Football: Redknapp covets Premiership prize

HARRY REDKNAPP said yesterday that it is the dream of winning the Premiership which drives him on at Upton Park.

In his five years at West Ham, Redknapp has turned his side from strugglers into a European outfit. "I want to win trophies now," said Redknapp as he prepared for today's match with Sheffield Wednesday. "It is time this club started to win things. We all have our dreams and ours is to win the championship. It is about time this club started to win things and it is our ambition to be up there and one day maybe win a championship and definitely win a cup."

The Hammers manager clinched a place in the Uefa Cup via the Intertoto Cup last season and believes he now has the foundations of a side capable of reliving the heady days of Geoff Hurst and Bobby Moore. "It was nice to finish fifth and eighth over the last few years and to get into Europe but we want to qualify for Europe again this year. The minimum is to qualify for the Uefa Cup again next year and we have to make sure we do that. But we want to see West Ham up there every year and we have spent a long time getting things right."

The club have just been given permission to expand their Upton Park home into a 35,000-seater stadium. After years of negotiating with Newham Council, they have reached an agreement to regenerate the West Stand with 15,503 seats. "It is great news for the club because you need to have 35,000 to 40,000 seats if you want to be competitive in the Premiership," Redknapp said.

"With wages climbing you need to have more people coming through the gates and this will give us that. We have terrific players, and good young players and now the playing side is sorted out, the stadium increase will give us a chance to go on and become a bigger club which is what West Ham should be. If you look at the Arsenals and Chelseas, they all have big stadia and they are at the top of the Premiership. We have great fans and huge support and we will be able to fill Upton Park on a regular basis."

The Coventry City manager, Gordon Strachan, has urged Sky Blue supporters to forgive and forget when Aston Villa come to Highfield Road tomorrow. The game sees the return of George Boateng and Dion Dublin after their controversial moves to Villa Park.

"We know George and Dion are good players because we had them here and they were excellent," Strachan said. "But we are a bit different here - Darren Huckerby returned with Leeds a few weeks ago and he got a very good reception."

D-Day for Gregory, page 8

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