West Ham & the long history of failed strikers

    Almost every Premier League team has had at least one decent striker over the years.  

    Then there’s West Ham. Tony Cottee was the last Irons forward to score 20 league goals, way back in 1986/87. Who are some of the most ineffective strikers to wear the claret and blue over the years? Here are 10 strikers who had a bad time at the Boleyn Ground.


    1. Benni McCarthy 

    Benni McCarthy was prolific at Porto and Ajax, and a proven goalscorer for Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League. He joined West Ham for an undisclosed fee on transfer deadline day in February 2010.

    He made 14 appearances in all competitions, scoring no goals. McCarthy eventually left by mutual consent, after being omitted from the squad for the remainder of the 2010/11 season.

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    2. Marouane Chamakh

    When Arsenal’s misfiring striker Marouane Chamakh was signed on loan in 2013, David Sullivan’s son was one of many to tweet their disapproval at the lack of ambition. He played just three times, and failed to score.

    Chamakh went on to sign for Crystal Palace, having a couple of successful seasons at the club. He retired in 2019 after not playing for nearly two-and-a-half years.


    3. Mido 

    This signing made headlines at the time as Mido confirmed that he was being paid just £1,000 a week as he was desperate to prove himself. He ended the season having played nine times, with no goals. 

    He even missed a penalty, courtesy of Everton’s Tim Howard. 


    4. Nene 

    Anderson Luiz de Carvalho is a strange one, having no trouble finding the net before and after his time at West Ham. He was named as the best foreign player in Ligue 1 in 2009/10, and he currently plays for Sao Paulo at the age of 37. 

    Despite his talent, Nene was nothing more than a stopgap signing when he came in during the February 2015 transfer window, and he failed to hit the net in eight appearances for the club. 


    5. Nikica Jelavić 

    The Croatian forward was never prolific, but he was signed to do a job for the Hammers in 2015. 

    He managed a goal against Wolves in the FA Cup, but that was his sole contribution over 13 games. Jelavić now plays for Chinese Super League team Guizhou Zhicheng.


    6. Modibo Maïga  

    Modibo Maïga managed to grab seven goals, which is seven more than many of the strikers on this list. It’s still not the best return from 45 games, and he was hyped when he came in from Metz to bolster Sam Allardcye’s attack in 2014. 

    Big Sam continued to heap praise on the forward, but he was eventually sold a year later. He continues to play in the middle east. 


    7. Savio Nsereko

    Savio Nsereko was signed for a club-record £9 million fee in 2009, and the prospect was given the number 10 shirt. It didn’t come out of nowhere as he was named as the player of the tournament in the 2008 European Under-19 Championship. 

    Another forward who failed to score for the Irons, Savio went on to be jailed in Thailand after faking his own kidnapping in 2012 to extort money from his family. 


    8. Pablo Barrera

    The Mexican international was a regular for his nation, winning two Gold Cups in 2009 and 2011. Barrera signed for West Ham on a four-year deal worth £4million in 2010. He failed to score in 23 appearances, and eventually left for Zaragoza in La Liga. 

    His poor run continued despite being reunited with Mexico national team manager Javier Aguirre, but he grabbed one goal from 20 league appearances.


    9. Simone Zaza

    Undoubtedly a talented striker, Italian international Simone Zaza signed for a €5million loan fee in August 2016. The Hammers were set to pay an additional €20million after Zaza made a certain number of appearances in the Premier League, but it wasn’t meant to be.

    He played 11 times for West Ham without scoring, although he went on to have a successful career for Valencia and Torino.


    10.Emmanuel Emenike

    Eminike is a FIFA legend, but failed to match up in real life after signing from Fenerbahce on loan in 2015. A brace in an FA Cup win over Blackburn Rovers were his only goals in 16 appearances for West Ham. 

    He went on to sign for Olympiacos, where he was eventually ordered to train alone. It’s believed that the argument stemmed from his wage demands.


    We’re generally too quick to judge players, especially in an age of endless social media updates. Whether they can’t gel with the squad, or they don’t get the manager’s tactics, there’s a host of reasons why footballers don’t always live up to their reputation at a new club. 

    As strikers are often judged solely on their goalscoring records, a difficult year can be hard to recover from, and fans are left with memories of the times when they tried and failed. 

    Some of the forwards on this list managed to find their shooting boots again, but most will agree that their time at West Ham was one to forget.


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