Psycho In The City

Stuart Pearce has brought an end to the recent speculation about his future by leaving Upton Park to join his former England boss Kevin Keegan at Manchester City. And former team-mate Ian Pearce has wished his namesake good luck in his new role as player-coach at Maine Road - and backed him to do a good job.

When told of Stuart's departure, he said: "Is he leaving? I didn't know that, but I wish him all the best.

"He has got a lot of knowledge of the game and was fantastic for West Ham last season, so I think he will be brilliant as a coach.

"The fans appreciated him by voting him Hammer of the Year and to get it at that age shows how fantastically he performed for West Ham.

"Now I'll be able to get the 'I.' taken off my back!"

Ian is already looking forward to next season, and insists that the critics of Glenn Roeder's appointment have done the club a favour.

Far from worrying about the reaction, he stresses: "The good thing for me is that everyone has written us off already and that gives us that incentive to prove we are better than people are saying.

"I think it will do us a favour because it will give us something to push against, so we can prove people wrong.

"Under the new regime I think we will all benefit from the coaching and man management involved.

"We've got some great young talent mixed with all the other young players.

"And the manager has said he is going to buy some more players as well so it will keep everyone on their toes pushing in the same direction.

"If we can keep people like Fredi and bring Jermain Defoe in, and keep everyone together we can have a good season.

"I'd like us to go about it quietly and get on with the job of getting ready for the season.

"Whoever's picked will do their best for West Ham and I don't think anyone can ask for more."

Ian knows that, despite the departure of Stuart, there could well be increased competition at the back, and adds: "The manager might bring some more defenders in but whoever is playing will have to get a good understanding of each other.

"Hopefully we can get sturdy at the back and not concede as many goals as last season."

Meanwhile, new City boss Keegan revealed that he was delighted to have secured the services of the veteran defender. He said: "Having worked with Stuart before I am confident that his strengths and leadership qualities will be a great addition to the team, not only on the pitch, but also in the dressing room and around the training complex.

"Stuart brings with him some excellent qualities which everyone at the Club will benefit from, he is a natural athlete and a great professional."