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By ESPN Staff

Hammers begin search as McCartney hits back

West Ham plan to begin interviewing candidates to fill their managerial vacancy over the weekend as the fall-out over the departure of Alan Curbishley continues.

Curbishley resigned on Wednesday following a dispute with the club's board over transfer policy.

The final straw for Curbishley is believed to have been the sale of George McCartney to Sunderland on transfer deadline day on Monday.

Curbishley claimed 'significant player decisions' were made without involving him, constituting a 'breach of trust and confidence'.

Those claims were rejected yesterday by vice-chairman Asgeir Fridgeirsson, owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson's right-hand man.

Fridgeirsson told BBC Sport: 'We agreed a transfer budget and the way forward at an April board meeting.

'Alan agreed with the plans, but was then reluctant to reach all the difficult decisions about the squad.

'If Alan had made this claim in April, when discussing our budget and plans for the forthcoming season, he might have a legitimate complaint. But he went to all the board meetings and was a dominant voice.'

McCartney yesterday spoke of his dismay at being dragged into the whole affair, but had nothing but admiration for Curbishley.

The player hit out at the club for their handling of the matter and feels Curbishley was badly treated.

McCartney said: 'I have seen on the West Ham website I handed in a written transfer request.

'I never did anything of the sort. Probably the board at West Ham are trying to cover their tracks. These are strange times at West Ham and no-one really knows what is going on at boardroom level.'

He continued: 'They (the board) have not been behind Alan Curbishley since the start of the season. It was a difficult time for him - they did not trust him with any money to spend.

'I cannot understand how a manager can be under so much pressure. He saved us from relegation and we finished 10th last year. This season has been the club's best start for years.

'I loved my time under Alan Curbishley, got on well with him and never had any problems with him. West Ham was the place to be and I loved my two years there.'

Croatia manager Slaven Bilic, a former Hammers defender, is believed to be on the club's shortlist as they seek a third permanent manager in five years.

Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier, ex-Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini and erstwhile Italy boss Roberto Donadoni are also thought to be contenders along with Gianfranco Zola.

No approaches have been made to Harry Redknapp or Stuart Pearce while Sam Allardyce and Paolo di Canio have been ruled out.

Others on the fringes include John Collins, former Ajax and Denmark coach Morten Olsen, Martin Jol, David O'Leary and Glenn Hoddle.

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