West Ham legend hails Allardyce impact (Interview)

Ask any West Ham season ticket holder to run through a list of their all-time favourite players for the club and Julian Dicks is almost certainly guaranteed to make the cut in the majority of cases.

The Bristol-born defender was a rare breed of footballer that possessed not only a cultured left foot and playing style but he had the ability to look after himself when it came to the physical side of the game as well; think Leighton Baines meets Joleon Lescott. He took time out to speak to Football Friends Online about his career and the current football climate.

Paul Hill- Would you consider yourself a West Ham supporter now that you’ve retired?

Julian Dicks- When I was growing up I never really supported a team as I just wanted to play football, but I do consider myself a West Ham supporter nowadays. I still go to a lot of Non-League matches, but unless I’m doing some work for BBC London I can’t really get to the ground as much anymore.

PH- What are your thoughts on Harry Redknapp, a former boss of yours? He seems to have been in the news quite a bit recently.

JD- Harry was one of the best bosses I’ve ever had and I still think he is one of the best to this day. He was great at organising and motivating the team and his career since has proven how good he is.

PH- Where do sit on the debate regarding the supposed ‘old-school’ and ‘new-school’ managers, considering that Redknapp was in the press recently stating that these new modern day tactical managers feed the players with too much ‘b******t and 70 page dossiers’?

JD- I’d have to say that I agree with him on this one. In my opinion you can only really give a player so much information before it gets too complicated. All players are professionals, they know what is expected of their position; a winger knows he has to beat the full-back and cross, a striker knows he has to score goals.

PH- Did Redknapp ever focus on tactics much when he managed you?

JD- He did yeah, he had the team organised and the every player knew what he had to do when he set foot on the pitch. We also knew where we had to be for set pieces and certain match situations.

PH- As a West Ham great, what do you make of the club’s current situation? Sam Allardyce has obviously done well since he’s taken over but he doesn’t seem to be playing in the supposedly ‘West Ham way’ of attractive, passing football?

JD- To be honest I don’t think it matters how you play as long as you’re getting results. Football’s a results business and if you’re getting the ball in the net that is all that counts. I think he’s done brilliantly since he’s been there.

PH- The signing of Andy Carroll also shows his intention to not change his playing style, what are your thoughts on that transfer?

JD- I think he’s a brilliant player, he’s amazing in the air, he has a great touch and also brings others into play. He’s everything you need in a centre forward and I think he’ll be really good for the club.

PH- One player I want to ask you about is Freddy Sears, he burst onto the scene a few years ago with a debut Premier League goal for West Ham against Blackburn, and he was then touted as the next big thing, what ever happened to him?

JD- I don’t think he ever really was the next big thing, he never looked strong enough for the Premier League for me, obviously he had some ability but his record since shows that he might not be up to top flight standard. But you never know, he’s at Colchester now and sometimes a player needs to drop down a level or two get their confidence back. He may eventually prove himself.

PH- And what do you think about Joe Cole? ? He’s a famous West Ham export who had a couple of dodgy seasons recently, then had a great term over in France with Lille but finds himself stuck on the sidelines again now at Liverpool.

JD- Yeah, I don’t think the Liverpool thing is his fault, Brendan Rogers doesn’t seem to fancy him at all. It’s a shame really because he is a fantastic player and hopefully he moves somewhere else in January.

Julian is currently touring the country coaching local teams of various levels. If you are interested in him coaching your team then he can be found on Twitter at @JULIAN3DICKS