Moncur ready for Hammers

West Ham United favourite John Moncur is hoping to kick-off his reign as chairman of Blue Square Premier Grays Athletic by scoring a pre-season victory over his old club.

The midfielder, who made 203 appearances for the Hammers between August 1994 and January 2003, took charge of the Essex club on 25 June.

By a quirk of fate, Moncur's first match as Grays chairman will see Gianfranco Zola take a full-strength first-team squad to the New Rec on Sunday 12 July at 3pm. The fixture could enable fans to catch a glimpse of their respective summer signings, including West Ham's new arrival from Internazionale Chile international Luis Jimenez.

Stepney-born Moncur is excited about the prospect of welcoming his former employers, as well as a host of West Ham heroes including Tony Cottee, Alan Devonshire, Tony Gale, Don Hutchison and Steve Lomas, who will be introduced to the crowd during the half-time interval.

"A lot of Grays supporters are also Hammers and there are a lot of West Ham fans living in the Thurrock area, so I'm hoping we get a good crowd in for the game," said Moncur. "If our fixtures don't clash this season, I'm hoping a lot of West Ham fans will come down to watch our games, because it is a good standard of football.

"West Ham have told me that Gianfranco will be bringing down a strong first-team squad, so it'll be the first chance for the fans of both teams to see their new players.

"From our point of view, it's a big game for us and will be a good test for our players. I remember playing down at Grays a few times under Harry Redknapp and hopefully we can now turn this into an annual event.

"As well as the match, I've also got a load of the old West Ham boys coming down and they'll all be introduced to the crowd too."

Moncur also revealed how he came to take on his new role at Grays.

"I had been speaking to Grays' former chairman Mick Woodward for a year or so after we met through the work I do at the Football Academy in Loughton," said the 42-year-old, whose son George is part of West Ham's own Academy set-up.

"Mick told me that he was getting a bit stale at Grays and wanted someone to come in and freshen things up. I decided when I finished playing that I didn't want to manage, and this seemed a little bit more of a hands-off role.

"I decided that I was interested and I think myself and the club can help each other in the future. If I can help Grays in terms of attracting sponsorship and also on the playing side, then that would be great."

West Ham's allocation of 2,000 terrace tickets for the Grays match, priced at £20 for adults and £10 for concessions, are available by phoning the ticket office on 0871 222 2700 and selecting Option Three, writing to The Ticket Office, PO Box 6731, London, E13 9RA or by calling personally at the West Stand ticket office between 9am and 5pm weekdays or between 9am and 1pm on Saturdays.

Cheques and postal orders should be made payable to West Ham United FC plc.

All telephone and postal bookings are subject to a £1.50 booking fee per ticket.