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Team Sorted

Parker's the top man for Hammers fans

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Colin Illingworth

Colin is a sub-editor on a regional newspaper and is a die-hard Aberdeen fan. He's prepared to sell his soul to the Devil for the Dons to return to their former glory so Satan, if you're reading this, give him a call!...
[full biography]
07/06/2007 09:00:00.
read: 1544 times.

When Scott Parker signed for Chelsea in 2004 he should have established himself as a regular for England, but limited first team appearances, being played out of position and a metatarsal injury put paid to his Stamford Bridge career.

A move to St James’ Park 18 months later started off brightly with some heroic performances which led to an England recall, but his hopes of becoming a staple fixture in the international squad were dashed when his injury jinx struck again. And his spell on Tyneside ended on a sour note as a section of the Toon Army turned on the former Charlton man after he made the cardinal sin of criticising the fans’ expectations, as he struggled to recapture that early dynamic form.

However, Parker now has an excellent opportunity to get his career back on track at Upton Park under his former mentor Alan Curbishley, and the majority of West Ham fans believe it is a great bit of business.

“Personally I think it's a great signing, and from the sound of it, he'll be good value at around £8m,” said Upton Park season ticket holder Matthew Beeby. “For an English player with his experience, and of his age, I think it's a good bit of business. Add in the fact that he's a Londoner and will be playing under the manager who previously got the best out of him, I think it's a good signing. He won't need time to settle into his surroundings, or the league, or to get used to the manager. I just hope that he leaves his injuries up in Newcastle.

“He should fit nicely into our midfield, providing the bite that will allow our more creative players to shine. He's also another leader both on and off the pitch – I can't see a repeat of last season with players like him and Lucas Neill in the side. They just won't stand for it.”

Fellow West Ham fan Richard Dicken believes that Parker is a quality player who will undoubtedly improve the team.

“He is a good tackler and will hold in midfield, in much the same way as Reo-Coker did in the last half of the season. His passing is better than Cokers, which will be a plus, he also pops up with more goals, which was something we missed last season from midfield. I would expect his attitude to be better as well. Again he is a good internationally capped player. He improves the team and squad and I would like to see plenty more like him at West Ham.”

And lifelong Hammers fan Stephen Johnson believes it’s time for Parker to show his true potential.

“I think it could be a good signing. He has a lot of potential and a lot to prove. I don't think his career has progressed as most pundits thought it might so now it's time for him to really show his ability.”

Scott Parker is widely regarded as the most under-rated English player in the game and a number of people cannot understand why he is continually overlooked by Steve McClaren. He is tenacious in the tackle, can break up play and drives teams on, and when given the opportunity he can also score special goals and set up his team-mates. However, Newcastle fan Paul Atkinson believes that Parker’s departure from St James’ Park is no big loss.

“Scott Parker leaving the club is no bad thing. He hasn’t really shown anything. He chokes on the big occasion, gets upset when rightly criticised and comes out with rubbish about 'unreasonable expectations' so I won’t be shedding any tears at his departure. I hope he settles back in London at a small club.”

Sam Allardyce is set to replace Scott Parker with Manchester City’s controversial midfielder Joey Barton, but fellow Newcastle supporter Gavin Nattrass was praying that Parker had a change of mind and decided to stay on Tyneside.

“I’m gutted about losing Parker. I hope he stays and proves his point. He could do what Beckham has done at Real Madrid. He is good enough. In fact he is pure class. I don’t think Barton is a better player than Scott Parker and I will honestly feel massive despair if we sign him. I cannot believe we are being linked with him. Big Sam seems to have all the talk about what he is going to do and how he is going to re-establish NUFC, he's bringing in a huge backroom team, his analysis models and his Tai Chi gurus. Yet, as he takes his first steps towards re-branding the club in his own image, we get Barton instead of our club captain. Parker is the one man amongst the mediocrity we saw last season who always gave 100 per cent. I am honestly hoping this deal falls through.”

Unfortunately for Gavin it looks as though Joey Barton has his heart set on a move to Tyneside and Scott Parker finally completed his move to West Ham yesterday (June 6). It’s thought that Parker’s arrival at Upton Park will signal the end of Nigel Reo-Coker’s spell at the East End club, but despite handing in a transfer request and being blamed by a number of fans for the club’s lacklustre performances last season, Stephen thinks it would be a mistake to let the captain go.

“It seems as though Parker is a direct replacement for Nigel Reo-Coker, which I think is a great shame as I would personally love to see him stay. Lots of fans are split over him, but I feel his best is yet to come. He is so powerful for a medium/small player and with a bit more composure in his final ball and shooting he will become a top player. He has had lots of negative press yet his attitude and character is always very positive. At 23 and to be captain of West Ham for the past three years is a great achievement. I hope the reports of us not wanting him to stay are untrue. I prefer to remember the good times with Nigel, especially after nearly leading us to FA Cup glory and I really hope he stays and retains the captaincy.”

There’s no question that on his day Nigel Reo-Coker is one of the best young midfielders in the country, but Matthew believes that the former Wimbledon player has simply talked himself out of Alan Curbishley’s plans.

“I don't think that Reo-Coker can stay now. When he put in his transfer request, I think quite a few Hammers wanted him to stay and agreed with him that an England U21 captain shouldn't be allowed to leave the club. But the more he lets his mouth flap and moans about the club, the harder it is for him to stay. I do think that he's disillusioned about his future club though – he still hasn't proved himself enough for a top four club to splash the money on him, so he's likely to find himself no better off than he would have been by staying at West Ham – or worse if he ends up at Villa.”

Richard Dicken fully agrees with Matthew’s assessment and cites the arrival of Tevez and Mascherano as the moment that Reo-Coker changed. Richard is also hoping that the imminent departure of Reo-Coker will allow Mark Noble to get a decent run in the first team.

“The writing was on the wall for Reo-Coker as soon as the Argentinean pair arrived. As usual we don't really know what went on behind the scenes but it was obvious his form dipped dramatically after rumours of interest from other clubs and the new arrivals. Truly ambitious players would have welcomed a player like Mascherano to the squad, he seemed to sulk. The real key was his reaction when he scored against Man Utd at home, cupping his ear to the home crowd. A bit rich for someone who had scored their one and only goal that season and was not playing well. Don't get me wrong, Reo-Coker is a quality player, but he is still lacking in a few departments of his game. His passing, scoring and attitude need to be improved if he wants to play for one of the big boys, this seems to be the case as only teams like Villa are interested. I am happy to see Reo-Coker go, he doesn’t want to play for us, let’s get someone who does. I would like to see Noble given a run as he was one of the reasons our season turned around so dramatically.”

Eggart Magnusson has reportedly given Alan Curbishley a war chest of around £30 million to spend on rebuilding the squad and the press has been linking the Hammers with every half-decent player going. Darren Bent, Andrew Johnson, Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta, Jermaine Defoe, Craig Bellamy and Joey Barton have all been linked with a move to the East End in the past couple days and it’s sure to be an exciting couple of months for West Ham fans. And Matthew Beeby believes that if Alan Curbishley can sign more players of the calibre of Scott Parker then there is no way that they will be involved in a relegation battle next season.

“Like Luis Boa-Morte and Lucas Neill before him, in signing Parker we're signing a club captain, and I think that shows that Curbs has recognised some of our failings last year. We expected to be winning games, and when we weren’t we lacked the strength and leadership to cope. Hopefully Scotty will be able to keep us moving in midfield if we concede an early goal this season.”

West Ham have a great tradition of playing good football, but every good team needs someone who can stifle the opposition and get the team going. In Scott Parker they have one of the best in the business. Now if only they can keep hold of Tevez…

Latest article feedback

Matt Beeby:

Just out of curiosity - which of my quotes makes me out to be a knuckle-dragging moron who knows nothing about football? Saying that Parker will add some bite to our midfield? Saying that he will be a good leader on the pitch? Saying that Reo-Coker hasn't proven himself enough to get a move to a top 4 side? I think most fans would agree with all of the above. I even managed to reply using some logic and without swearing - what a dastardly moron I must be... Sorry Mr Ed - right to reply and all that! :o) [Ed: I don't mind this at all.]


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