Former West Ham striker Trevor Morley has discussed rumours of his homosexuality. The player suffered homophobic abuse from fans after whispers spread he was in a relationship with another player.

Morley was stabbed by his wife in March 2000. According to the claims she had caught him in bed with colleague Ian Bishop. The rumours were never repeated in the national media and Morley turned down newspaper offers to tell his story.

According to football blog West Ham Til I Die, he told EX magazine he said he suspected his wife of starting the rumours.

He said: “I even think it must have been her who started the rumour about me being caught in bed with Bish. Nothing about Bish, me and the gay talk had ever been reported in the media, so how did those rumours spread so quickly?

“Within two days of my stabbing, my sister phoned from Nottingham to ask: ‘What’s all this we’ve heard up here about you and Bish?’ It was amazing how it spread just through word of mouth, and, I have to say, I didn’t handle it well.”

Morley continued: “The rumours about me being gay killed me for a while. I’ve got nothing against gays – I now have friends who are gay – but it’s not nice to be called a homosexual when you aren’t one.

“How many times does Robbie Williams have to come out and tell the world he isn’t gay? The more you say it, the more people start to believe it’s true… It ruined my football for a while. I’d go out onto the field and hide. I didn’t want to be there… Hearing gay comments from some West Ham fans was hard to take.”