Trevor To Maintain Link

Trevor Brooking says he will maintain his close association with West Ham when he takes up his post as Football Association's Director of Football Development.

"It will be the first result I will be looking for even in the new year; I will be at different grounds but more than anything I remain a fan and when the opportunity is there I will be along and I will hopefully continue to have a close affinity with the club," he insists.

He says he has no intention of siding with shareholders who are trying to get a change at board level, and adds:

"I have been very supportive of Terry and the other directors and I continue to be so.

"The fact that I was mentioned by the other group was unfortunate because I have never spoken to anyone there or considered such a situation.

"Having worked with everyone at the club over the last two and a half years I know how desperate they are towards trying to get the club to bounce back.

"It has been a hugely difficult year and the one mistake was getting relegated but that was something, once it happened, caused problems that needed to be addressed to stabilise the club from a financial point of view.

"Now we have to give Alan the backing to give us the opportunity to try and bounce back but if you look at the league it is 10 or 12 clubs that are not far apart at the moment, and no one has grasped the nettle to push on and try to get away from that pack.

"So that is a challenge for Alan and everyone but from my own point of view I know how desperate everyone is towards working for that goal.

"The fans have been fantastic really; to get 30,000 a week without the consistent spell that we would all like is good and I am sure the run will happen and it is up to us to make sure it does as the season progresses."

As for his new role with the F.A., Trevor says:

"It is a big challenge and an opportunity to contribute at all different levels of the game, so it is exciting.

"Naturally the only dilemma I had was the connection I had with the club because doing something like this, although naturally you hope to help West Ham as all clubs with the role, you can't have an official link in with a particular club because of the conflict.

"So it is a situation that when I do go into it I will have to step down from the directorship of the club; it will always be the first result I look for and I will continue to do but from an official point of view I couldn't maintain a link."

Detailing his responsibilities, he adds:

"It involves the technical side, which is all the different coaching levels, and naturally the grass roots side which I was heavily involved with in Sport England for all sports - and that is the bedrock of the game right down to the junior levels.

"It is also linking in with the national team and Sven, whichever area he wants me to do, but it is a wide remit and something that was an exciting possibility - although it will obviously be a big challenge as well.

"I have always been interested in trying to get everyone as involved as possible who wants to play the game and that goes down to the junior level which has changed quite a lot, with a lot of schools not doing quite as much as they used to, but a lot of mums and dads taking it on from there.

"That has to be the starting point where everyone benefits at all different levels and it is a case of trying to make that easy and accessible to everyone with the mixture of costs, facilities, and everything else.

"When I was at Sport England I had quite an involvement with different sports but this time it will be football, and it is something that I feel very strongly about.

"Having been lucky enough to play for the national side I know that that is the ultimate goal for all youngsters who start out in the game."

Trevor has in the past been critical of the government in terms of lack of support for sport, and in particular the selling off of school playing fields, and he adds:

"It is something we spoke about with government and part of the role will probably be dealing with government departments as well, which is something I used to do at Sport England.

"Hopefully we can get a bigger investment in the sport at grass roots level; the recent rugby success was a clear example of what can be achieved and how passionate the whole country is when a team of any sport does well at this level.

"Hopefully with football, and the 2004 and 2006 tournaments coming up, Sven and the players can do well and it will be a good time to be involved."

He sees a worthwhile precedent set with rugby, and adds:

"Everyone has been chuffed at their success and certainly if you look a the reaction of the country as a whole and how proud they were of that effort it is an inspiration.

"I am old enough to remember 1966 and that was equally exciting, although the tournament was based at home so they didn't come as far as the rugby lads had to.

"But more than anything I am sure it excited all sports people - and there is an incentive there to be successful because it means so much to the country.

"Rugby is, I am sure, delighted for its own sport's sake, but Clive Woodward has mentioned he is pleased because it has shown what can happen if a sport gets the investment it wants."

In the meantime, before he begins his new role next year, Trevor will continue to work towards helping West Ham, and he adds:

"It would have been lovely for Alan to have had his first win before this came out, but I feel just as convinced as I did when Alan came that he is going to do an excellent job despite not having got the first win.

"That is obviously important, but more than anything I am sure he is good for the club and he has won the players over.

"Results help but I think it is vital now for everyone to get behind him; I will be there on Saturday cheering them on and it is important to get behind him and the club and hopefully kick us on to challenge for that promotion place, whether it be in the playoffs or automatically."