Goals Galore

While attention naturally focuses on the first team's exploits, aficionados of youth football could do worse than watching the Hammers' U9 team in the new year - with goals, in the 'for' column, pretty much guaranteed!

What's more, you may bump into Glenn Roeder or Rob Lee down at Little Heath on a Sunday morning cheering on their sons to almost certain victory.

Over-confidence? Not really, when 87 goals have been scored in just 12 games - all, as you might imagine, unbeaten. Rob, whose son Elliot is a prolific forward, says:

"The U9s have got a very good team - exceptional - and I have watched most games this season with my young lad playing.

"They have got some very good players and haven't lost a game yet - so it would be nice if we could emulate them!

"I have watched them play all the top teams like the Arsenals and Chelseas; they have outplayed them and won games comfortably.

"Teams are now playing older players against them, which is a complement to them, really."

One can safely say that Elliot has notched a few more goals this season than Rob has in his entire professional career, though Rob admits:

"I don't know how many goals he has scored, but it is quite a few - he thinks he is the new Shearer, I think!"

Will Elliot or his pals ever make it as pros themselves though?

"I think it is too early; many players that have been good at that age either don't improve or lose interest as they get older," says Rob.

"It is very hard to tell, though you can tell if they have a chance, and there are five or six of them that look very good - but you just have to let them enjoy it.

"At that age it is very important, and the coach Mark Ellis seems to come across very well and lets them enjoy it - and they always want to be training, which is a good sign.

"There is not too much pressure put on them because if they do make it, the pressure is immense, and it is getting bigger as every year goes by.

"They just enjoy being with their mates and if they can win that is a bonus."

Rob himself knows about high scoring kids' games - though more often than not having been on the wrong end of them - and he says:

"I have had that throughout my career; in my younger times I got beaten 15-0 by Tony Cottee's team, so it is nice to watch my son winning 15-0..."

Glenn's son is called Joe - a defender - and, for the record, the scores on the doors are as follows:

Ipswich 4-0

Tottenham Hotspur 8-1

Palace 8-0

Chelsea 4-4

Tottenham Hotspur 12-4

Watford 4-2

Southampton 4-3

Ipswich Town 6-5

Fulham 9-1

Reading 4-3

Arsenal 8-3

Watford 15-1