For a player who scored arguably the most memorable goal in West Ham United’s recent history, Winston Reid is quickly becoming the forgotten man in east London.
The Kiwi centre-half’s troublesome knee injury has now kept him out of the game for a mammoth 500-days after sustaining the injury against Swansea in March 2018.
A brief appearance in the Asia Trophy in the summer offered promise for Reid, but he has suffered another setback leaving us wondering if they will ever see him in claret and blue again.
Now 31, and with three-years of that ridiculous six-and-a-half-year deal he signed in 2015 remaining, you can understand why the Auckland-born stopper is keen to continue to fight for the cause.
Some of the Hammers faithful are calling on him to retire, but in truth no footballer in their right mind – unless medically advised – is going to call it a day in their early 30s.
Hindsight is, of course, a wonderful thing, but I wonder just how much the Hammers board regret now taking up the plethora of interest in 2014.
Indeed, such was his good form under Sam Allardyce, Reid was forced to turn away attention from the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. While the fee wouldn’t have been massive, it would have saved the Irons a fortune in wages and medical bills alone.
The former New Zealand captain has enjoyed something of a roller coaster ride during his time in the east end of London. He is now the second-longest serving Hammer behind Mark Noble, he has seen five managers during his time, and perhaps the one man who he would look back most quizzically on is the man who first signed him Avram Grant.
Grant in one of his many bizarre calls as West Ham boss selected the natural central defender as a full back in his early playing career in England.
Unsurprisingly, it was a monumental misjudgement as our number two looked woefully out of his depth as the Irons’ were trounced 3-0 at Villa Park, a 3-1 home defeat followed against Bolton and Reid found himself out of the starting XI until November.
Relegation, however, in a warped way played nicely into the former Midtjylland man’s hands. Out went Grant and in came the defensive-minded Sam Allardyce.
A season in the Championship allowed him to settle and hone his skills in the English game and he turned himself into one of the first names on the team sheet. A thunderous volley in the home fixture against Millwall also wrote him into West Ham folklore.
He shone in the Hammers Play-Off promotion success and continued to impress in his second attempt at top-flight football after his somewhat disappointing first season under Grant.
Reid had a habit of scoring memorable goals and making himself an unlikely hero; He bagged the opener in Sam Allardyce’s finest hour at White Hart Lane as the Irons cruised to a 3-0 win without a single striker on the pitch.
The strikes against Millwall and Tottenham put him in the reckoning for West Ham hero, but the glancing header past a flapping David De Gea at the Farewell Boleyn game sealed his passage into West Ham folklore.
That moment will live with us all forever, and it is perhaps the reason that despite all his injuries and time out of the side, he is given a smoother ride compared to that of Andy Carroll, who was lambasted for his injury record.
In reality, that is the last memory West Ham fans have of their forgotten man, fast-forward 500-days since his last showing in claret and blue, we have a new centre-half pairing in Issa Diop and Angelo Ogbonna, and a new third choice in Fabian Balbuena.
Perhaps most importantly, though, a new manager who likes to play a different brand of football to that of which Reid will have been used to under previous regimes.
I do not see where Reid would fit in under Pellegrini’s leadership, he lacks pace, now probably even more so than before, due to his knee injury and while he can play a bit with his feet, he is more known for his tough tackling and positional nous.
I know he had been missing for a long time, but it was noticeable in the Asia Trophy game that he struggled to make any impact in this new-look side.
It looks as though it could be a sad ending for this West Ham cult hero, as time slowly ticks down on his contract, Reid may well find himself way down the pecking order even if can finally shrug off that troublesome knee injury.
Thanks for the memories, Winnie. BBM