Winterburn becomes new favourite for West Ham job

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A leading bookmaker last night suspended betting on the next West Ham manager after suddenly reducing the odds on Nigel Winterburn from 33-1 to 7-2. The action by Ladbrokes indicated a substantial sum of money had been staked on the club's former full-back replacing Glenn Roeder, who was sacked on Sunday.

The appointment of Winterburn would be surprising, given that he had accused the club's board of "doing the dirty" on Roeder by dismissing him.

The 39-year-old Winterburn retired from football in July, having been released by the Hammers in the summer after spending the last three years of a 19-year career in top-flight football at the club.

One candidate, the caretaker manager and club director, Trevor Brooking, ruled himself out yesterday. "It's a difficult situation, but I'm not comfortable in the role of stepping into Glenn's shoes," said Brooking, who took over from Roeder for the final three games of last season after Roeder collapsed with a brain tumour.

"This is a totally different situation from the end of last season. I'm not looking at that, and it's just a case of getting on and doing the job in the next two weeks, and trying to get a couple of results until we find a successor.

"We have to try to give the club a bit of breathing space to make the appointment, and I will keep my head down and let events take their course. "

Paying tribute to Roeder, Brooking said: "It is difficult. You couldn't get a more genuine, decent and committed person than Glenn and I can understand the upset he and his family must be feeling. I couldn't respect him any more, he is an absolute gentleman. I feel huge sympathy for him regarding the illness he had."

"Players have come and gone, and it must have been hugely difficult for him - we have to acknowledge and respect the tough situation Glenn has been in this summer."

The Oldham Athletic director, Sean Jarvis, insisted that his club's manager, Iain Dowie, "will remain committed" to the Second Division club, even though he is one of the favourites to take over at West Ham. Dowie has expressed an interest in replacing Roeder at Upton Park. But a club statement stopped short of confirming that Dowie, a former West Ham striker, has committed himself to Boundary Park. He refused to sign a new two-year deal a fortnight ago.

"It is no surprise Iain is being linked to the West Ham job, especially as he did such a good job at Boundary Park last season," Jarvis said. "We are sure that while Iain remains employed by the Latics he will remain committed to the club, despite its difficulties."

Jarvis confirmed that so far there had been no official approach from West Ham.

Ronnie Moore, the manager of Rotherham, who beat West Ham 1-0 on Saturday, has admitted that he would be interested in the West Ham vacancy. "Anyone would be interested in a job like that," said Moore. "But everyone gets mentioned in connection with the vacancy. I certainly haven't been approached."