2. MARCO BOOGERS
The then 28-year-old Boogers arrived at Upton Park in July, 1995, after netting a potent 103 goals in 238 league appearances for a range of clubs in the Netherlands. At 1.85m, Boogers was seen by West Ham as the perfect goalscoring foil for the 1.70 m fans’ favourite Tony Cottee.
Even though 1.85m Iain Dowie returned to the club after a decent season with Crystal Palace, following a four-year barren spell with Southampton, his £250,000 fee and unpopularity with the Hammers faithful suggested that Boogers would be a starter alongside Cottee. However, Redknapp’s idea that he had found an imposing number nine evaporated once Boogers arrived for pre-season.
Coming on as a substitute against Manchester United at Old Trafford in only his second appearance for the club, he was almost immediately sent off for a violent rib-high challenge on Gary Neville. The press called it a “horror tackle” and suggested that Boogers was hired to injure a Manchester United player on purpose.
Boogers himself claimed the wet grass made him slide too far and noted that Neville was able to finish the match, but nevertheless he was suspended for four matches. In November he returned as a substitute against Aston Villa in a 4-1 loss. He played his last match a month later, on 2 December, against Blackburn Rovers in a 4-2 defeat. He never started a league match for West Ham; all four of his appearances for the club were as a substitute.
During his first few months at West Ham Boogers had been suffering from worsening pain in his knee. After an MRI scan he underwent an emergency surgery. As his recovery was expected to take three months he was given permission by Redknapp to return to the Netherlands on 28 December in order to attend the birth of his son.
While Boogers was recovering from his injury Redknapp signed another striker, Iain Dowie, rendering Boogers surplus to requirements. Upon his return to fitness in the New Year, Boogers was loaned to FC Groningen but his knee problems returned and while he did not move back to London, he still technically remained a West Ham player From this, a mutual termination of Boogers’ contract was agreed in the summer of 1996.
Harry Redknapp mentioned in his biography, “never buy a player unless you’ve seen him play yourself.”
1. ALLEN MCKNIGHT
I’ll keep this short and simple. Just ask any West Ham fans and they’ll fill out the gaps. During his West Ham United career he was known by the fans as McKnightmare because of his frequent goalkeeping errors.
Signed from Celtic in the summer of 1988 McKnight made his West Ham debut on 10 September 1988 in a 1–0 away win against Wimbledon. Competing for the goalkeeper’s place with an ageing Phil Parkes, McKnight played all his 23 league games for West Ham in his first season.
He played his last league game coming on 23 May 1989, a 5–1 away defeat to Liverpool which saw West Ham relegated to the Second Division. He had to wait eighteen months for his next game, also a 5–1 defeat, away to Luton Town in the Full Members Cup.
He later played non-league football with teams including Collier Row, Romford and Collier Row & Romford.
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