Trevor: We Don't Have To Sell

Trevor Brooking admits that the speculation, inaccurate as it is, about West Ham's star players moving on, is "inevitable" - but stresses that no players have to be sold in the transfer window.

Trevor, who remains a non-executive director of the club until moving to the F.A. in the new year, says:

"It is inevitable, I suppose; I saw something mentioned with Michael as well as Jermain, and David James - when you get to the shop window anyone who figures prominently in our team will be linked and speculated about.

"All we can say from the club's point of view is that we are in a situation where we don't have to do anything from a financial point of view - which is good because of what happened in the summer - whereas some clubs might have to get rid of someone.

"Really it is up to Alan to look at things, assess it, and do what he thinks is best for the second half of the season so we are challenging for promotion - we all want that.

"You look at the likes of Jermain, Michael, and David and they all have got qualities so if everyone plays well and keep the same squad we could do it that way.

"It is really waiting to see what happens, I suppose, but you are not going to deflect the speculation until 31st January and if nothing has happened by then, well it didn't happen.

"But the key fact is that the club is going to be deciding, and Alan in particular - if anything happens it is because he thinks it should happen to benefit the team.

"The inevitable discussion on the likes of Michael and Jermain will always be that they have 18 months to go on their contract, so if they don't go in January you will get the same speculation next summer, and it will be never-ending.

"Naturally from the club's point of view at some stage you don't want either of them to go for nothing so it becomes more of an issue then.

"But if Alan believes they are going to be a key part of us going hopefully back up then nothing happens until the summer - and hopefully if we have bounced back up we can persuade them to stay anyway.

"It is all ifs and buts but when you get a shop window and there are good players in your side when you are in division one you will be linked with possible players going here and there.

"But the important fact is that it will be a football decision this time round."

As for the reporting of an off-the-cuff comment by Terry Brown taken out of context at a meeting of shareholders recently, Trevor adds:

"I wasn't at the AGM but I heard about it and obviously Terry was relating back to the summer when the early transfer request came in.

"That was an ill-advised decision which took some retrieving from everyone's point of view, particularly Jermain.

"And there was the issue like Joe; at some stage all players want Champions' League football if they think that is going to help them with England.

"But the issue is as the months go on was 'does Jermain want to play?' and he scored two goals against Sunderland when he came back from suspension, which says a lot.

"When the question was asked I think Terry was trying to relate to the fact that it was not easy to totally focus on playing football, which is what Jermain wants to do.

"His use of the words 'in the head' was interpreted as just that line - without including it into the other things that were said.

"So that is something I am sure Terry and everyone learns as you go along; you can just say that one line which gets you into trouble.

"But Jermain is fine about it; I saw him last week and we had a little chuckle about it in passing and I am sure Alan did as well.

"To be fair the headlines wouldn't have helped Alan prepare him to start Jermain back in the side against Sunderland but in the end it all worked out, Jermain got the two goals and it all goes away then in the wash because of the result.

"Obviously more pressure would have been put on if things hadn't gone well but hopefully now what we all need to do is concentrating on looking at the results and we hope Jermain gets a really good run of goals going.

"But no one is under any illusions that speculation will continue until January 31st."

As for money to bring in players, Trevor adds:

"I don't think there is a lot there now unless you look at a loan signing where you tap into a wage.

"Because of Marlon's signing, and Hayden - in particular those two and one or two at the start of the season, though they were the main two when Alan has been in charge - it is really a case of, at present, if you were thinking of buying somebody you would have to get some money in as such.

"But if you were thinking of bringing in a loan you would just have to look and see if you could afford the wage."

As for Christian Dailly being ruled out of the Christmas through illness, he adds:

"He has been a really consistent player for us this season, an ever-present and captain as well; probably apart from the West Brom game which came just before the Scotland playoff and it might have played on his mind when he had his only bad game of the season he has been a good leader.

"He is certainly a good man to have around the dressing room because as well as getting everyone else going he leads by example.

"It is a shame and it is unusual for pleurisy to hit anyone, particularly a footballer, and it does knock him out of the Christmas programme."

Another loss is that of Rufus Brevett for the season following more surgery, and Trevor adds:

"That was a major, major blow to be honest; he was so good for us in the second half of last season in the Premiership and it was bad enough that he was even out for the first three months of the season.

"The bone seemed to be knitting okay but once he tried to step up his work a bit he felt uncomfortable and a scan showed the bone hadn't knitted properly.

"He could carry on but it is one of those where it could pop out at the wrong moment again and if that is always going to be there in the back of your mind you might as well put a screw in now and make sure it does knit.

"But of course it is another three or four months and then the season is out of the way for him.

"In the latter stage of his career it is a big blow for him to miss a whole season - and it is a major one for us.

"So it is an area now that Alan will probably have to look at."

Trevor says that, although Chris Cohen made his debut on the left against Sunderland on the left, he cannot be expected to play every week.

"He is only 16 and you can't expect a young lad to come in and play regularly and consistently, " he insists.

"You just need a bit more competition on that side but it is easier said than done because you want to get the right person - we will see.

"Wayne has got to try and pick up his best form and make sure that he keeps that spot but at the moment without cover it is an issue that Alan and everyone is aware of."

Matthew Etherington's absence recently was a concern and Trevor adds:

"That was a difficult time because we didn't have obvious width on the right so you always relied on him giving width on the left - and certainly when he was out it was a problem.

"Sometimes you try and compensate with three strikers and they try and take up wide positions but it is not always the same.

"Matthew was important in the second half of the Sunderland game with crosses for the first couple of goals in particular.

"So we certainly want him to stay fit but you need some alternatives to give the side width when he does pick up an injury because who knows when that will happen."

Trevor is delighted that Jermain got back to scoring form upon his return against Sunderland and adds:

"The first one was one of those which as a goal poacher you instinctively follow in; David Connolly nearly had it and let's not forget Brian Deane whose entrance into the game made a big difference.

"Jermain picked up the pieces and I thought the second goal was a classic; the ball came in, he killed it with his first touch with his right and the good sign is that he didn't hesitate but quickly hit it with his right.

"18 months ago I think he might have tried to jig round and hit it with his right but we are working on his left foot and I think that has given him more confidence now - and it was a terrific goal.

"It was made to look much easier than it was.

"Marcus Stewart had a good chance when he cut in on his weaker right foot but you just felt after the West Brom 3-0 turning into a 4-3 that perhaps it was going to be all right for us at 2-0 down to win 3-2.

"That was psychologically very important after the Stoke disappointment when the performance was very poor.

"But sometimes it is better to lose a game and win a game than two pretty good draws so it was encouraging.

"I was glad I was at the Stoke game though probably the fans who were there didn't because if you hear how bad it was you can't quite put into context because it was 'bad bad.'

"The Sunderland first half was bad in terms of the 2-0 score line but probably only really got bad when the second goal went in.

"Kevin Horlock had a great chance in the first couple of minutes when he got a header that he should have scored then we gave a soft goal away.

"Then on chances we were playing better than we had in the week before we gave another dreadful goal away.

"When the second went in we had a torrid 10 minutes up to half time when everyone's confidence was shattered but in the end we really dug in to turn it round.

"Hopefully the lads themselves were pretty disappointed by that performance - it was more of a shock than anything else.

"Now we have to use that as a platform because we have to add the second win on top of that.

"The trip to Walsall is one of those funny games because they are unpredictable with the likes of Paul Merson and the results have been quite good for them at home.

"From our point of view we want that win to get a run going and we don't want to undo the work of last Saturday.

"There is no getting away from the fact that this game is extremely important."

Trevor is encouraged that Steve Lomas is on his way back and concludes:

"I think you have got the likes of someone like Steve Lomas just starting to come back and hopefully he could figure before we go into the new year.

"He is probably one to lift it whether it is with a couple of blockbusting tackles or whatever to gee everyone up in the first 10 minutes of a game like that when we start so badly.

"He is the sort of person that would have got everyone going and it was one of those where they started badly but no one took responsibility and said 'look, I will get us out of this' - and that was the annoying situation on that particular night against Stoke, especially after good performances against West Brom and Wigan away."