3. Harry Cripps
Every now and then a player comes along who seems to personify a club. This was certainly true of Millwall defender Harry Cripps. Surprisingly for a Millwall legend, Cripps’ career actually began at bitter rivals West Ham United. In fact he played alongside Bobby Moore in the West Ham youth team that reached the 1958-59 F.A Youth Cup Final.
But Cripps never cracked the first team at Upton Park and he signed for the Lions in 1961. He went on to make a record-breaking 400 appearances for the Lions, scoring 37 goals in the process. He was was awarded a testimonial against former club West Ham during a 1971-72 season.
2. Tony Cottee
One of the most prolific goalscorers of the 1980s and 1990s, Tony Cottee made his professional debut for West Ham in 1982. Cottee is a West Ham boy. He became the then youngest player to make 100 appearances for the club and still the last man to score 20 goals in a top-flight season for the Hammers.
He scored 115 goals for West Ham over two spells. In 1988, Tony moved from West Ham United to Everton for a British record transfer fee. After further spells at Upton Park and in Malaysia, Tony then spent three years at Leicester, winning the League Cup with the Foxes in 2000.
In 2001, Cottee signed for Millwall on transfer deadline day. During this season, which was his last as a player, he made only two appearances before hanging up his boots. On the international scene, he represented the England national side on seven occasions between 1986 and 1989.
1. Teddy Sheringham
Teddy Sheringham is renowned as one of the finest English deep-lying centre-forwards of modern times. Starting his professional career at Millwall in 1983 he went on to make 926 first-team appearances over a 25-year period for nine clubs including Manchester United where he won four Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League.
Sheringham also won the Second Division title with Millwall and the Full Members Cup with Nottingham Forest. At Millwall, he scored 111 goals between 1983 and 1991 and is the club’s second all-time leading scorer.
He joined West Ham on a free transfer from Portsmouth in 2004. Not many players can boast of having such an impact in their first season with West Ham United as Teddy Sheringham. The experienced striker would become a crucial cog in the side that achieved promotion back to the Premier League. He also won the Championship Player of the Season in the process.
Joining West Ham would mean dropping down a division, to a league that Sheringham had not played in since the early years of his illustrious career. But the attacker was not fazed. Instead, Sheringham relished the new challenge.