I was at Upton Park for the Tottenham Hotspur game and I thought the tribute to Bobby was brilliant. The club remembered the great man well and it was great to see both sets of fans respect Bobby’s memory and it was wonderful to see football unite.
I only met Bobby twice and rather surprisingly neither of these times were during my time with the Hammers; one time was a fleeting moment in the press box but the other occasion is a memory I will always remember.
It was during my time at Everton, a time where I was feeling low as the goals had dried up and I just couldn’t see where the next one would come from. I was walking through the car park with my Mum and Dad after a midweek game against Tottenham at GoodisonPark and I remember hearing someone shouting my name.
I turned round and this guy was wearing a cap and coming down the steps that led to the car park and as he got closer he took his cap off and I couldn’t believe it. It was Bobby Moore. Bobby Moore wanted to talk to me; I wasn’t chasing him, he was coming to me.
Bobby said to me that it was great to meet me, that he had every faith in me to start finding the net again and to just keep plugging away. I was touched and I walked, actually, I floated across the car park.
Despite being a big fan of Andy Carroll I have seen reports suggesting that the Andy deal probably won’t happen and we will make a move for Southampton’s Rickie Lambert.
I have followed Lambert for a few years and I saw him back in his Bristol Rovers days and he has always impressed me. I think the fee for Rickie will be in and around the £6 million mark and although that is a lot of money I don’t see it as a problem.
Football is changing and you aren’t ‘over the hill’ at Rickie’s age of 31. Although different players you just have to look at Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs as proof of this. I have no doubt that if Lambert came to West Ham and started banging in the goals he would prove a success and good value for money.
I was surprised to hear that Carlton’s contract is up at the end of the season and I really hope the club keep hold of him; you have to keep hold of your best players.
Carlton is a great guy, he is happy at the club and on his day he is unplayable. I know he isn’t the most prolific but even Carlton would admit that but this is because it isn’t part of his game and never has been; he is a hold up striker.
Carlton reminds me of Emile Heskey who I played with at Leicester; I always felt Emile wasn’t appreciated enough, especially by England fans. Emile was selfless, strong in his play and would hold the ball up for me to put away the chances.
You also have to consider the loyalty he has shown, 50% wage cut to remain with the club is unheard of in modern football. I know Carlton gets his fair share of stick but lets face it, it is hardly like any of the strikers have been free scoring this season.
Player of the Year
Robin van Persie has had a good season, Luis Suarez has had a better season but Gareth Bale has been sensational.
As I said earlier, I was at the recent Spurs game and was absolutely gutted to lose the game like that but on the way out I turned to my mates and said: “You should feel privileged to be watching such a special player.”
I love watching players who run at speed; players who excite when they’re on the ball and doing things you couldn’t imagine another player doing.
It is unfair to compare Gareth to Ronaldo and Messi because they are consistently special he is easily in the top 10 players in the world and for me he deserves the award.
I just want to also say I think Michu deserves a mention, seems to have been lost in amongst the bigger names but he has impressed me this season.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I realise now I wasn’t ready for management when I took over Barnet at 35 years of age as player/manager.
Management was always something I wanted to get involved in and I wish I had waited, done my coaching badges and then gone in as a coach and then worked my way up. However I had a great time at Barnet and don’t regret anything about my time there.
For the moment I’m enjoying my job within the media and have no plans to go back into management but if David Gold called me up and offered me the West Ham job, I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment.
Tony Cottee was talking to Forever West Ham’s Editor
Tony’s book ‘West Ham: The Inside Story’ is out NOW and you can order a SIGNED copy from www.ex-hammers.com
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, foreverwestham.com