WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Name: Steve Lomas
Date of birth: 18 January 1974
Debut: 9 April 1997
Last game: 12 March 2005
Talking about his memories at what he describes as a "great club, Steve Lomas remembers his eight years at West Ham United as a fantastic time.
For many of the 227 league and cup appearances he made while at the Boleyn Ground, Lomas was club captain and the armband was something he wore with pride. "When I came to West Ham, we had a good team and a dressing room full of great characters. I was very proud to be chosen as club captain and yes, you do try and lead by example on the pitch.
"We had lively characters like John Moncur, Neil Ruddock and, later, Ian Wright - all wanted to go out there and give it a go. We played good football and went out to do our jobs as best we could on the pitch, but had a laugh together as well. The first five years were the best for me and many games stand out for me in that time."
Lomas says derbies against Tottenham Hotspur were always highlights. "I don't remember particular results, but those derby games were always good and for the fans it was one of the games of the season.
"So you sensed the extra noise and expectation in the crowd for those games and, many a time, you raised your game to that. I am sure that will be the same for the boys who are playing tonight and evening games are always something special."
Lomas had started his career at Manchester City where he spent six years before arriving at West Ham in 1997. As well as earning 46 caps and scoring three goals for Northern Ireland, Lomas established himself at the top level in the domestic game as a combative midfielder. He is now working hard to obtain his relevant coaching badges and pass on his experience to players as a coach.
"I left my last club Gillingham in January. I am busy making sure I have all my badges and really want to go into coaching and maybe from that management. Football is and will always be in my blood and I want to put something back into the game and feel I can give a lot as a coach.
"It is all I have ever known and I just want to still play a part. Having been able to play at the top level on the international stage, suffered injuries, some career-threatening, I have been through a lot and hopefully that can add to what I can give as a coach.
"So, at the moment, I am looking at what is around and hopefully I can get the chance to show what I can do."
Lomas added that he will always have a special affinity for West Ham and was delighted to see them win at Sunderland and then grab a 0-0 draw at Liverpool.
"West Ham have a strong squad and there is reason why they can't do well this season.
"Gianfranco Zola needs time to bed in what he wants the players to do and how he wants them to play and you are already seeing some of that now in recent games.
"They have got three clean sheets in the last three games and things like that breed confidence. If you can keep them out at one end then you can always nick a goal at the other, the chances are always there.
"They have great players who are the backbone of the team, the likes of Scott Parker, they have a strong goalkeeper in Robert Green who is doing the business and then you have Craig Bellamy, Carlton Cole and, although he is injured at the moment, Dean Ashton.
"Kieron Dyer is on his way back, so there is a lot of quality in the side for the manager to work with and I am sure they can do well."
His affection for West Ham is clear to see. "There were games when you played well and then others when you did not. I always went out there to do my best, gave 100 per cent and had pride in the shirt that I wore.
"I would like to think the West Ham fans saw all of that and knew that even when things didn't go to plan, I was out there trying my best at all times."