'West Ham will have a very good season'

Former West Ham United midfielder Marc Keller was a welcome visitor to the Boleyn Ground for last Saturday's game with Arsenal.

Keller, who made over 40 appearances for the Hammers, is still working within the world of football as a pundit and as Chairman of French side Racing Club de Strasbourg. While his main priority at the moment is to ensure that his club make a return to the top tier of French football, the opportunity to come back and support the club he spent three years at from 1998 was too good to turn down.

"For me it is very special to come back. I also attended the game at Newcastle against Manchester United but Upton Park is very special because I had a very good time here.

"During my two years we finished fifth and ninth. I really enjoyed my time in London and I got to play with a lot of very good players like Paolo Di Canio and Frank Lampard."

Keller was working for French media company Canal+ at the match and despite the Hammers eventually falling short, he feels he saw enough from Sam Allardyce's side to suggest they will have nothing to worry about this season. Keller was particularly impressed by Hammers' tireless running, adding that kind of work ethic will stand them in good stead for the rest of the season.

"It was a very good game and I was impressed with the quality of play from West Ham United against Arsenal, who are a very good team.

"They have worked very hard so far this season and with Andy Carroll up front they have a very powerful player who can keep the ball and score goals.

"There is a lot of character in the team and I am very optimistic for West Ham United in this season and the future."

Substitute Theo Walcott came off the bench to score the winning goal after 78 minutes and Keller admitted it will always be hard to compete with the strength in depth of the teams at the top.

"When you see players like Theo Walcott coming off the bench it demonstrates the great strength of their squad.

"I believe that Arsenal probably deserved to win but have no doubts that West Ham United will have a very good season in the Barclays Premier League."

Switching back to his current club, Strasbourg play in the fifth tier of French football, the Championnat de France, after being excluded from the Championnat National following financial liquidation. Keller now hopes he can restore the club to its previous status.

"I am now Chairman of Strasbourg, I bought the club two or three months ago with some friends because the club has been having some financial difficulties.

"We are currently in the fourth division but we are trying everything to ensure that in the next few years we return to professional football in France."

After Keller left West Ham United, he joined Blackburn Rovers before retiring from professional football and returning to Strasbourg as a coach, where he enjoyed great success.

"When I left West Ham United I went back to Strasbourg as junior manager for five years and during that time we won the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue.

"Since then the club have had some financial difficulties so I have now returned and hope to help them back to Ligue 2."

All at West Ham United wish Marc the best of luck with his new venture.