West Ham look to renewal of local rivalry

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The Independent Football

Trevor Brooking will warn his players to keep their cool during West Ham's first London derby with Millwall in 10 years on Sunday. The rivals have not met since a 2-2 draw in the First Division back in 1993 helped West Ham win promotion to the top flight, and the atmosphere between the two sets of opposing fans at Upton Park promises to be heated.

But Brooking, the Hammers' caretaker manager, wants to let football do the talking. "It's important for the players not to get involved because obviously sometimes it can aggravate them, what happens away from the pitch," Brooking said. "Any game has its possibilities but we're trying to make our football do the talking.

"All derby games have an atmosphere and they can be unpredictable. There's only a point between us so there's a lot to play for, but obviously we want the football to catch the headlines rather than any ill-felling off the pitch.

"Any London derby has a little bit of extra feeling and I'm sure our game against Crystal Palace next week will have that additional edge as well, so I don't consider one more worrying than the other. There's always that little bit of extra pride at stake. One or two incidents have happened in the past, but that's in the past as far as I'm concerned. We've got a different group of lads now and so have they."

One player Brooking admitted will "relish" the derby atmosphere is the Lions' captain, Dennis Wise, a veteran of several different London rivalries as a player with Wimbledon and Chelsea.

Wise told the official Millwall website: "I've played in so many London derbies and I know what it's like. Because I'm a London boy I also know what the fans feel and what the results mean to them, especially this game, don't worry about that.

"We're all looking forward to it and we feel we can get a result there. I think we quite enjoy it when there are a lot of people, it gets us going and that's how it should be. It makes a difference having a full house because you can get right into the game."

The Millwall chairman, Theo Paphitis, believes that new League rules to regulate players' agents will prevent vast sums of money leaving the game.

Chairmen from all member clubs of the Football League voted at an Extraordinary General Meeting at Oxford United's Kassam Stadium yesterday to introduce measures to regulate agents, making it compulsory for all clubs to register the full financial details of individual transfers of players with the League.

Every six months, a list will be published detailing the total spending on agents by each League club in an effort to name and shame those agents who charge extortionate fees for their part in a player's transfer, and it cannot come too soon for Paphitis.

"I don't like agents," he said. "Anything that puts them under the spotlight is good for football. I've had loads of cases, practically every one, where an agent has tried to demand a large fee during the transfer of a player and they get short shrift from us. We've got to stand firm.

"Short of appointing 100 accountants to act as policemen and actually go through a club's books, which we physically can't do, this is a good step in focusing the issue," Paphitis added. "We need to have transparency and that will have its own downwards pressure."

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