Julian Backs Ian

Former star Julian Dicks has sent a message of congratulations to Ian Pearce for making his long awaited comeback on Saturday, and says: "I hope your knee is in a better state than mine."

Putting aside his own disappointment at having to 'retire' again following a return to playing action with Ryman League Canvey Island, he says he was delighted that Ian made his comeback after 10 months on the sidelines.

Julian, who has played with Ian for West Ham, says: "It is a nightmare when you are out for so long. You just want to get back and play and train and hopefully it will hold up.

"It is good news for him and it good news for the club as well.

"I wouldn't say he is skilful, but he is a good player and a big lad! He does his job well and it is another boost for the defence."

As for his own truncated comeback, Julian admits: "I enjoyed it. It was good fun but unfortunately my knee didn't last so I decided to stop.

"I got a lot of publicity out of it as well. It is a shame but these things happen."

Julian hopes that his association with football can be restored, however, and adds: "I didn't realise how much I missed it and I want to get into coaching or management, though for the moment I am just going to concentrate on the golf and see how that goes.

"Unfortunately with the weather we have had it is not easy to practise and play.

"But if the team was right I would like to get back into football. I do miss it, even playing for Canvey."

And his love affair with West Ham is certainly undiminished. After turning his back on the the game as a whole for a couple of years following his professional bow at Upton Park, he returned in October for the first time since he stopped playing for West Ham to co-commentate for www.whufc.com - and he has promised to do so again before the end of the season, now that his Saturdays are free once more.

"I always check their results," he says, "and I think it is good news for the club that Glenn has signed a three year contract.

"He had only been there a few months and people had been calling for his head, but he didn't have enough time to get the team that he wanted.

"We all know there are some great players down there and he will turn it round in time."