Former Player Blog - Phil Parkes

FA Cup-winning ex-Hammers stopper Phil Parkes will be one of the Club’s guests at the 1970s-themed visit of Arsenal this weekend. The former Hammer of the Year explains how vital the side’s upcoming matches are…
I think the next few big games will define West Ham’s season. You can have a really good season but it can go downhill at the end with a few bad results, and I think the Arsenal game this weekend will be important. They have got weaknesses as we’ve seen from a few of their games away from home.
If you said at the start of the season to any West Ham fans do you want to finish fifth or sixth or win the FA Cup, everyone would have taken the Cup every time, so the Manchester United one is huge. We were robbed at Old Trafford and if you look at our run in 1980, there are a lot of similarities. It’s possibly the biggest game of the season, that FA Cup tie.
It’s going to be a very special game against Arsenal – the last one against them at the Boleyn Ground. There are a lot of the ex-players coming to the match from the ‘70s and early ‘80s era, so it will be a very special occasion.
This West Ham side is getting better, and they’re getting more used to what the results on the pitch mean to the fans as well. At first, when they come from all over the world, they don’t always know the history. But they’re suddenly realising if the fans are up for it, so should they be.
We’re breaking all sorts of records this season too, doing the doubles over so many teams. When was the last time we did the double over Liverpool, Manchester City?! It’s amazing.
If Mark Noble walked up those stairs and lifted the FA Cup this season, it would be immense and a very, very fitting end to this season at the Boleyn, sending the old girl off in real style.
As an ex-goalkeeper, I keep an eye on the keepers and Adrian has been a special signing for the Club. He’s very young in terms of his career and he’s played 100 games by the time he’s 29 – I’d played that when I was 19! He’s got a lot of catching up to do, and that’s what I like about him. He’s still got years of getting better.
Also on Darren Randolph, he’s another really great goalkeeper and there’s great competition between the two of them.
I’m looking forward to the next few games very much. There are times when you can be in this position with six games to go and with nothing to play for, so it’s great to be where we are now.