Former Sheffield United owner Kevin McCabe has claimed that West Ham could have gone bankrupt if he had demanded more compensation over the Hammers' illegal signing of Carlos Tévez in the 2006/07 campaign.
The Argentine arrived at the club that summer and scored the vital goal which saw them avoid relegation from the Premier League at the Blades' expense on the final day of the season. However, it was later discovered that West Ham had broken rules on third-party ownership to sign him.
McCabe eventually settled for £20m compensation to avoid taking West Ham to court over the ordeal, but he has now revealed (via The Mirror) that he only accepted that amount because he feared West Ham, whose Icelandic owners were struggling financially at the time, would go bankrupt if it went to court.
“We set the amount,” said McCabe. “We sorted it out rather than letting the arbitration panel decide. I wanted to do that because even though we’d been wronged, I really did feel it was the right thing to do.
“They were really challenging moments, peculiar times. Iceland’s monetary system had effectively gone and if we’d have really pushed, there was a feeling the same thing might happen to West Ham as well.
“So we came to an arrangement in good spirit. We didn’t let the arbitration panel decide. We did it for the right reasons. I had no interest in seeing a club potentially go out of business. I don’t think that’s what football should be about.
“Yes, we felt we were entitled to something because we’d suffered and didn’t agree with how things had been handled. But people should always remember how important football clubs are to the communities they represent."
Many West Ham fans have never been sympathetic, wearing masks of Tévez's face after the drama to taunt Sheffield United when they met back in 2014. According to The Sun, there are even plans to bring the masks back when the two sides face off on Saturday.
West Ham and Sheffield United find themselves level on points in the Premier League table, but the Blades' narrowly superior goal difference is enough to see them sit on top in ninth, with West Ham down in 11th.