Surprising to no one, Lucas Neill has come under fire from media and bitter rival supporters alike for his decision to sign for West Ham rather than Liverpool. Rumours of West Ham upping his wages to 70K a week to seal the deal are flying about and, as unlikely as that figure is, Neill is almost certainly making more than he would have at Anfield,
“At no stage did the issue of money enter into the footballing decision I was making,” he said.
“Yes, I want to be secure, like everyone, but more importantly I want to know that I am going to be content, happy and playing football every week.
“Some of the figures that have been mentioned are just ridiculous and the whole thing was blown way out of proportion. Anyone who thinks I joined West Ham simply for money is way off the mark.
“People have questioned why I signed for West Ham and not Liverpool but I don’t understand that.
“Yes, Liverpool is a great club with a fantastic history but, equally, West Ham have produced people like Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters, Trevor Brooking and Billy Bonds over the years. If West Ham was good enough for those guys, then it’s good enough for me.
A man plays professional football for many reasons, and not everyone’s idea of successful career is one littered with major trophies. Lucas Neill is 28, turning 29 in March, and in his prime. No matter who West Ham manage to secure with biscuit money in the next few seasons it’s unlikely they’re going to mount a serious challenge for any significant silverware before Neill has to pack up his things and return to fighting dingos bare-fisted in the Outback.
But rather than yell at him for not joining the Big Four, we’re applauding Neill’s decision to join the West Ham revolution, help them stay in the Premiership, and make a shedload of cash in the final years of his career. Because we can’t honestly say we wouldn’t have done the same…