David: Hammers Were First Choice

David Connolly reveals that he had plenty of offers to go elsewhere this summer - but once West Ham were interested so was he.

And it is the quality of his new team mates that swayed his decision - even if he knows there will be competition for a starting spot up front.

"Yes, of course that is there and that is the reason why I came here; I could have gone to other clubs but, because of the quality of players at West Ham, with the name and the tradition it has, all the good players that have been here over the years - and obviously the good players that are here at the moment - I chose West Ham.

"I am looking forward to the challenge and that is the reason why I have come.

"I am a striker and I know there are very good strikers here; I know it will be a battle to get into the team but I am confident in my ability as well and whoever is playing the best and scoring goals, making goals, or working hardest for the team will play.

"That is fine with me; I am just there, another striker competing for a place."

Some of the offers were from the Premiership but David says:

"I spoke to a lot of very good managers who put a lot of time into signing me; I appreciate that but in the end I decided West Ham was the club for me.

"I know Glenn Roeder from when I was at Watford and it is great to be hooking up with him and working with him again."

Ten years later than when Glenn not only handed him his league debut at 16 - but the odd rollocking?

"I have had worse," he smiles, adding:

"West Ham is a fantastic football club with a great tradition - I would say for me it is a great move and it is the type of club where every footballer would love to play his football at."

He does keep a note of all his goals - and there have been plenty of them - but explains:

"I am sure every striker does that; they are based on their goals.

"I am sure I am not just speaking for myself and that every striker knows whether it was their left foot, their right foot, their knee, whatever.

"It is important; that is your job, you keep track of it, and I try and do it as best as I can."

So, for instance, can he recall his first goal of the last campaign?

The pause is brief.

"Last season? I think it was Sheffield United away."

As for his current situation, he says:

"I haven't played any competitive games but that will come; I missed preseason last season having unfortunately got injured in my first game back over the summer following the World Cup, so I am not too concerned about that - once I am back training I don't think it will be a problem catching up.

"I haven't been resting anyway; I have been training and it is just that I have missed the competitiveness but that will come."

David was one of the first, if not the first player, to leave England on a Bosman free transfer when he went to Feyenoord in 1997, and he recall:

"I was young at the time and probably one of the first ones to go; Feyenoord are a similar club to West Ham with great traditions and some excellent players there, so I was very fortunate.

"I was a young age to go abroad and maybe it was too early, but I learnt a lot from it and it has made me a much better player.

"I came back to Wimbledon and obviously that went well; now I am pleased to be here.

"I'd like to think I am reaching my best years; I feel I have all the tools I need for my game and what better place to show them that at a club like West Ham.

"I honestly couldn't think of as better place to play.

"I have been at the training ground all day so I have met most of the players, they seem like a good bunch, and I am looking forward to getting to know them.

"I am surprised they went down with the players they have because they are a very good side, but the Premiership is a tough league."

As for what the Hammers will need to bounce back up, David warns:

"I think we will need to be well prepared for all the games; there are a lot that might look easy to win on paper but invariably they are tough, and I wouldn't take any of the opposition lightly.

"I think we need to score a lot of goals and be consistent, playing well for a large majority of this season.

"West Ham will come across good players and good teams this season, but I am sure they are more than a match for them.

"I think the club can definitely go up at the first attempt; it is going to be a long hard season but I can see us being in the Premiership in a year.

"Everything is geared to that and it is unusual for them to be in the football league - but I am sure it is just for one season."

He feels the move will do no harm to his international career and adds:

"I have been fortunate enough to be playing for Ireland since I was 18 or 19, seven years now, and I am sure being at such a good club like West Ham will help me stay in or around the Ireland team."

The finalising of the transfer was a little protracted, but David insists there is nothing sinister in that.

"There has been no problem as such but obviously Wimbledon are in administration so it is not like dealing with a football club for a transfer in the normal way," he says.

"It is a bit more difficult and there are more hurdles to cross but thank god we overcame them today and I am delighted to have signed."