Phil Parkes: ‘Super Fabianski was a worthy winner and follows a fine history of West Ham goalkeepers’

I was delighted to see Lukasz Fabianski win Hammer of the Year, and he now joins an elite band of West Ham goalkeepers who have picked up the award.

There was Lawrie Leslie, myself, Shaka Hislop and Rob Green – good company to be in – and I’m sure he is delighted to have been recognised as it’s tough to win an award like this as a goalkeeper.

The thing that strikes me is just how different this awards evening is to what it was like in my day.

We certainly didn’t have any fancy dinner. There are also lots of different categories now like goal of the season and save of the season that we never had.

When we got Hammer of the Year, it was presented to us first of all at the supporters’ club before we were handed it on the pitch.

I can still remember when I won and I headed over to the supporters’ club with Geoff Pike – the runner up – and it was quite busy in the place.

There were a few sets of old boys playing dominoes and then I was called up to the stage and there was quite a bit of talk on the stage.

After a while, all of a sudden, one of the old boys got up and said to get on with it because they were trying to have a game of dominoes. It brought me back down to earth but it’s a nice memory.

Until our stutter in form recently, people were talking up our chances of finishing seventh, or the best of the rest.

But this would have most likely meant that we’d have qualified for the Europa League as Man City look heavy favourites to win the FA Cup, thus making seventh place a qualification place.

I think it’s a poisoned chalice and, at the moment, I don’t think we need that again. It’s great for the fans but it puts so much more strain and pressure on the squad.

You’ve got to have a big squad these days to be able to compete in Europe and achieve your goals in the Premier League.

But what has been wonderful this season is not having to talk about the threat of relegation and the pressure of being in a relegation battle.

It makes a nice change for us after the last few seasons that we’ve endured. And one player who I hope we do keep next season, even though it looks like he might be on his way out, is Michail Antonio.

I’ve always liked him because he does what he does and always gives 100 per cent. Even though he has been here for a few seasons, you still feel he is a bit raw but I think that’s what makes him the player he is.

I don’t think you can try to take away his rawness or try to coach it out of him because then he might lose something from his game.

He sees a ball and just goes for it and trying to tame him might lead to him not being as good a player as I think he is.

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