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The Julian Dicks column: 2nd February

Filed: Saturday, 2nd February 2013
By: Julian Dicks

West Ham United FC legend Julian Dicks is a columnist here on 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 with his thoughts on the transfer window - and one very peculiar situation involving WBA's Peter Odemwingie...

The transfer window

I think the transfer window is a waste of time, as I believe you should be able to sign players when you want. When it comes to the end of the transfer window everybody goes mad and adds millions of pounds to the value of their players. Bang average players sometimes, and all of a sudden they're worth £9million! It's ridiculous.

Maybe have a couple of month’s break, fine - but let people buy who they want to buy. When I was playing you could buy who you wanted when you wanted but yesterday everyone was going mad. You had average players worth perhaps £1-1.5million suddenly worth £5-£6million just because someone wants them - and if they want them, they have to pay up otherwise the window shuts.

West Ham signed four (first team) players during January, two of whom - Joe Cole and Wellington Paulista - I touched upon in my last column. Since then we've also signed Marouane Chamakh from Arsenal and Emanuel Pogatetz from Wolfsburg, both on loan.

I've watched Chamakh at Arsenal and, for me, he's a lazy player. At the end of the day he can't get in the Arsenal side so why is he good for West Ham? We don't need lazy players at West Ham - we need people who are going to work, graft and bang out results. It's different at Arsenal because they're a fantastic side with a fantastic array of players and you can afford to have one or two lazy players - but at West Ham we're a hard-working side and a hard-working club and we need players who are going to put a shift in for us.

I've not followed Pogatetz's career since he left England but they say he's a lively character who's kicked a few people! But we needed a centre half and hopefully he can be a good one for us. People ask me about James Tomkins and Winston Reid and I still haven't changed my opinion on them; if the ball's in the air they'll go and win it, but you want players to get the ball down and play football - and they can't do it.

It was said that Sam Allardyce was also chasing a goalkeeper during January - and rightly so as I think Jussi Jaaskelainen is a liability. I've watched him many times and yes, he pulls off some good saves but he also lets silly goals in. I don't just mean mistakes - as footballers we all make them - but he comes out and goes down on his knees; I'm obviously not a goalkeeper, but that seems odd to me. Robin Van Persie's goal for Man United in the FA Cup tie for example, is one I think he should have saved. Don't get me wrong, it was a fantastic strike but there are goals he could save that he doesn't. He goes down but he can't get to ground quick enough.

The Peter Odemwingie situation dominated the final day of the transfer window. I followed it on Twitter so don't know exactly what happened at West Brom or with QPR bidding but he's gone down there to try and get the move going and ended up being sent home. I've never known a situation quite like that but we had one player at Birmingham who thought he was out of this world and believed everybody wanted him - your Man Uniteds, Liverpools, everybody - and to be honest, he was awful!

He thought he was the absolute nuts, the best player in the world - and it wasn't the case that he was taking the piss, he genuinely thought he was! In the end he went a bit doolally. The Odemwingie situation was ludicrous but nothing surprises me with footballers these days, nothing at all.

Derby day doom and gloom

The Arsenal result was disappointing but I've been involved in games like that where you come out first half, play really well and then it falls apart in the second half. I remember playing against Liverpool at Anfield in the final game of the 1988/89 season when we needed to win to stand a chance of staying up. They took an early lead, but we equalised soon after [through Leroy Rosenior] and I remember thinking "ooh, we're going to win this" - and we got battered 5-1 and went down!

Arsenal can do that to anybody, they're a fantastic side when they want to be and you've just got to put that down to experience. It happened and hopefully it'll happen only once or twice a season, but that's football unfortunately.

Having draw level at Fulham only to concede again less than a minute later was unprofessional but again, it happens to all of us in football. You're most vulnerable when you've just scored because you take your eye off the ball. You're thinking "that's it, it's 1-1, we'll get the ball and do this and that" - and can lack concentration. But as I've said from day one, there are quite a few players in the team who are not good enough at the moment and certain players are not putting a shift in any more. When your big players aren't putting shifts in then you're going to come unstuck.

I'm not saying we carried Paolo Di Canio - he was an individual and a fantastic, awesome footballer - but because we had players that would graft and work their nuts off you could carry one or two of the more gifted players. West Ham haven't got that at the moment and they need everybody to put a shift in from the goalkeeper, to the captain through to everybody.

Despite the recent poor run of results I still think West Ham will survive comfortably this season. More or less every team goes through a bad patch at some time during the season but it's how you get out of that.

Bring on the Swans

So we got beat by five at Arsenal and beat at Fulham but today's game is also going to be tough because Swansea, for me, are a fantastic passing side. They get the ball down and they play; I've only watched them once or twice but they pass the ball and if West Ham don't close them down today they'll pass us to death. They have players who can open you up and score goals and since Laudrup came in, they've come on leaps and bounds.

Last week someone asked me about the Fulham and Swansea games and I said I can't see West Ham getting any points, because Fulham at home are a difficult side to break down and beat whilst if Swansea are allowed to play - and West Ham don't close them down - they're going to find it difficult. The way West Ham are playing at the moment with players not putting a shift in suggests they're going to find it difficult.

It's the same in every game though; West Ham are not a side with bundles and bundles of talent. Yes, there are one or two very good players but we need more to put a shift in for 90 minutes, not just 35 or 40 minutes.

A captain's role

Kevin Nolan has always been a good player but even last season some people were saying "he doesn’t do this, he doesn't do that". The thing is, when he's scoring goals you can forgive the other side of it - but when he's not scoring goals, as was the case before Fulham, you've got to find something else to put in to your game. Kevin's not a box-to-box player - and it's not just him - but I find that when the ball goes forward and the ball gets transferred into our half they just jog back and that really pisses me off, big time. It's just about hard work and running 30 or 40 yards.

On the plus side he's a great captain, the opposite of someone like Matthew Upson who was a shocking captain for West Ham and not a very good player either. Kevin is a very good player but he has to be in the right side. I think he's right for West Ham but if you're going to play him other people have to do his work - and players don't tend to do that anymore, they don't look after each other. When I played with people like Dev, Liam [Brady] and Stuart Slater they'd go forward, but we'd look after them.

The life of a thespian

This week I've been filming a cameo role in a film called The Hooligan Factory. It's a spoof, a take-off of films like Green Street and The Football Factory. Even though I've got a very small part in it I was on set for ten hours - and if I'm going to be on set for ten hours a day, I want Brad Pitt's money! I don't have a speaking role; I play one of the bosses of the hooligans and had a great big scar down my face! But I enjoyed it.

I know Jason Maza who's producing it and Cass Pennant, who also has a cameo role. I had a good chat with him about West Ham and everything else. There were also actors who've been in Green Street and stuff like that (whose faces I know but not the names). But it was good. We filmed it in a titty bar - sadly there was only one girl there - but it was fun. I was probably only filming for a couple of hours but there for ten so there was a lot of waiting around and you get to chat to everybody. Everybody there was nice enough so it was good.

Acting would appeal to me but I understand why they get paid so much. This film isn't coming out until next year and they're working on it for four weeks solid, so if you're the main actor doing 10-14 hours a day... It's a great life to have off the screen, but they certainly work hard.

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 Daniel gill
08:35PM 7th Feb 2013
''Great interview Graeme, Dicks legend!''

by g portugal
09:14AM 3rd Feb 2013
''Reid CAN and DOES play well ball to feet, not just in the air. He paases well and carries well for a centre-back. Tomkins doesn't. But to equate the two is lunacy. Reid is arguably our best player and most consistent this season.''

by Gary Wood
06:01PM 2nd Feb 2013
''I agree totally with the abolishment of the transfer window, it has become just another circus event, over-hyped by Sky.
I also think it is about time we got rid of these money-grabbing weasels they call agents, these leeches are nothing more than parasites that are ruining our great game and making vast sums of money to boot.

Get rid of them and the ridiculous debacle that is the transfer window.''

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