Anton scoops Hammers News award

Anton Ferdinand beat off stiff competition from fellow defender Danny Gabbidon to claim first prize in the Hammers News Player of The Year award dinner, held at Upton Park on Thursday night.

Anton has had a fabulous season, showing maturity levels beyond his years to rise to the challenge of the Premiership, but the humble 21-year old was still shocked to hear his name called out as the winner.

"I was really surprised to win it actually," he said. "I thought Gabbs had it in the bag so I am sure it must have been close out of us two. There have been a lot of players who could easily have won it, like Matty and Marlon, so I am really chuffed to be the one who got it.

It caps off a good couple of weeks off the pitch for Anton after receiving a PFA nomination, the result of which is announced on Sunday.

"Yes, getting the PFA nomination and then winning the award last night has all been great," he says. "I doubt I will win the PFA young player of the year because of the quality of the other players that have been picked but just to be nominated by your fellow peers is a great achievement.

"The only downside recently has obviously been not playing but I have been training all week and feel good so let's just wait and see what happens on Sunday."

Being a West Ham lad through and through, our FA Cup semi-final against Middlesbrough at the weekend means more to Anton than anything. However, given the current form of James Collins, he knows nothing is a foregone conclusion.

"It was obviously really disappointing to miss the quarter-final against Man City so of course I am desperate to play in the semi," he says. "But James came into that game and did a brilliant job and has been playing really well ever since so it's down to the gaffer if he wants to play me and where he wants to play me.

"Coming up through the ranks and being in and around West Ham from such a young age, I know how much getting to the final would mean to this Club and the fans, so to be able to play a part in getting us there would be a dream come true."

By Miranda Nagalingam