Do A Good Jobi

Jobi McAnuff says he can't wait to acquaint himself with his new colleagues at Upton Park - and is looking forward to a bright future at the club.

"There has always been quality at West Ham," he enthuses, "and the way they try to play football has always been attractive because traditionally they are a team that likes to get the ball down - and obviously that suits me and what my game is about.

"It is an attractive proposition and you can't not see that there are good players here - who I am looking forward to playing with."

When told that his new number 26 shirt was once worn by Joe Cole, he responds:

"Really? Then I have a lot to live up to and I look forward to doing so because he was obviously a bit of a hero and I am definitely looking forward to the challenge of that - I am quite confident I can fill the shirt.

"Obviously we have lost a lot of top, top class players but I feel that with the players the manager has brought in there is a nice blend and he is obviously building a squad to get back in the Premiership - I am very optimistic we can achieve that."

As for the moniker, Jobi says:

"It was just something that my dad came up with when I was a lot younger - it is a Jamaican thing, and it has just stuck with me all the way through, and that is what everyone calls me.

"It doesn't mean anything, it is just a tradition to put the 'i' on the end and I am not too fussed if anyone calls me Joel."

Alan Pardew admits that to some degree West Ham have done to Wimbledon what the club has had done to itself - lost a lot of talent because of dropping down a division.

Jobi admits:

"We have had a hard season at Wimbledon and everyone has given 100% but there have been a lot of problems off the pitch that have hindered things on it and it has been a real struggle.

"I felt the time was right to move; I feel I have done as much as I can to help Wimbledon but I think the club are pretty much doomed to going down now.

"I thought it was a good time to make the break and moving now gives me the chance to settle in here for the rest of the season; I am confident that I can do well, having played in division one already.

"Stuart Murdoch has done a great job down there and I have always got on with him; he has been very understanding about the situation and it was inevitable that we would have to lose more players - I just feel sorry for him.

"His hands are tied with people leaving and it obviously makes his job a lot harder - hats should go off to him, really."

Jobi was the longest server at three years and he adds:

"That just sums up what is happening down there; a lot of the longer serving players have left and it got to the stage where I took over the captaincy for the short time after Nigel went and that is a sign of the times.

"There are not a lot of experienced players and that is why it has been hard this season.

"Obviously the manager at West Ham has done very well here in bringing in players who know the division well that are at the top end of the scale in terms of ability and that will stand us in good stead."

Jobi follows former Wimbledon midfield colleagues Adam Nowland and Nigel Reo-Coker from Milton Keynes and he adds:

"Their transfers were very quick and I was disappointed to see them go but I am here now and it is a case of getting on with the job for West Ham."

So when did he hear he was joining them?

"It was quite recent; I didn't hear anything different until Monday afternoon when I was training at Wimbledon and I got a call to say it had been accepted," he says.

"It all happened really quickly so I am just pleased to be here.

"I spoke to them Adam and Nigel and they were singing the praises of everything at the club from the manager to how training is - and how the ground here was such a good atmosphere with a packed house and a great occasion on Saturday.

"They both thoroughly enjoyed it but it is also about other things that happen off the pitch, the way the club conducts itself in general; it is definitely a step up for us and one we are looking forward to.

"I look on it as a positive thing, that I am able to come into a club like this and it is my chance to show what I can do - that I can fill the boots of people that were here previously.

"It is a definite challenge, one I am really looking forward to and I know Adam and Nigel are as well - we can't wait to get our teeth into it."

The move is certainly a culture shock for Jobi, who says:

"I have come from a place where there were no central midfielders left, really; we had a left back playing central midfield alongside a centre back.

"So going from that to a club that has more than enough is a good thing for me and something I hope I can get into as soon as possible.

"I am fully aware I am not coming here to walk straight into the team - the club has been doing well lately and it is up to me to fight to get into the team.

"Once I am in there I am fairly confident of my ability to stay in there and perform; it is a challenge I am relishing."

As Alan says, there were 27 professionals training on Tuesday - Jobi will make it 28, and he adds:

"It is a huge squad but I think that is important about where the club want to get to; it is a tough league, one where you can pick up a lot of injuries, and if you get a group together it could be very damaging to us.

"I am coming from a club that was struggling in terms of numbers and quality this year so this is a new situation."

He will also be linking up with another ex-colleague, David Connolly, who joined in the summer, and he says:

"Dave is a very intelligent player and a good goalscorer - the kind of player that only needs one chance in a game and he will put it away.

"It makes my life easier playing with someone like him; it might just take that one assist that gets him a goal so I am definitely looking forward to linking up with him and hopefully he feels the same - it will be good to see him again."

There have been plenty of rumours of Jobi going elsewhere in recent months, and he reveals:

"The Portsmouth thing was going to go ahead in the summer but there was a bit of a problem with the fee and it didn't happen.

"Since then I have heard a few whispers but nothing really concrete and I feel this is the right opportunity; I could have seen out my contract which runs out at the end of the season - but I felt this was the right move at the right time.

"I am desperately looking forward to getting on with it now."

Jobi certainly has a lot of experience for one so young, and he adds:

"All in all, including cup games, I am on 104 now so that is not too bad for two and a half seasons.

"I am coming from what has been a strong squad that finished 10th in the last two seasons and it is beneficial for me to play with more senior players.

"This year the roles have been reversed because I was out there being one of the most experienced players; I have enjoyed it but I am now looking forward to playing with the experienced players that are here and I hope that will help my game."

Describing his attributes, he says:

"I'd like to think I am quite quick and tricky; I love to run at defenders and I don't mind having a shot although I should score more.

"The main thing for me is to produce goals for other people - and I am also hard working.

"The better quality I will have around me will make it easier for me and hopefully I can provide my new team mates with a lot of goals.

"I think everything is gearing up to getting out of this league; the signings the manager has made have been very good and the boys I have spoken to are very confident we can do that.

"We have as good a chance as anyone of getting into the playoff positions and once you are there anything can happen."

Jobi promises that he will not be continuing, for the time being at least, his fledgling Jamaica career which has seen him play against Nigeria in a friendly.

"They came over here to play a game and invited me to have a look at the setup with my dad being Jamaican - but I went into it knowing that it was a friendly and it wouldn't affect me England-wise," he insists.

"The Jamaica thing is on hold at the moment because it wouldn't really help me flying half way round the world in February for the qualifiers.

"The door for England is definitely still open and if Mr. Eriksson is watching and Becks moves inside perhaps I can get a game on the right!"