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The Julian Dicks Column: 11th October

Filed: Thursday, 11th October 2012
By: Julian Dicks

It's with great pleasure that we welcome West Ham United FC legend Julian Dicks to KUMB.com. Julian shares his thoughts with the readers of Knees up Mother Brown on a regular basis via his weekly column, the latest of which begins a review of last weekend's defeat against Arsenal...


We all knew Arsenal was going to be a tough game and that everybody would have to be at their best to beat them. For 75 minutes West Ham did well and although the lost in the end, I think 3-1 flattered the Gunners a bit.

West Ham started off well, but over the 90 minutes Arsenal passed them off the park. They miss Robin Van Persie but they've still got some exceptional players there. Still, Kevin Nolan had a couple of good chances and you'd expect him to put those away. You can't really knock him for missing them because he's the club's top scorer, but it could have been a better result for West Ham.

You have to put your chances away. You can look back over every single game and say, "If we'd have put that in we'd have won four or five-nil!" - but when you're playing teams like Arsenal you have to take your chances, because you know they're going to score goals and that you're going to be under pressure for periods of the game.

Although West Ham could perhaps have settled for a point I don't think it was naive to push on for a winner. They were at home and it's not in the players' nature to sit back and say "yeah, we'll take a draw here". In the 13 years I played football I never thought like that and I don't think the majority of footballers think like that.

Regardless of who you're playing you want to go out and get three points - and I thought West Ham might have gone on and won the game.


The amount of abuse I used to get as a player meant it was water off a duck's back - and it'll be the same for Arsene Wenger because he's a seasoned manager. But I always thought if I was getting abuse I must have been a threat to their team, which meant I was doing something right. It's not nice, but you know it's going to happen.

At the end of the day, black players used to get racially abused so they're not going to stop with the likes of Arsene Wenger or Alex Ferguson. It's part of the game. Yes, it's wrong - but you're never going to stop it.

Six pointers

It's imperative now that West Ham pick up maximum points in their next two games - and I'd expect them to beat both Southampton and Wigan. The Saints are going through a rough time and Wigan aren't the best of sides. When you look at the teams we've got to play after that you wonder where the points are coming from; it's going to be very tough.

However West Ham have started off well and with that team and Sam as manager I would imagine they think they can go out and beat most teams. When you play teams like Man City and Man United of course it's going to be tough. There are points there they can pick up - but you really want six points from the Southampton and Wigan games.

Mentally the players shouldn't need geeing up for the tough run of fixtures that lie ahead because if they can't get motivated for those games, they shouldn't be playing football. I don't think Sam will have to do that for any player against any team in the Premier League.

In terms of approaching those games, it's a difficult one. You either sit back and try and take the pressure - and you know against your Chelseas and Manchester Citys you're going to be under the cosh for most of the game, that they're going to get chances and they're going to score - or you can take the game to them, playing a 4312 or whatever.

However if you sit back you're inviting pressure - just as Sunderland did at Upton Park a few weeks ago. Unfortunately if you do that against the best sides, like your Man Citys and Chelseas, it's going to be tough just to sit back and soak it up.

Step up to the plate

Ravel Morrison is a great talent, according to people like Alex Ferguson. But whilst you need a bit of arrogance and confidence in football you can't step over the line - especially with the people who are employing you.

If he keeps doing it, teams and clubs aren't going to continue to take a chance on him. He's still young and he's got a great future in the game but if he doesn't sort it out people will say "we're not going to bother" - and he'll end up not playing football at all. He's 19 now so he's an adult; he's not a kid any more.

Ravel has got everything going for him, he's paid well and he's a very good player. Sometimes you have to take a look at yourself and ask, "hang on a minute, what am I doing?" We all make mistakes in life - I've made plenty! - but when you get booted out of Man Utd and then West Ham after only a few months there's obviously something amiss.

I don't believe the money the players earn these days has anything to do with their behaviour though. Some people gamble and get in trouble that way but this is about Ravel being disruptive, so money doesn't come into it unless he thinks he's got enough now and can do what he wants. Still, he'll have to knuckle down at some point.

The danger is that we'll still be saying this when he's 23 or 24 - by which time it could be too late. If you're lucky, your career lasts until you're 32, 33 - but then it's over. He has a long life ahead of him, so it's time to settle down and let his football do the talking.

Patience, Paolo

Paolo Di Canio was an exceptional footballer. Unfortunately I didn't play much with him but we got on really well - even though we had our spats.

Not so long ago I spent 45 minutes with him in his office before a Swindon game. I came out knackered; he's so enthusiastic and animated and kicks every ball! He's a nice bloke to be around because everything is great. What's he's done at Swindon so far is exceptional and you have to take your hat off to his Chairman as it's Paolo's first management job and he's gone in and done absolutely fantastically well.

Being physical with your players though - as Paolo has been - wouldn't work for me as a manager - and if any manager of mine slapped me round the head I'd punch them back! There's a way to get through to your players and that's not it. But they all look up to him at Swindon and rightly so, because he's an exceptional footballer and he's done a fantastic job as a manager.

He has been linked with the vacancies at Blackburn and Bolton but I think it's a little bit too early for him. At the end of the day only Paolo will know if that's the case - and with his ego, they're probably not big enough clubs for him! But he's done a fantastic job and he deserves everything he gets; who knows - he could go to either and set the world alight.

Looking back: my toughest opponents

Mick Harford was a really nice bloke - but very tough. I was at Birmingham with Mick when I was a young player and he could look after himself. I remember playing against him after he'd moved to Luton and he cracked my eye socket in four places. I don't think he did it on purpose but I remember saying, "look at my eye" - and he just said, "Oh, I didn't mean that!" That's the way he was.

Another who wasn't necessarily tough but exceptionally strong was Mark Hughes. If you kicked him he wouldn't whinge or moan but get up, get on with it and give you a whack back during the game sometimes!

For me, the toughest opponents I faced were players who were fast - players like Franz Carr, Ruel Fox and Tony Daley - just because they were a lot quicker than me! They always gave me a tough time. I often struggled against those sorts of players - if they were quicker than you and had half a brain they'd knock it past you and go.

The way to deal with those players was to put them in the stand within the first five minutes. If you did, then they wouldn't fancy it for the rest of the game - but if you went in and you missed them, then you knew you were in for a tough game!

One player I came across many times was Roy Keane. He could look after himself but he was a very good player as well - you don't play for or captain Manchester United for that long if you're not a good player. They had some fantastic players when we used to play against them - your Beckhams, Scholes and Cantonas. It was an exceptional side, especially if you had a midfield player like Roy Keane pulling all the strings.

Don't get me wrong, he put some bad, bad tackles in like the one on Alf-Inge Haaland. That doesn't make you hard, that's the coward's way. But he was a good player.

I also played against Dennis Wise and Vinnie Jones many times and we used to kick sh*t out of each other, but we'd still meet up in the bar after and have a drink and a chat. Then the next time comes around and in the first five minutes we'd be off again. But that was it; we weren't enemies, we'd kick sh*t out of each other on the pitch but after the game we'd have a chat and a laugh - and that was it.

Julian Dicks was talking to Graeme Howlett.

* 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.

Your Comments

by steve marsh
04:43AM 12th Oct 2012
''I saw many clashes between the likes of the Hammers against Wimbledon, Man Utd etc in Julian's day, and what fantastic entertainment. There's no comparison with today's game. Ok today it's all about speed, and touch, but you're not allowed to tackle anybody, yet players are still injured every other week.

I feel it meant more then also, you had more local players and the club ment something to them. Sounding really old now aren't I, but I miss them games.''

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