Joe Hart returns to West Ham United with new club Burnley and has some stinging criticism for the club’s fans.
Hart played just 19 games after a loan move to West Ham from Manchester City turned decidedly sour last season.
His in, out spell in the Hammers side ended up costing him a place in England’s World Cup squad.
Jordan Pickford then made sure the rest – and Hart – was history.
So it is perhaps understandable the ‘keeper might feel some resentment towards the East London club as he looks back following a permanent move to Burnley, where he has been widely praised for rediscovering some of his best form but having conceded nine goals in his last two games.
‘West Ham fans didn’t really take to me’
Well he does, plenty of it. And somewhat surprisingly Hart’s biggest beef – despite not being ‘fancied as a ‘keeper by David Moyes’ – seems to be with the West Ham fans if an interview with Henry Winter for The Times is anything to go by.
Speaking ahead of his return to the London Stadium with the Clarets on Saturday afternoon, a candid Hart told The Times he felt West Ham fans just didn’t get him.
“I felt I was perceived as a wealthy guy coming from City who just needs to do something,” he told The Times.
“The fans didn’t really take to me. I loved being part of the team, some really good guys, but it just didn’t work for me. I tried everything I could (but) just never felt settled, never really felt like people understood what I could bring. It wasn’t a great season for me which resulted in not being part of the World Cup, which was hard to take.
‘It wasn’t a fair fight’
“But I woke up every morning thinking, ‘I’m going to give it a right go, do everything in my power, whether I was in the team or out, I’ll train to do my best for West Ham and keep this club in the league.’ If that meant doing the shooting in training for the team while Adrián rested because he had a game at the weekend, then that’s what I’ll do. I had wobbles, when I was upset or raged, ‘What the f***?’ But they go quickly, and the other 98 per cent of the day is like, ‘OK, I’m going to work hard and turn this around.’ ”
“I knew it wasn’t a fair fight. No one really knew was I planting roots? There was all sorts of speculation from two games in that Slaven (Bilic) was gone, so he never felt settled.
“David Moyes came in, and it’s impossible to feel settled when you have a contract only until the end of the season. And he didn’t fancy me as a ’keeper.”
In contrast Hart praised Torino fans, where he was on loan in Italy before joining West Ham.
Achy shaky Hart
Hart said he respected them and learned why football was the beautiful game in Italy.
Sour grapes or simply Hart being honest about a difficult period in his career?
There’s an irony about Burnley’s visit to the London Stadium with Hart in goal.
In the same fixture in March, Hart’s blunders cost the Hammers dear in a 3-0 win for Sean Dyche’s side.
That game was marred by pitch invasions and protests from unhappy Hammers fans.
West Ham fans will be hoping they can benefit from a shaky Hart display this time around.