this needs to be out the door immediately. Leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of it.
    I can’t believe what is going on at our once proud club, it has become toxic.

  5. Unbelievable – if the backdrop of Karen Brady writing in the Sun comic book was not bad enough we now have this racist tirade.
    Earlier this season C and H calculated we had spent a net £18m last summer. Now we have sold Ayew for £18m and Sakho for £6 to £7m. Hopefully they were not just sold because they were African! Taking off the spend on the Preston forward we are at around NIL net spend. Absolute joke.

  6. He said the board agree with him. Not acceptable considering an African player was motm yesterday and not acceptable at all. should be asked to qualify his comments in front of a board not the white old men at the FA. The club are rightly keen to stamp out anti-semitism let’s see what they say about Henry and the accusation that the board agree.

  7. Total idiot. Why can’t the people who work at West Ham just SHUT THE **** UP and just get on with running our club? Why is it ALWAYS us in the press for the wrong reasons, because some self-important mug has gobbed off? Ridiculous. I don’t care how good at your job you are, if you hold ignorant views like this, you are not welcome. Get out.

  8. Whoever keeps ‘leaking’ stories out of the club needs to be found & removed asap. Henry needs to go now.
    This is going to be the big story on transfer deadline day. West Ham drag themselves through the sh1t once again.

  9. Thank God that Hugh and Sean have stood up and acted against an outrageous form of intolerable racist behavior.
    Some years, I had read about some incident involving a tiny minority of right-wing West Ham supporters directing ‘whistling’ noises (meant to emulate the sounds of gas chambers in WW2 extermination camps) towards visiting Spurs fans. As a person of Jewish background, I was gutted by this disgusting gesture and was ready to quit the club.
    David Gold (who is also Jewish) must make a stand on the alleged comments made by Mr Henry and together with David Sullivan and all good people who support West Ham, distance themselves from this despicable act.
    Mr Henry, your views have no place in our great club-your iignorant views are wicked and only serve to ignite the flames of hatred; this will go down as one of the saddest and ugliest days in the history of West Ham; your comments will divide West Ham supporters, discourage young Academy players of African descent, and repel any decent young man from wanting to play at West Ham.

  10. Absolutely uncalled for . What was Henry thinking? Should be made to publicly explain. And i see no reason why it shouldn’t be in front of “old white men” . No. 32 your comment is in itself discriminatory against old, white people.

    • Mine was the against purely the white old men at the FA not white old men in general. You can call it discriminatory against them of course which it is because there are no black men in power there or women, they deserve the tag.

  11. Since this is the week of apologies (Masuaku and Antonio) – the club should start by making Henry apologise in person to all players of African descent – and then he should be fired
    Anyone in management who supported him on this should go too

    This makes me ashamed to be a West Ham supporter

  12. I am ashamed by the actions of Henry, Sullivan and Brady. As Gold does nothing to stand up for the club, his inaction is as bad as their actions. I can’t defend the hierarchy of the club in public or private. I will not give another cent. I am furious and can not tolerate being abused by the clowns in charge. I have cheered the glorious defeats and shuddered at the disgraceful wins. My kids sing the songs and history of our club and all three girls want to play for West Ham United. I have rode the highs and lows for near on thirty years getting at first a 5 minute clip on the telly, then getting up at 2am in the morning (yes I live in Australia) to watch the team play, even under Avram Grant. But the turmoil and disgrace that has been brought onto this club by those mentioned above is enough. As James at The H List said. When is it enough enough. Right Now.
    I’m sorry but I can no longer financial support this wonderful club until such time as the lairs and cheats that own, run and work for my / our club are gone. Get out, Please Get Out, Now. Your breaking our Hearts. Get Out you psychopathic liars, cheats and Charletons. GET OUT, you disgrace us with your presence. Get Out, not just from West Ham but from Football all together as no-one deserve your incompetence not even Spurs or Millwall. GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT.

    Sorry thought that may help me after today’s fiasco but alas no. Please Davids, Karen and Tony GET OUT.

  13. For the sake of the club, the board have to go. I know we (fans) cant sack them. But if they are TRUE Hammers fans, they have too get rid of this bad section of the board & get out themselves. Not so long ago West Ham used to be a club thought highly of. Since this board has come in, its been nothing but Laughable & disgraceful actions. GET THESE JOKERS OUT, COYIS

  14. Sorry but at the risk of getting barred from here for telling the truth, racism has to be against a race and against African footballers is not against a race.
    I know we just had a disasterous transfer window, but all this off-the-shelf righteousness is emotional claptrap.
    It would be racist to bar black footballers but to discourage people from a geographic area from which the likes of Sakho Song and many others come from will never be racism.
    Funny thing is that nobody will complain when he rightly says hardly any Italian footballers settle well in this country. They just don’t. It’s true. None have done well for West Ham.

    People should know by now we are all different. We all grew up in different societies with distinctly different traits ( like it or not ), and this makes some players very hard to handle ( or accept ). Only recognizing that a black man from the West Indies or Birmingham is not the same a black man from Africa, is when people become truly non-racial.

    Obviously football clubs need to manage the ballance in their playing staff or they will not last long.

    • By the way reconizing that a white man from Holland is not the same as a white man from the UK ( far from it ), is also part of being non-racial.

      • Racism is the discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their race or ethnicity.

        Ethnicity is the key word here, it is the state of belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition.

        Africa is continent….. there are 54 countries in Africa and our head of recruitment doesn’t want anyone from any of those countries, which rights off about 1.2 billion people as causing mayhem

        But according to our friend Sleepwithdafishes this isn’t racist

    • No Italians have done well at West Ham? Really?

    • Sorry but no court in the country has and would accept that argument.

      Nationality is intrinsically linked to race so you would still be found guilty of discrimination on grounds of race.

      Even worse here is that he talking about an entire continent

      • So being British is being a certain race. Have a think about it. It simply isn’t true. All races are welcome in the UK. They are all classed as British.

  15. He shouldn’t,t have said what he did; & he showed a naive lack of understanding about how his remark would be interpreted. Most of all, he should have known that he would get the type of reaction he has had here on the website. But, “racist ?”, no. You cannot say anything these days without a witch hunt developing from those who display a self righteous urge to condemn what anyone says , If he ( & the club) was racist, we would not have any African players at the club. We do, & they are highly valued people. I do not consider that he was saying anything racist at all – simply making a comment about one player ( who I happen to value highly ) who has caused problems.

  16. Totally support the C&H statement. This is back to the days of Ron Atkinson. So long ago many on here will not know he was a pundit who caught using the N word on TV. Whether you label it racist is beside the point. It is discriminatory- labelling a person on the basis of their race, gender, etc. Don’t over complicate it. It is terrible. Just substitute ‘English people’ ‘white people’ for Africans and see how it sounds. If this had come out last week & I was Kouyate I would have demanded a transfer.

    • What has Ron Atkinson got to do with it? It was West Ham who first fought football racism in the UK, by playing Clyde Best ( Bermudan ), Clive Charles( English ) and Ade coker ( Nigerian ) in the same team. We were first 1969, not West Brom1978.
      West Ham have never been racist in my time, and we are not now. It’s utter Tosh.

    • By the way critisizm of white or English is absolutely acceptable in society today: obviously not the same for African.

  17. I don’t really believe in coincidences, so find it strange that this ‘leaked’ email should come to light immediately after arguably our worst transfer window since we’ve been in the premiership and the mood of a fair few fans going beyond toxic.

  18. As 64 says discrimination of any kind ( non racial as this is ) does not sound nice. but employers have the right to employ people best suited to there business needs. And different areas of the world offer people of different life-styles and habits, from which to choose.

  19. Come on sleeps get real mate! You are right that Ron Atkinson is not relevant to the issue. My point was that I thought such racist comments, which were common in Big Ron’s time (20 years ago ) were a thing of the past. But your references to Clyde Best Ade Coker etc are even less relevant relevant for Gods sake -40 years! Not sure how anybody can label a thing like a football club as raicist anyway. But to repeat the simple point- what Hentry said is discriminatory. We don’t want more players from a certain part of the world.

  20. I don’t like racism and Tony Henry should not have implied that WH were not looking for “African” players. However, his get out of jail card could just be that he didn’t want African, Russian or Chinese players either.
    Why not avoid bringing in overseas players that probably need a work permit anyway. Also the main point of that email was that the players in question weren’t considered good enough which also implies they wouldn’t get a permit…

  21. Absolutely disgraceful comments, should be sacked immediately for bringing whufc into disrepute !!!
    Sling him straight out …how very dare him make such sweeping comments ….the board are really scraping the the barrel now …one thing after another …the club need to seriously get our house in order, it’s becoming farcical from top to bottom…We need some serious business people to run the club from top to bottom…not these clowns …I’m shaking my head with disbelief….the real statement now is how this is handled…but this just shows the level of personnel that we have at the club. I.e.. WE all as hammers fans /family get tarnished with the same brush… smfdh Totally unexceptable..
    As for the transfer business….Well that speaks for itself…Bull, more Bull.. they really need to sort themselves out (the board )
    Hammers fans can get very unhinged by people taking the ****!! Time for change is on the cards…

  22. Agree withy the well-worded points you’ve put forward sleeps; this isn’t Racism, and we’re not a Racist Club. I was proud to be at the Hammers V Spurs game in ’72, when we were the first club to have 3 black players playing in the old First Division. It’s about time whenever a players’ colour or country is brought up , in whatever context, the ‘Racism’ card isn’t played.

    • Obviously I totally agree FUG.
      For me Cyrille Regis was a massive man for what he did, and should have been more recognized while alive, but Clyde Best should have been knighted by now for what he did 10 years earlier.
      The word Racism is now interperated as whatever people want it to mean at any given time.
      Living somewhere in EU, I can tell you that people around me here accused all of Britain of being Racist for the Brexit vote.
      So how many of us feel like rabid racists?

      • I agree racism is bounded about for reasons not associated with it ! Blair being an example of that when people were all accused of it by being against immigration and the amount of with fear of jobs , NHS , etc etc ! Political !
        This is not in the same context ! The remarks are racist ! But I do get you’re drift sleeps! These remarks are damaging , racist !!

  23. His comments are to me a statement of frustration and revealment ? He sounded like he’s had enough ? Be it of Sullivan or the board in general as his statement implemented them in a very active way , it was discussed ? And agreed ? For the board to suspend him and not make a statement of his implementing them as false is worrying ! He’s clearly not in this on his own but I’m sure the sneaks would like it known as such ! It sounded like a frustrated rant to maybe bring the truth out about signings or lack of to be precise and doesn’t want to be fall guy because of Sully’s tight purse ! A internal investigation is under way ??? Really ! By who ? Sully ,gold and corpral klinger ! I don’t think they’re going to tell all do you ! Henrys remarks are not good and as said its been discussed by the board which IMHO implements them all and they should make moves to sell the club and be banned from football in all aspects by the powers that be , there is a government minister who should be involved in this
    Due to the implications but waynetta may be a bit of a problem if or when he gets involved !
    This is not a FA problem , its a sport problem and the sports minister needs to be involved
    And investigated externally not internally ! For obvious reasons ! These people promote racism kick it out , but it appears it doesn’t apply to them ! I’ve said this many times now that they are amateurs , fake ! More money than sense and if this is how Brady does her business then as said before again she’s in a elevated position for business achievement and has a dameship as reward ? Fake , sponsors for the Tories !! Were all in it together ?😎 really !!!
    Get out of my club , enough is enough !!

  24. Agreed about Clyde, Sleeps; you had to be there to believe the stick he took at away grounds (Highbury & Spuds, spring to mind) to realise what true Racism can be. Interestingly enough , in Clyde’s recent book he actually stated that there were too many foreigners within the Premier League; now who’s going to call him ‘racist’ ???

  25. If he had said the same thing to you or me in the pub we would have all probably have agreed with him, and it’s an interesting insight into the problems with recruiting and managing foreign players.

    When it’s written in black and white it seems worse than it is.

    It seems you can’t fart these days without being labelled one thing or another by the PC mob.

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