Patrice Evra joins a long list of great Left Backs who have represented the Hammers here are a few of the best to wear the claret and blue through the years:
Julian Dicks 1988-1993 & 1994-1999 326 Apps
The Former Assistant Manager was first signed by John Lyall for £300,000 in 1988 and after a slow start quickly established himself as both a first team regular and a fans favourite. A cultured left-back whose combative nature perhaps overshadowed his undoubted talent.
Throughout both spells with West Ham Dicks won plaudits for his wholehearted approach and was very unlucky not to receive international recognition. During Dicks first spell West Ham were relegated and promoted twice during a tumultuous period in the clubs history both on and off the pitch. He didn’t play for the Hammers for over a year between October 1990 and December 1991 missing due to a knee injury which would blight the rest of his career. In his final season of his first spell, Dicks was sent off 3 times which led to him being stripped of the Captaincy by Billy Bonds. Despite his issues, Dicks played a significant part in getting the club into the Premier League.
Dicks’ performances caught the eye of Liverpool manager who described the left back as “his kind of player” and in September 1993 with West Ham desperate for transfer funds to strengthen the squad Dicks joined Liverpool. He made his debut in a 2-0 defeat Merseyside derby at Goodison Park a game made famous by the altercation between Steve MacManaman and Bruce Grobbelaar. Souness was a huge fan but Liverpool were in a transitional stage and once Souness was sacked in January 1994 his time at the club was always likely to be cut short. Souness’s replace Roy Evans was not a fan of Dicks style of play or how he looked after himself away from the game, In Spring 1994 Evans sent Dicks to train with youth team as punishment for being overweight and it appeared that his chances to play would be severely curtailed under the new regime. Dicks does have the unique honour of scoring the final goal in front of the standing Spion Kop against Ipswich in 1994, he played his last game for the club against Aston Villa at the end of the 1993-94 season.
Dicks re-signed for the Hammers in September 1994 against the then Chairman’s Terry Brown’s advice who described Harry Redknapp as being “off his rocker” for signing a visibly overweight Dicks.
Despite this Dicks went on to play a huge part in West Ham consolidating their position in Premier League during the mid-90. The 1995-96 season saw him finish joint top scorer along with Tony Cottee with 10 goals. He was again an integral part of the side that survived relegation in the 1996-1997 season and scored two crucial goals in the 4-3 win over London rivals Tottenham in the February of 1997. Dicks influence slowly waned after the 1996-97 season, he missed the entire 1997-98 due to injury and only played 6 games of the 1998-99 season. Dicks had his contract terminated by the club and Dicks retired from professional Football in 1999. During two spells with the club, Dicks played 315 times scoring 64 goals.
Frank Lampard Snr 1967 -1985 665 Apps
An outstanding servant to the club as a player and as a coach, Lampard came through the youth ranks at the club and went on to win 2 FA Cups and a Second Division championship medal as well as a runners-up medal in both the League Cup and Cup Winners Cup. Lampard is not often mentioned amongst the greats for two reasons one is because he is often overshadowed by the like of Bonds, Brooking and Moore and two because of the tumultuous relationship both his son and his brother-in-law Harry Redknapp went onto to have with the club.
Lampard was involved in a number of the clubs greatest sides and many observers note that Second Division Championship winning side of the early 80’s are the very best. Lampard did represent his country on two occasions but could have earned a number of more caps had he been at a more high profile club during his playing career.Lampard left the club to play for Southend under friend and mentor Bobby Moore before finally retiring in 1986.
Lampard served the club as Assistant Manager to Harry Redknapp between 1994 and 1991. Lampard’s greatest moment in a West Ham shirt was scoring the winning goal in the FA Cup semi-final replay at Elland Road in 1980, the goal and the celebration was voted the 8th Greatest Moment by West Ham fans in an online poll commissioned in 2012 by fellow fansite KUMB. Lampard served the club with distinction for over 25 years as a player and coach and deserves to be recognised as one of the clubs finest players.
Noel Cantwell 1952-1960 278 Apps
Cantwell was signed by West Ham from Cork Athletic in 1952 as an enterprising 18-year-old Full Back. Cantwell spent 8 years with the club the high being captaining the side to the Division Two Championship in the 1957-58, leading the club to its first appearance in the top flight of English football since 1932. Cantwell was part of a group of senior players who would help influence the youth team players who would form the core of both West Ham and England’s successes in the 1960’s. Cantwell’s performances caught the eye of Matt Busby who was looking to rebuild Manchester United following the Munich air disaster.
Busby paid £29,500 a then record fee for a full-back to bring the Cork man to Manchester, Cantwell went onto captain United to the FA Cup win in 1963 and was club captain when they won the League title in 1967 although injury restricted him to only 4 appearances in the title-winning season. Cantwell was famed for his composure on the ball and was regularly played in a variety of positions of his country most notably Centre Forward which was a contributing factor in his impressive international goal tally of 14 goals in 36 appearances for the Boys in Green.
After his playing career ended Cantwell moved into Football management and enjoyed a successful tenure at Peterborough United in the 1970’s and coached in the U.S later in his career. Cantwell passed away in 2005, both Manchester United and West Ham observed a minute’s silence before the games following the Irishman’s death, a sign of the esteem he was held in at both clubs.