Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder insists the Carlos Tevez saga is “water under the bridge” ahead of the first Premier League clash against West Ham since the controversial events of 2007.
Twelve years have passed since the the Blades were relegated from the top flight following a 2-1 home defeat to Wigan on the final day of the season.
Meanwhile, West Ham had beaten champions Manchester United 1-0 and Tevez’s goal at Old Trafford saved the Hammers from the drop and sent Neil Warnock’s team down on goal difference.
The Blades were furious that the Argentinian, who played a crucial role in West Ham’s survival by scoring six times across the final nine games of the season, was eligible to play at the end of the 2006-07 campaign after the existence of third-party agreements had been discovered that January.
An independent Premier League commission imposed a record £5.5million fine on the London club rather than a points deduction. Although, an independent FA tribunal found in Sheffield United’s favour a year later after they had appealed against the decision and the Hammers paid the Blades around £20m in compensation.
Ahead of Saturday’s game, Wilder said: “There’s a lot of water gone under the bridge since and it’s a long time ago. I’ve always got a big admiration for West Ham with the way they’ve gone about it in the past.
“I think they are a very similar club to Sheffield United – a working-class club from the east end of London and the supporters want to see them play good football and work hard.
“In terms of what happened at the time, it was nothing to do with the players and nothing to do with the supporters. It was an administrative situation that got decided by the Premier League at the time.
“Off the back of that, with social media as well and going back and forth, there has been banter flying about, but we have played them once again already since in a cup game (in 2014) and this is a new group of players.”
Wilder, who has a full squad to choose from on Saturday, is hoping his team can maintain their unbeaten away record this season.
He said: “We are just going to enjoy going to the London Stadium and seeing if we can keep intact our great away record that we are very proud of so far.
“But it is going to be a tough place to go and a tough ask and made even tougher by the fact that I’m sure there will be a reaction from West Ham given their disappointing result at Everton last weekend.”