Rai: I Play On

Raimond van der Gouw says he intends to carry on playing next season - preferably in England.

Raimond, one of 10 senior players released in the summer, reveals: "I will try to find another club, and that could be in England.

"The family is really settled in London so I will try to get a club in and around there so I don't have to move house again.

"The other option is going back to Manchester because I know the area, so around there would be fine as well - back to Old Trafford would be nice!

"If I can't find anything we will go back to Holland, but I do hope to play another couple of years. All the West Ham players are saying they don't expect me to retire because I am fit enough to play another two or three years, and that is a good compliment."

Raimond, who came to the club on a free transfer last summer after six seasons at Manchester United, admits he is sorry to leave Upton Park.

"I am sad to leave West Ham United because I didn't have the feeling that I have shown what I am capable of," he says.

"I didn't play in the first team though I showed it in the reserves - but that doesn't count.

"I knew I was number two but to be honest I expected I would have a couple of games, at least one, and that was really frustrating.

"I expected that I would have another year, that my contract would be extended, so I am disappointed. I did everything I could to contribute my experience to other players - I hope the youngsters learnt a lot from me but you will have to ask them!"

The 40-year-old hopes that Steve Bywater, who came on in the second half for the injured Rhys Evans in the England under-21s 3-2 friendly win over Serbia and Montenegro on Monday, will have a good career after he indicated he will sign a new contract at Upton Park.

"I think he is a very talented goalkeeper but he was injured for a long time in the season so it is difficult for me to give a fair opinion," says Raimond.

As for David James' hopes of firming up the number one position for the full squad, he adds: "It is up to him and the manager of England."

Raimond is shocked by West Ham's loss of Premiership status and he admits: "When I signed for West Ham I didn't expect us to be in the relegation zone and I never expected to go down, so in that way I am disappointed and also surprised.

"We have a lot of talent in the team, with a mixture of experience and young players as well - it is strange.

"It is a totally different world, though, if you compare West Ham United with Man United and it is not fair to make that comparison."

As for West Ham's future, he concludes: "I expect I will keep in touch with some of the players, and if they can keep the squad together, the most important players, I think they can bounce straight back.

"If they work in the right way and train in the right way I don't see a problem.

"If they stay for one season in the first division it is not bad for the experience; in a certain way it can even help the young players because you play a lot of games in the first division.

"Then you will appreciate the Premier League much more."

There has been a certain amount of misinformation in some publications at the weekend about which West Ham players were released this summer.

One newspaper listed just four released and omitted, for example, Paolo Di Canio, while another said that Les Ferdinand had been told he would not be offered a new contract after all - this is not true, and negotiations are ongoing with Les, who is optimistic about signing a new contract.

It was also stated that David Noble had been freed, when in fact he has been offered a new deal which he has indicated he would be signing.