Glenn: I'll Keep The Best

Glenn Roeder says that half of the secret of success in football is not having to sell your best players - which is where Newcastle United fell down when he was a player at St. James' Park.

Glenn is determined not to let it happen at Upton Park, and, illustrating his point, he says: "When I was there as a player for six years, unfortunately they were a selling club because of the people that were in control.

"I played with Beardsley, Waddle, Gascgoine, and they were all sold, but now they are a buying club, those sort of players would not now be sold, and it is a completely different vehicle.

"It has always been a great club because the supporters make it so, and although the two sets of supporters probably wouldn't agree, I think I am probably qualified to make a comparison and say our supporters and Newcastle's are very similar, especially in the way they like their football played.

"It is more than half the battle. Every club has got a nucleus of players that you want to build a squad around, and Bobby has gone in, and among his many qualities he has been able to recognise whether a player is any good or not.

"He has made some shrewd, careful purchases in the transfer market, and he has made the club that much stronger, with a fair bit of strength in depth, which is something I would like to be able to bring to West Ham.

"Just like Bobby, I recognise that we have a number of players at the squad that other clubs would like, and I would like to be able to build a squad around those players - if we can do that over the next couple of years I am sure there are good seasons to look forward to."

He says there are other similarities between the two clubs, adding: "We know we are in the winning game, but both sets of supporters like to win with a certain amount of style, with the ball played along the ground with quick accurate passing.

"They like clever attacking players in the last third of the field who can unlock defences with intelligent football.

"So, although the clubs are at opposite ends of the country, both sets of fans are working class and there is a tradition of good football from both teams, so I am certainly looking forward to going back to Newcastle.

"I must say congratulations to Bobby Robson and his backroom team. Often they don't get a mention, but I am sure he would be the first to praise the likes of John Carver who was a young professional when I was there but who never had much of a career because of injury.

"He has now made himself a top drawer football coach and Bobby will know what his worth is, just as I am very aware of what Paul Goddard, Roger Cross, and Ludo Miklosko have done to help me out towards a fairly successful season - certainly in comparison with last year.

"We are all looking forward to the game and looking to achieve our goal, which has been there for a couple of months, and that is to finish in seventh spot.

"We are determined to hang on to it, but to do that we need to get results in the last couple of games.

"I think everyone is happy at the club, except perhaps half a dozen who are not so happy because they haven't figured in the team too much as happens everywhere, but you would expect them not to be too happy.

"As long as they control their unhappiness, which I think they have as there haven't been any tantrums in training, it is okay.

"They work hard at training and I think that is because of the sessions that we put on and the environment they are now in at Chadwell Heath.

"Overall this season it has been a fantastic place to come and work at and I think the players really enjoy what we have tried to do and as the season has gone on it has shown in our play."

It has been perceived that there have been a couple of disputes between the two clubs this season - but Glenn insists: "There were a couple of misunderstandings - there was one at the start of the season concerning Trevor Sinclair and there was one recently with Olivier Bernard.

"Bobby is a very experienced person and we chatted through those couple of incidences and there have been no problems."

At the time of the reports concerning Newcastle and Trevor Sinclair, Bobby Robson, in denying he had approached the player, said 'welcome to the circus' and Glenn says: "I find him very refreshing to talk to, and for someone who is, shall we say, 60 plus, to be still managing very well in the Premiership is impressive.

"You come off the phone feeling very refreshed when you speak to him, and what comes through is his enthusiasm and his sheer energy.

"I just hope I am going as strong as he is at his age. All young managers should be aspiring to the career he has had.

"He has called me out of the blue a couple of times. He was one of the few people that gave me a call after we got hammered 7-1 at Blackburn, and he gave some words of encouragement.

"To hear someone like him to encourage me to keep focused was good stuff.

"Another time he rang was when he heard I had signed a three year contract, and he was really delighted for me - and Paul, because there are connections there.

"He was pleased for both of us that we had come through a difficult period, and he took the time to call me.

"It is little things like that, if you have got anything about you as a person, that you remember and appreciate."

The players will have a short break next week before the final push and Glenn adds: "They are having more time off than they have had before. I feel they deserve it and I think it makes sense to give them a mini-holiday.

"They will be in on Monday and then they will be off for the rest of the week before a full week's training which is preparation for the final game against Bolton."