During the 30 odd years I’ve supported West Ham, I’ve seen three goalkeepers who can all stake a claim to be our best men between the sticks.
More surprisingly is that these three keepers, Phil Parkes, Ludek Miklosko and Robert Green also played for this weekend’s opposition, Queens Park Rangers. Phil Parkes is regarded as one of, if not THE best ‘keeper in both clubs’ history. Having played 344 games for both sides, Parkes can be regarded as the unluckiest goalkeeper in England throughout the 70s and 80s in England. Behind Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence, Parkes made one solitary appearance for England.
A promise of a second cap as a half-time substitute against Wales never transpired and Parkes is alleged to have stated he’d never play for England again after the incident. In his career, Parkes was the most expensive ‘keeper in the World after signing from QPR. Soon after, he won the FA Cup with us, followed by the old second division title in the same season as being a League Cup runner-up. In 2003, he was voted as goalkeeper into the West Ham all-time XI narrowly beating the next man.
Ludek Miklosko was signed by Lou Macari towards the end of his short, unpopular tenure, from Banik Ostrava for £300k. An immediate crowd favourite ‘Ludo’ won Hammer Of The Year in his first full season. His most memorable moment between the East London posts was a man-of-thematch performance on the final day of the 1995 season where he kept Manchester United from not only winning the match but also the Premiership. After his playing days at West Ham finished, Ludo had a very short spell at QPR. Once his playing days finished Ludo came back to The Hammers as goalkeeping coach until 2010.
And although the songs were untrue and he doesn’t come from near Moscow, he did have a hand in coaching current QPR shot-stopper Robert Green. Green signed from Norwich in 2006 and played a big part in the difficult second season that saw us stay up on the last day at Old Trafford. In 2008 Green matched the achievements of Miklosko and was awarded Hammer Of The Year. His consistent performances also saw him edge his way into the plans of new England boss Fabio Capello and then back out of them following the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.
Despite relegation in 2011 Green, unlike Scott Parker and Demba Ba, stuck with us and played his part in getting West Ham back promoted. One of the most consistent keepers in our recent history, Green’s West Ham career came to an abrupt end when he couldn’t agree a new contract and headed to the ambitious QPR. Will we all applaud him on his return? I think the jury is still out on that one! And so three fine keepers who have played for both today’s sides. It’s a funny old game!