West Ham United have confirmed that Wally Downes has relinquished current duties as first team coach at Upton Park.

The decision comes as a surprise to both the club and manager Sam Allardyce as the Premier League outfit begin a busy Christmas period. Big Sam has nevertheless allowed Downes, 51, to leave the club almost midway through the season.

The former West Ham first team coach played as a midfielder for Wimbledon’s Crazy Gang, making over 200 appearances between 1979 and 1988. He has been recognised as one of the main characters at the club during the formation of the infamous Crazy Gang spirit.

When Downes’ playing career ended he took up the reins at Brentford for a short spell after Steve Coppell left. He then proceeded to rejoin Coppell at Reading before joining Southampton and then West Ham.

Downes was initially hired in November 2010 serving as the team’s defensive coach under the managerial direction of Avram Grant. Then, when Allardyce was charged with the responsibility of guiding the East London club back into the top flight, Downes was swiftly made first team coach.

His departure signals the end of a successful two-year spell at Upton Park.

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