In it’s history of 117 years, West Ham United has seen many ups and downs. In this period many great players have played for this club and in this article, we have ranked some of the best West Ham United players ever.
Here are the top 10 best West Ham United players ever!
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10. Frank Lampard(Senior)
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.
Lampard joined the club as a youth player in 1963 and started for the youth team in 1964. He debuted for West Ham United in November 1967 in a 3-2 home defeat by Manchester City, and quickly established himself in his preferred left-back position. At club level, he won two FA Cups with West Ham, in 1975 and 1980, and the old second division title in 1981.
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 most celebrated players ever to pull on the claret and blue jersey. He wore the number 3 on his jersey.
He moved to Southend United for the 1985–1986 season, then managed by another ex-West Ham star Bobby Moore, and made 38 appearances for the Essex club before deciding to retire.
From 1994 to 2001 he returned to West Ham to serve as assistant manager under Harry Redknapp, his brother-in-law.
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 for 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 Martin was signed as an apprentice 19 August 1974. He appeared in the FA Youth cup final of 1975 and signed as a professional on 29 July 1976. He did not make his first team debut until 18 March 1978 as a substitute against Aston Villa. His final appearance was as an 88th-minute substitute on 5 May 1996 against Sheffield Wednesday.
Martin went on to amass nearly 600 first-team appearances for the Hammers in a successful 19-year professional career at Upton Park, in which he became one of only two players, along with Billy Bonds, to be awarded two testimonials. The first was against Spurs on 21 August 1988 and the second against Chelsea on 11 November 1995. It was alongside Bonds in the centre of defence that Martin — nicknamed ’Stretch’ — enjoyed his most rewarding years, winning the FA Cup and Second Division winners medals in successive seasons, 1980 and 1981.
Martin also achieved the rare feat of scoring a hat-trick against three different Newcastle United goalkeepers — Martin Thomas, who was then injured, and outfield players Chris Hedworth and Peter Beardsley — in a Football League First Division match in April 1986 which the Hammers won 8–1. This was among the most successful seasons the club ever saw, as it finished third in the top-level, just four points behind champions Liverpool, with the player contributing with 40 games and four goals.
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. Dicks’ 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.
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5. Vic Watson
Watson is the club’s record goalscorer with 326 goals with 298 league and 28 FA cup. 203 of his league goals were from 295 top flight appearances. 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.
The only player who has come close to Watson’s record is Sir Geoff Hurst with 249 goals. Vic Watson reached the FA Cup with West Ham in 1923, where the Hammers were beat 2-0 by Bolton in the first ever game at the old Wembley.
Watson joined West Ham in 1920 for a fee worth only £50 from Wellingborough Town. Watson’s name will be written in the West Ham United history books for a long time.
4. Geoff Hurst
Geoff may well be known to football fans across the globe for his part in the England World Cup winning team of 1966, but to West Ham fans he is certainly more than that. Geoff Hurst was a legend for West Ham, scoring 249 goals for the Hammers.
The three-time Hammer of the Year, helped West Ham win their first ever FA Cup in 1964. In 2003, Sir Geoff Hurst joined West Ham and England heroes of 1966, Bobby Moore and Martin Peters, in ‘The Champions’ statue outside the Boleyn pub next to Upton Park.
He made it into the UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament in 1968 and was named in the English Football Hall of Fame in 2004. Sir Geoff Hurst will always be remembered for being the only person to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final, but, his successful West Ham career has been overshadowed by that fantastic achievement.
3. Billy Bonds
After signing from Charlton as a young full-back, Bonds went on to make a record 793 appearances for the Hammers in a spell at the club stretching over 20 years. Grit and determination is something West Ham supporters have always been fond of, and it is possible that this derives from Bonds.
After the departure of Bobby Moore in March 1974, Bonds was appointed to the captaincy and led the club to an FA Cup final victory over Fulham in 1975 and to the final of the 1976 European Cup Winners’ Cup despite a groin injury that interrupted the latter half of the 1974–75 season and part of the 1975–76 season.
Manager Greenwood moved Bonds from midfield to the back four as centre-half alongside Tommy Taylor shortly before the end of the 1976–77 season, where he was able to come out from defence with the ball.
He experienced relegation with West Ham at the end of the 1977–78 season but led West Ham to a second FA Cup victory over First Division club Arsenal in 1980, becoming the only West Ham captain to lift the FA Cup on two occasions. In 1980–81, he led West Ham to the final of the League Cup, which was lost to Liverpool after a replay, and to promotion back to the First Division.
His midfield partnership with Trevor Brooking was well-balanced and his tough style made him a firm fan favourite with the West Ham crowd.He was voted ”Hammer of the year” four times in his career. Bonds passed Bobby Moore’s club record of appearances in 1982–83 and ‘officially’ retired in May 1984. He also later managed the club between 1990 and 1994.
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2. Trevor Booking
Trevor Brooking was an FA Cup winner in 1975 and 1980 for West Ham. The midfielder, who played 528 times for the club, won 4 Hammer of the Year trophies in 1972 and won it three times consecutively in 1976-1978. In 2009 a stand at Upton Park was named after Brooking.
When the Hammers were relegated, Brooking showed indescribable loyalty by pledging to stay with the team, and he did so for the rest of his career. He has even made a brief comeback as manager on 2 occasions in times of trouble, and only lost 1 game.
1. Bobby Moore
Bobby Moore captained West Ham United for more than ten years and was captain of the England team that won the 1966 World Cup. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time, and was cited by Pelé as the greatest defender that he had ever played against.
He have a statue outside the home of English football, Wembley Stadium. Apart from captaining England to World Cup glory in 1966, he was also a hero for West Ham, winning the FA Cup (1963/64), the UEFA Cup Winners Cup (1964/65) and the International Soccer League (1963/64).
Bobby Moore brought leadership, passion and great defensive instincts to West Ham. He won many individual awards during his 16-year-career at the Hammers, such as, Ballon D’Or Runner Up (1970), FWA Footballer of the Year (1964) and winning Hammer of the Year a staggering 4 times (1961, 1963, 1968, 1970). He also made it into the PFA Team of the Century in 2007.
His legacy at West Ham lives on, he has a stand named after him at the London Stadium (which he also had at the Boleyn Ground) and his iconic, No. 6, shirt has been retired out of respect for Moore after his tragic death with bowel and liver cancer in 1993, which is why the Bobby Moore Foundation started.
Checkout:West Ham Top Goalscorers Of All Time