Club issue Bernard statement
"Following an admitted approach to Olivier Bernard by West Ham United earlier in the year, the Geordies withheld reporting the London club at the time, on the verbal undertaking of Chief Executive Paul Aldridge to United Chairman Freddy Shepherd, that West Ham would not approach Bernard again in the future with a view to obtaining his services.
"West Ham were reminded again at the end of the season by Chief Operating Officer Russell Cushing that the player was under contract to Newcastle United until 2003. Within the last ten days, further enquiries by United led to a clear statement by West Ham's Chief Executive Paul Aldridge during a telephone call from Russell Cushing that West Ham had in fact recently agreed terms and signed the player because "things change" and now they did want the player.
"United continued to insist that Bernard was under contract to them next season by virtue of the terms of his current contract and this was borne out emphatically today. Newcastle United will tell Bernard " no hard feelings" just report for training with the rest of the squad next week, but it is unlikely that West Ham will receive the same treatment from Newcastle's hierarchy."