Traitor or visionary? West Ham hate figure Dimitri Payet called it right all along

West Ham United fasn hold up protests signs and banners during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Burnley at London Stadium on March 10, 2018 in London, England.

For many West Ham United fans their love turned to hate when former hero Dimitri Payet left the club midway through last season.

Ashley Barnes of Burnley confronts a pitch Invader who stole the corner flag during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Burnley at London Stadium on March 10, 2018 in...

West Ham are a club in crisis on and off the pitch.

David Moyes' side have gone off the rails of late losing three games on the bounce and conceding 11 goals in the process.

The Hammers are in the thick of a relegation battle while fan unrest has come to a head with supporters invading the pitch to protest against the way the club has been run by co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold and vice-chairman Karren Brady.

Saturday's scenes in the 3-0 home defeat to Burnley sent shockwaves through football.

But did they also prove that former Hammers hero Payet was a visionary rather than the traitor he was painted to be?

Dimitri Payet of West Ham United celebrates after scoring his team's fifth goal during The Emirates FA Cup fifth round match between Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United at Ewood park on...

When Payet left in January 2017 reports in the likes of The Sun claimed he had been upsetting team morale and was making a concerted effort to force through a return to former club Marseille, citing family reasons as the motive behind his desire to leave.

But upon leaving Payet told L'Equipe that he actually left because West Ham were 'negative' as a club, that he had become 'bored' and felt the club was 'regressing'.

It could be argued the Hammers would be a much better team had Payet honoured his lucrative contract.

But the plethora of deep-seated issues unfolding at the famous East London club could not have been kept at bay by the occasional magic from one talismanic footballer.

David Sullivan, West Ham owner and David Gold, West Ham chairman look on during the Premier League match between Burnley and West Ham United at Turf Moor on May 21, 2017 in Burnley,...

The Hammers are a shadow of the club which missed out on Champions League football by just four points in their farewell season at their beloved Boleyn Ground home.

Now just over a year since Payet's comments and under two years since the much-heralded move to the London Stadium they face the very realistic prospect of relegation from the top flight.

The issues from the stadium to a lack of investment have led West Ham to prove Payet was spot on in his assessment that the club was regressing.

Perhaps if the focus was on the substance behind those comments rather than the hate campaign waged against the playmaker following his departure, supporters would have taken the owners to task long before the situation became so acute.

A security guard stands beside the club mural praising West Ham United's French midfielder Dimitri Payet ahead of the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and...

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