Paul Goddard  1980-1986

Goddard joined the club in 1980 for what was then a club record signing £800,000 he has the quite unique honour of at one point in his career being both Millwall and West Ham’s record signing.

The former QPR youth player was prolific in his time for the Hammers averaging roughly a goal every 3 games. His injury at the start of the 1985-86 season forced John Lyall to partner Frank MacAvennie with Tony Cottee up front which led both to West Ham’s best ever season in the top flight and Goddard’s eventual departure from the club.

He moved to Newcastle in October 1986 where he played for 3 seasons and maintained his 1 in 3 ratio in the League. From Newcastle, he spent two seasons at Derby before an unsuccessful spell at Millwall came to an end when John Lyall signed him once again for Ipswich.

It was at Ipswich that Goddard first moved into coaching with the youth team having briefly acted as caretaker Manager following Lyalls sacking in 1994. Goddard did return to West Ham as assistant manager to Glenn Roeder but left his post shortly after the arrival of Alan Pardew in 2004.

Paul currently works as a football agent for the Stellar Group.

Frank MacAvennie 1985-87 & 1989-1992

During his two spells, Frank MacAvennie has become one of the most popular players to have played for the club. Famous for his partnership with Tony Cottee in 1985-86 season which saw him score 26 League Goals a figure not bettered in the top flight by any West Ham striker since. MacAvennie’s move to London led to widespread tabloid speculation about his off the field activities this only went to further his popularity with the support. MacAvennie left to join Celtic in 1987 but returned in 1989 famously turning down Arsenal to rejoin the Hammers by the end of that season West Ham were relegated and Arsenal were League Champions, Frank has gone on record stating that he re-joined the club because of his respect for John Lyall and his love of the club.

It was during this second spell MacAvennie suffered a serious injury thanks to a tackle from Chris Kamara which broke his leg, shattered his ankle and tore his ankle ligaments. MacAvennie had to have two plates inserted in his leg as well as a bolt and plate inserted in his ankle. During his long enforced time away from the game MacAvennie was first introduced to Cocaine a drug he later became addicted to.

Franks second spell with the club was nowhere near as successful as his first, the club were struggling and thanks to the injury the Scotsman was not quite the same player, this did not diminish his standing in the eyes of the fans who still loved his wholehearted approach to the game. Frank signed off in style with a Hat trick against Nottingham Forest in his final game for the club in 1992.

MacAvennie moved to Aston Villa where he only played 3 games struggling to split the famous Saunders/Atkinson partnership and so only stayed half a season before moving back to Celtic via a brief spell in Hong Kong. In a situation that mirrored his second spell with West Ham both the club and MacAvennie were in decline and it was a short-lived spell before he moved onto to Falkirk and finally back to St Mirren where his career had started.

Following his retirement from the game, MacAvennie has battled cocaine addiction and depression like so many footballers the Scot was unable to adjust to a normal life away from the game. A short spell coaching the youth team at Leeds showed MacAvennie that coaching wasn’t for him, West Ham offered him work in the hospitality lounges to help him get his life back on track.

Thankfully MacAvennie seems to have found equilibrium in his life, he is a regular on the after dinner circuit and always has a story to tell. A great player in his day and someone who still loves the club.

Mike Small 1991-1993

West Ham signed the big striker in 1991 after his goals had helped fire Brighton and Hove Albion to the Second division play offs in the same season West Ham sealed promotion back to Premier League. Something of a footballing nomad Small had spells in Holland, Belgium and later Greece before finding a secure home on the south coast.

When he joined the Hammers he was full of confidence and hit the ground running despite playing in a struggling side Smalls early season form was brilliant the highlights being an equaliser in a 2-1 win over a Tottenham and the winner in a 1-0 win over Arsenal at Highbury.

Amazingly by Christmas Small has scored 13 goals in 19 starts for the club, unfortunately Small had already hit the heights, West Ham’s form fell away and Small did not score for 3 months a niggling back injury and the general frustration around the ground had a huge impact on the big striker who had gone from looking like he would never miss to looking like he would never score in the space of 3 months.

Small moved further down the striking pecking order behind the likes of Trevor Morley and Clive Allen and only featured sporadically until his departure in 1993. Small would go on to spend time at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Charlton as well as some time in Irish and Swedish football.

Following his retirement from the game in the late 90’s Small has managed in the Non-League at clubs like Haringey Borough, Kingsbury Town, and Waltham Forest.

A player who will always be remembered for those goals against Arsenal and Tottenham in the early 90’s.

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