Little Sammy Baldock has made quite an impression since his move from MK Dons…at West Ham over the last few years we’ve seemed to stock-pile target men as a recruitment policy. Piquionne, Cole, Obinna and Carew all come to mind. It’s almost as if the club discarded the goal poacher as an antiquated type of striker, not the sort of front-man who could make it in today’s cut and thrust game.
Baldock however has broken this particular mould and we are reaping the benefits, some Irons fans even likening him to club legend Tony Cottee. Whilst it’s obviously too early to speculate on whether Sam can have a similar sort of impact at the club, one must admit there are similarities.
Baldock like TC seems to me a striker who operates exclusively within the confines of the 18 yard box, he’s not interested in getting into wide positions, dropping deep or attempting to join in with the link up play, but when the ball enters the box he springs to life and is always looking to test the ‘keeper. Cottee was the same always lurking in the penalty box, ready to pounce when the ball fell in his path, Cottee made the six-yard box his home, just how many goals did he poach from that range with his head or his trusty right foot?
The similarities between the two are there for all to see; the ability to wriggle away from opposition defences, the knack of being in the right place at the right time, perching themselves on the shoulder of the last defender and the ability to score a variety of goals from tap-ins to the odd goal of the month candidate.
It’s a hell of a compliment for the fans to already be making this particular comparison and whilst we all hope that Baldock can over the course of his Hammers career come close to emulating Cottee’s 116 goal haul, his arrival finally sees the end of West Ham playing over the last few years with a seemingly infinite list of target men…at last the club have secured the fox in the box type we’ve lacked for years.