There are ways to leave a club with respect and dignity and Jermain Defoe probably fell short in both departments back in 2003.
Almost immediately after West Ham United were relegated from the Premier League, the then-20-year-old striker handed in a transfer request. And even though he stayed for another half a year, Defoe didn’t do his legacy much good by signing for bitter London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Though, 15 years on, Defoe obviously feels this is now water under the bridge.
"If I ever sign for West Ham again, of course they will forgive me,” the 35-year-old told the Express.
“I thought it was going to happen when I was at Sunderland. In my last year at Sunderland I got a call and there was some interest. On social media literally all the West Ham fans were like ‘come back, come back’.”
Suddenly, that speculation has returned on the back of a disappointing year at Bournemouth in which Defoe scored just four times in 26 games. Sky Bet have even made West Ham 3/1 favourites to sign the former England international.
The Hammers could certainly do with an instinctive, wily goalscorer like Defoe, who showed during his prolific spell in a struggling Sunderland side that he has still got the ability to hit the net at the top level.
But is Defoe right? Would fans welcome him back with open arms?
This doesn't state the whole interview, I don't agree with what he did, but he was driven solely by his then agent as a kid.— JoeyHammer5 (@JoeyHammer5) July 1, 2018
even though he left on a bad note i´ve always likes him as a player a natural goalscorer who was consistent throughout his career no matter where he went.— Alex Hubbard (@AlexanderHubba6) July 2, 2018
Long forgotten and forgiven, not worth the heartburn of bearing a grudge over something which the guy has repeatedly apologised for.— Gary Killington (@gary_killington) July 1, 2018
Could’ve come back last year on a small wage as an apology...— Kris Johnson (@kjohno10) July 1, 2018
Jermain Defoe trying to grovel his way back to West Ham, would I have him back? Yes in a heartbeat.— Jake (@bodythejake) June 30, 2018