Thursday 17 Sep
Updated Thursday 17 Sep 22:00

Chadwell Chatter - James Collins

Hello everybody,

I was fortunate to be part of the last team that won at Manchester City when we beat them in the FA Cup quarter-final back in 2006 when Dean Ashton scored both goals up there.

We had a great run that year and got to the final which we should have won. It was a tough game and we knew that we had nothing to lose and it was a typical FA Cup game, but we went out and won it.

I remember it was a tough night and cold but we had some characters in the team at the time that dug in and got us the result.

Dean Ashton was on fire for us since the day he signed for the Club and I played against him when I was young.

He scored all types of goals and it was a terrible shame what happened to him and that he had to retire.

I can't believe it has been that long since we last got a victory at Manchester City and it was a cup game. Since then it has been a notoriously hard place to go and it has got even harder over the years.

But the lads have played really well away from home and obviously played well against Newcastle on Monday night so we are confident we can go there and get a result.

Everyone is talking about Dimitri Payet and I have seen it from the first couple of days he came into the Club. I first played with him at Southend and he was by far the best player on the pitch by a mile. Some of the stuff he was doing was tremendous.

He has kicked on since then and is showing great form. He has settled in very quickly and has got involved in all the banter in the changing room and gets on with it. We are reaping the rewards of a great player.

He is playing the number ten role which all defenders hate playing against. You don't want to go in there and get turned, but he is a tough lad and probably use to it. People want to get the ball off him but he is clever enough to get past them.

From the first day he was getting involved in the banter and he is a very likeable lad. He gets on with everyone and that helps. He has just had a little baby so family life is going well which helps off the pitch.

If he can keep playing like he is then he is going to be a massive player for West Ham.

We have already won at Arsenal and Liverpool so why can't we get something from the Manchester City game.

No-one expected us to win either of those games, especially the first one as everyone was talking about how Arsenal are going to win the league. But we went there and comfortably won 2-0 and it probably could have been more.

City are a fantastic team and have a few injury doubts which could help us but we have got a strong squad and I'm sure we can go there and give a good account of ourselves.

We are defending well and the boys have been tremendous. The two home defeats were freak results and I'm not sure what happened on the day. We were not really at the races.

But we have defended really well in the two away games and again on Monday night and we are going to have do the same at City. We have lads in the team who can go up the other end and score goals.

As a player you relish the competition for places and you need to prove yourself. We have got world class players in every position and it is certainly the best squad I have ever seen at West Ham.

The quality of players that we signed during the summer is there for everyone to see and all credit to the gaffer and the chairmen. It is a great time time to be involved with West Ham.

There is a big milestone for me this weekend as I made my debut for the club ten-years ago.

I am a lucky boy to have signed when I did when I was 21 from Cardiff – it was a dream come true to come and play for such a big Club like West Ham.

I was still learning my trade but to still be here ten-years after making my debut is incredible. I have had a lot of ups and downs during the time I have been here, but the fans have been great with me.

All the managers I have played under have been tremendous towards me and I am a lucky boy to play for a Club like West Ham.

The first time I left West Ham I didn't really want to leave, but I have come back and fingers crossed if it all works out I would love to finish my career at the Club.

I hope everyone has a safe trip up to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.