Bryan Backs Boys

Bryan 'Pop' Robson is hoping to see West Ham back in the Premiership next season - and replace the club he has just left, Leeds.

He knows what West Ham fans went through last season, having just endured relegation with Leeds, and says:

"They have cleared the decks but you need the quality and resources to bounce back and West Ham have a good chance of getting back into the Premier League - and the money.

"It only happened last week that I left the club; Bryan Kidd initially took me to Leeds and we set up the academy system - it has produced players but some people don't recognise that.

"I am disappointed with how it has worked out for the fans; they were still getting 40,000 watching them.

"There are some big players that went down with West Ham and it is the same at Leeds when you look at the likes of Viduka, Alan Smith, Dominic Matteo, Jason Wilcox, and Nick Barmby.

"Injuries, loss of form, changes of manager all meant there was no stability there and you wouldn't believe three years ago they were top of the Premier League."

Bryan still keeps in touch with Trevor Brooking and says:

"Trevor did very well in charge; he is a great personality and he has good principles about how the game should be played.

"Everything about the man suggests he was going to be successful."

Looking back on his playing days, he says:

"We could always score a goal but we could lose as well because when we got players forward it would cause problems defensively."

A succinct summary!

Bryan is backing a fellow north-easterner, Michael Carrick, to have an influence on Saturday's proceedings, and he says:

"Michael Carrick has come through the ranks as so many have - I am sure they will continue to do that as they have a good academy system.

"It was always going to be important to them, as it will be to Leeds now.

"It was really a surprise that West Ham got Michael from Wallsend; I was at Sunderland at the time it happened.

"I am sure he is looking forward to the weekend and will be a very big player for them."

West Ham did, of course, borrow one of the players Bryan helped bring up to professional standard, Matthew Kilgallon, and he adds:

"Mattie did very well at West Ham but couldn't break through at Leeds because of Radebe, Duberry, and Matteo.

"He has now had one or two games and now Leeds are in the first division I am sure he will have the chance to impress."

And future plans?

"Going on the golf course, go on holiday, and come back to hit some more golf balls!"

If you would like a signed 12" x 8"  photo of Bryan scoring against Manchester United in 1972, go to or call 020 74041740.