Filed: Thursday, 6th September 2012
By: Julian Dicks
It's with great pleasure that we welcome West Ham United FC legend Julian Dicks to KUMB.com. Julian will be sharing his thoughts with us on a regular basis via his KUMB column, which kicks off today with a review of the opening weeks of the 2012/13 Premier League season...
It's been a good transfer window for West Ham. Sam Allardyce has done well and the signing of Andy Carroll is a major coup. Brendan Rodgers thought he had someone coming in - we heard about Clint Dempsey - but as a manager you don't let anybody go until the player you want has signed on the dotted line.
I haven't been able to get to a game this season yet as I've been busy coaching* but West Ham have started the season well. I think if you had said at the start of the season we'd take six points from the first three games, most people would have been happy with that.
Aston Villa aren't a good side like they used to be but at the end of the day, you can only beat what's put in front of you. Swansea are a good passing side and they've got some good players and that was always going to be a tough game. But to go and beat Fulham 3-0 after the start they had was a fantastic result.
Although he's only just signed, they're going to miss Carroll. For me he's a very good player. He didn't have the best of times at Liverpool but he's a West Ham player; he's aggressive, he wears his heart on his sleeve and he gives everything he's got - as he proved in the Fulham game. They had two or three people trying to mark him because he's so good in the air and that gives other players space to work in.
My friends who are West Ham fans said it was the best football they've played this season. I'm not a huge fan of Sam Allardyce's style of football; I'm not a purist, but I like to play football with the ball on the floor. However it takes all types of managers and they all play differently.
Sam's done that for many, many years and been very successful at it, so you can't knock him and say it's no good because he's done well - especially at Bolton who were an average side. He kept them in the Premiership for many, many years and did a good job. He also did a decent job at Blackburn - although he didn't have the best of times at Newcastle for whatever reason. But he's an experienced manager.
Carroll's a good player - if you play to his strengths. At West Ham now we've got Matt Jarvis - who cost a lot of money - who's an out-and-out winger that gets crosses in the box which is what Andy wants. You've also got Matty Taylor and now Yossi Benayoun who's good at playing balls down the side of defenders for Andy to run onto. And for me, Andy's an intelligent footballer.
I don't think Carlton Cole has it in him to be another Andy Carroll. Carlton is just an out-and-out, old style centre forward who just controls it and gives it. He's never been dominant in the air like Andy. But he's got another chance now. Andy's out, which is a big blow for West Ham, but Carlton's got another chance to stake a claim for that place.
Being dropped like that is not nice, but that's football and it happens. It can either spur you on or have the opposite effect. I was never in that situation, but Carlton can either sulk and say "Andy Carroll's here now and I'm going to be on the bench" or "sod it, I'm going to give everything I've got". And if he's playing and scoring regularly, it'll be difficult for Sam to leave him out when Andy's back.
I love Upton Park but I understand football moves on. The best way for the Olympic Stadium to be beneficial to West Ham and the supporters is if they make it affordable for everybody - and I mean properly affordable. That's not £30 a ticket, but £30 for a family of four so everyone can afford to go and watch their team. It's not fair that fewer and fewer people can watch West Ham play; I think everybody should be able to watch their team.
I know kids still go, but when I used to play there were loads of kids in the Chicken Run and down at the front of the stands. It was affordable, but now a lot of people have been priced out of the market - which is a shame. So on that basis, I'd like to see West Ham move to Stratford.
As for as it being fit for football, if you can get 60,000 people in there then great. West Ham can't extend much more at Upton Park, the limit is 35,000-40,000. It's going to be difficult to fill the Olympic Stadium but if they can, then I'm all for it. However if you've got a stadium with only 30-35,000 people in it, that isn't good for anybody.
But if you make it properly affordable for both families and individuals it's a different story. I've got lots of friends who just can't afford to go any more; for a family you're looking at £100-plus for tickets - but there's also getting there; something to eat and drink for the kids; a programme; it all adds up.
Looking Back: Seeing Red
During his first spell at West Ham in 1992/93, Julian was sent off three times in the space of just four months - against Newcastle, Wolves and Derby - a sequence that led to reports, which he insists were false, that he was set to quit football...
I remember the Newcastle one - I can still feel Franz Carr breathing down my neck! I elbowed him; I knew I was going to do it but I couldn't stop. As soon as I did it - and you can see this on the video - I just started walking because I knew I was going to be sent off!
The Wolves one (see video below) - with Paul Birch and Steve Bull - I was a bit harshly done by. I remember Birchy coming across me, he tried to do me. Then Steve Bull came across me and he knew what he was doing. I cleared the ball and he started play-acting. He went down, looked to see where the referee was and just held his stomach. I can remember Billy Bonds running down the line shouting "Julian, stop it!"
And Ted McMinn at Derby? The ball was there, I went to win it but again he knew what he was doing. He flicked it and I took the bait - and that was it. I can remember the Derby fans calling me an animal as I walked off but it happened all the time; I didn't have to be sent off, I used to get abused anyway!
Billy Bonds ended up taking the captaincy away from me. I always used to fall out with Billy, we were like two peas in a pod! But I understand why he didn't want his captain to keep getting sent off - even though I once said to him: "It's a bit hypocritical coming from you!"
But I understood that. It's just the way I was and the way I played. I didn't change the way I played and in the end I got the captaincy back.
West Ham fans pay good money and they would rather see somebody go out there and wear their heart on their sleeve. We all make mistakes and get sent off and stuff like that, but they want to see players with a bit of heart - unlike some players when I played, and nowadays, not even giving 75 per cent.
There's no question I could play today but you have to adapt. For example - when I played for Liverpool I only got booked once in 28 games. The thing is, there's not many tackles that go in now anyway - players don't get close enough anymore.
You talk to people who know about football and they mention my sending offs, but they also say: "You could play". I'm not being big-headed, I knew I was a good player and I could do a lot of things but the aggressive side was a big part of my game. But people remembering me for that alone doesn't bother me at all.
I remember Graeme Souness saying to me: "You will always be remembered - and other people won't". Just because of the way I was.
* Julian is currently available to coach both junior and senior football teams. For more details, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JULIAN3DICKS.
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, KUMB.com.
05:37PM 6th Sep 2012
''A fair and honest piece from Julian. Mind you he could have said almost anything and people would have accepted it, such is the esteem he is held in by Hammers fans! One of our own and one of the best.''
by Tell it how it is Charlie!
11:33AM 6th Sep 2012
''West Ham can quite easily fill Stratford, that is by reducing seat prices by substantial amounts. At the same time you need to end this greed by footballers and their agents. I remember asking you, Mr. Dicks, 10 years or so back at Tesco in Colchester, what you thought of Rio Ferdinand being on 50k a week? You appeared on his side.
I dare say there are thousands of kids around east, north and south that would love to go if you charged them £5 a match. Look at Ronaldo at Real Madrid (I know it´s another world) - €250k a week rising to €500k on his last year, yet he feels unloved due to money (bless him). What world are these footballers living in? Surely there comes a point where you play for the love of it and money is of secondary importance, but it appears not.
You need to make football open to the masses again. The only thing that I find amazing is that clubs can keep charging these astronomical entrance fees. The only thing that matters to most fans is winning. Redknapp, liked his direct football too (Crouch who has far less technical skill than Carroll) so is Allardyce that different from most other Premier League managers?
I think most West Ham fans will accept Allardyce and his direct style as long as they keep winning. We´ve seen so much rubbish over the last 20 years that the fans will sacrifice some of the pretty stuff.
You were always safe under the Cearns, Julian! The Cearns were more tighter than a ducks arse under water when it came to investing in the club. Look at all those fabulous goalkeepers you played in front of at your time with West Ham!''
by Antony Mortony
09:20AM 6th Sep 2012
''As always a very true and honest account from Julian, who to me is one of the players I idolised growing up, if half of the players showed the commitment he did every game for us in the last relegation battle we would of stayed up, no doubt about it.
I have also had the privilege to have him come and train my football team and this guy knows what he is doing... obviously. He is also a down to earth guy and whilst I was a bit 'star struck' he was just Julian. If you get the chance get him booked in for a session you won’t be disappointed.''
by Doc H Ball
09:01AM 6th Sep 2012
If you ever get to see this Julian, I'd just like to say you were our best left back in the 40 years I've been going mate and I now look forward to reading your thoughts on here.
I was at the Derby game. The red card seemed to be the culmination of various events - it had an air of inevitability about it. It was reported that he was thinking of quitting and although the article says he denies that, even from how he walked off the pitch we could tell it was shit or bust time.
I'd love to know more about that time and what players he could turn to for advice.
Thanks for (another) good piece KUMB.''
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