The former Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham, Manchester City player left Portsmouth following their relegation from the Premier League last season, but there has been no shortages of top-flight teams interested in his signature. Indeed, he turned down approaches from Celtic and Sunderland in favour of working under Steve Coppell. And playing in the Championship will not help his chances of prolonging his international career.
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'I've had offers to stay in the Premier League but it is more important that I play football which I love for the right club and be a family man,' he explained. 'I had a long conversation with the chairman, Steve Lansdown, and I liked what he said about the club and his ambition.
'I know all about the plans for a new stadium and desire to win promotion to the Premier League,' he added. 'The club is ambitious and that's what I am. The South West has not had a club in the Premier League and that needs to change.'
No one is doubting James' desire to improve the area's representation on planet football, but perhaps more important is that this move will allow him to extend his playing career longer than he would have been otherwise able had he joined a Premier League club. He turns 40 on Sunday, and though he has signed for only a single season, he has been given the option of a further year if the match is a good one.
There are other advantages too. James is understood to have an interest in coaching when his playing career ends, and there are worse ways of picking up advice and ideas on management than working under Coppell, one of the few to have managed in over 1000 matches.