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Iron legends – just who are the qualifiers?


It’s probably the most over-used word in football and should be one reserved for the absolute great such as Billy Bonds.

Marlon Harwood was introduced as a “club legend” at half time on Saturday and it got me thinking about who really are the guys who deserve such top billing!

There can be no argument that Bobby Moore, Sir Trevor Brooking, Bonzo, Sir Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters qualify.

It’s a bit tricker deciding  whether Carlos Tevez, Scott Parker or Frank Lampard Senior can claim such status – ot should be afforded it.

Paolo Di Canio would probably be considered as a club legend by most but Vic Watson, West Ham’s top all-time goal scorer is largely forgotten and most likely would not be considered.

Whatever the debate, the word club legend has been overused in recent times. No personal affront to Marlon Harewood but I regard him a cult hero alongside Carlton Cole and others.

Here are my great eight in any list of Irons legends: Bobby Moore, Sir Trevor Brooking, Billy Bonds, Sir Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters, Mark Noble, Tony Cottee and Paolo Di Canio.

Feel free to add to the list below in the comments section below.

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About Sean Whetstone

I am Season Ticket Holder in West stand lower at the London Stadium and before that, I used to stand in the Sir Trevor Brooking Lower Row R seat 159 in the Boleyn Ground and in the Eighties I stood on the terraces of the old South Bank. I am a presenter on the West Ham Podcast called MooreThanJustaPodcast.co.uk. A Blogger on WestHamTillIdie.com a member of the West Ham Supporters Advisory Board (SAB), Founder of a Youtube channel called Mr West Ham Football at http://www.youtube.com/MrWestHamFootball, I am also the associate editor here at Claret and Hugh. Life Long singer of bubbles! Come on you Irons! Follow me at @Westhamfootball on twitter

26 comments on “Iron legends – just who are the qualifiers?

  1. Having done the stadium tour, I saw that there is a picture of Vic Watson in the area between the dressing rooms and the tunnel – the guide seemed a little surprised that I knew who it was. Admittedly I wouldn’t have known him by sight, but I know he is our record goalscorer, and thus it seemed a reasonable conclusion that the B/W photo would have been him. As he is our record scorer, and it is not likely that anyone else will ever get close, I think calling him a club legend is fair. Indeed, maybe the club should do more to return his name to a level of prominence.

    • Y’know I might have been on the same tour as you!! The tour I was on the guide asked if anyone knew who this is, before I could pipe up someone said Vic Watson. He was also surprised that anyone knew him. As you say anyone scoring over 300 goals for the club must be a legend.

  2. I’d add two. Pop Robson and Alan Devonshire

  3. Ray Stewart agree with H54 Dev’s and Pop Robson, McAvennie although none of us saw him play you would have to put Vic Watson in there.

  4. Good shout 54 and as you are of that era what about David Cross a legend for
    scaring the S*!* out of goalkeepers

  5. Steve Potts surely!!

  6. Funnily enough those were the other two I wondered about 54. Think I would agree. I guess there is nobody about now who would have seen Vic Watson, although my old man used to talk about him. I think probably for the record alone he should be there. Phil Parkes would be close for me too. But well done Sean for a really good Magnificent 8.

    Pleased you included Noble. It is easy to leave out the ones who you are still watching & seeing on their bad days as well as good days. Also, including him shows that being a club legend is not just about what you achieve on the pitch. These days the pundits -& most of the players- are obsessed with ‘winning things’. You even hear them say ‘X can’t be seen as a great player because he hasn’t won the PL or the CL’. Garbage!!!!

  7. Altho’ big Phil Parkes was in between the posts for 11 years or so, I would add Ludo to this list – constant for 8 years, and an honourable servant to our club

  8. How about Alvin?

  9. A long-time servant of the club who will be remembered very fondly by older hammers fans is Ronnie “ticker” Boyce.

  10. It’s all down to fine margins but I regard the players who played their best club football of their career while at West Ham as club legends.

  11. Frank Lampard Snr has to be in there I think

  12. Vic Watson is NOT largely forgotten. I’d say most true fans are well aware of who he was and what he achieved.

    Noble and Cottee aren’t legends. Cottee’s achievements pale in comparison to Geoff Hurst or Vic Watson and sorry, much as we like Mark Noble, simply sticking around a long time does not in itself make you a legend, To achieve that sort of status, I believe, requires that there should be something extraordinary about the player not just being very good.

  13. Hard to believe you are suggesting Frank Lampard Snr should NOT be considered a WHU legend. Second only to Bonzo in appearances. Of course he is a legend.
    As far as the 4th stand is concerned, I’d go for Sir Geoff.

  14. Some great shouts already and I entirely agree with Vic Watson, Frank Lampard Snr, Dev, Alvin and Phil Parkes.

    His name hasn’t been mentioned so far, but what about Tony Carr?

  15. For me, Alan Devonshire is definitely in the top 8 and for many seasons was as important to West Ham as the great Sir Trev and Billy. I would put him ahead of legends Martin Peters and possibly Geoff Hurst, if you are judging them purely on West Ham contributions and not including performances for England . The level of excitement in the crowd when Devonshire got the ball in space was probably as high as for any West Ham player ever – if my memory is correct!
    Of course, he should have played many more times for England ,injuries didn’t help his cause.

  16. Innocuous- the scoring rates of Hurst & Cottee (games per goal) are about the same, so Cottee’s record hardly pales in comparison. Although it’s true Hurst played more games ….

    And I think Noble has done a bit more than ‘hang around a long time’. Sticking by your club through rough times has to be worth something. I reckon I would want about 20 in my list, which is probably most of those mentioned on here. And that’s without including managers-Avram, Roeder, Macari….joking.

    Still, I guess once you get past Mooro, Sir Trev & Bonzo it is all down to opinions.

  17. Clyde Best! My hero, helped brake boundaries for football and society. And a top striker!

  18. Julian Dicks? Big Ludo?

  19. Personally I think longevity is a significant factor to legend status and therefore in my opinion Mark Noble rates more highly than Martin Peters (and I’m from the 1966 era when I was 11 and have been a Hammer ever since). This was behind my previous post supporting Dev and Alvin, but also Tony Carr. For this reason I’d also give a shout for Ticker and Steve Potts. Conversely, Cottee, McAvennie, Gale, Dicks, Cross, Pop Robson, Paddon, Ray Stewart , Di Canio and Tevez get a 2nd grade ‘hero’ award.

  20. A legend should be a great servant to West Ham over a significant period and very popular with the supporters, a player who has made a significant mark in his career, and who is/was an exceptionally talented footballer who is a shoe-in for the best ever West Ham squad. The ones I can think of that tick all three boxes are :-

    Bobby Moore
    Vic Watson
    Sir Trevor Brooking
    Geoff Hurst
    Martin Peters
    Billy Bonds

    That’s only six. Some others that run close, but don’t really tick all the boxes are :-

    Di Canio — but did he really make a major career mark ?
    Cottee — likewise
    Devonshire — likewise
    Stewart — likewise
    Parkes — great keeper kept out of the England slot, albeit by Clemence and Shilton
    Noble — the modern day Bonds, but not as consistent
    Alvin Martin — maybe the best WHU centre back after Moore, but did not make the England slot his own

  21. Moore
    Alan Taylor
    Frank Lampard snr
    Ray Stewart
    Alvin Martin

    Most of the players I consider legends have achieved something during my lifetime more than most other West Ham players. Won Things with West Ham and England or West Ham in the FA Cup. Or the boys of 86.
    I Probably forgot a few. I include Tevez because of his legendary deeds during the great escape season.

  22. From More recent times I might include Dean Ashton, possibly Ginge Collins.

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