Promotions, relegations and unstable management have meant various squad reshufflings over the years, and although this has meant we’ve had some fantastic players, we’ve certainly had our share of terrible ones. This eleven is not one to be proud of.
GK – STEPHEN BYWATER
You never did feel comfortable with Bywater in goal. Remarkably, West Ham signed him from Rochdale as a 16 year-old, for a fee that could have risen to £1.75 million! Big things were expected from Stephen but it was only in 2000 after Shaka Hislop suffered a broken leg that he could make his debut, and Bradford managed to knock four past him! When David James moved to Man City in January 2004 after relegation, the door finally opened for Bywater to make the number one spot his own, but his terrible kicking and uncertain handling meant he was replaced. His Hammers career fizzled out from there. He seemed like a nice guy but he was never good enough to be our goalkeeper.
LB – WAYNE QUINN
Remember him? I’ll admit that I thought he looked decent on his debut but it all went down-hill from there. Quinn was signed on loan from Newcastle with the club desperately needing a left-back, but it soon became clear that we may have as well plucked someone from the local park instead of him. Quinn hasn’t played professional football since he left West Ham in 2004 at the age of 28! Unable to fi nd a club, Quinn now manages and plays for the famous Penzance A.F.C. in Cornwall.
CB – CHRISTIAN DAILLY
We called him a footballing genius, we admired the curly hair and he was allowed carnal access to the wife of every singing Hammers fan, but he was truly terrible. It’s quite remarkable that Christian Dailly was, at one time, our captain and also had the armband for Scotland; that shows you how bad our last Championship team was compared to this one. The main reason Dailly makes the team is due to his vital role in the third relegation of his career when we went down in 2003 and his shaky performances in the Championship the following season. Again there’s no hard feeling but he’s a certain selection.
RB – GARY BREEN
On the back of a pretty successful World Cup with Ireland, Glenn Roeder signed Breen on a free; in fact, it was later revealed he agreed to join Inter Milan at this time but failed a medical. It looked like an astute piece of business but soon proved to be a destructive addition. He made 18 appearances for the club in each of which he looked equally terrible and made a major contribution to our relegation. He has become somewhat of a scapegoat for that relegation.
RM – YANIV KATAN
Katan only made six appearances for West Ham, in each of which he looked somewhat lost. Signed by Alan Pardew on a recommendation from fellow Israeli Yossi Benayoun, Katan didn’t stand much of a chance of playing any more games than he did with Marlon Harewood, Teddy Sheringham, Dean Ashton and Bobby Zamora all vying for places up front, but he certainly didn’t seem to try particularly hard. Katan’s Hammers career ended with a whimper as he returned from where he came, Maccabi Haifa, at the end of season, having little more impact than a £100,000 loss on our balance sheet.
LM – LUIS BOA MORTE
Boa Morte makes the team due to how much of a disappointment he was. Luis was one of Alan Curbishley’s many expensive and ‘proven’ Premiership buys, and most of us thought we had signed a technically gifted, goal scoring winger. How wrong we were. We realised that all of those times we had admired Boa Morte on ‘Match of the Day’ were very much in the past after he sluggishly waddled down the wing and mistimed tackle after tackle during games for the Hammers. I seriously find it difficult to believe that it was the same player at Fulham and that he has 28 Portugal caps! Surprisingly, Boa Morte actually made 91 appearances for West Ham.
CM – NIGEL QUASHIE
With West Ham in the midst of a relegation dogfight, in January, Curbishley decided to sign someone who was experienced in these situations, and so opted for Quashie. The thing is, Southampton and Portsmouth had both done the same thing in the two previous years, and had both ended up relegated. If it wasn’t for a fortunate persistent foot-injury, I believe we would’ve gone the same way. Quite simply the worst player I have ever seen in a West Ham shirt.
CM – RICHARD GARCIA
Being the main goal-scorer for the famed youth team of 1999, big things were expected from the Australian; however he never managed to live up to the hype. Garcia was pushed into first-team action on a few occasions when we were in the Premier League, but failed to make an impact. Once we were relegated it was thought that he could really start to make a mark in first-team football, but even in an attacking crisis, Garcia was useless. He failed to hit the net for West Ham.
ST – TITI CAMARA
Upon signing for Harry Redknapp, Camara brusquely announced that he had come to “to play, play, play – and score, score, score”; how ironic that statement now seems considering he only managed 11 games and did not once hit the net. He became somewhat of a cult hero at Liverpool due to pure pity for his inadequacy and as he chipped in with the odd goal, but the West Ham fans were not so sympathetic to him.
ST – MARCO BOOGERS
You saw this one coming and you’ve heard the story a million times but he has to be in there. Boogers was another of Redknapp’s collection of West Ham mistakes; signed for £1 million, Boogers was sent off in his second appearance for the Hammers after a ‘horror tackle’ on Gary Neville which suggested he didn’t even know the laws of the game. After this, Boogers went AWOL and pleaded to return to his home country on the basis of mental illness, whilst simultaneously protesting “I’m not mental!”, I think that says it all.
ST – BENNI MCCARTHY
The signing of McCarthy really did undermine the managerial talent of Gianfranco Zola after it was revealed he begged for McCarthy to be signed as the ‘saviour’ of our season. The Hammers had come close to signing McCarthy in 2006 after a successful Champions League spell with Porto, however we eventually opted for Dean Ashton. Instead McCarthy joined Blackburn and looked like a good player until he was frozen out of first-team duties for ‘fitness reasons’. When McCarthy rolled onto the field for his Hammers debut it was easy to see why. His contract was eventually terminated after 11 goalless games and he can only be remembered as a large waste of money, in every sense of the word.