Our West Ham team of the decade
PUBLISHED: 17:00 31 December 2019
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See who has made the West Ham United team of the decade
For West Ham, the last decade has certainly been something of a rollercoaster ride.
We have seen relegation under Avram Grant in 2011, and an immediate return to the Premier League via a Wembley play-off final under Big Sam Allardyce.
Gianfranco Zola, Grant, Allardyce, Slaven Bilic and David Moyes have come and gone with Manuel Pellegrini the latest to occupy the hotseat, until the weekend saw him relieved of his duties and Moyes return.
That play-off final at Wembley and a dramatic late winner against Blackpool has perhaps been the highlight of the decade, although many would argue that the final day at Upton Park with victory against Manchester United on an emotion-packed night will not be beaten.
For many, leaving the beloved Boleyn Ground was also the lowest point of the decade.
Moving to a new, bigger stadium to try and propel the club to the upper echelons of the Premier Leagúe and into Europe has alienated a lot of die-hard Hammers and indeed with the club now flirting with relegation once again, those questions have loomed large once again.
And yet with crowds of 60,000 for every home game, that has got to be better for the club in the long term, now they must achieve the results to go along with those ambitions.
And what about the team of the decade? Who makes out first XI over the last 10 years?
Looking at the goalkeepers, we have four to choose from.
Lukasz Fabianski was magnificent last season and claimed the Hammer of the Year award. This campaign has been marred by injury though and so his lack of longevity at the club must weigh against him.
Jussi Jaaskelainen was a decent stopper and organiser, though he was prone to weakness at free-kicks.
That leaves us with England goalkeeper Robert Green or Spanish stopper Adrian.
Green stayed loyal to the club when they were relegated and helped them back into the Premier League. In the previous decade he put in that splendid display at Arsenal, helping the Hammers to become the first away team to win at the Emirates.
Adrian was at the club from 2013 until last summer and he never let the club down.
A prolific penalty saver, perhaps his best moment came in the FA Cup at Upton Park when he threw his gloves down and scored the decisive penalty in the replay against Everton.
So we are going for ADRIAN.
Full-back has not seen a great deal of top players emerge for the Hammers.
At left-back we must consider George McCartney who had two spells with the club, but the nod must go to AARON CRESSWELL
The former Ipswich man won the Hammer of the Year award in 2015 and though injuries have not helped his cause, he is still going strong.
There is certainly a dearth of right-backs.
Do we go for loanee Victor Moses, a Premier League winner, or perhaps Lars Jacobsen, Guy Demel or even Joey O'Brien who all plied their trade there earlier in the decade?
Current player Pablo Zabaleta should have a shout, but we have gone for JULIEN FAUBERT, who was never that good, but had pace and certainly loved the club in his five years there, making over 100 appearances.
Centre back is another tough category, though this time because there have been some quality players in that position.
England man Matty Upson was certainly a quality player, but let himself down in the relegation season when he was a poor captain.
James Tomkins came through the ranks and never let anybody down and his departure is still sorely felt, while current men Angelo Ogbonna and Issa Diop have certainly made their mark.
But when it comes to selections, two players stand out.
WINSTON REID has been there for the entire decade and when fit, which has not been too often in the last couple of seasons, he is a towering, effective defender.
Alongside him we must put JAMES COLLINS. The 'Ginger Pele' was a cult hero at the club and in his second spell as a Hammer played between 2012 and last year when he was inexplicably released, a heartbreaking day for the Wales international.
Defensive midfield has one stand-out, must-have player who has graced the club over the entire decade.
'Mr West Ham' MARK NOBLE is surely an automatic choice. He has lived the highs and lows of the club, he is a lifelong fan and as a midfielder he is still going strong.
So who plays alongside him?
There is a lot to be said for Alex Song, who on his day was second to none in the position, but perhaps was not consistent enough to be considered.
Thomas Hitzlsperger graced Upton Park, but not for long enough, while Pedro Obiang had his fans and Cheikhou Kouyate scored some important goals for the club, including the first ever at the London Stadium.
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Declan Rice is carving out a great career in the position for the Hammers and for England, but we are going for SCOTT PARKER to play alongside Noble.
He was only there at the start of the decade, but the three-time Hammer of the Year was a brilliant servant and deserves his spot, even if he did join Spurs!
Attacking midfield is another position that has seen a wealth of talent over the last 10 years.
If we are going to play two up front, as we probably should, then that leaves only two more midfield places up for grabs.
Alessandro Diamanti made a good impression in his time at the club, but was perhaps not there long enough, while Jack Collison was a great servant to the club, though plagued by injuries.
Another who looked good, but was hampered by spending too much time on the treatement table, was Mauro Zarate, while Stewart Downing and Felipe Anderson have had their moments, but it was not quite enough.
Michai Antonio continues to bring something different to the party in attacking positions, while Ravel Morrison was something of an enigma in his time at the club.
Kevin Nolan should be considered for his captaincy skills in the promotion season as well as his goalscoring as West Ham turned their fortunes around.
But you can look no further than DIMITRI PAYET for a place in the starting line-up.
In his time at the club, he transformed West Ham with some glittering displays which not only earned him the Hammer of the Year award, it also saw him nominated for Footballer of the Year.
On his day, he was among the best West Ham players we have witnessed and it was a great shame when it came to an abrupt end.
Playing with him at the time and in our team of the decade is little Argentinian MANUEL LANZINI.
The pair were superb together and since Payet left, he stepped up to fill the void and become a complete player, albeit stifled by recent injuries.
That leaves us two players up front and again there are plenty to choose from.
Demba Ba was a quality striker, sorely misued by Grant during the relegation season, while Marko Arnautovic was hugely effective and dangerous when he played, but had to be in the mood, and that was not often enough.
Victor Obinna had a good campaign back in 2010-11, scoring eight goals, including an FA Cup hat-trick, while Andy Carroll was unplayable at times, but too often was left on the sidelines unable to play.
Few will forget that brilliant goal against Crystal Palace back in 2017 and for that and for his enthusiasm for the cause, he should be hugely commended.
Enner Valencia had his moments, including some brilliant goals at Hull City and Bournemouth, but it was his partner who gets the first nod in the team.
DIAFRA SAKHO was certainly an eccentric striker who got into plenty of trouble off the field and then had his share of injuries. But he was a fine header of the ball and a great goalscorer, notching in that final ever game at Upton Park.
Ricardo Vaz Te scored perhaps the most important goal of the decade with his late winner at Wembley in the play-off final, but it was other goalscorer that day who gets the nod in our starting line-up.
CARLTON COLE epitomised his commitment to the club when he took a pay cut to stay with the Hammers following relegation.
He never gave less than 100 per cent and in the decade he scored a magnificent 40 goals to earn his place in the team.
SUBS: Green, McCartney, Tomkins, Kouyate, Antonio, Nolan, Vaz Te.
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