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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 January 2007, 17:33 GMT
Neill defends West Ham decision
West Ham's new signing Lucas Neill
I'm just delighted to be at a very big club with a big tradition

West Ham defender Lucas Neill (left)
New West Ham signing Lucas Neill has insisted his decision to join the Hammers was based on his desire for first-team football.

Neill turned down a move to Liverpool, amid suggestions he had opted for a bigger pay packet at Upton Park.

"My decision was based on football. I know I'm going to fit into the family here," said the 28-year-old.

"I'm within the wage structure and there's nothing outrageous about it. I just want regular first-team football."

The Australia international said he had also been influenced by West Ham's reputation in the game.

"I'm just delighted to be at a very big club with a big tradition. People say that Liverpool and West Ham are difficult to compare, but there's been some fantastic players here," said Neill.

"The likes of Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore, Alan Devonshire Trevor Brooking and more recently Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Michael Carrick - they're great players and characters."

Moving to West Ham isn't a backwards step - it's a great jump forwards

Lucas Neill

But Neill did admit he had been on the verge of moving to Anfield before West Ham convinced him to sign for them.

"If truth be told, I thought that when the transfer window opened I would get the chance to go to Liverpool but as it turned out it was well into the window before there was any formal approach," he said.

"It made me wonder where I might fit into those plans.

"At my age, that was an important decision to make. The money thing is crazy and will only unsettle the club I've come to.

"Moving to West Ham isn't a backwards step - it's a great jump forwards."

Meanwhile, West Ham manager Alan Curbishley said he is looking to Neill to add some defensive solidity to his side's back four.

"We have been scoring goals, but letting them in as well," said Curbishley.

"Hopefully Lucas coming into the squad will beef us up a bit.

"I want us to settle down and get some wins under our belts, which is what we need."

West Ham confirm capture of Neill
22 Jan 07 |  West Ham Utd
Benitez ready to ditch Neill deal
18 Jan 07 |  Liverpool
Blackburn may sell skipper Neill
13 Dec 06 |  Blackburn Rovers
Rovers offer Neill improved deal
12 Oct 06 |  Blackburn Rovers
Neill set for Blackburn departure
04 Aug 06 |  Blackburn Rovers


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