Mervyn looking forward to the challenge ahead

Mervyn Day has revealed his delight at returning to West Ham United as part of Alan Curbishley's new management team this week.

The 51-year-old, who was named as Assistant Manager following the appointment of Curbs on Wednesday, also progressed through the youth ranks at Upton Park in the early 70s and spent five years as a first team player under Ron Greenwood and John Lyall, becoming an FA Cup winner in 1975 at the age of just 19.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge immensely," says Mervyn. "Like Alan, I left the Club as a player in 1979 and my wife said to me at the time that one day I would go back.

"I thought that might be as a player again towards the end of my career, but to come back here as part of the management set-up is a wonderful honour for me. At this stage in my career, it's perfect.

"For the last eight years, I've been ensconced with Alan at Charlton - six of them in the Premiership. We did reasonably well, and secured our top flight status pretty quickly each season - something we are obviously hoping to do now with West Ham's current position."

It's more than six months since Mervyn left his position alongside Alan at Charlton Athletic, after almost a decade of consistent involvement in the game, and he admits that the sabbatical has left him eager to make a return.

"It has made me hungry," he says. "I said to my wife about a month ago: 'The last six months have been really good, my golf handicap has come down and I've really enjoyed it…but now I'm getting a bit bored.'

"It's the matches you miss, the adrenalin rush, the banter with the players on the training field. There is no way of replicating that once you are away from it, and I'm really looking forward to getting back into the swing of things."

Mervyn is certainly looking forward to Sunday's mouth-watering clash against Manchester United - and is hoping that a new era at Upton Park will begin in the perfect fashion tomorrow afternoon.

"They don't come any bigger, that's for sure," he says. "When I was playing, we used to have some real ding-dong battles with Manchester United, and West Ham always seemed to have been able to raise our game against them.

"Hopefully that will be the case again on Sunday, but we are certainly under no illusion about the size of the task in front of us."

by Danny Francis