Bowyer back to haunt Hammers

LEE BOWYER scoring against his old club was such a banker it is a wonder that the bookies didn t go out of business at St Andrew s on Saturday. The former Ham-mers midfielder (left) struck early in the second half to sentence West Ham to a 1-0 defeat and

LEE BOWYER scoring against his old club was such a banker it is a wonder that the bookies didn't go out of business at St Andrew's on Saturday.

The former Ham-mers midfielder (left) struck early in the second half to sentence West Ham to a 1-0 defeat and plunge them back into the bottom three.

But the wisdom of allowing the combative player to leave on a free transfer is not a decision that manager Gianfranco Zola has any regrets about.

"When Lee Bowyer left in January, he wasn't playing very much for us and was coming back from an injury and he needed to play," explained the boss.


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"He didn't have the possibility to play for us regularly and that was one of the reasons why we let him go.

"He needed to go permanently to get his fitness. He's a good player and I'm pleased that he's doing well but, at that moment, he didn't have the place that he required with us."

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Bowyer has scored six goals for the Blues this season, one more than he managed in 49 appearances for West Ham in his second spell at the club.

Zola continued: "The financial situation didn't help either and there were a few reasons why we came to the decision to let him go. I know how capable he is.

"He's a player who can score goals and it's painful to say that today, but I have no doubt that he's a good footballer."

Maybe, but the decision to let him go seemed a sound one at the time. Zola's diamond formation had ruled him out of the reckoning for a midfield spot and at 32, it appeared that his best days were long behind him.

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