Clive On Future

Clive Delaney hopes to be back at Upton Park when the new season starts - aiming to prove that he can break into professional football in his early 20s.

Clive, who joined West Ham on a free transfer in January after his contract with University College Dublin expired, reveals:

"I hope to stick around; at the moment we are discussing the possibility of me going back next year, so hopefully it will turn into something - and I look forward to going back at the start of July for preseason.

"There is an offer there and at the moment we are discussing the details of it; there is no real sticking point, it is just the usual details, but I am not too experienced with it.

"I just want to let it happen as soon as possible because it is my first choice; I really enjoyed my time and I want to be involved in getting the team back in the Premiership next season."

Clive, who has two degrees, did not expect to make a career of football, and adds:

"It was quite amazing at that is why it took me by surprise, really, having just started a full time job in Ireland and playing part time in the Eircom League.

"I honestly believed I was a bit too old to get the chance to do something like this but when the chance came along I was obviously delighted to take it and thankfully it hasn't gone too badly."

He has yet to be involved in the first team squad, of course, but has trained with them regularly and adds:

"It is not the situation we had all hoped for, so I guess everyone is going to be down for a few days or maybe a couple of weeks, but the most important thing is now that we concentrate on getting the team back into the Premiership for next year - and we all have to be in the right frame of mind for preseason."

Ironically, Bolton were another club that wanted Clive in January, and no one needs reminding that, in effect, their survival cost West Ham a Premiership place.

"That was one of the other clubs that I had the opportunity of going on trial to but having come to West Ham I don't think there was really any choice to make for me anyway - I have no regrets at all," he insists.

Clive couldn't have lived closer to work than any footballer in the country since he came over from Ireland, having stayed in the West Ham United Quality hotel at the ground.

He insists he hasn't pinched a towel as he heads back to Eire, and adds:

"They are sick of the sight of me down there, to be honest, so I imagine they are glad I have gone - but seriously they have been very good to me and I can't complain.

"It is different living at the ground but after a few months it gets a bit tedious, really."

When he does return, he will be seeking a more permanent residence - and hoping West Ham's stay in the first division is short-lived.

If he doesn't sign with the Hammers, he still intends to stay in the professional game now he has made the breakthrough, and he adds:

"It is great, let's be honest, but it is a high pressure lifestyle apart from the whole training aspect.

"It is a job to be enjoyed also and I look forward to going to work and I would certainly put it ahead of what I was doing previously.

"I found it very difficult when I first came over to do anything else after training; I was literally going to bed after training and I would sleep for two hours during the day and I would certainly sleep at night as well.

"That was the main thing that I found, adjusting to it, that you need your rest - that is as important as the training.

"And I am told that preseason training is to sessions a day so I can only imagine the amount of sleep I will need then.

"To be honest I was never much of a drinker anyway but my diet has been changed and I am looking at my lifestyle in a different way, let's put it like that!

"We have been given a programme for the summer for weights and running during the break prior to the preseason so I don't think we will stop to be honest, you just keep ticking over.

"I do believe that West Ham will keep the nucleus of the squad and I certainly believe that, having kept them, there will be no problems bouncing back next year."