Former Hammer Glen Johnson has announced his retirement from football. A product of the academy, Johnson only made a handful of appearances before being snapped up by Chelsea in 2003.
Johnson had the unusual experience of going on loan from parent club West Ham to Millwall as a youth player but was recalled by the Hammers after some good performances south of the river.
His career would later take him to Portsmouth, Liverpool and finally Stoke City, where he took up the number eight shirt despite playing as a full-back.
Johnson was also regarded as perhaps the best right back of his generation and made more than 50 appearances for England, including starting at both a World Cup and the Euros. His electric pace and excellent crossing ability meant that he was a potent attacking outlet for both club and country.
A scorer of great goals but not a great goal scorer is a good way to label Johnson, having won the Goal of the Season award for a ridiculous strike for Portsmouth. He also scored a delightful long-range strike against West Ham back at Upton Park in 2012.
A lack of celebration pointed to the fact Johnson still held a place in his heart for the club.
It is a shame that West Ham didn’t get to see the best of Johnson in Claret and Blue. The club’s relegation in 2003 led to the exodus of many excellent talents. However, the academy can look back with pride on an excellent career at the top level, once again moulded by the legendary Tony Carr.