With the 30-year-old departing the London Stadium under a cloud, Rafferty, who hung up her boots from playing this summer, has lifted the lid on the striker’s “disrespectful” attitude, suggesting the Hammers had grown tired of his behaviour.
Rafferty told talkSPORT’s Kick Off programme, the former Iron said: “I think in the end West Ham got fed up of him – he’s got a bit of an attitude, clearly. In and around the training ground he’d always be quite disruptive of our training sessions when he’d walk over.
“We train in the same place [as the men], but obviously on separate pitches, separated by one of the stadiums. On multiple occasions, he was just quite disruptive and disrespectful of our training sessions.
“He’d be walking back from finishing his training and would shout over the wall and just be disrespectful. Bearing in mind we were doing tactical work, it’s a total disregard for what we’re doing; there’s no way in hell any of us would do that during one of their training sessions.”
It seemed pretty clear from the outside looking in that Arnautovic was quite a character but Rafferty’s revelations give fans a clear idea of just how disruptive he was behind-the-scenes. It is completely out of line for any player to be disrupting a training session, be that the men’s senior side, the women’s team or a youth squad. Rafferty does not suggest that the striker was reprimanded for his actions but perhaps he should have been, for there was quite clearly a line crossed. If this is how he behaved on the training ground then there might well be many thinking ‘good riddance’. However, finding someone to replace his goals up front, having netted 11 of West Ham’s 52 strikes in the Premier League last season, is a task easier said than done and it might be for this reason the Irons were happy to deal with his off-field misdemeanours. With the 30-year-old now gone, the Hammers might well be a happier squad on the training ground – but can they find a way to be as dangerous when it comes to match day?