By Richard Parks
The majority of West Ham fans are likely to have digested Jose Fonte’s move to the cash-rich Chinese league last week and responded with, ‘Good riddance’.
The defender signed from Southampton in January 2017 was unable to replicate his performances on the south coast in a Hammers jersey and had spent half of this season out with injury before returning to the squad shortly before his exit.
Aged 34, his best days were clearly behind him and he was struggling to keep his head above water in the ultra-demanding Premier League.
Yet, there has been a sting in the tail of his exit, as explained by Davie Provan.
The Sky Sports pundit and Celtic legend claimed in his Scottish Sun on Sunday column that the defender refused to play in a West Ham reserve match against non-league outfit and near-neighbours Dagenham and Redbridge for the sole purpose of getting him match fit.
It had been arranged by manager Moyes as Fonte worked his way back to fitness before his transfer to Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, which was announced on Friday.
“A couple of weeks ago I mentioned David Moyes arranging a reserve game to get an injured player match-fit,” Provan told the Scottish Sun.
“The game was at Dagenham and Redbridge and to Moysey’s frustration Jose Fonte didn’t fancy pulling on his boots at the National League club’s ground.
“Now, Fonte is signing for Dalian Yifang in the Chinese Super League. He couldn’t cross London for a reserve game but is answering the call of the cash register five thousand miles away. Don’t you love the modern-day player?”
West Ham supporters will be apoplectic at such a brazen and disrespectful, not to mention, unprofessional, act.
It is unlikely the Hammers faithful will fondly remember Fonte in the years ahead.
In other West Ham transfer news, the club are on the verge of signing a 25-year-old speed machine.