So the Payet situation is all out of the bag and it means I can speak openly about it now, something I have chosen to not do for the last two months since I knew trouble was brewing. Despite what people think of me, I do hold back on releasing info that I believe will have a negative impact on the team. The decision to tell everyone on our radio show that I knew Payet would be leaving was as a result of knowing that he wouldn’t play against Palace and that Bilic was going to explain why.

Now since the summer our French wizard has been causing problems at the club. He expressed in the summer that he wished to leave the club in January.   We made him a number of payments to keep him here including increased wages and loyalty (ironically) payments. Payet has had two pay increases in his time here and allegedly even had the cheek to demand one after the Brexit results saying that the weakness of the Pound against the Euro now he was losing wages. It was almost felt that he was joking at first but it took Cheik Kouyate pulling him aside in the changing room and telling him it affected most of the squad that he finally rejected these ludicrous demands but it had already caused tension between him and a number of players.

Despite being given an extended break from preseason because of his performances in the Euros he regularly missed training after this and many were absent without leave. This once more caused resentment in the team because it was appearing that he could get away without training when others were forced to come in.   Just before the Swansea game he had missed a couple of training sessions and reported back the day before the game and declared he would play. Had Payet not performed as well as he did in that match I think more may have been said. Payet has continually sulked in training and not shown a great interest in anything that they have done and this has continued to wind up both the management and his teammates but to an extent, although not to last years’ levels, he was still performing on the pitch so it was papering over it.

His wife and children have apparently never settled in Loughton and according to a number of people they have always said they want to return to France and that family life is “unsettled”.  Now of course I cannot confirm this and I cannot say for certain that it is true but it would make sense. As soon as Marseille came looking for him he made it very clear that he wants to go and we told him that he wouldn’t be allowed so he has since said he would not play for the club until they agree the move. The example that he is shown is one that the club do not wish to tolerate and the original plan was to keep him with us until at least the summer and fine him for breaches of the contract.   I personally would not do this and would just get rid of him as soon as possible and give us some money to buy new players but I totally respect the club’s stance.

The club and Bilic (which was shown during his Euro celebrations of Payet’s goals) have shown him continued loyalty and respect and he has failed to do the same to us. One of the factors behind signing Ayew was that he was a friend of Payet’s and we thought they would link well together! I think this is a real unfortunate of today’s game that the players hold this power. It could be said that Bilic has got a slight taste of his own medicine when he left us to join Everton because they had “more chance of winning things” however it is completely unfair on us fans who have sung his name in such adulation. Many fans have said to me recently that he will not even stop to sign autographs for young supporters anymore. It is also now embarrassing to have a giant shirt of his hanging up at the ground, which I think should now be replaced, as someone suggested to me, by a Dylan Tombides one.

A meeting was called this Monday where the directors and Slav sat down to discuss the situation with Payet and Bilic was told as the manager he has to deal with it. It was his decisions to announce the situation to the press. I am hoping now that we have this bad egg exposed and not taking part in training and matches it may unite the other players to perform more as a team and get better results. The problem for Slaven is that he needs to do this against Crystal Palace or the Payet situation could become some other manager’s problem.

If you want to talk about the Payet situation or any transfer deals I will happily discuss these at our event tomorrow. The same will be said for Steve Lomas and Mark Ward who will take questions from the floor and be around to mingle with the fans. It really is a great event and is one of the few positives things going on around the club at the moment.