In its history of 120 years, West Ham United have seen many ups and downs. During this period, many great players have played for this club. In this article, we have ranked some of the greatest West Ham United players ever.
Here are the top 10 greatest West Ham United players ever.
10. Frank Lampard(Senior)
There was only one club that Lampard could have made his mark at, given he was born just down the road in East Ham on 20 September 1948. He joined the Hammers Academy and progressed to make his debut aged 19 against Manchester City. The rest, as they say, is history.
Frank Lampard senior, a left-back, played most of his career for West Ham United. He was capped twice for England and is the father of ex-Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard.
West Ham United have won the FA Cup three times in their history and Lampard was in the team for two of those triumphs. Lampard started at left-back as the Hammers defeated Fulham, including his mentor Bobby Moore, 2-0 in May 1975, and he was there at left-back again five years later as John Lyall’s men got the better of Arsenal.
After spending 18 years, playing 660 games and scoring 22 goals, he left the club on a free transfer at the end of the 1984–85 season. By that time he had become one of the greatest West Ham United players ever. He wore the number 3 on his jersey.
9. Mark Noble
A true West Ham Icon of the present era, Mark Noble has played almost all his youth and first-team football for West Ham apart from two short loan spells, at Hull City and Ipswich Town. Noble is the longest-serving player in West Ham’s current squad, having been in the first team since 2004. He has won the club’s Hammer of the Year trophy twice.
He may not be as talented as others on this list but he makes up for that with his passion and dedication to the club. West Ham signed Noble as a youth player. He became the youngest player ever to appear in their reserve team, aged 15. He became a trainee in July 2003 and made his debut in the senior team at the age of just 17 in the League Cup in August 2004 in a 2–0 win against Southend United.
On 22 December 2015, Noble was granted a testimonial by West Ham following his long service to the club. The game was played on 28 March 2016 between a West Ham XI and a West Ham United all-stars team made up of former players, with all proceeds going to charity. It was the final testimonial match at West Ham’s Boleyn Ground stadium before their move to the Olympic Stadium in August 2016.
”This is where I come from and this is my football club, so I can’t think of nothing better than having my Testimonial at the stadium where I have laughed, cheered and cried, both as a fan and as a player.”
The game was won 6–5 by the West Ham XI in front of 36,000 spectators and featured a goal by Paolo Di Canio and two by Dean Ashton.
8. Alvin Martin
Alvin started out with Merseyside club Everton as a schoolboy, but left in 1973 after the Goodison Park club only offered him an apprenticeship on a part-time basis, stating at the time that he “would never kick a ball for them again”. An unsuccessful trial later that summer with Queens Park Rangers was followed the very next day by one for West Ham United, where he was awarded a contract.
Alvin went on to amass 586 first-team appearances for the Hammers in a successful 19-year career at Upton Park, in which he became one of only two players, along with Billy Bonds, to be awarded two testimonials. Martin also scored a hat-trick against Newcastle in their 8-1 win.
One of the greatest West Ham United players ever, Martin, remained loyal to West Ham despite their relegation from the top flight in 1989 and helped them gain promotion two years later. The club lasted just one season before again dropping down a level, only to bounce back at the first attempt. Martin, for decades the club’s longest-serving player, spent three more years with the team in the Premier League before finally departing at the end of the 1995–96 season after 21 years service, aged 37.
7. Paolo Di Canio
Whenever Di Canio put on the West Ham shirt, or any other club shirt for that matter, he would give it his all. The reason he is widely regarded as one of West Ham’s greatest players probably comes down to his explosive yet fun-filled personality. He spent a relatively short time at Upton Park compared to the others in this list but still deserves his place in West Ham history.
Di Canio is West Ham’s greatest contemporary icon, resembling the style and skill which has been seen throughout football’s modern age of the Premier League and foreign imports.
His skill was undeniable and had been showcased during spells at footballing giants such as Lazio, Juventus and AC Milan. Di Canio’s career at West Ham was a huge success; the passion and emotion which he brought to the team made him a fans’ favourite instantaneously and it appeared he fell in love with the fans just as quickly.
6. Julian Dicks
Dicks combined the unforgiving, tough-tackling that fans love to see with an undeniably wicked left-foot in a way which few have since Roberto Carlos. His hard-man reputation often clouded the fact that he was actually an excellent footballer and managed to score 50 goals for West Ham.
Dicks was able to power down the left-wing in a manner as threatening as Gareth Bale does for Real Madrid today, and if he was given enough space on the edge of the area, he would not be afraid to release a thunderous drive at goal. He was voted West Ham’s player of the year four times between 1990 and 1997.
It’s also debatable as to whether West Ham have had a better penalty taker since Dicks as his explosive shot was effectively replicated from 12 yards, the best left-back ever to play for the club. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest West Ham United players ever.