Shaka Says Goodbye

Shaka Hislop says he has an open mind about where his next move takes him.

Although there are reports of a move to Portsmouth being in the offing, with Harry Redknapp saying he intends to speak to him in the next month, Shaka - available on a free transfer, of course - says:

"There are rumours flying about but I can't really comment on them one way or the other; I am hoping to enjoy a break now with the family and I am sure that something will come up and it is just a matter of time before I make my mind up.

"I do want to stay in the Premiership but my priority is to play first team football, and I am sure I will join a club that I am as excited about joining as when I joined West Ham.

"I have an open mind and I am not writing anything off just yet at all, but I haven't decided just yet, so I will sit back and relax a bit."

Shaka, who was one of the first high profile 'Bosman' free transfers when he joined from Newcastle, says of his four seasons at West Ham and says:

"I have certainly enjoyed four exciting years, and it is a period of my professional career that I will look back on quite fondly.

"I have had some really good times, and I have enjoyed it; it has been exciting, a lot of fun, I have enjoyed playing for the West Ham faithful, and all I can do is thank them for the support they have given me over the years."

Shaka says he knew his days were numbered when David James arrived last summer, and adds:

"From the time he arrived the writing was on the wall and I had to come to terms with the fact that this was my last season at West Ham.

"I got on very well with David; it wasn't easy at times, I'll freely admit that, because of the way I feel about the club, but such is the nature of football - and being a goalkeeper - but all good things have to come to an end.

"It is frustrating not playing; I want to play, and that is what I said to Roeder - I see myself as a first team goalkeeper, and I wanted first team football, which obviously I wasn't getting at West Ham.

"When David came it was a shock to the system because clearly there is only room for one, so with his arrival it clearly spelt my imminent departure.

"He is a fantastic goalkeeper and will serve West Ham for many a year to come."

He admits the thought of leaving during the last campaign did occur to him, and he says:

"It was six of one and half a dozen of the other; as much as I wanted to play and felt strongly about the club, I couldn't decide whether to stick it out and see what became of the season, or start looking ahead straight away.

"But as time went on I was happy to play the supporting role for the rest of the season, which I did."

Shaka did, in fact start the season between the sticks after David got injured on England duty, and he adds:

"I got a few games, which is more than I expected before the season - so I was happy to make a few appearances."