The ultimate West Ham 5-a-side team

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whu5asideBeing just 18-years-old, it’s fair to say that I probably haven’t seen the best of players in my short time as a Hammer, and the majority of my knowledge of past eras has come from YouTube videos and conversations with supporters older and wiser than myself.

Regretfully, the odd sprinkles of genius, courtesy of the likes of Carlos Tevez and Dean Ashton, in recent years aside, I’ve sadly become more familiar with the likes of Luis Boa Morte and Benni McCarthy than iconic figures like Sir Geoff Hurst and Alan Devonshire. Nevertheless, assisted by the knowledge of my Father I have decided to put together my ultimate West Ham 5-a-side team including two substitutes – please leave a comment with yours below!

Goalkeeper – Phil Parkes 

Undeniably West Ham’s best Goalkeeper of all time, Parkes deserves his place in any Hammers fan’s 5-a-side line up more than anybody. Having made a staggering 344 appearances over 11 years at the club, Parkes was the last man to keep four straight clean sheets prior to this season’s accomplishment by current stopper, Adrian.

Some may argue that perhaps a quicker, more agile keeper such as Ludek Miklosko would be more suitable to the smaller adaptation of the game, but Parkes’ claiming of the goalkeeper’s spot of the ‘Greatest West Ham XI’ as voted for by supporters in 2003 leaves me in no doubt that he would do the best job in my side.

Defender – Bobby Moore

I’m sure many will agree that an all time West Ham 5-a-side team would be incomplete without the late, great Bobby Moore.

The most iconic player in the club’s history, Moore’s West Ham career consisted of 544 appearances spanning across three decades, with the Barking born defender notching a total of 24 goals of his own in the process. Widely recognised as one of the greatest English defenders of all time, most notably it was Moore’s leadership, anticipation and ability to read a game which set him apart from other defenders, and his lack of natural pace was undoubtedly made up for with his true composure and determination.

Every 5-a-side team needs a leader, and Moore would undoubtedly fit the bill; I just wish I was alive to witness first hand, the West Ham man captain his country to the greatest triumph in world football.

Defender/Midfielder – Billy Bonds

Another loyal servant to the Hammers, Bonds’ career in East London lasted an outstanding 21 seasons, during which time he made a total of 793 first team appearances and bagged himself an impressive 48 goals.

I have placed Bonds in a defensive midfield role due to his adaptation of position throughout his time at the club; as he moved between right-back, central midfield, and the centre of defence in the late 1970’s following the departure of Bobby Moore in 1974.

Bonds boasted numerous abilities and was a very well rounded player, possessing great natural fitness and strength, whilst also being able to comfortable bring the ball out from defence into midfield and use it effectively. Similarly to Bobby Moore, Bonds was a great leader as is highlighted the fact he was appointed captain of the club after his departure, and retained the armband for another ten years – a man certainly worthy of a spot in an ultimate West Ham 5-a-side team.

Midfielder – Sir Trevor Brooking 

Regarded by many as West Ham’s greatest ever midfielder, the Hammers initially fended off early competition from Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur for the then schoolboy, Brooking, who quickly flew through the ranks in East London to become one of the most popular figures of all time in E13.

The midfielder, who scored 88 goals at his only English club, will be best known by Hammers for his goal that sunk Arsenal as West Ham claimed the FA Cup for the second time in five years, previously beating Fulham in 1975, a game in which Brooking also appeared.

Personally, the only first-hand experience I have of Brooking was in a managerial role as he took over the final few games of the 2002/2003 campaign, picking up six remarkable points against Manchester City and Chelsea despite eventually being relegated from the Premier League.

Following his brief spell in charge, many supporters consider Brooking the “best manager we never had”, and there is no doubt that Brooking bleeds claret and blue and deserves his place in the side.

Attacker – Frank McAvennie

McAvennie joined West Ham for £340,000 in 1985, completely untried and untested in the Premier League. Having picked up impressive form in the Scottish league, the Hammers took a gamble and it paid off as McAvennie enjoyed two successful spells in East London, netting 49 times and averaging roughly a goal every three games during his time with us.

The flamboyant McAvennie became an idol at the club in as early as his first season, scoring a staggering 28 goals to ensure the Hammers’ highest ever finish in the top flight. Renowned for his natural goal scoring and in particular heading ability, the Scotsman would be a perfect fit for a West Ham 5-a-side team needing guaranteed goals.

Substitutes – Paolo Di Canio & Ray Stewart 

Upon signing the controversial Italian, Harry Redknapp claimed Di Canio could “do things with the ball that people could only dream of”.

Di Canio scored 48 goals in 118 appearances for the Hammers and was a formidable figure and fan favourite between 1999 and 2003, and thankfully, was a player whose abilities I was able to witness first-hand having been a season ticket holder from a very young age. His famous scissor-kick against Wimbledon, which was voted Premier League goal of all time, is simply unforgettable; whilst his act of sportsmanship against Everton and famous goal against Manchester United and a puzzled Fabien Barthez show that the Italian has provided us with some moments Hammers fans will cherish forever.

My second substitute would be defender Ray Stewart, not only for his resolute defending, but also for his famous penalty taking ability.

In his Hammers career which lasted an impressive 345 games, Stewart managed a remarkable 62 goals, all but 8 being from the penalty spot, whilst playing an important role in the Hammer’s highest ever league finish in 1986, making 39 appearances. I’m sure each of these substitutes would be effective in any 5-a-side team, let alone a West Ham side and both undeniably deserve their spot.

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  • Glen says:

    Can’t comment Callum, but here’s who I’d be keeping for the 2014/15 season, as follows:

    Adrian, Jääskeläinen, Reid, McCartney, Collins, Demel, Noble, Diame, Downing, C. Cole.

    So there’s at least 8 Premier League! quality signings that need to be made just to make a squad of 18, of a starting 11 & 7 subs
    The rest can all go (including Andy). I am not joking. Of course if we didn’t stay in the Prem then all the rest could all stay, because apart from the above mentioned, they rest belong in the Championship.

  • ronboy29 says:

    Glen iof you are not joking then I must assk if you have been watching the same team as the rest of us this last few seasons. Those we must retain are Adrian, Tomkins, Reid,Noble, Jarvis and Carroll. With a new manager able to intoduce positive, attacking football with players able to pass the ball and with flair and pace we could utilise Carrolls attributes by bringing in another forward not only able tp play off the big man but provide an alternative approach to the current negative hoofing up the field so beloved by bfs. Two new full backs are a priority as well as ball-playing mid-fielder in the style of Brooking, Devonshire, Mark Ward (Dream on!). Teams know how to cope with our current game-plan by posting one centre half in front of Carroll and one behind thus leaving Nolan as a pure passenger, neither fowl nor flesh,


    • Glen says:

      Look, Andy Carroll is no good!!! Let’s get this issue right out of the way now. He had a good 3 months at the end of 2010 for Newcastle & that’s it! Having all of our eggs in the one basket of a striker who can’t score aint good enough. Sorry, show him the door along with Sam. Jarvis is another one, not good enough along with Johnson for the EPL. Tomkins is OK sometimes, but there are better players out there, OK, we have Tomkins untill we can find someone else. No Collins is our rock in defense, at least for 1 more season anyway. Tomkins some of the time. I’m sorry ronboy, I too thought we should give Carroll time to get it together, but we gave him so much time we almost got relegated. Carlton Cole is a much better option than Carroll. Sam won’t play him. 78% polled don’t want Sam, so if Sam’s gone, then you can bet that Andy will go as well, plus Nolan is past it, & with Sam & Nolan gone what is there left for dear Andy to hang onto? Sorry, Andy has had more than enough time & I want West Ham’s one dimentional play gone. I mean look at who Carroll had to work with at Liverpool? The one & only Suarez that’s all, & even then he could hardly score, Sturridge yes, Andy no. That’s why Brendan sold him, he knew Andy wouldn’t work for him. OK Brendan has said to the media how good Andy is, but what he says to the media & what he thinks would be 2 different things. Downing is a better player than Andy, & we should keep him. Andy probably only has the same value as Downing. If West Ham get an offer of 5 million for Andy then I reckon they should take it!

      • Glen says:

        I know what you are saying ronboy, but even with the right support I am not sure that Andy can score enough for what West Ham need. If West ham change the manager, & if that manager can bring in the supporting players that Andy needs, then give Andy until the mid season transfer window and if he isn’t on song with scoring by then, then unload him, if we have buyers? in the January window, because that will then be 2 & 1/2 years he will have had. I am only talking about this issue with Andy so much because it is so important for our club. I do not like the lone striker approach. I like the total football that the Netherlands introduced. Total football, as you may know is the tactics of where any single player can interchange positions with anyone else & anyone on the field at any one time, & is a potential goal scorer. The Dutch were/are brilliant at that in creating a maze where the opposition never know what they/we are going to do next, & who is going to crop up next & score. 1 striker gets marked out of the game, 10 strikers? never!

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