I believe Darren Randolph will be remembered fondly for his time in claret and blue. I’m not delusional in believing that Randolph was a phenomenal player for us and was one of our greatest ever ‘keepers.
He had his fair share of mistakes, but his value came in his experience and voice behind the scenes. Looking back at his time at the club, he played a lot of games for us during our 2016/17 season and brought a lot of stability back when we had been struggling in the goalkeeper department.
With cameos from Joe Hart, Adrian, Dave Martin and even Roberto, the Irishman always offered a safe pair of hands in the net. It’s also been regularly suggested that he was an important player in the dressing room as well, keeping the squad positive and always pushing Fabs and Areola.
He will also go down in our history due to his role in our final ever game at the Boleyn Ground where he was in goal for us that night in our 3-2 victory over Manchester United. This was such an iconic comeback that I believe every player in that team will be remembered for many years to come.
During his time at West Ham, he showcased his brilliant athleticism and shot stopping ability. I remember, in particular, an away game at Old Trafford, he made save after save against the likes of Rashford, Lingard and Martial to keep us in the game.
He also made an impressive triple save against Arsenal that was met with massive applause in the stadium. There is no doubt that he was a solid ‘keeper for us, but what I really liked about him was his attitude and personality.
After Fabianski joined the club, it was clear he would be our number one. After a stint away, Randolph re-joined the club, knowing he would be likely playing second fiddle. This did not stop him, and he came back and was reliable when we needed him.
He was a player similar to Dave Martin and Mark Noble in his final season, imperative to the squad for a multitude of reasons. He would have helped the other keepers in training, with advice as an experienced professional and with the everyday drills.
He understood what it meant to be a West Ham player and was apparently vocal about this in the dressing room, pushing and teaching the young players. He was reportedly someone that players knew they could go to in order to vent or ask questions and having these types of players in the squad is invaluable.
I believe, as Rice has said as well, the lack of voices in the dressing room has been an issue this season. When he left for Bournemouth earlier this year, he posted on Instagram with a message for the Hammers fans, which I think is always a nice touch.
It is no secret that the 35-year-old did express his desire to leave last summer but must have been told he was still needed and decided to stay. However, he posted about his appreciation for the club in the six and a half years he spent here and says he will be cheering us on still.
It is interesting that he likely won’t start for Bournemouth, with the vastly experienced Neto starting ahead of him, so he is in arguably the same position as at West Ham. Perhaps he thinks they may get relegated and will have a starting position in one of the best teams in the Championship.
Or perhaps he fancied spending the rest of his 30’s near the beach.