9. Alan Devonshire [1976–1990]
Alan Devonshire or simply Dev, was a fast, skilful player. He captured the imagination of many West Ham supporters, with mazy runs down the wing. He knew what it meant to play for West Ham, immersing himself among the home support by travelling to games on the London underground.
If it wasn’t for injuries, he would have been one of the finest England wingers of the 1980s. His contribution to the club will never be forgotten by the Hammers.
8. Martin Peters [1962–1970]
Martin Peters was the Hammer of the Year in the season when West Ham won the European Cup-Winners’ Cup. A dynamic midfielder, willing to break forward between the lines yet always track back in defence, he quickly demonstrated a wise head on young shoulders.
Peters scored in the 1966 World Cup Final, lifting the Jules Rimet alongside Moore and Geoff Hurst. He scored 100 goals for the club from central midfield. With his transfer from West Ham United to Tottenham Hotspur in 1970, he became Britain’s first £200,000 footballer.
7. Julian Dicks [1988-1993 & 1994-1999]
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.
6. Alvin Martin [1977–1996]
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.
5. Vic Watson [1920–1935]
Watson joined West Ham in 1920 for a fee worth only £50 from Wellingborough Town and went on to become the club’s leading goalscorer of all time. He scored 326 goals for the club in 505 matches, with most of his goals being scored in top-flight football.
He once scored six, in an 8-2 home win against Leeds on 9 February 1929, scored four goals on three occasions, and managed 13 hat-tricks while at West Ham. Vic Watson reached the FA Cup with West Ham in 1923, where the Hammers were beaten 2-0 by Bolton in the first-ever game at the old Wembley.
The only player who has come close to Watson’s record is Geoff Hurst with 249 goals. Watson’s name will be written in West Ham United history books for a long time.