Curbs cheerful at 50

Alan Curbishley was in jovial mood on Thursday as he marked his 50th birthday at West Ham United's Chadwell Heath training ground.

When asked how he planned to celebrate ahead of his in-form side's bid to make it five games unbeaten at Derby County, the manager quipped: "Hopefully by having eleven fit players on Saturday!

"I'm pleased to have got to 50 as a manager," he continued in seriousness. "Seventeen years ago, when I started at Charlton (Athletic), I'd have been really pleased if you'd told me I would still be in top-flight management today. I'm going to keep pushing on and see how far I get."

Contemplating the longevity of the manager's position, Curbishley said: "Last week I talked about short termism in football management. The way the game is changing is very difficult for managers. If you don't jump up and down you're dull and if you do you're out of order.

"Every manager is different. Everyone attacks it differently. I thought Gary Megson was quite reserved last week, maybe that's what 18 months out does for you - he looked quite relaxed!"

Reflecting further on his role, Curbishley added: "I heard Dean Saunders on the radio the other day, talking about managers. He said that the problem with being a manager is that the despair of defeat is greater than the joy of winning. I can relate to that. It should be the other way around but that's the pressure of the game. Every game is vital.

"You have to have a balance. You have to get it right. I think I have over the last few years. I've managed to keep the highs not too high and the lows not too low. You've got to try and keep it even because it affects everyone around you. Everyone has a different way and the bottom line is to get results."