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2013-05-11T08:00:00 Updated 2015-02-19T00:43:18

Cottee previews Everton trip

Tony Cottee knows a thing or two about Hammer of the Year awards, Lifetime Achievement Award winner Billy Bonds MBE and West Ham United versus Everton fixtures.

The 47-year-old was crowned Hammer of the Year in 1986 and voted runner-up on three occasions, played alongside Bonds for five seasons and represented both West Ham and Everton during an illustrious playing career.

Cottee spoke to West Ham TV about all three subjects, as well as revealing his own personal Hammer of the Year, in an exclusive interview conducted at the 2012/13 Player Awards.

You attended the Player Awards, where Winston Reid was crowned Hammer of the Year. You of course won the accolade in 1985/86 at the end of West Ham's finest-ever league season. What are your memories of that achievement?

TC - "I didn't expect to win it, to be honest. It was a wonderful season for everyone at the Club and my great mate Frank McAvennie had arrived from Scotland and beat me to be leading goalscorer. I honestly thought that Frank would win it.

"Mark Ward had a great season as well and I thought maybe I might get third or second place. It was fantastic to win it because it was so unexpected. I had been runner-up in 1984 and 1985 and I thought I'd be runner-up again.

"I had another good year that year, but personally I think Frank should have won it because he had come down from Scotland and his impact was incredible. It was a wonderful year for me and a wonderful award and I'm so pleased that I won it.

"I was also runner-up in 1995 to Steve Potts, so I had three runners-up and one win in 1986. I've still got the trophy pride of place at home and it was a great achievement for me.

"You always like to be appreciated by your team-mates and fellow professionals and I also won the PFA Young Player of the Year in 1986, so that was great for me personally for the other players to vote for me.

"When the fans vote for you, it's even more special because they are the ones who turn up every week and I have always said the West Ham fans are among the most knowledgeable fans in the country. They know their football and to follow the likes of Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking, Geoff Hurst and Bobby Moore was wonderful for me."

Winston Reid was the fans' pick for Hammer of the Year this season. Who would you have picked?

TC - "There are probably a few who deserve a mention. Andy Carroll has done well in spells when he has been fit. I think Kevin Nolan has also been banging the goals in and deserves a mention. Joey O'Brien has been nice and steady wherever he has played.

"I think Mo Diame has had a decent season, perhaps not all the time, but there have been games where he has been fantastic and scored a couple of memorable goals as well. I'd maybe give James Collins a mention as well.

"For me, it's got to be Winston Reid. I think he has been absolutely outstanding. Consistently, week-in, week-out you know what you are going to get. More often than not he is the man of the match. I think he deserves it."

Why has Winston been so good this season?

TC - "People say to me 'I'm surprised with how well Winston has done' and I reply 'Well, why are you surprised?' because I worked on the World Cup in 2010 and he was absolutely outstanding for New Zealand.

"The Club have signed him and it has taken a bit of time to settle in, but that can happen, particularly when you come from abroad. You have got to find your feet and get used to the pace of the Premier League and it's not that easy.

"After an indifferent first season, I think he has been fantastic for the Club. He has been wonderfully consistent and deserves to be given the Hammer of the Year award."

Our first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Billy Bonds made his debut when you were just two years old, but you later played alongside him for five seasons. To play for the Club for more than 20 years and win Hammer of the Year four times were amazing accomplishments, weren't they?

TC - "To do all that and to play more than 700 games for West Ham was a fantastic achievement. When I grew up as a West Ham fan as a kid and watch them play, I used to admire Billy Bonds. All of a sudden, as a 17-year-old, I got into the first team and was playing alongside Billy Bonds!

"He went on to play until he was 41 or 42 years of age and his achievements speak for themselves. If anyone ever deserved an inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award, I cannot think of anyone better. Of all the living Hammers, there is no-one more deserving of this honour than Billy Bonds."

We go to your other old club Everton on Sunday. David Moyes will take charge of the Blues for the last time at Goodison Park before going to Manchester United in the summer. What are your thoughts on Moyes' move to Old Trafford?

TC - "I've got a lot of time for David Moyes. I have had the privilege of spending time with him in his office and he always makes me feel very welcome at my other old club Everton. I think he will be a great appointment and a great choice for Manchester United. I wish him all the best."

What are your views on Sunday's game itself?

TC - "It's a difficult ground to go to and always has been for West Ham. I remember we always felt playing at Goodison was going to be a tough game and, as an Everton player, we always knew it was going to be a relatively easy game. I've been on both sides of the fence!

"It'll be interesting to see what happens. A nice, gentle 1-1 draw will suit both teams. From West Ham's point of view, we are playing to finish as high as we can and maybe we can get the points to take us above Swansea, which would be nice.

"All the players are playing for their places for next season. If you go into the game and think 'I might not give it my all' and then you are not in the team for the first game of next season, you can only look at yourself. There is a lot of personal pride to play for and two or three thousand West Ham fans going up there expecting a performance."


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