Fri, Jan 10, 2003 - Page 24 News List

Misfit Bowyer goes home to Hammers

DANGER MAN Lee Bowyer has joined the club he loved as a kid, West Ham, after a six-year spell at Leeds which was filled with some success and more controversy

AFP , LONDON

London-born Lee Bowyer joined up with his childhood club when he

signed for West Ham from Leeds United on Wednesday, the same day he was hit with a European ban for stamping on another player.

The 26-year-old midfielder, who has attracted more than his fair share of controversy while at the English Premier League side, then declared that he would let "my football do the talking."

"I will let my football do the talking -- I just want to get on with working hard," Bowyer told West Ham's Web site only hours after receiving word of his six-match ban by UEFA for stamping on Malaga's Gerardo during their UEFA Cup clash in December.

West Ham, who Bowyer says he supported as a kid, managed to seal his signature on a six-month deal following his rejection of a new contract at Leeds.

A potential loan move last week to Birmingham also came to nothing before the Upton Park outfit stepped in for a fee believed to be about UK Pound 300,000 (US$450,000).

"It has dragged on a bit but I am here now and I can't wait to get going," said Bowyer, who won his only cap for England to date against Portugal last September.

"There were a few clubs that came in but West Ham were the most appealing to me. They are the team I support and that is why I have come here.

"I said when I was to leave Leeds it was going to take something special -- and there is nothing more special than to come to the team you have supported as a kid."

Glenn Roeder's strugglers sit at the bottom of the table and kick off the second half of what is now a salvage operation for Premier League survival against Newcastle at home today -- a game Bowyer said he hoped to play in.

"I think it is a good challenge and I wouldn't like to see the club go down so if I have got the chance to come here and help in any way I can I am going to do it -- I am following my heart."

Trials and tribulations

Born: Jan. 3, 1977, in London.

1994: Signed professional terms at Charlton Athletic.

1995: Failed a random FA drugs test after testing positive for marijuana.

July: Leeds buys Bowyer for UK Pound 2.6 million (US$3.80 million).

1996: Caught on video throwing chairs around a McDonald's restaurant.

2000: Bowyer linked to full England squad, but FA rule him out after he goes on trial in February 2001 accused of involvement in a racially motivated assault on a student in Leeds city center in January 2000.

SOURCE: REUTERS


Bowyer is currently being pursued for damages in a civil action by the family of Sarfraz Najeib, who was allegedly beaten unconscious and left with a fractured nose, cheekbone and leg, by Bowyer and his friends.

Bowyer and Leeds player Jonathan Woodgate have already gone through two criminal trials in relation to the incident in Leeds city center three years ago.

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