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Meet the other ‘Mr West Ham’

 

By CandH’s top blogger Allen Cummings

 

While skipper Mark Noble is regularly, and with justification, referred to as Mr West Ham, because of his time as a Hammer and his devotion to the club, there is someone else in the background who could equally hold a similar claim to that title.

Steve Potts has been a dutiful servant to West Ham, first in a playing career – and now in a coaching capacity – producing Hammers for the future.

Making his first team debut on New Year’s Day 1985 and playing his final game during the 2001-2002 season, Steve’s career spanned three decades, during which time he amassed 398 league appearances and a grand total of 506 senior appearances.

He finally moved on to play for his local Dagenham Redbridge side in 2002. But once a Hammer always a Hammer, and Pottsy was back at the club in 2011, answering a call to take up the management of West Ham’s Under 16 side. Since then he has been involved with the Under 18’s, Under 21’s and now has a leading role with the club’s highly promising Under 23’s.

Steve has never been a headline seeker – preferring to quietly get on with his job without any fuss  – whether it be on the pitch or on the sidelines. As a promising 17 year old right back he had to wait patiently for his first team opportunities, with the legendary Ray Stewart ahead of him in the pecking order.

But it was Steve’s ’ versatility that proved the ultimate key for his eventual break through. He found himself being used in a variety of midfield roles, before answering a call from our then manager, Billy Bonds, to play at the centre of defence. Despite Steve’s lack of inches, his speed of thought and speed of foot soon established him as a vital cog at the back.

Pottsy spent three years as club captain between 1993 and 1996, and such was his popularity amongst West Ham fans he was twice voted Hammer of the Year in 1993 and 1995.

Amazingly, in his whole senior playing career at West Ham, Steve only scored one goal – that coming in a 7-1 romp against Hull City in October 1990.

It was a collector’s item in itself and an occasion that prompted a celebratory t-shirt I once spotted on sale at the little stall that traded at the top of Priory Road – it read: ‘I was there when Pottsy scored’!

Steve may have a touch of the Bruce Springsteen about him, having been ‘born in the U.S.A’, but he’s every bit an East Ender as pie and mash, and every bit a Hammer as bubbles!

Mark Noble might be the more famous Mr West Ham – but Steve Potts is just as valued and respected.

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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

5 comments on “Meet the other ‘Mr West Ham’

  1. “Pottsy” one of my favourite ever Hammers.
    Underrated, versatile and commitment was second to none – truly a club legend !

  2. Good article!

  3. I posted about this before – to me it was a massive disappointment that Glenn Roeder didn’t give him a run-out in the last match of the season (that we finished 7th) (I think that match ended in a draw) – saying that he didn’t want to “devalue the match” (or some such drivel)

    As fans we love to be able to celebrate our heroes – and Pottsy coming on for the last 15 minutes would have allowed us to do that

    Nice post Allen

  4. A truly great player for us. Probably my favourite: I know that because I turned out to see his testimonial; I like Rod Stewart and Davis Essex but I wasn’t paying to see them 😀

    I remember the goal against Hull City; it was notable because he rarely ventured in to the opposition half yet in that game he popped up 2 or 3 times; so much so I said to my mate Pottsy’ll get a ****ing nosebleed if he isn’t careful.

    Next minute probably one of the scrappiest goals I can remember with joyful celebrations around the ground! My memory may be failing me but I’m sure the Hull keeper nearly got his hands on it, then the ball appeared to bounce off both of his legs and rolled in to the back of the net. Apologies to one of my heroes if I’ve got that memory wrong!

  5. Great post and not Only Mr West Ham but he was also Mr Reliable in defence for us over many years. Steve has always preferred being in the background and often overlooked because of it. But for me, I have the utmost respect for such a loyal, steady servant to the club and deserves the Respect and Recognition which most supporters would give him…..Thanks for your service to the club that I support and you continue to serve……. Mr West Ham Steve Potts. COYI

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