Friday 4 January 2013

They Played for both: West Man United XI

Ahead of the crunch FA cup clash this weekend between the Hammers of East London and Red Devils of Manchester we consider the merits of a team comprised of players who have played for both clubs making up the impressive ‘West Man United  XI’.  Davey Hammer and Owen Devil give their verdict on how well these players performed during their spells at each club.

Davey Hammer says

Owen Devil says

Joined the Hammers in 2005 after falling out with Man Utd over a lack of first team opportunities. Had a good initial season but sustained a back injury in Jan 2006 and never managed to get back in the groove as he slipped into a variety of difficulties that ultimately earned him a place in the ‘Troubled Bubbles XI’! Verdict 5/10.
Failed to inspire confidence or hold down a first team place. Epitomised by  ‘the goal that never was’! Verdict: 5/10

Debut at the tender age of 17, Rio soon forced his way into the regular first team squad where he continued to impress until Leeds paid a record 18 million for him in November 2000. Yes, Leeds were once that powerful a force! Excellent career for the Hammers. Verdict 8/10.
Has been a fantastic servant over the years and still valuable despite his years. A key part of the many successes of the past decade. Verdict 9/10

A bargain signing for 500K that was followed by a five year career and over 100 appearances for the Hammers. Versatile defender who had his finest hour when scoring twice  in a 4-0 victory over Man United in 2010. Ran out of road as the Hammers regrouped after relegation in 2011 moving to Birmingham City. Verdict 6/10.
8 appearances. Never really given a chance. Verdict 4/10

Signed from Cork Athletic in 1952. Noel enjoyed a fruitful 8 years at West Ham with 250 appearances. Captained the Hammers to promotion back to the top flight for the first time in almost 30 years in 1958 . Sold to man Utd for almost 30K in 1960. Verdict 8/10
Top man. Captained a cup winning side and also part of two league winning teams. Verdict 7/10.

Hmmm. One that got away having impressed at youth level but nicked by Man United. He might have fared so much better had he stuck with the Hammers and gotten a better shot at first team football. Almost returned last Summer but again ‘pinched’ from under the Hammer’s noses, this time by Fulham. Verdict 0/10.
Yet another player who has floundered due to lack of first team opportunities and never lived up to his potential. Verdict 5/10

Naughty! Industrious and gamey he was never found wanting in the Hammers shirt after replacing Billy Bonds in 1987. The leading light in the squad at the time, he didn’t handle his Hammers departure very well being photographed in a Man United shirt well before the deal was confirmed. Hmmm. Verdict 8/10.
 The forerunner to Roy Keane – similar robust no-nonsense style, the ‘Guvnor’ was a top performer. Probably did not deserve the many criticisms thrown his way by Fergie and after 6 years and over 200 appearances is fondly remembered. Also generated a decent transfer fee from Inter Milan. Verdict 8/10

Another one thrown in as a teenager at 17 into the Hammers first team. Skilful but perhaps a little ‘ghosty’ at times. Happy to do the unglamorous work and stayed loyal to the Hammers during our first season ‘out’ in Division one during 2003 before losing patience and moving to Spurs for 3.5 Million. Solid. Verdict 7/10.
Has been around forever without ever quite taking the leadership role imagined for him when he arrived. Very modest scoring record and tendency to take the safer option when in possession. Verdict 6/10

Remains an uncertain prospect – snapped up from Man United after some impressive youth team and League cup turnouts but comes with much baggage, including disciplinary ‘troubles’ that almost certainly contributed to being farmed out for a season to grow up at Birmingham City.  Verdict 2/10
Entertainment value mostly. Trouble with a capital T. Verdict 1/10

A legend wherever he roamed throughout his career (even Millwall!). Came to the Hammers not far short of pension age but still had plenty to offer by virtue of his excellent footballing brain – something that visibly rubbed off on younger players around him. Grabbed a handy 30 goals in 80 appearances between 2004-7. Also a top ‘geezer’. Verdict 8/10. 
Likeable player with delightful skillset. A most astute signing - well spotted by Fergie who recognised that there was plenty left in Teddy despite his age. Oh! and let’s not forget his contribution in stoppage time to turn around the Champions League final in 1999. Verdict 8/10.

Came to the Hammers in 1979 from Man Utd as damaged goods after a nasty knee injury but still managed to play a major part in the 1980 Cup final victory over Arsenal, teeing up Trevor Brooking’s ‘stunning’ header! Skilful and a good nose for goal, had to retire in 1982 due to recurrence of knee problems. Verdict 6/10
Different era when United were not quite the same powerhouse they are now but was instrumental in getting promotion back to the top flight in 1974 contributing 17 goals. Also picked up a cup winners medal, scoring in the 1977 final against lovely Liverpool. Verdict 8/10

Hammers legend. Looked lost (and probably overweight) when he arrived in a bizarre deal in 2006 . Bemused Hammers faithful endured two-thirds of a season of Carlos trying to inspire a lacklustre side and then it all clicked into gear for the final 10 games where he couldn’t stop scoring, including a final day win at Old Trafford to keep the Hammers up! Verdict 9/10.
The Apache had some classy moments in the United shirt and was undoubtedly talented but got sidetracked by his own ego needs. Ultimately proved mostly a disruptive influence. Moving to City was the final straw. Verdict 6/10

Substitutes: Luke Chadwick, Les Sealey, David Bellion.

 So, it seems players tend to deliver in similar amounts whether at the Hammers or Man Unitedand with a fairly equal divide of players moving in each direction, albeit usually Northwards early in their career and Southwards as the decline sets in or the hunger for first team opportunities starts to bite in earnest. Let’s hope tomorrow’s game doesn’t also end all square as neither side needs extra fixtures in what is already a demanding fixture list for squads that are both beset by more than their fair share of injury problems!


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