West Ham still close to Adrian’s heart

Former West Ham goalkeeper, Adrian, may have moved on to bigger and better things with Liverpool. But the Spaniard still remembers the Hammers fondly.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Adrian spoke about how he will always ‘remember the positives’ of his time at West Ham. The Hammers were the club to give the goalkeeper his chance in the Premier League, despite only having one year of the first-team experience.

“Overall, it was a positive time,” says Adrian. “It’s not easy to leave your home and go to a new country and a new league, with another language, another culture, another style of play”. Said Adrian.

Adrian was signed by manager Sam Allardyce back in 2013 after his contract at Real Betis expired. The Spaniard struggled to break into the team at first. Veteran keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen was kept Adrian stuck as the cup goalkeeper other than a couple of fleeting league appearances.

This was until a cold night at Stamford Bridge. West Ham were in desperate need of a positive result, and Chelsea put them under siege. Adrian however, stood up tall for ninety minutes and kept the Blues at bay.

The 33-year-old was named man of the match and at the end of the season was awarded ‘save of the season’ for a save he made in that match. Adrian produced a brilliant finger-tip save to stop Oscar from scoring. The keeper was also named ‘signing of the season’ in 2014.

“Overall, it was a positive time,” says Adrian. “It’s not easy to leave your home and go to a new country and a new league, with another language, another culture, another style of play. The Liverpool continued.

Fast forward a season, Adrian was named in FIFA 15’s Premier League team of the season for his performances. Adrian had become the undisputed first-choice goalkeeper in East London. This season also saw the keeper score a famous winner in FA Cup penalty shootout for West Ham against Everton.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 13: Adrian of West Ham United scores the winning penalty in the shoot out during the FA Cup Third Round Replay match between West Ham United and Everton at Boleyn Ground on January 13, 2015 in London, England. West Ham United win 9-8 on penalties. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

The next season, however, Allardyce left, and Slaven Bilic replaced him. Along with Bilic, goalkeeper Darren Randolph arrived from Birmingham City. Randolph and Adrian then battled for the first team shirt. Adrian won the battle more often than not but did start to lose minutes in the first team.

Adrian did survive the challenge from Randolph who left the club in 2017 for Middlesborough. The next battle was too much for Adrian; however, the arrival of Lukasz Fabianski was too much for the Spaniard.

“A lot happened in my six years there and it wasn’t all rosy. But I remember the positives. I hang on to the love of the fans and I will always respect West Ham as the first club to give me an opportunity in the Premier League.

Fabianksi went one better than Adrian in his debut season and was named ‘Hammer of the Year’ for 2018/19. Once the season ended Adrian left the Hammers to join Liverpool and has been vindicated in his decision.

“Like everything in life, it reached an end, but I didn’t think of it as a goodbye, more as a see you later. Maybe we will see each other again in the future, but it was the right moment to take another step in my career.”

Since joining Liverpool, Adrian has won the Champions League and the Premier League and has probably played more than expected. The Spaniard was signed knowing he was backup to Alisson, but when the Brazilian pick-up an injury last season, Adrian was a more than dependable replacement.

Despite becoming an unreliable goalkeeper during his time at the Hammers, Adrian will certainly go down as a cult-hero. This status was confirmed when he struck that winning penalty against the Toffees after throwing his gloves off.