Tony Cottee’s Column: I Will Forever Be Thankful To John Lyall


Tony CotteeTony Cottee is back with his EXCLUSIVE Forever West Ham column. Read about Tony’s thoughts on England, West Ham’s transfer window and much, much more.

Transfer Window

It seems that we are getting our business done early, which is a great sign. It amazes me that every window clubs seem to leave it until the last minute to get their business done, I know it isn’t easy getting the players in but why wait until the last couple of days?

Ideally you have all your new players in, in time for the first day of pre-season as this is a key time for the squad. It is time when you find out about each other as footballers but you also build friendships.

Getting the experienced Razvan Rat in seems like good business but in an ideal world West Ham need to bring in another three or four new signings, especially upfront, as we are just left with Modibo Maiga (and he may well be on his way too).

I’m confident Andy Carroll will sign, he is fundamental to Sam’s plans for next season so I can understand the desire to sign Andy but I hope it doesn’t take up too much of the budget.

I also, just want to say, I was extremely disappointed Carlton left and I wish him in the best of luck for the future, he definitely won’t be short of options.


Friendlies are becoming a waste of time. For me friendlies should be used to try new players and new formations.

Against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil, Roy Hodgson started Joe Hart but we all know Joe is England’s No.1 but I have absolutely no idea, god forbid, if Joe suffered a long-term injury who would replace him? Same point with Frank Lampard, we all know what Frank can do, so why not try a few youngsters? Why not try a few Matt Jarvis’ or James Tomkins’?

Bundesliga/German Model

Whoever makes the Champions League final will always be ‘flavour of the month’ and it just so happens that this season it was two German teams, I mean, you could argue that Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund weren’t the best two sides in the competition.

That being said, the German ‘model’ of football is very impressive, especially what they have implemented off the field; after a woeful performance at Euro 2000 the German Football Association decided to have a total restructure and rebuilt the way German football is run from top to bottom and they’re now reaping the rewards.

Sadly, I don’t see this happening with the Premier League or English football, well, not unless there is a change in mentality. We all love the Premier League, it is a great product and it is exciting but it is all about the money. There is no infrastructure and, for me, there are too many foreign players but that is because young and exciting English talent comes with an inflated transfer fee.

Until we decide that the football is more important than the money, England won’t have another 1966 success.

David Moyes

David Moyes is the right man for the Manchester United job; if United wanted instant success then they surely would have gone with Jose Mourinho, so that makes me think that David will be given the time to succeed at United.

David is a like-for-like replacement for Sir Alex, he has the same values and beliefs in management and will continue the stability that Fergie has put in place.

I’m very interested to see who replaces David at Everton, he has done a remarkable job at the club and, if anything, that job will be harder to maintain than the United one.

Best Manager

I was lucky enough to play under some great managers during my career, the likes of Harry Redknapp, Howard Kendall, Bobby Robson and Martin O’Neill but the one I owe the most to is John Lyall.

John gave me everything, my first start, the education and the ‘tools’ to succeed; he gave me my foundations, not only to be a footballer but to be a decent guy. I learnt how to respect, how to be grateful and how to carry myself.

John made my career possible and I will forever be thankful to him.

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

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,

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