Glenn Keeps Counsel

As Hammers fly out to Portugal's Algarve today for six days spent warm weather training, Glenn Roeder says he will maintain his dignity - and not publicly attack the critics who had it in for him even before last season began.

This time last year, soon after taking over from Harry Redknapp, he was being pilloried even before the Hammers had kicked a ball in anger. In fact, he was swiftly installed by the bookies as one of the favourites for the sack.

But he insists retribution is not his style, and explains: "That's not for me; it never will be and I'll never change.

"I am the same person today as I was this time last year. It doesn't matter what happens, I won't change.

"I have seen too many people change for the worse, in my opinion, and thankfully I am experienced and old enough to recognise that now. I will always be the same person."

Although the temptation must be great, Glenn is more concerned with looking to the future rather than the past. "Away from the playing side we have really shown our commitment to the academy," says an enthusiastic Glenn, looking out of his office window as the old gymnasium at Chadwell Heath comes down.

"By the end of November we will have a brand new 60 by 40 metre area for the academy - and, of course, for the first team during the winter months when they can't get onto the pitches at Chadwell Heath.

"It is such a big area, it gives you the chance to have excellent practice and coaching sessions inside.

"We will have a new synthetic floor that I have been to look at - it is very close to the real thing.

"That is the way we are trying to move the academy on; we don't want to be left behind the Arsenals, Chelseas and the Tottenhams, with what they've got.

"But the senior players will enjoy training on it during the winter months and the kids will get fantastic use out of it - and hopefully we will be producing more stars of the future."

Not to mention, hopefully, more results and performances to ridicule Glenn Roeder's critics...