John Bond 1950-1966
Bond was signed from Colchester Casuals in 1950 having been spotted by West Ham Assistant Manager Ted Fenton during his time as manager of Colchester United.
Bond quickly established himself in the team and formed a successful full-back partnership with Noel Cantwell, the pinnacle of which was clinching the Second Division title in 1958.
Bond was known as an attacking right back with an eye for goal scoring 8 in the promotion season. Bond was a firm favourite with the fans, who affectionately christened him ‘muffin’ – for his ability to be able to kick the ball like a mule.
By 1964, he was vying for his place in the team with Joe Kirkup but was selected in the side that won the FA Cup in 1964 although he did miss out on the Cup Winners Cup Final a year later despite playing in the earlier rounds.
Bond eventually left for Torquay in 1966 having played 449 times for the Hammers.
After his playing days finished with Torquay, Bond went into management with a variety of clubs, the most high profile being Manchester City who he guided to the 1981 Cup Final.
Bond passed away on the 25th September 2012 aged 79, he served the club with distinction for 16 years.
Ray Stewart 1979-1991
Stewart was signed from Dundee United for £430,000 in 1979 which made him the most expensive teenage footballer at the time.
Stewart went on to play well over 400 games for the club and has the distinction of being the only non-English player to play in the Cup Winning sides of 1964, 1975 and 1980. Stewart was a pivotal player in 1985-86 season where he finished as third top scorer behind Frank MacAvennie and Tony Cottee in what proved to be West Ham’s most successful League season.
Stewart was a penalty taker of some renown scoring 81 of 86 penalties taken for the club with his trademark powerful right footed shot.
Affectionately known as ‘Tonka’ throughout his career, he was a firm favourite with the fans.
Stewart tore his Cruciate knee ligament in 1989 and missed nearly 14 months of football, featuring sporadically from then on and was eventually released by the club on free transfer aged 31. Stewart subsequently went on to play for St Johnstone and Stirling Albion before retiring in 1994.
After playing, Stewart went into management with Livingston, Stirling Albion, and Forfar with varying success.
Tonka played for two of the greatest West Ham sides and would have to be considered for any Greatest XI for his longevity and his penalty-taking prowess.
Steve Potts 1983-2002
Pottsy was a product of the youth system signing as an apprentice in 1983. He went on to play for the club for the next 19 years playing in a number of positions but we are classifying him as a right-back here.
Unlike the two nominees before him, it’s fair to say that Potts was less of a goal threat, scoring one goal in over 500 appearances for the Hammers. Potts was small in size but quick and decisive in the tackle, reading the game brilliantly, which allowed him to be deployed in a centre-half position later in his career.
Potts left the club in 2002 and played for Dagenham and Redbridge before eventually retiring in 2003.
After football, Potts returned to his boyhood club, where he has managed many of the youth teams and is currently coach of the under 21 side.
A crowd favourite through some of the turbulent times in West Ham’s history he was twice voted Hammer of the year and was twice runner-up, Potts is 9th on the all-time appearance list and deserves to be recognised as one of the great servants to West Ham.