Jimmy's Made Of The Right Stuff

It is often said that there are few characters left in football, but Alan Pardew is delighted that he has brought one to West Ham.

Goalkeeper Jimmy Walker began training with his new team-mates this week following his arrival from Walsall, where he played 400 games and achieved something approaching hero status at the Bescot Stadium.

Despite his long tenure with the Saddlers, Pardew has no doubts that he will fit in at Upton Park.

"Jimmy Walker would fit in well at AC Milan! One of the reasons I wanted to bring him to the club because he is a character as much as a goalkeeper.  He brings the right stuff to a training ground."

Jimmy will be in direct competition for a regular first team place with Stephen Bywater, who performed so admirably after stepping up to the senior side following David James' departure in January.

The two met for the first time when training resumed on Monday, and the manager has already seen the signs of  a good relationship developing.

"He's met Stephen for the first time this week and they have got on terrifically. That's important because they'll be competing for the jersey, and they've got off on the right foot"

Walker was out of contract at Walsall at the end of last season, but the 30 year-old's reputation saw the boss quick to snap him up, a purchase that has delighted Alan..

"I'm very pleased with securing Jimmy. I think he's a keeper that's been exceptional for Walsall and although it's come late in the day for him he's arrived at a big club, and this is his big chance."