Winterburn: I'm Leaving

Last updated : 13 April 2002 By Mike Reich
Nigel: Off to pastures new
Nigel Winterburn came to West Ham for a small fee two years ago, when Harry Redknapp prised away the first of the famous Arsenal back four of Dixon, Winterburn, Adams and Keown.

But after two solid seasons at Upton Park, there is to be a parting of ways, after current manager Glenn Roeder indicated that he wouldn't be wishing to renew his expired contract at the end of the season.

"Glenn told me they wouldn't be renewing my contract for next season and I have to take it on the chin, but I made it clear that I would have liked to have stayed.

"I want to carry on for another year and still thought that I had something to offer, even if it wasn't on a regular basis in the first team. Managers have to make decisions along the way, but yes, I'm disappointed."

Glenn confirms that he has allowed the player to leave, on the club's site, but stresses that he agrees with Nigel's sentiments that he has another season in him still.

"Nigel came to see me and ask me what the situation was; his contract will not be renewed but he feels he has another season in him - as I'm sure he has - and he will play on.

"But I brought Vladimir Labant in to play at left back eventually and I do not think it is fair for a player of his age to sit on the bench or be in the reserves. He was on the verge of quitting after Everton away but thankfully we persuaded him not to - he has been a model professional who has had a brilliant two years here."

Glenn concluded: "I feel it is the right decision for the club - and for Nigel as well."

Nigel will look back at the last two years fondly, but it is clear that there is a feeling of regret about the decision.

"It has been a fantastic two years and I have really enjoyed them. I'm really disappointed at the moment because I would have liked to have stayed and played another year, but the club have made the decision, and I have to accept that.

"It's always disappointing for anybody to learn that their contract hasn't been renewed but first of all I have got to be professional if I am selected to play in any of the last five games - the fans hopefully know I will always give my best. Then I will look and try to find a new club for next season."