‘The Terminator’ and ‘Pottsy’ join the West Ham all-time XI squad as starting fullbacks, while a young Academy talent makes the bench.
West Ham fans from around the world were asked to vote and determine the players to be in West Ham’s All Premier League side. Some players were shoe-ins to make the squad while the debate raged heavily for other positions within the team.
In order to have been eligible to make this team, a player must have played for West Ham for at least one season during the Premier League era. Therefore, legends such as Bobby Moore, Trevor Brooking, and Billy Bonds were ineligible to make this team.
With the help of our friends at American Hammers Network and COYIrons, along with 8,500 West Ham fans, a full squad was chosen. This week’s instalment will focus on the fullbacks to make the squad. To see the positions we have announced before, see below:
Goalkeeper: Fabianski, Miklosko
Starting Left Back: Julian Dicks
- Joined West Ham: March 1988
- Fee: £300,000 from Birmingham City
- Hammer of the Year: Winner (1990, 1992, 1996, 1997); Runner-Up (1989)
- 326 appearances
- 65 goals
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John Lyall signed Julian Dicks from Birmingham City as City were well on their way to relegation to the old Second Division in 1988. Dicks wanted to play regular first-team football in England’s top division, and he got that chance with the Hammers, making eight appearances in the 1987-88 season.
However, Dicks would soon come to find out that life at the top is not always sunshine and rainbows. Two relegations occurred during his first four years at the club. In the 1992-93 season, Dicks was sent off three different times, earning him the reputation as being a hard-nosed and physical back. Furthermore, Dicks injured his knee that kept him out for 14 months. In fact, this was the injury that gave the left-back the nickname ‘The Terminator’.
A 13-month spell at Anfield was sandwiched between his two spells at Upton Park. While he came back ‘heavier than when he left’ according to Harry Redknapp, Dicks went right into the squad and never lost his starting spot.
Overall, Dicks had an incredible goal-scoring record, especially for a defender, scoring 65 goals in all competitions for the Hammers, 35 of them penalties. He was actually the club’s joint-leading goal scorer during the 1995-96 season, which resulted in his third of four Hammer of the Year Awards.
But the main reason Dicks endeared himself to fans was his workmanlike, physical, and hard-nosed approach to the game. Dicks was always to give 110% for the badge, something always loved and appreciated by the East London faithful.
Starting right back: Steve Potts
- Joined West Ham: Apprenticeship 1983
- Debut: New Year’s Day 1985
- Hammer of the Year: Winner (1993, 1995); Runner-Up (1992, 1994)
- 506 appearances – 7th all-time for West Ham
Affectionately known as ‘Pottsy’, Steve Potts joined the club as a youth player in 1983. His debut came against QPR on New Year’s Day 1985 under manager John Lyall. He was only 17 years old. This would be his first of 506 appearances for the Irons, 7th most by any player in the club’s history.
Some will be questioning Potts’ positioning in this Starting XI. While Potts surely played his fair share of matches in the center of the defence, he was considered a utility player, also making a name for himself as a right-back. West Ham’s lack of consistent right-back play throughout the Premier League era also contributed to Potts getting this spot as well.
Pottsy was West Ham captain for three seasons between 1993-1996 and won two Hammer of the Year awards during that time. The only goal he scored of his senior career was against Hull City in October of 1990. Potts left West Ham for Dagenham & Redbridge in 2002, before retiring from football in 2003, completing a legendary 17 year West Ham career.
Backup fullback: Glen Johnson
- Joined West Ham: Academy product, age 9
- Debut: January 22, 2003
- 16 apps
A bright, young talent, West Ham Academy coaches knew Glen Johnson was a special player from the young age of 9 when he joined the Academy. Before his first-team debut, he was loaned to rivals Millwall for the 2002-03 season. He performed so well for the Lions that West Ham recalled him back where he finally made his first-team debut in January of 2003.
Johnson went on to make 17 appearances for West Ham during the rest of the 2003 season where he made a name for himself as one of England’s up and coming star players.
While Johnson did sign a 4-year contract with West Ham in March of 2003, he eventually left the club. A relegation season forced the club to sell its top, young talent and Chelsea bought the right-back for £6 million.
Johnson went on to be successful at Chelsea, Portsmouth, and Liverpool, where he made over 150 appearances.
The fact he only played 17 times for the club and still makes an appearance in this all-time XI just shows the lack of consistent play West Ham have had at the right-back position during the Premier League era.