A message from the Chairman

I'd like to explain a few things to supporters.

We go into the weekend off on a high with the first team back to winning ways and everyone looking forward to the visit of Hull City on Saturday week. If we could play the game now we would, but I have no doubt when it comes around we'll be up for it.

There has been a lot written about my comments this week but I knew that whatever happened against Birmingham City on Wednesday, the players would be fired up and behind the manager. That was the least Gianfranco Zola deserved for all his hard work.

Although not popular with many, my words were the last resort. It was necessary to do whatever we could to give us that something extra that we didn't have against Burnley, Blackburn or Portsmouth in the previous matches.

Don't get me wrong, the team and manager deserve plenty of credit for what they produced on Wednesday but as they acknowledged afterwards that is what they are there to do. Our aim has to be to win matches and make sure you see 100 per cent commitment out there on the pitch.

Although I have taken stick for it and that isn't pleasant - by attacking the team you get them angry and they bond with the manager against the board/me - it is clear now that everyone is together and well aware of what we face ahead.

Let's be straight. This club must remain in the Premier League. We have kept the squad together and brought in new players as we promised but we cannot rest easy and think that is it, job done. We all - and I include you the fans in this - have to do everything we can to ensure we stay up.

I've galvanised a team with similar tactics three or four times in the last 17 years. The managers always hate it - and I understand that - but it has never failed to work. All that said, I won't be doing it again for a while as it is something you can only do every now and then.

I used it before when Birmingham played Reading knowing they had to win to gain promotion and everyone had been down after a defeat in the previous match. My manager then Alex McLeish reacted in the way I knew he would but after we had won the game and promotion was secured, he acknowledged why I had said what I did.

Alex understood what was going on this week - hence his attempt to deflect our remarks as a positive for his side. In reality, he and Birmingham knew they were going to face a West Ham side that would not roll over. It had worked on Birmingham before and they were well aware our players would be up for it from the kick-off.

As our transfer activity showed, we have supported Gianfranco in the right way. He is a good man and manager and we have backed his faith in his squad and his ideas.

As loyal fans of this club, David Gold and I plus each and everyone of you out there who follow us every week, have the right to expect a West Ham team that fully lives up to its name. United.

David Sullivan