West Ham United: Ranking the Eight Best Hammers of All Time
Quite a few West Ham players have come and gone through the ages. The likes of Scott Minto, Nigel Quashie, and Christian Dailly all failed to impress in the claret and blue, but there were a rare few that cemented their names in West Ham folklore. Whether it was through a stoppage-time goal that secured promotion or a last-ditch challenge that preserved a lead, the ten names on this list did their part in making West Ham the force that they are today. Taking everything into consideration, this slideshow counts down the eight best Hammers of all time.
8. Scott Parker
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Scott Parker joined the Hammers from Newcastle in 2007, and was an immediate success. The hard-hitting, intelligent passing Parker helped orchestrate the team's midfield from the day he joined to the present day. Parker's most remarkable season has come this year, where despite West Ham's relegation, he was able to contribute several match-winning performances, leading to his PFA Player of the Year award. His club may have finished bottom of the league, but for Scott Parker the last season has been a godsend for his career.
If Scotty decides to leave us once the transfer window opens, no West Ham fan will hold it against him, and it is almost a certainty that his legacy will live on for years to come.
7. Martin Peters
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Martin Peters was one of the first names that sprung to mind when I thought of West Ham icons. The man was a terrific athlete, and has a World Cup winners medal to his name.
Peters was known in the dressing room as 'Mr Versatile'...and for good cause. Amazingly, Peters played in every position on the pitch at some point during his 11-year stay with the Hammers...including goalkeeper. He possessed immense pace and creativity, and was a free-kick maestro. The only reason why Peters isn't higher on this list is because of the four years he spent at Spurs after his West Ham career drew to a close.
6. Carlos Tevez
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It's okay readers, you can relax your eyebrows now.
Now, I'm sure you're wondering why this Argentine is on the list...after all, he's the reason the club is still in a massive amount of debt. But, look at it this way—without Tevez in the 06-07 season, we would have been playing Championship football a lot sooner. He single-handedly saved West Ham from relegation, netting seven goals in the latter stages of the season, including the decisive finish on the final day of the campaign that kept us playing top-flight football.
Add to that to his Hammer of the Year award, and Tevez' place on this list is fully justified.
5. Billy Bonds
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Where can one start with Billy Bonds? The man is a legend at Upton Park, and quite rightly so. He spent a massive 21 seasons as a player with the Hammers, and if that wasn't enough, he went on to manage the club (although not particularly well) for four seasons. He is the most played player in West Ham history...a record no other player has ever come close to surpassing.
His career as a Hammer began in 1967, coming to the club from Charlton Athletic. He went on to make 793 total first team appearances for the club, netting 59 goals in the process. Known for his savage, gritty approach to the game, he is used as the model of the perfect Hammer for today's young squad. His name will live on for as long as the club does.
4. Geoff Hurst
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One of the fiercest goal-scorers in his era, Sir Geoff Hurst is a name that echoes around Upton Park at every home game. With a West Ham career spanning 13 years, Hurst collected a World Cup Winners Medal for the '66 campaign, as well as an FA Cup in the process. The man is a true West Ham legend.
He still makes frequent appearances at Upton Park to this day, receiving a standing ovation every time. One moment that stands out to me was Hurst's penalty kick in the FA Cup against Gordon Banks. The fact that he missed is old news, and it was in no way Geoff's fault. The penalty kick was immaculate, but unfortunately for Hurst the save was even better.
3. Paolo Di Canio
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The cheeky yet stubborn Di Canio is highly regarded as one of the best characters (and footballers) ever to wear the West Ham shirt. Di Canio spent only a short spell at the club, four seasons to be precise, but in those four years he left a mark on the fans that will never be forgotten.
In the '99-00 season, Di Canio netted 16 goals in 30 league games, averaging more than a goal per game. The tally was impressive in itself, but it wasn't necessarily his scoring that made Di Canio such a hit.
Di Canio's popularity came from the way he conducted himself. He was a lively, funny character who could always seem to make something happen out of nothing.
The goal he scored against Wimbledon highlights his West Ham career perfectly. A work of absolute genius, the goal is highly regarded by many football fans as one of the best in Premiership history. Di Canio potentially has a future with West Ham, this time as a manager. Believe me, one day he will manage the club.
2. Trevor Brooking
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Sir Trevor Brooking had an illustrious career as a Hammer. Brooking made an amazing 636 appearances, netting 103 times for the club in a stay that lasted 17 years. He managed the club on two occasions, and to this day helps run the club behind the scenes.
The man has a stand named after him in Upton Park, which by itself should clearly make him worthy of this list. Brooking was one of the most intelligent and cerebral footballers of his generation, and had a very clean disciplinary record.
Brooking directly followed the Bobby Moore/Geoff Hurst era, and despite beginning in their shadows he established himself as a player who superbly exemplified West Ham's traditional commitment to attractive, entertaining football.
1. Bobby Moore
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There can be no dispute over the clear choice for number one Hammer. Sir Bobby Moore is, and always will be, the greatest West Ham player to grace the shirt. He is widely regarded as the greatest defender of all time, but more importantly he was a true gentleman. The way he conducted himself on and off the pitch was faultless, and he is the best role-model you could assign to any young player coming through the ranks.
Moore captained West Ham for ten solid years, and also won a World Cup with England in 1966 as team captain. During the 1970 World Cup, England matched up against Brazil, and Moore was faced with the seemingly impossible task of marking the Brazilian great Pele. Against all odds, Moore pulled off a fantastic performance despite England's eventual loss. There was one moment in the match where Moore made a stunning tackle on Jairzinho, which is honored to this day as a one of the most perfect tackles in football history.
After spending 16 years with West Ham, winning a World Cup, and ultimately having a stand named after him at Upton Park...Bobby Moore is without a doubt the greatest Hammer of all time.