West Ham appoint John Hartson as Director of Payet-Shunning

Former player denounces squad's removal of want-away star from WhatsApp group as "soft".

WhatsApp, as used by West Ham players to shun Dimitri Payet
EXPRESSIVE: Emojis (Image: Helar Lukats)

West Ham United have moved quickly to appoint former player John Hartson as the club’s first Director of Payet-Shunning as reports leaked of an embarrassing WhatsApp exchange.

Football Burp understands that want-away play-maker Dimitri was kicked out of a group titled “SQUAD DINNER!” by his fellow team-mates having asked if he was still welcome to tag along.

And we can exclusively reveal that Payet’s removal was preceded by a Mark Noble message reading “you can take a set peace [sic] but you ain’t getting no set menu, ****head”.

This was then followed by a spate of emojis from other players including ‘tears of laughter face’, ‘poo face’ and ‘middle finger’.

Speaking exclusively to Football Burp, Hartson lamented the incident as yet another example of how modern footballers have “gone soft”.

He said: “The whole thing is just pathetic, if you ask me.

“People these days seem to think that you can effectively shun a team-mate by ignoring him and excluding him from group activities, but I prefer a more aggressive approach.

“I’m going to sit down with the squad and show them videos of me kicking Eyal Berkovic in the head from many different angles, followed by a group discussion.

“Will we be lining them all up to kick Dimitri in the head one by one? I shouldn’t think so, because there are all sorts of health and safety regulations in place now.

“But I have outlined an ambitious plan to strap him to the back of a donkey and have everyone tear off a scrap of his clothing before spitting on him.

“I will then give the donkey’s arse a good hard whack and send it off in the vague direction of Marseille.

“It just feels like the most dignified way to handle this complex matter while still sending out a powerful message.”

He added: “I’ve never heard of Emoji but if he can play right-back then he could be a real help around the place.”