Phil Parkes: ‘Fabianski gets my vote but I’ll have no problem if Declan Rice wins the prize’

There are two outstanding candidates for Hammer of the Year

IPSWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 28: Lukasz Fabianski of West Ham United during the pre-season friendly match between Ipswich Town and West Ham United at Portman Road on July 28, 2018 in Ipswich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

There is only one contender in my book this season – Lukasz Fabianski. I think he has had a brilliant season.

As the season draws to a close, my thoughts have turned to who I think would be my Hammer of the Year.

For what we paid for him, he has been such a steal. When you hear some of the figures banded around for ‘keepers like Jack Butland – £30m I heard last! – then you realise just how good value Fabianski was.

He has come in, done a great job, kept us in games that eventually we’ve been able to get something out of, or made sure of the points when we have got ourselves into good positions.

The fans have always warmed to him and that is a big thing. When I first came in, the fans took to me quickly and it was the same for Ludo.

The fans are great at recognising a good ‘keeper. It was the same for Rob Green. They just always know.

Fabianski just seems to be such a nice guy. He doesn’t flap around or run around like a headless chicken – like Jordan Pickford does – he’s very calm and makes great saves.

For me, Fab is the player who gets my vote but I do understand that Declan Rice will most likely win both Hammer and Young Hammer of the Year.

He’s been head and shoulders above everyone this season – and I mean that literally too. I met him recently and I couldn’t believe how tall he is!

Declan Rice has enjoyed a fantastic season in West Ham’s midfield

I won Hammer of the Year in 1981 and I think there was only one ‘keeper to win this award before me and that was Lawrie Leslie.

Ludo won it in 91, Shaka Hislop won Hammer of the Year in 99 and Rob Green has also won it. It was just a surprise that Mervyn Day didn’t win it.

If Fabianski doesn’t win it this year, I’m sure he’ll win it another year and when he does, he’ll join an elite band of West Ham goalkeepers who have picked up Hammer of the Year.

It’s always hard to win an award like this as a goalkeeper but that makes it even more special.

You have to have an incredible season. The year I won it, I had a great year, and I remember winning it at QPR too in 76 when we came second in the league.

I still think it’s an honour to win Hammer of the Year when you look at all the players who have won the award over the years.

You would hope that every player would want to win it. When you look at the list, recently the Hammer of the Year award has been passed around a bit and we’ve not had a double or triple award winner for a while and I think that speaks volumes for the game today and loyalty in football.

When you had the likes of Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking, Alvin Martin who were here for 15 years plus, and had as much impact on our side as they did, it’s not a surprise that they won Hammer of the Year on more than one occasion.

I don’t think we are going to get that anymore. Mark Noble might be the last player to win Hammer of the Year more than once.

But it is quite nice to see different players winning it. It shows that people are voting on who they think has had the best season and it’s not just a popularity contest.

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