Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

West Ham admit Fulham appeal was a mistake

David Gold admits West Ham made a mistake by complaining to the Premier League over Fulham's decision to field what he describes as their "ladies team" in the Cottagers' 2-0 defeat against Hull.

With one eye on a midweek Europa League quarter-final against Wolfsburg, Fulham manager Roy Hodgson decided to rest five key players for the match in March, which they lost thanks to goals from Jimmy Bullard and Craig Fagan.

The Hammers hierarchy, fearing the potentially disastrous implications of the Hull win on their debt-ridden club, lodged an official complaint with the Premier League on April 2 but nothing has been made of the matter since and with survival now all-but certain, Gold admits the club now regret their actions.

"I think we were upset at the time and we probably reacted in haste and passion," said Gold.

"I have to say that we were very upset and that we were in such a scary position.

"It's horrible being right down there when you are a club of such might as West Ham.

"We were very disappointed about the decision to put that team out at the time.

"Let me tell you though, I would have done the same thing. I would have put out the ladies team if I had been Fulham.

"They were beaten 2-0 by Hull and you're thinking 'come on, how can that be?' but of course if you put out the ladies team then that's what's going to happen."

Bobby Zamora, Danny Murphy, Damien Duff, Aaron Hughes and Dickson Etuhu all missed Fulham's defeat to Hull, which allowed the Tigers to pull level with Gianfranco Zola's side.

West Ham's 1-0 defeat against Stoke that weekend - their sixth on the bounce - ensured they only remained outside the relegation zone by virtue of goal difference.

The Premier League earlier this week confirmed they were still to receive Fulham's response to the allegations, and Gold's fellow co-owner David Sullivan admitted this week he had attempted to withdraw the complaint.

Gold's description of the Fulham team, which included the likes of Chris Smalling and Clint Dempsey, could anger the Cottagers ahead of the Barclays Premier League meeting between the two sides on Sunday.

West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola disagreed with the club's complaint and admitted that it could add extra spice to Sunday's London derby.

The two club are already at loggerheads after Fulham claimed they were owed £450,000 compensation because West Ham finished one position above them in the 2006-07 season when they included the illegitimately-registered Carlos Tevez among their ranks.

Sullivan is reportedly ready to donate £100,000 to charity if Fulham scrap their bid for compensation and Gold now also hopes the two clubs can move on from the latest episode in their feud.

"We're big boys and we'll move on now," he added.