Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn has labelled Tomas Repka as his scariest teammate from his playing days.
The former West Ham defender spent five years at Upton Park between 2001-2006, and quickly earned a reputation as being a ‘hard-man’.
Signed for a then-club record £5.5million fee from Fiorentina, the 46-cap Czech Republic international was sent off on his debut against Middlesbrough for two bookable offences.
He wasn’t long out of the headlines, as he was given his marching orders in his third Hammers outing during a 7-1 loss at Blackburn.
Another sending off followed on Boxing Day in 2002 against Fulham at Craven Cottage, leading fans and pundits to describe Repka, who has been sent to prison twice, as a ‘liability’.
Though he ultimately endeared himself to the Hammers faithful after he chose to remain at the club following their relegation in 2003.
He eventually decided to return to his homeland in January 2006 having appeared in 185 games in all competitions, without scoring.
In total, Repka was sent off on four occasions for West Ham – 20 in his playing career – while picking up 55 yellow cards for the east Londoners.
Chants of ‘one Tomas Repka’ and ‘super Tomas Repka’ rang around the stands in his farewell match against Fulham, reducing him to tears.
But despite showing his softer side in his final outing, ex-Hammers star Winterburn, who played with Repka for two years between 2001-2003, revealed he was scared by the chain-smoking centre-back.
Speaking exclusively to talkSPORT.com via 888Sport, the Premier League-winning defender was asked whether Repka was his most angriest teammate.
To which he said: “I don’t actually know. I’ve played with a few people that can get a little bit angry. Don’t really know who’d be the angriest.
“I think that at times you’d probably think he most probably was the scariest, but yeah, he had that little bit of bite about him, but I was on his side, so it was absolutely fine.”
Though Winterburn did joke that he had to hide from Repka if he ever got on his bad side.
Pressed whether he got on the wrong end of him, he quipped: “No, no, no, it was absolutely fine.
“And anyway, up at Chadwell Heath, there were plenty of places to hide, and I was good at that!”
Commenting on Repka’s ill-disciplined start in England, Winterburn remarked: “It was certainly an interesting baptism of fire into the Premier League? It’s probably got to be a record, isn’t it?
“Two in three games, I don’t know whether anyone would have a better record than that in terms of being sent off.”
And despite being an elite-level athlete, Winterburn has revealed Repka treated himself to a cigarette after training as opposed to a protein shake.
He said: “I used to see him come out of the training ground with his blacked out windows and then the window used to be down a little bit.
“And you used to see the smoke coming out of the window from a cigarette.”
Winterurn added: “You’d come out of the car park because I was usually closely following him to get home, and see the smoke coming out of the windows.
“[I] didn’t even need to look at the car, you just go, ‘oh yeah, that’s Tomas’.”
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Source From: Football News, Transfers, Opinion – talkSPORT