Oz Game Eagerly Anticipated

Glenn Roeder says that the decision to stage the England v Australia international at Upton Park next February is "fully deserved."

With Upton Park becoming something of a home from home for Sven-Goran Eriksson - it was the first ground he visited when he took over as England manager - the choice is, perhaps a logical one, and Glenn says: "The chairman and the board of directors must be so delighted to have got a full international at Upton Park.

"It is a massive honour, fantastic - and fully deserved.

"An awful lot of hard work has gone into the club by the chairman and the board, especially the new stand project in the last couple of years.

"It must be very gratifying for him personally to see all that hard work being rewarded with the first full international at Upton Park.

"He is feeling pretty chuffed, and rightly so, that Upton Park has been selected and I imagine he will be a very proud man on the day of the game.

"Hopefully by then we will have plenty more points, please God."

Australia have never beaten England at football, unlike their cricket team, and the last time the two sides met was in 1991 when the line up was: Chris Woods, Paul Parker, Stuart Pearce, David Batty, Des Walker, Mark Wright, David Platt, Geoff Thomas, Nigel Clough, Gary Lineker (Dennis Wise) and David Hirst (John Salako).

Australian coach Frank Farina is looking forward to the game, and adds: "I'm absolutely delighted that Soccer Australia has been able to confirm this historic match against England.

"I'm equally positive that this will be one match that all of Australia will be interested in, given our great sporting rivalry with England.

"With this match being the first international for many of our players since our World Cup qualifier against Uruguay, the players will be determined to give something back to the fans and get a good result to further improve upon our international reputation."

Australia failed to qualify for the World Cup finals after losing to Uruguay over two legs in the play offs last year.

As far as ticket arrangements go, it is the Football Association, not West Ham, who control ticket sales.

A meeting to discuss ticketing takes place on the 17th of November, and it hoped that an announcement will be made by the end of the month.

Please, however, do not contact the club about tickets for the game at this stage.

Meanwhile, there is a new kick off time for the match at Highbury against Arsenal in the new year.

It has moved from Saturday, 18th January 2003 to Sunday, 19th January 2003 at 2pm.

The home fixture with Liverpool, originally scheduled for Saturday, 1st February 2003, will now be played on Sunday, 2nd February 2003 at 2pm.