Standen keeping tabs

Jim Standen will not mind one bit when his alarm goes off at 5am on Sunday morning.

West Ham United's 1964 FA Cup and 1965 European Cup Winners' Cup-winning goalkeeper now makes his home in the California city of Fresno, having emigrated to the United States in the late 1970s.

With the US west coast eight hours behind UK time, Standen will need his early wake-up call to catch live coverage of the Hammers' Barclays Premier League trip to Aston Villa on Setanta Sports USA.

Now 74, the Edmonton-born stopper made 236 appearances for West Ham between 1962 and 1967 before linking up with North American Soccer League outfit Detroit Cougars. The move began a love affair with the US that has lasted, on and off, for more than four decades.

On Sunday, however, Standen's eyes will be focused firmly on the performances of two impressive modern-day goalkeepers - England's Robert Green, who celebrates his 30th birthday on Monday, and 38-year-old former US international Brad Friedel, who went to college at UCLA, 200 miles south of Fresno.

"Robert is a good goalkeeper," confirmed Standen, who recorded four wins and a draw in five visits to Villa Park as a West Ham player.

"I would like to think he will get into England's World Cup squad in the summer. He is one of two goalkeepers who I think have a chance to start. The other one is [Birmingham City's] Joe Hart, who I have been very impressed with. He looks a bit useful. Other than them, there are not a massive number of English goalkeepers who are great. Friedel has plenty of experience and is a good goalkeeper, too.

"At the moment, I believe Shay Given from Manchester City is the best goalkeeper in the world, while Juventus' Gianluigi Buffon is also up there.

"We have a lot of Premier League football on the television over here and I try and watch it as much as I can, especially when West Ham are on. I also go out and watch the local clubs, but I haven't been to a really big live game in a long time. I think the last time was when I went to watch the [MLS side] San Jose Earthquakes."

To read an in-depth interview with one of the greatest goalkeepers in West Ham United's history, pick up a copy of the official matchday programme for the visit of Blackburn Rovers on Saturday 30 January.

To order your copy online, click here.