Grounds For Complaint

West Ham United have described as 'complete nonsense' claims by a national tabloid newspaper that the club have made employment cuts in the groundstaff department at Upton Park.

A story appeared in the Sunday People's 'Sports Confidential' column this weekend claiming that Head Groundsman Dougie Robertson 'has been put on a three day week in a cost-cutting exercise by the Premiership club'.

Responding to the allegations, Company Secretary and Head of Legal department Scott Duxbury said: "This story is completely untrue and, on behalf of West Ham United, I would like to set the record straight. We haven't reduced the working hours or salary of our Head Groundsman Dougie Robertson in any way.

"We take great exception to such unfounded and libellous allegations, and would like to reassure our supporters that the club are taking the matter very seriously.

"Ironically, Dougie has today been interviewing candidates for new positions in the groundstaff department and, far from reducing the workload, we are increasing personnel in an area we consider to be extremely important.

"I'm sure supporters will agree that the playing surface at Upton Park developed by Dougie and his staff is in fantastic condition and we take great pride in the work that he does to keep standards so high We certainly wouldn't even contemplate making moves to lower those standards. The entire story is complete nonsense."

The claims have caused a huge amount of professional and personal embarrassment for Groundsman Dougie, who says: "I'm very upset by the whole episode and would like to reiterate the fact that these claims have no substance whatsoever.

"I have no idea where they have come from - I would certainly like to know - and I can not understand why such a story would originate.

"It has caused a lot of stress. My parents have even been dragged into it, with friends questioning them over the story, and people are sadly believing what they have read before finding out the truth.

"Recently, we have employed two new members of staff in the groundstaff department, and there is no way that the club can be accused of making cuts in that area. We are moving forwards and strengthening the department - definitely not weakening it.

"I'm thankful that the club have backed me up completely in this matter and will be fully supportive of any further action that is taken."