West Ham United have sent a letter to other Barclays English Premier League football clubs pleading for support as their legal battle with relegated Sheffield United continues...
Last season's relegation battle ended on the final day of the season when Carlos Tevez won the game for West Ham against Manchester United on the final day of the season.
Tevez, now of United - at least on loan for the time being - indeed played a huge part in West Ham's great escape and it was Sheffield United who suffered, as the highest placed team of the relegated trio, also including Charlton and Watford.
Due to certain illegalities regarding third party ownership and Tevez's transfer to the Hammers - plus his direct impact in their survival - Sheffield United contested their relegation, insisting that the London outfit should have been the side to go down.
The Yorkshire club estimate that the drop cost them Â£30 million and are seeking appropriate compensation through the courts. Kia Joorabchian - Tevez's representive - has also taken his case to the high court that he is owed Â£7.1 million from the Tevez deal.
The Hammers' defence is one of ignorance. They are seeking to prove that there was no malicious or devious intent on their part when they entered into a third-party agreement and that they did not know of the Premier League's rules against such deals.
What will not work in their favour is that they have already pleaded guilty to entering the agreement, breaching rule U18, which cost them Â£2.5 million last year.
To prevent further financial losses and damage to the club's reputation, the Hammers have reached out to fellow Premier League clubs for their support on the issue.
“Our legal team have asked me to see whether you would be prepared to assist with a written witness statement which they can help you to prepare to aid our case,” wrote West Ham secretary Peter Barnes.
“The question is: 'When you were involved in transfers in Season 2006-7 did any of you other than referring to the Sections K, L and M ever consult or have need to refer to Rule U18 or indeed ever really know of its existence?' I confirm if you agree to assist it would only involve a written statement and not an appearance at court.”