"too Good?"

Frank McAvennie insists West Ham were "too good" to go down at the end of the season - and says that his dream now is to see them restored to the top flight by the new manager.

Hammers legend Frank, a stalwart of the famous 'Boys Of '86' that finished third that year, is aware that the cliche "too good to go down" has been an oft-repeated mantra of doomed sides in the past, but he feels that in West Ham's case it really applied.

"Good teams before have got relegated before but the team was far too good to get relegated," he says.

"Several players have been sold since and that proves how much other clubs rate them because they have gone to Premiership clubs."

In the interests of freedom of speech - something Frank is no stranger to - he gives his personal view on who should take over thus:

"I would like to see Alvin Martin and maybe Ray Stewart take it."

That he has selected two of his playing colleagues from that best-ever season of 85/86 indicates how much affection he still feels for that campaign, and he adds:

"My biggest memory in football was speaking to supporters in that season, when they really thought we were going to win the league - for that one year, and one year only.

"It has never happened since and I don't know if it will ever happen again - but it felt good for us and must have been great for the fans with Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham pals knowing they were top dogs.

"There is a big affection for the club and a lot of ex-players still go to see the games; it is important the directors have that affection for it - only they can sort it out.

"I want West Ham to be top of the Premiership, not the first division."

Frank's conversion to a striker that year West Ham finished third was certainly fortuitous for Frank - but maybe not so for the club.

"John Lyall meant to play me behind Paul Goddard and Tony Cottee," he recalls, "but who knows whether we would have won the league if Paul Goddard hadn't got injured in the first game?

"But me and Tony came up with 56 goals between us, so it wasn't bad."

Frank spent two spells at Upton Park but shortly after his return in 1989 the Hammers parted company with only their fifth manager in history when John Lyall's contract wasn't renewed in the summer following the club's relegation.

"It was unfortunate that when I came back John Lyall then got sacked and to sack someone of John's stature is probably where West Ham's problems started - it means you can do that to anyone," he says.

Frank has just published an autobiography which details his life on and off the field, looking on, amongst other things, his two spells at West Ham and his one spell in prison.

"It is a good story to tell; there was a lot missed out but there is only so much you can do in one book and I am very pleased with it," he says of the book, called 'Scoring: An Expert's Guide'.

"Everyone else has got their own versions of things but this is the truth about what happened, and it is the first time it has been told by me - especially when it comes to the criminal stuff.

"When people read my book they will realise my life has been full of fun - not all of it, but you have to get on with it and laugh.

"What can I say? I enjoyed myself though for a couple of years I was in company I shouldn't even have been speaking to, but that is me."

He claims he has settled a few old scores in the book, and smiles:

"I had a bad experience with Fergie [Sir Alex Ferguson] - but I got one back on him in the book!"

He is signing his book in the Newham Bookshop, 747 Barking Road, on the morning of the upcoming Millwall game on 28th September and in the longer term future is looking at different career options.

"I was looking for something and I didn't find it, but I am happy now, doing TV things, and Celtic are in the Champions' League which makes a change," he says.

"I am doing some after dinners - having a drink and talking to people, which I was born for - and I am setting up a new thing combining golf with football.

"But my dream is to see West Ham back in the Premiership."