Nigel's Strike Fear

Nigel Winterburn says he fervently hopes that there will not be a players' strike.

Although the notion originally put forward that West Ham's game at Charlton on Monday could be the first match hit has been discredited, the idea of having to withdraw his labour is nonetheless a worry to Nigel.

"I hope there won't be a players' strike," he says, "with everything going on in the world and this country, with people losing their jobs, I believe it would be a disaster for football and everybody to have a strike.

"But, saying that, we have got strong beliefs about what should happen and I just hope that it can be sorted in the next week or so."

He says that he is concerned about the image of the game being adversely affected, adding: "I don't know about anybody else but I am fed up reading about what will or won't happen and I would really rather concentrate on playing the games rather than have people asking me if I am going to strike or not - it's not really what I am interested in.

"Football has had a tremendous run over the last two or three years and it just reminds me about what happened in America with the baseball when they went on strike.

"It is not the right thing to do and I think all the parties should act in a grown up way, sit down, and sort it out.

"They could put the game in serious jeopardy and I don't think the general public know what it is all about."

The issue concerns what percentage of TV money goes to the players' union and, although the overwhelming majority of the players have voted in favour of strike action if necessary, Nigel insists: "The PFA know they have got the backing so they can push it to the limit but I think that if you ask all the players, even though 99% of players said they would strike, they would rather not and the answer would be definitely 'let's get on, play football, and sort this out as quickly as possible'.

"I think Gordon Taylor and the Premier League know it is one to be avoided because it would spoil everybody's enjoyment if players didn't play, and it will deprive people of watching games on the telly."

"There are two sides to everything and I just hope they can clear it up very quickly."