Friday 27 January 2017

Who are the Best and Worst Strikers of the Gold & Sullivan Era?

As the January transfer window moves relentlessly towards its conclusion, West Ham are still mighty short on attacking resources to support a push up the table.

While there can be few who would doubt that Mr Gold and Sullivan have been at the heart of bringing our club from a shambolic laughing stock to one of Europe’s fastest growing wannabes, many would say that we seem remarkably inept at identifying strikers who can cut it at the highest level. West Ham seem to struggle to commit to the big-money signings that bring a guarantee of goals and instead have to date preferred to mostly gamble on less costly talent.

Since Messrs Sullivan and Gold took over in 2010 we have acquired 33 players who would be deemed ‘strikers’. That’s an average of more than five newbies per season! Of these, only Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho have pushed on (albeit with injuriy problems) while of the rest the majority have either stalled and slipped down the leagues or moved on after journeyman stints. Jaanai Gordon, Antonio Martinez and Ashley Fletcher remain in the 'developing' category. Of the loan deals, only Andy Carroll has graduated to a full contract.
Ricardo Vaz Te was also undoubtedly also a successful signing, albeit that his form petered out., Demba Ba was excellent but had to be moved on after relegation, while Carlton Cole is a top geezer and despite the lack of goals was also a decent signing.

One could argue that Kevin Nolan, Dimitri Payet and Michail Antonio are examples of midfielders who are so attack-oriented that they could certainly be deemed forwards, albeit not traditional 'Strikers' and each of these were successful signings for the club.
However, it’s pretty clear that if we really harbour top six pretensions, we need to get a whole lot better at finding forwards and perhaps it’s time to grasp the nettle that you only get what you pay for!

Here’s the list and our VERYWESTHAM ratings for each…

1. Ilan – free transfer in January 2010, 29 at time of arrival, 4 goals in 11 games, released in May 2010. Useful goals! 4/10.

2. Benni McCarthy – £2.2m in January 2010, 32 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 14 games, released in April 2011. Bad attitude, no discipline. Vastly overweight. 1/10 for hikarious swipe at LadyBrady who promptly squashed him!

3. Mido – loan in January 2010, 26 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 9 games, including a terrible penalty miss. Loan cancelled in May 2010. Cheap (played for £1000 per wek!) but not at the standard. 2/10 for comedy value!

4. Fr
éddie Piquionne £1m in July 2010, 31 at time of arrival, 11 goals in 62 games, released in March 2013. Unpopular but he did notch a few valuable goals. Languid style didn't help as he looked mostly disinterested! 4/10.

5. Victor Obinna – loan in August 2010, 23 at time of arrival, 8 goals in 32 games, loan ended in May 2012. Should have kept him but relegation intervened. Pacy and direct. 5/10.

6. Demba Ba – undisclosed in January 2011, 25 at time of arrival, 7 goals in 13  appearances, released in May 2012. Another lost to relegation. Very able striker and big personality. 8/10.

7. Paul McCallum – £60k in January 2011, 17 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 0 appearances, free to Leyton Orient in May 2015. 1/10 - for scoring against Cork City in a Preseason friendly in 2013!

8. Robbie Keane – loan in January 2011, 30 at time of arrival, 2 goals in 10 games, loan ended in May 2012. Another panic buy. Awful miss against Blackburn summed up our luck in that ill-fated season. 2/10 - one for each of his goals.

9. Brian Montenegro – loan in August 2011, 18 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 1 game, loan ended in May 2012. Naughty! 0/10.

10. John Carew – free in August 2011, 31 at time of arrival, 2 goals in 21 games, released in May 2012. Nonsense. Pension-massaging money wasting. 1/10. Good defensively for set pieces!

11. Sam Baldock – £2.4m in August 2011, 22 at time of arrival, 5 goals in 24 games, sold for £1.1m to Bristol City in August 2012. The size-ist prone Big Sam underestimated Little Sam. Baldock still banging them in in the Championship at Brighton. 5/10.

12. Nicky Maynard – £1.7m in January 2012, 25 at time of arrival, 3 goals in 17 games, sold to Cardiff for £2.5m in August 2012. Deemed unfit for Premiership, probably rightly so. 3/10.

13. Ricardo Vaz Te - undisclosed from Barnsley in 2012. 19 goals in 61 appearances. Let go to Turkish side Akhisar in 2015. Kinda legendary in status due to winning play off goal but silly injury and loss of form scuttled his career. 7/10.

14. Sean Maguire – undisclosed in January 2013, 18 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 0  appearances, released to Dundalk in 2015. Banging then in in Ireland for Cork city. Lacking physique for Preniership. 0/10.

15. Andy Carroll – loan in August 2012, 23 at time of arrival, 7 goals in 24 games, loan became permanent deal after one season. Injury prone but the real deal. 8/10.

16. Modibo Ma
ïga £4.5m in June 2013, 24 at time of arrival, 8 goals in 45 games, free to Al Nassr in August 2015. Awful horror show wayching his confidence collapse. Merciful release ensued. 2/10 for determination.

17. Wellington Paulista – loan in January 2013, 28 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 0  appearances, loan cancelled at end of season. Nonsense distraction. 0/10.

18. Marouane Chamakh – loan in January 2013, 28 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 3  appearances, loan ended in May 2013. Hilariously awful. 1/10 for subsequently scoring a winner for Palace against us!

19. Andy Carroll – £15m in June 2013, 24 at time of arrival, 19 goals in 77 appearances. Our top man - when he's fit! 8/10.

20. Danny Whitehead – free in June 2013, 19 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 1 appearance, joined Accrington on free transfer in 2015. Whoareya? 0/10.

21. Mladen Petric – free in September 2013, 32 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 4  appearances, released in Jan 2014. Journeyman gap filler. 0/10.

22. Carlton Cole – re-signed on free transfer in October 2013, 30 at time of arrival, 10  goals in 57 games, released in 2015. Top man - took a pay cut when we got relegated - are you listening Mr Payet? 7/10.

23. Marco Borriello – loan in January 2014, 31 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 2 appearances, left at end of 13/14 season. Tzzzzz. 0/10.

24. Jaanai Gordon – undisclosed in Jan 2014 from Peterborough, 19 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 0 appearances. Soon come?

25. Mauro Zárate – free in May 2014, 28 at time of arrival, 7 goals in 29 games, joined Fiorentina for £1.6m in January 2016. Moody, greedy but a few nice strikes 5/10.

26. Diafra Sakho – £3.5m in August 2014, 24 at time of arrival, 20 goals in 52 appearances. Talented forward who has been sidelined by both body and head issues. When fit and motivated he is class. 7/10.

27. Enner Valencia – £12m in July 2014, 24 at time of arrival, 10 goals in 68  appearances, joined Everton on loan in August 2016. Struggled with physicality of Premiership. 5/10.

28. Nikica Jelavic
£2.8m in August 2015 from Hull. 30 at time of arrival, 2 goals in 15  appearances, left for £4m in February 2016. In China, where he shudda gobe straight fron Hull. 3/10.

29. Emmanuel Emenike
loan in Jan 2016, 28 years old at time of arrival, 2 FA Cup goals in 16 appearances, left in summer 16. Poor first touch. Keen but not sharp enough for Premiership. 3/10.

30. Simone Zaza – £5m loan fee in August 2016, 25 years old at time of arrival, 0 goals in 11 appearances, left in January 2017. Disastrous. 1/10 for stunner for Juve against us in our preseason OS opener.

31. Jonathan Calleri – loan in August 2016, 22 years old at time of arrival, 1 goal in 10 appearances and thata was courtesy of a lucky deflection! He looks lost and it’s clearly time to move on. South American contract weirdness appears to be main barrier to a much needed departure. 1/10 (for the goal!).

32. Antonio Martínez – £2.4m in July 16, 19 years old, 0 goals in 0 appearances. Scarily good for development squad. Fingers crossed but as of yet untested.

33. Ashley Fletcher – free transfer in July 16, 20 years old at time of arrival, 1 League Cup goal in 16 appearances. Poor return but looks the part and most of his appearances have been as sub. Needs to start scoring. 5/10.
PHEW!!! That's a lot of huffing and puffing without a whole lotta goals! If Scott Hogan or Chris Wood does arrive in the next 4 days they don't really have a lot to live up to.
BTW the best signing was undoubtedly Andy Carroll, while the worst is a toss up between Benni McCarthy and Simone Zaza - on balance, neither managed a goal but at least Zaza looked like he was trying, Big Mac thus wins the WORSTEST STRIKER award!



  1. Blimey that's a lot of strikers, some of which I had completely forgotten about. Think you're being a bit harsh on Calleri. He's had a total of 150 minutes on the pitch.


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