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2012-08-23T07:53:00 Updated 2015-02-19T02:00:09

Taylor's Twitterings

Matt Taylor's new light-hearted column in the matchday programme seems to have gone down well with supporters.

Here, carries an exclusive look at the midfielder's column from Saturday's Aston Villa programme, where he discusses the pros and cons of pre-season, opticians and his hopes for the new Barclays Premier League season.

And do not forget, Taylor's column will also appear in West Ham United's new digital programe, which is available to download at 9am on the day of each home game. The digital version carries all of the great features of the regular matchday programme plus exclusive video content and is available on iphone, ipad, ipod Touch and Android devices alongside PC and Mac.

What is more, it costs just £1.99 per edition or £29.99 for the whole season (including any previous issues already published). For more information, click here.

Tweet tweet
As many of you may know, I have recently returned to twitter and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

I was on twitter before about 18 months ago when I was at Bolton Wanderers but I came off largely because I was a bit naïve. It wasn't that I couldn't handle the negativity but more that I found it hard not to bite and have my opinion - that was the reason I came off.

It wasn't the abuse, but that I wanted to answer people's tweets but I couldn't do so properly and give real answers in 140 characters.

This time I'm not naïve and I know people will air their opinions, particularly after bad results, but I appreciate that every fan is entitled to that opinion because we all think we know how the game should be played!

I'm no different from that and I understand that the fans are what makes football and I'm enjoying it second time around. I am not making it solely football-based. I'm just tweeting whatever is on my mind and taking photographs whenever I can! You can follow me @Official_MattT

Pre-season pros and cons
After eight weeks of hard work, pre-season training has ended and we embark on our Barclays Premier League campaign today. Pre-season is a long, hard slog but it is a necessary evil because you have to be fit come the start of the season.

It can be difficult at times because we've been away three times and, as a father of three young children, they are used to me being around during the summer. From a completely selfish point of view, it is a lot easier to go away because it means I can concentrate totally on my football, but the most difficult part for me is being away from my family.

I have been happily married for six years now and I'm very fortunate because my wife knows and understands the requirements of my job. Some of the younger lads have young wives or girlfriends and children and it could put a strain on relationships - particularly as we are away so often during the season too - but I think the players here have understanding families.

Matt Taylor

What we do affords us a wonderful lifestyle and we are very fortunate to be in the position that we are, so everybody knows what comes with the territory in terms of spending time away from home. Let's be honest, it could be a lot worse.

Concentrating on this particular pre-season, it has been a very match-heavy schedule. We have been away to Austria, Germany and Portugal and played fixtures in each.

The most difficult moment, in my opinion, was the evening that we lost 3-0 at Dynamo Dresden. I got quite a few tweets from fans about that night and also the defeat at Ipswich and I completely understand where they are coming from in terms of the results.

I am a football fan too and we all have opinions, but the bigger picture that the majority of supporters understand that if we win today, then pre-season results are rendered far less important.

Personally, I believe pre-season is about making sure you come through injury-free-, because if you don't you are always playing catch-up fitness-wise, which is always difficult. The best parts have been the downtime we have enjoyed as a group, which is important.

In Austria, we played golf, while in Germany we went on a bike ride - as you can see Coley enjoyed it! We also enjoyed an afternoon of free time in Dresden and we all went for a coffee together.

Carlton Cole

In Portugal, we spent a couple of hours by the pool together just relaxing. It is important that we build friendships with one another as team-mates and the manager is very hot on us having a group mentality, so we try to do things as a group.

Time for an MOT
We were hugely fortunate that the club arranged for us to undergo what is basically an MOT during pre-season.

We were visited at the training ground by a heart screening team, a dentist and an optician, among others, while we also had our blood tested. We are very lucky!

For us, it is great because it means any issues are picked up straight away and it also means we don't have to worry about making - and forgetting about - appointments!

The backroom staff was also tested, as you can see from my photo of our sports therapist Will Storey, who looks like a small 'Where's Wally?'!

Will Storey

Premier League predictions
The new season starts today and I'd love to see three or four teams challenge for the title.

Manchester City will be there again, Manchester United are always up there, while Chelsea and Arsenal have made some great signings. Liverpool are an unknown entity with a new manager and new players, but they'll be very good, and Tottenham are in the same boat.

Personally, I'd like to see it evenly-contested and not one team sitting ten points clear. At the other end, I've learned that there are no easy games in the Premier League, so I think it would be disrespectful to predict who is going to struggle.

Digital programme cover

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