West Ham defender: 'I would be devastated to leave the club'
PUBLISHED: 11:02 22 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:02 22 January 2018
Hammers centre half James Collins says he has heard nothing from the club about a new contract
West Ham defender James Collins says that he will be ‘devastated’ if he is not offered a new contract by the club and has to leave.
The 34-year-old Wales international centre-back has played 208 games in claret and blue over two periods and he believes he is playing as well as ever.
But he admitted that he had heard nothing from the club about the prospect of a new deal.
“Nothing has been said to me,” said Collins after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Bournemouth. “I have tried to talk to the club a couple of times and I don’t know if it is on the back-burner or the last thing they are going to do, but they certainly haven’t said anything to me.”
Collins has become a cult hero with West Ham fans in his second spell at the club. Nicknamed ‘Ginger Pele’ he is the first to salute the fans after a game and go over to give the supporters his shirt.
It is clear how much he loves playing for the club.
“I would be devastated to leave,” he admitted. “I left for Aston Villa before and it killed me. But I guess if it came to it, I would have to leave at my age as I need to be playing football.”
Manager David Moyes is in a similar position to the Welshman and he has suggested that the board will look for the team to be safe in the Premier League before they make any decisions about new deals.
“The boss is in the same place as me,” said Collins. “But being safe is irrelevant to me. I could leave in January or I could be left in the lurch come the end of the season.
“It is obviously a situation that is not great and one which I would like to get sorted as soon as possible.
“I don’t like going into training thinking about it all the time.”
Collins has been linked with a move to Premier League rivals Brighton, but he admits that he doesn’t know anything about it.
“I don’t know what is going on to be honest with you,” he said. “I would be bitterly disappointed to leave this football club; it has been a massive part of my life.”
It is clearly unsettling for a player who has given the best part of his career to the Hammers. The fans would certainly like to give him at least another year in the team and the fact that Moyes is picking him still suggests he has faith in the player.
“I am 34, but I feel like I am playing as well as I ever have,” he insisted. “I might have picked up too many little injuries this season, but when I play, I play my heart out and give my all to the club and I have done for 10 years.”
He certainly has. There seems to be little sentiment in football these days, but surely all that service deserves some recognition?
And a new deal should do just that.