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Belgian footballer’s dream move to England collapses after Twitter backlash
Belgian international footballer Ilombé Mboyo’s dream move to the English Premier League collapsed yesterday after a Twitter backlash over the 26-year-old’s previous conviction for rape, reports the Daily Mirror. West Ham United chairman David Sullivan has confirmed the club have scrapped a move for a striker once jailed for his part in a gang-rape; the Hammers had previously considered signing Belgium international, 26. The AA Gent striker hit 20 goals last season and would have played on the right side of attack, a position West Ham have been trying to fill for several weeks. Angry fans have bombarded social media demanding the club abandon the bid, however, after it emerged Mboyo served three years of an eight-year sentence for his part in the gang-rape of a 14-year-old when he was just 16. Sullivan confirmed that the Hammers have considered the feelings of the club’s fans and pulled the plug. “I couldn’t go against the supporters,” he said. “We wanted their opinions and they seem to have said no”. Mboyo, who was a Norwich target in last season's winter window, was described by Manchester City as ‘a rare pearl’ after he came through Anderlecht’s academy. During the striker’s time in jail, he enrolled in a rehabilitation scheme called Football In Prison and trained with Belgian club Charleroi. A move there was confirmed after his release and he continued his career with moved to FV Kortrijk and AA Gent. Only last October, Mboyo replaced Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke in Belgium’s 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Scotland.