Ilunga Finally Released
By Tom Dowsett
Saturday 28 Jan 2012 15:51:00
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After months of speculation about his future, it emerged on Friday night that Herita Ilunga has been released by West Ham United.

The Congolese defender arrived at Upton Park on an initial loan deal in 2008 before making his move permanent the following summer. Ilunga was brought to the club just before Alan Curbishley resigned as manager. Although his resignation was to do with a dispute over transfers, it was thought Ilunga was not the main reason why he left his post, however most West Ham fans were led to believe that the Ilunga deal was done by then technical director Gianluca Nani.

He was a regular in the first-team under new manager Gianfranco Zola the following season but when new co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold took charge of the club in January 2010, at the end of the campaign, Zola was sacked and replaced by Avram Grant.

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At the start of the season, a new Premier league rule came into play in which you could only select 25 players to be part of the matchday squad. Ilunga was not deemed good enough to feature in that squad so was not given many first-team minutes last season.

 In fact, the season didn't turn out well for the team as the Hammers were relegated, finishing bottom of the league with a mere 33 points.

At the end of that season, the club were yet again on the lookout for a new manager and when Sam Allardyce arrived he gave Ilunga four games of the current npower championship season to prove himself. Unfortunately, costly mistakes in the two home games he played meant the end of his Hammers playing career and he was sent on-loan to Doncaster to return to East London on 3rd January. Since returning, he has been involved in no Hammers action and now, after three years, the club have decided to let him go.

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