Reo-Joker: I was victimised

  • by Staff Writer
  • Tuesday, 8th April 2008

Aston Villa's Nigel Reo-Coker has claimed he was 'victimised' during his spell at West Ham.

The former Hammers captain - who led the side out in the 2006 FA Cup Final against Liverpool - was booted out of the club last summer after being cited as one of the main protagonists behind Alan Pardew's downfall.

But the 23-year-old midfielder, talking in an interview with the Independent today, claimed that he was innocent of all charges adding that the rumours were 'fabricated'.

"Why? I have no idea," he said.

"The first year was fantastic, everyone was playing off adrenaline. We all had a point to prove and we overachieved. That was probably our downfall.

"In the summer I had an injection for a back injury and missed a full pre-season, as did a few others. After a few games that catches up with you.

"You start to look slow and tired. Fans don't appreciate how important pre-season is, nor did I until then.

"I was captain, the one people look up to, and I got victimised to a degree. As I wasn't getting around the pitch like before people thought I was not trying.

"There were rumours that I felt I was too good for West Ham. It was all fabricated but every time you defend yourself it's another story."

Most supporters were delighted to see the back of Reo-Coker when he was eventually sold to Aston Villa last summer for around ?7.5million.

Having fallen foul of the fans after 'shushing' the Bobby Moore stand when scoring against Manchester United he went on to make wholly unsubstantiated claims of racism - a decision seen by supporters as a cynical attempt to engineer a move away from the club.

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