Humiliated Curbishley plots Hammers exit

Alan Curbishley is on a knife edge at West Ham after indicating he would be prepared to accept a severance package in the wake of George McCartney's controversial departure to Sunderland.

Sportsmail can reveal that Curbishley believes he is being deliberately undermined by the board after he went on record to claim the fire sale was officially over following Anton Ferdinand's £8million sale to Sunderland.

He has since told friends he was humiliated on transfer deadline day when McCartney was sold without his authorisation.

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Alan Curbishley

Losing his bottle: Curbishley could be looking for a way out of Upton Park after the Hammers sold Ferdinand and McCartney to Sunderland

The manager was originally led to believe the club were in negotiations with Chelsea for two rightbacks - Paulo Ferreira and Juliano Belletti - but neither deal was completed in the transfer window.

On Monday night West Ham announced they had signed Italian striker David Di Michele and Congolese left-back Herita Ilunga, with both loan deals subject to registration by the Premier League. But Curbishley believes he is simply keeping the seat warm until a replacement becomes available, possibly Croatia coach Slaven Bilic.

Curbishley feels his reputation will remain intact if the club offer to pay up the remainder of his contract and he is expected to hold further meetings with chief executive Scott Duxbury this week to 'clarify' his role.

Despite Curbishley's fears, Duxbury has told the Hammers manager he is doing a good job and the club have no intention of replacing him. Curbishley was told to cut costs over the summer, but he did not realise the extent of the club's financial problems until they began selling players without his consent.

Freddie Ljungberg's astronomical contract was paid up, John Pantsil and Bobby Zamora were sold to Fulham and Ferdinand signed for Sunderland last week. Central defender Matthew Upson, who has forced his way back into the England squad, was considered by Arsenal but Arsene Wenger signed a cheaper option in Mikael Silvestre.

The Hammers are still talking to free agent Stephen Appiah, the Ghana midfielder. Despite an opening day victory over Wigan, Curbishley was stunned to learn that his future was discussed by board members immediately after their 3-0 defeat at Manchester City.

Bilic, who is preparing for Croatia's World Cup qualifier against England in Zagreb next Wednesday, is the board's top target and would be the overwhelming choice of West Ham supporters.

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