West Ham United v Sheffield United: Hammers tie revives memories of Tevez controversy

Carlos Tevez in his West Ham days.
Carlos Tevez in his West Ham days.
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THE final compensation payment may have been paid. Those involved tonight may also have been nowhere near either club during the long, drawn out saga.

But as Sheffield United prepare to face West Ham United tonight for the first time since the two clubs squared up across a court-room, the Carlos Tevez case will undoubtedly be bubbling away under the surface.

Certainly yesterday Blades manager Nigel Clough refused to be drawn on the subject, saying only when asked if Tevez could be a factor that it was an “interesting draw”.

Instead, he was keen to focus on his own side and their chances of enjoying another thrilling cup run to rival last term’s FA Cup adventures.

Clough said: “West Ham is a tasty fixture, but a tough one for us to go down there. I am not sure what side big Sam (Allardyce) will put out, but even if it isn’t his regular starting line-up it will still be a team packed full of Premier League quality players.

“The run we had last season could certainly serve as a good confidence-booster because the lads will have no fear going to Upton Park.

“There will be a feeling among them that they have done it once, so why can’t they do it again?

“We are looking at how we perform and go about our own jobs, not worrying about what West Ham might do.”

Despite Clough’s refusal to discuss Tevez, the subject will undoubtedly be one that supporters will find hard to avoid.

Around 1,000 Blades fans are expected in East London for the first meeting between the two clubs since a saga that saw West Ham fined £5m by a Premier League inquiry for breaching rules governing third-party ownership when Tevez was at Upton Park in 2006-07.

Controversially, no points were deducted and the Argentinian was permitted to play in the final three games of the season.

When the Hammers – with Tevez to the fore – then stayed up at the Blades’ expense, the Yorkshire club called foul and, after much wrangling, were awarded around £18m in compensation.

As for tonight’s tie, Clough is without only Stefan Scougall with a knee injury.

Last six games: West Ham United LLWLLW, Sheffield United WLWLWW.

Referee: J Linington (Isle of Wight).

Last time: West Ham United 1 Sheffield United 0; November 25, 2006; Premier League.