Ahead of today's crunch Premiership clash 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’. Ultimately, will these performers be considered Hammers or Devils?
At Man United he failed to inspire confidence - epitomised by ‘the goal that never was’. Joined West Ham in 2005 after falling out over a lack of first team opportunities. Had a good initial season but sustained a back injury in Jan 2006 and slipped into a variety of difficulties that ultimately earned him a place in the ‘Troubled Bubbles XI’! Verdict Neither.
Hammers 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. Quickly moved to Man United where he has been a fantastic servant for a decade and was key to the many successes of the past decade.Verdict Devil.
8 appearances for Man United where he was never really given a chance. A bargain signing for 500K for West ham that led to a five year career and over 100 appearances . 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 and moved to Birmingham. Verdict: Hammer.
Top man. 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 where he captained a cup winning side and was part of two league winning teams. Verdict Hammer.
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. Many observers would say that he has never lived up to his potential. Verdict Neither.
Industrious and gamey, the 'Guvnor' was never found wanting in the Hammers shirt after replacing Billy Bonds in 1987. He didn’t handle his Hammers departure very well being photographed in a Man United shirt well before the deal was confirmed. Probably did not deserve the criticisms thrown his way by Fergie and after 6 years and over 200 appearances Verdict: Devil.
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 after relegation in 2003 before losing patience and moving to Spurs for 3.5 Million and then Man United where he has never quite stepped up to the lead role in midfield predicted for him. Solid. Verdict Devil.
Trouble with a capital T during his time at Man United, Fergie tired of his disciplinary problems and Big Sam obliged for a mere 650K. Initially farmed out for a season to grow up at Birmingham City, 'Raveldo' has started to realise his potential with cnsistently impressive turn outs this season. is he the most naturally skillful English player since Gazza? Verdict Hammer.
A hero wherever he roamed throughout his career (even Millwall!). Arrived at Man United late in his career but proved another astute Fergie signing and achieved legendary status in stoppage time of the 1999 Champions League final. Came to the Hammers not far short of pension age but still had plenty to offer by virtue of his excellent footballing brain. Verdict Devil.
Played in a different era when United were not quite the same powerhouse they are now but picked up a cup winners medal, scoring in the 1977 final against lovely Liverpool.
Moved to the Hammers in 1979 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! Verdict Both.
Arrived at the Boleyn 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! The Apache had some classy moments in the United shirt but got sidetracked by his own ego needs. Ultimately moving to City was the final straw.Verdict Hammer.
Substitutes: Luke Chadwick, Les Sealey, David Bellion.
So, it seems players tend to deliver in similar amounts whether at the Hammers or Man United and 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.