Curbishley tipped for return to football

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The Independent Football

Alan Curbishley has been tipped to make a swift return to football after he won his claim against West Ham for constructive dismissal.

The Hammers now face the prospect of a seven-figure compensation pay-out after a Premier League managers' arbitration tribunal upheld Curbishley's claim.

The claim came after he resigned at the start of last season following the sale of Anton Ferdinand and George McCartney to Sunderland against his wishes.

League Managers' Association chief executive Richard Bevan told Sky Sports News: "I would imagine Alan's experience as a manager and his many years in the game means it will not be long before he is back in work.

"I'm sure without doubt he will be back in work in the not too distant future.

"I'm sure everyone in the game would love to see it."

The tribunal will now assess the level of compensation West Ham must pay - a similar case brought by Kevin Keegan against Newcastle for constructive dismissal saw the Magpies ordered to pay £2m in damages plus £1.5m in legal costs.

Curbishley has not worked since his Upton Park exit and Bevan hopes to avoid such drawn-out processes in the future.

"Taking 14, 15 months out of Alan's life is very hard for him and his family, as it was for Kevin Keegan and others," Bevan added.

"It's certainly one of our goals moving forward to try to reduce the time ... of any arbitration, mediation or any legal process to try to sort the termination following a manager or coach leaving a club."

However, Bevan believes Curbishley's case illustrates no business is above the law.

He continued: "Whether you are a football club or any business I think it is important you have to abide by employment law.

"You need to implement good communication, you've got to make sure your business is following good leadership and I think you have to respect contracts and if you have clear roles, clear responsiblities, cases like this taking many months out of people's lives wouldn't happen."

Curbishley, 51, said he had had no option but to walk out in September last year after nearly two years in charge of the Hammers.

He said yesterday: "I am obviously delighted with this result. I very much enjoyed my time at West Ham and never wanted to leave, but on joining the club I insisted that my contract contained a clause confirming that I would have final say on the selection of players to be transferred to and from the club.

"The club completely ignored my contract when selling Anton Ferdinand, and when George McCartney was then sold, the club having given me assurances that no players would be leaving the club after the sale of Anton Ferdinand, I had no alternative but to resign.

"My authority and integrity were undermined and my position was made untenable. I now wish to put this entire matter behind me."

West Ham had launched a counter-claim relating to the cost of employing his successor Gianfranco Zola and assistant Steve Clarke. The counter-claim proved unsuccessful.