West Ham United fans remember Dimitri Payet for his class on the pitch but a distinct lack of it off the pitch.
The mercurial Frenchman dazzled for West Ham in that golden farewell season at Upton Park.
His amazing displays helped West Ham to their best ever Premier League points total, a first positive goal difference in the top flight since the 1980s and to within a whisker of Champions League qualification.
It was all marred, though, when he infamously went AWOL and effectively downed tools to force a move back to Marseille just months after collecting a £1million loyalty bonus and a hefty pay-rise in a bumper new contract.
Payet gets on his high horse over coronavirus solution
So Hammers fans will see the irony after Payet got on his high horse about the morals and integrity of the beautiful game at the weekend.
The coronavirus – COVID-19 – pandemic has shut down all football across Europe including West Ham’s matches in the Premier League and for Payet in France’s Ligue 1.
The Premier League and EFL have shut down until April 3rd and 4th at the earliest. But with the virus not due to peak for another 12-14 weeks, the restart date looks highly unlikely.
That has led to a speculation over what should happen to resolve the season.
West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady caused a stir when she wrote in The Sun that the only fair thing to do would be to make the 2019/20 campaign ‘null and void’.
Brady wins backing of Lyon president but Payet disagrees
But she was backed by Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas who has called for the same solution in France.
Aulas, whose Lyon side finished third last season but languish in seventh this term, wants a “blank season” with no promotion and relegation and the Champions League places “allocated to the same clubs as last season” (Get French Football News).
Enter the great bastion of football morality, former West Ham ace Payet.
With his side set for Champions League qualification, Payet was quick to hit out at the ‘null and void’ suggestion.
‘Now I understand’
Payet took to Twitter to ask if Aulas was serious and added the hashtags: #hehascracked and #needtotakehistemperaturequick.
“But is this one serious? Jean-Michel Aulas. He has cracked, need to take his temperature quick.
“What is the current ranking? Ah okay (now) I understand.”
🤣🤣🤣 mais il est sérieux celui là ? @JM_Aulas #ilACraqué #ilFautPrendreSaTempératureVite #C’estQuoiLeClassementActuel? #Aprés28Journées? #AhD’accordJ’aiCompris🤣#C’estBienTenté #MaisLoL pic.twitter.com/2XFnncpO6B
— Dimitri Payet (@dimpayet17) March 13, 2020
Marseille president Jacques-Henri Eyraud followed up Payet’s comments saying: “When his fever has come down, Jean-Michel Aulas will see the obscenity of his opportunism.”
West Ham fans will certainly see the funny side of Payet getting on his moral high horse.
Indeed if he was to miss out on leading Marseille into the Champions League many would see it as karma for walking out on the Hammers in the way he did.
But of course there is a much more serious situation at large which is life and death and infinitely more significant than football, no matter how unfair certain scenarios may seem.