Winterburn's Woe

Nigel Winterburn admits that he will have a lump in his throat as he goes to Upton Park for the last time on Saturday.

Nigel's two year contract is not being renewed, and he says:

"It is always disappointing when you have to leave a club, obviously, but I have had two fantastic years here.

"I would have liked to have carried on, and I am disappointed that my contract is not being renewed, but I hope people will understand that I didn't just come here to finish off my career.

"Hopefully they will say that I have given 100% commitment to the club over the two years that I have been here."

Nigel admits the experience has been different at West Ham after a distinguished career at champions Arsenal, and he says:

"It is obviously different from being at Highbury, but I have had a great time and if somehow the club can find some more money then things can go on from there.

"It doesn't help and West Ham are a way away from Arsenal at the moment; but with a little bit of money invested into this team I am positive that they could finish in the European positions on several occasions - if they were given that money to help them."

Nigel feels it is a crossroads for the Hammers and explains:

"Trevor Sinclair was a bit unhappy because he saw the likes of Rio and Frank Lampard go; but I think he realises that if the club invests a bit more then the potential is there to get into Europe - and that is what players want to play in.

"The club have to look at the whole situation and balance the books; it is very difficult these days because the top two clubs are way out on their own, and everyone is trying to play catch up."

Nonetheless, Nigel has seen the future at Upton Park and says:

"When you play with younger players like Michael Carrick and Joe Cole it drives you on to keep going, and I have enjoyed playing with all the players there because it has been a fantastic experience."

But he knows the final curtain in the east end is upon him and adds:

"I just want to get this last game finished with; hopefully I will be playing but I don't even know that.

"Then it is a case of sitting down and looking at not only what is best for me, but also what is best for me but also at the club I am joining.

"I am 38 and I would still like to go to a club that has got ambitions for promotion; I don't want to go to a club just for the sake of playing another year.

"I want to go somewhere where I can enjoy my football, and where I have an aim at the end of the season as well."

He refutes suggestions that he is resigned to leaving the Premiership, and, when asked if he would like to stay there, says:

"Of course I would; I have said before that the only place to play is the Premiership, but at 38 that might be a little bit optimistic.

"I'll just look at all options, and if clubs are interested I will speak to them all; it is not about finance and who offers me the most money, it is about what club is right for myself - and if I can help them and their ambitions out.

"If it is a first division team it is about getting them promoted - I will just have to look at all the options and then give a decision."