In July 2013, Sheffield United received their final instalment of the £18.1million that West Ham United agreed to pay the South Yorkshire club back in 2009, as compensation for fielding - over the course of the 2006/07 Premier League season - a footballer they claimed to own but didn’t.
In becoming English football’s most infamous ineligible player, Carlos Tevez would decisively save West Ham from relegation at United’s expense, or as the chair of an FA tribunal would later put it: “We have no doubt that West Ham would have secured at least three fewer points over the 2006-07 season had Carlos Tevez not been playing for the club”.
Three points being the difference between the two clubs after a dramatic last day. When the £6m payment was received that summer, there was no longer so little to divide the two clubs. West Ham finished the 2012/13 season a comfortable 10th in the Premier League and had recently secured a 99-year lease on the brand new 60,000-capacity Olympic Stadium.
The Blades were forced to endure a third successive year in England’s third tier, after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Yeovil Town in the play-off semi-finals; the second consecutive failure in the League One play-offs. That £6m was needed to pay debts and wages but suffice to say, it did not feel like justice in the hearts and minds of United fans.