Curbs reflects on first year

On 13 December 2006, a proud Alan Curbishley became the eleventh manager of West Ham United. Here the manager, now 50, considers the impact of his first 12 months at the club he supported as a boy, served as a player and is now charged with leading to success.

Taking the job

I weighed up everything. Virtually everyone I know is a West Ham fan, family and friends and everything else. I weighed everything up quite clearly. I felt that this time in my career I could handle all that - perhaps when we had that bad run that has held me in good stead. I have prepared myself over the years for the bad times. I don't get too carried away. The short time I have been here the fans have probably realised that I don't jump and down when we lose and I don't jump up and down when we win.

When I was at Charlton I had all sorts of get-out clauses and bits and pieces but I have got nothing here. I didn't seek anything. This is the situation for me and we will see how far it goes.

Management style

Sometimes the way I handle it is not sexy enough - but I set out that way after my first season at Charlton. I got sent off at Southend and went up in the stands. David Webb was sitting up there and he said 'what are you doing all that for' and I said 'well this decision' - and he said 'come and have a drink'. So I walked in the lounge and had a cup of tea and we were the two managers and the game was going on out there.

He said 'you are going to drive yourself mad, let's go back and watch the game'. I thought then that the way I would attack it is not to have my highs too high and my lows too low because if you do I think you are in a bit of trouble.

The fans

I appreciate the job even more now. What the club's about. Obviously growing up with it and playing for it and being around it for so long [means something] - but until you actually sit here you don't realise what it means to a lot of people. Everywhere you go there is a West Ham fan. When we were going through that run, they were supportive but couldn't quite understand it and now we are doing OK there is a few more smiles around.

It is very difficult for a manager to get accepted here straight away. I have looked at it from afar and it is a results business. I never got downhearted and I am not going to get carried away now. When we weren't going so well, I just got on with it. I think the experience of 15 years at Charlton probably held me in good stead in many respects but some of the things that occurred since I have been here has just made me that much wiser and stronger.

Hopefully we can give them something to sing about in the remaining part of this season. But the one thing that kept us going was we were getting great support home and away. All right, they were very critical when we were getting badly beat like at Charlton and Reading but they were turning up and putting their lot in. We went to Blackburn on Sunday and we knew we would have a good following and have them behind us. All I have ever said is if we give them something to shout about, then they will give everything. They carried us through in the run-in.

The future…

We know that if we can do it on the pitch, we can push on as a club. We know the fan base. For me, coming into this season, we needed a nice sobering season, nice and strong, and lay some foundations. Let's see where we end up. So many things can change in a year. Who knows? Perhaps we should come back in a year's time and see what's happened....