Tc: Hammers Will Be Fine

Tony Cottee says there is no danger of West Ham playing Millwall in the league next year...

Tony, at the Den until the end of the season at least, reckons the possibility of the fixture is a no-no and says: "I think we'll see Millwall in the first division next year but I sincerely hope we are not going to see West Ham in it.

"I was looking at the paper this morning and I'm a little bit concerned because they are not too far off in terms of points from Coventry, but they are away to Manchester United on saturday, and if the Hammers can win then you are looking at a big gap.

"Realistically you are only looking at a win and a draw from their last few games, but you have got to be careful and if you are on a bit of a poor run which obviously the club has been recently you can easily get sucked into it.

"Until you get to that magical 40 or 41 points you can't really take it easy.

"I'm only looking from the outside and it seems that the club was geared up to getting to the FA cup final next year.

"That's what it felt like after winning at Manchester United and Sunderland and I kept saying to everyone I'm really worried about the Tottenham home game.

"I felt it would be typical of the club to do so well away and then lose at home in the quarters.

"That, unfortunately, was how it turned out, and it really seemed to have dented everyone's confidence and the club is just on a bad run at the moment.

"But with the amount of talent there, some fantastic players at the club, it's just a case of getting that win or two for premiership football next season - which is obviously where West Ham has got to be.

"To be relegated would be an absolute disaster but I can confidently say I don't think that is going to happen to the club."

TC believes that the youngsters, especially, will improve as a result of the current situation.

"Sometimes you learn a lot more from having bad experiences as opposed to having good experiences - like it was for me with managing this season.

"I think for most of the season thing have been going really well for the youngsters Joey, Michael and Frank.

"But when you go through a period where you are not winning games and maybe not playing so well, and perhaps the crowd are a bit anxious I think you learn more, particularly as a young player.

"And when the good times come back you appreciate them a lot more.

"I'm sure the players are learning from this experience and I'm sure it will help them."

So what price dyed in the wool claret and blue Tony scoring the goal that gets Millwall into the first division?

"I've got to get in the team first," he says.

"I wasn't even in the 16 that played Port Vale this week.

"It's been a very long hard season for me, certainly in terms of how many clubs I've had!

"I've had the mental stress of being the manager and I personally can't wait until the end of the season.

"I'll recharge the batteries and clear my head, but at the moment I honestly don't know whether I want to retire or play on.

"I do need a bit of a break to clear the mind and then see where I end up at the start of next season.

"But I've got it into my head that I want to get 300 career goals and by my reckoning I've got 292 at the moment.

"So I need to get 8 from somewhere!"

Where that somewhere is remains to be seen, but he says:

"I keep reading that West Ham are looking for a goalscorer to finish in the 18 yard box.

"If I could just stand in it for the whole game I might be OK but there is such a thing as offside..."