Starting Striker: Tony Cottee
- Joined West Ham: Academy product
- Debut: January 1, 1983
- HOTY: Winner (1986); Runner-up (1984-85)
- Stats: 279 appearances; 115 goals
While Tony Cottee did spend a majority of his West Ham career in the old First Division, he did come back for a second spell with the club during the Premier League era.
Cottee was a young Academy product when he made his debut on New Year’s Day, 1983, at the ripe, young age of 17. Oh yea, his debut was against the hated Spurs. Oh yea, and he scored.
West Ham fans would see a lot of that from Cottee. He scored five times in his first eight games during the second half of the 1983 season. He scored 15 goals the next season and by the time he was 20-years-old, he had already scored 37 league goals.
His best season with West Ham was with the Boys of ‘86 when West Ham finished 3rd, still, their best ever top-division finish. He scored 20 goals alongside strike partner Frank McAvennie. But a downturn in form saw West Ham finish 15th the next season. Cottee stayed in East London one more season before being sold to Everton for a then British record £2.2 million.
After a very good spell at Goodison Park, he returned to West Ham for the 1994/95 season and had two very good seasons with West Ham in the Premier League. In his second debut, he was sent off against the dreaded Liverpool but did bring in 13 league goals that season to help West Ham stave off relegation.
Cottee did have another solid campaign during the 1995/96 season, scoring in double digits again. But an injury-plagued 96/97 season was the last we would see of Cottee in claret and blue. He went on to play three-and-a-half seasons with Leicester City and was sold to Norwich City to finish his career off in 2001.