Thursday, 7 June 2007

News From The Press Conference

Scott Parker today enjoyed his first visit to Upton Park as a West Ham United player and spoke for the first time about his £7 million move from Newcastle. At a press conference attended by the player, Alan Curbishley, Eggert Magnusson, Dean Ashton and a representative from XL Airlines, Parker stated: "I had some good times up at Newcastle and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But once I knew there was interest from West Ham, I spoke to the manager and the Chairman and my decision was made." On the subject of his much publicised fall-out with Alan Curbishley, Parker was keen to stress that there is no longer a problem. "These things happen," he said. "Now, when I look back, it obviously showed how much the manager thought of me. There's no doubting that under Curbs it was probably the best football I've played in my career. I'm really looking forward to playing under him again and being at West Ham. I think we're going to bring in some more signings. There's a foundation here at the moment and the Club are going in the right direction. You can see that from today with the new sponsorship deal. I think we can really go and push on."

Curbishley also expressed his delight at rekindling his successful working relationship with the 26-year-old England international. "I think that Scott brings so many qualities to the Club, one of them is leadership," said the manager. "He was captain at Newcastle. When he played for me at Charlton, even as a young boy, he was captain out there. But he's got lots of qualities. His energy and enthusiasm are going to endear him to the West Ham fans. Plus his other qualities, he can score goals, he can make goals. He sees the pass as well. When we had a chance of trying to sign Scott we went for it and we're really pleased that it's come through and we've got our man."

Eggert Magnusson informed the waiting press that he was optimistic about keeping Carlos Tevez at West Ham United next season. "Tevez has a contract with West Ham for three more years and I am confident he will be here next season," he said. "He's a great player, a great lad, everyone loves him around the club - and I think he'll be playing here next season." The Chairman also revealed that he and Alan Curbishley were looking to sign 'three quality players' during the summer. "It takes time to build a side to reach the top six - it does not happen over night," insisted Magnusson. "But we will do it within a few years. We are hoping to bring in three more quality players. We want quality players, but for quality players you have to pay a price." When questioned about the forthcoming arbitration hearing, Magnusson demurred to comment but promised he would have a lot to say after it is concluded.

It was also great to see Dean Ashton sat next his manager at the conference. Having spent ten months on the sidelines following an injury sustained whilst training with England in preparation for his international debut last August, Ashton said he was 'excited' about the prospect of returning to Premier League football. He told reporters that he was improving rapidly and set to return to action in time for the new campaign, which kicks off on August 11th. "My rehab is going well," he said. "I am more than hopeful I will start the season well. Last season was the hardest time of my career, to see the club go through so many ups and downs. But I was delighted it ended well. It seems like a fresh start as I feel I have got to prove myself again. But we have a Chairman willing to back the club and new players like Scott Parker - so for me it is really exciting to be at the club. I want to prove I am not a forgotten man and show how good I am. I've had a little break so I am more than happy to work all the way through to pre-season and beyond. It is hard work but I am trying to get back to full fitness. I am enjoying it - and it is nice to be back."

The other point of business was the official unveiling of XL Airlines as the new club sponsor. The travel company will succeed Jobserve as United's new sponsor after signing a three-year-deal with the club thought to be worth around £2.5m per year. As part of the deal, the company's giant logo is set to cover the entire East Stand roof whilst United's new Umbro kit, set for release next weekend, will also feature XL branding. An internal memo sent to all XL employees by CEO Phil Wyatt this morning reads:

I am delighted to announce to you all that today the 7th June, XL will be officially announced as the principle sponsor of West Ham United Football Club. This represents a significant step towards developing XL as a household travel brand in the UK. The deal includes all the players club shirts will carry the logo, and we will also have a heavy presence in all West Ham advertising. This ranges from regular advertisements in the match day programs and on the clubs official website (, (which has over 500,000 visitors monthly) to having the entire East Stand (roof at 110 metres x 14 metres high) at Upton Park branded with an bespoke design.

West Ham have had a remarkable season, culminating in them retaining their Premiership status by beating Manchester United at Old Trafford 1-0. In the last 2 months, their upturn in results has been nothing short of outstanding and they are sure to be one of the Premiership’s ones-to-watch next season. Last season, they generated the biggest audiences on Sky television for games involving teams outside of the ‘big 4’; Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool

We see this as a great opportunity for us to raise our profile and feel that XL will only benefit from the kudos that being associated with a Premiership club brings. There is also plenty of scope for our other brands, such as Aspire, to get involved. This is an exciting time for the XL leisure Group, and we see this link-up as another important step towards becoming one of the worlds most well-know travel brands.

Official press release attached for information.
Phil Wyatt
CEO XL Leisure Group

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