Tc: Fans Vital

Tony Cottee firmly believes that the fans will have a huge bearing on how the next two home games go as West Ham search for that first Upton Park win of the season.

"I think the fans have been brilliant, and I am not saying that to be patronising in any way, shape, or form," says TC, who has seen every home fixture of the campaign.

"For the first 75 minutes against Southampton they were as patient as they could possibly be, right behind the players and Glenn Roeder.

"I have been a supporter myself for over 30 years, and there have been times in the past when they have very quickly voiced their opinions - but I felt they were very understanding in that particular game.

"They just got frustrated towards the end - like everyone did.

"But it is important the fans try and play as big a part in the game against Bolton as they can, and hopefully get that first win.

"They are entitled to voice an opinion; it is not cheap to go to football now, and if you pay your money and are not happy with what you see you have every entitlement to say what you think whether it is approval or disapproval.

"But let's hope on Saturday they are all cheering and things go well for the club.

"We all hope the club will stay up and turn things round.

"I don't think there has ever been a question mark about Glenn not giving his all, and he is working hard like all the playing staff.

"It hasn't really happened for the club this season but I really hope Glenn is the man to put things right because he really did have a good first season - and it is important we don't forget that.

"It is just vitally important the club stays in the Premiership.

"Because of the last two results, Middlesbrough and Manchester United, I think the problem is it makes the two home games so important.

"Perhaps if we could have nicked a win in one of those we could have gone into the Christmas games looking to get four points out of six; it has now swung round and we have to get six out of six.

"The worrying aspect is that a points gap has opened up between the bottom four and the next team, so it is so important we win the two home games and get as many points as possible at Blackburn and Charlton.

"It is all ifs and buts but I just think when you are down at the bottom so much rubs against you as oppopsed to for you.

"Perhaps last season we would have drawn against Southampton and beaten Middlesbrough, but when you are down there football has got a funny way of kicking you in the teeth.

"They don't come much bigger than the Bolton game and I really hope we can get that elusive first home win."

TC's connectiuons with the club are as strong as ever; on Friday he was at a signing session with Frank McAvennie and Tony Gale at the club's Lakeside shop, and he is in attendance at every home game.

"I work in the lounges and people do get despondent after a game - and even before it," he admits.

"Not really expecting to win the home matches is totally different to last year when we expected to; if that elusive first win was to arrive on Saturday it would give not only the supporters but the players, management, and everyone a huge lift.

"Then we could go into the Fulham game with a lot more confidence than if we were only to draw."

Signed, framed prints commemorating the 1985/86 season are still available.

Call 0870 174 1986 to place an order.