In this feature Claretandhugh’s blogger Scott Fautley casts his eye over the Hammers problem position and wonders: Are we cursed?
…and pictured here Maraoune Chamakh (or should it be Schmuck)
Strikers, target men, goal-scorers: the big big bucks men are seriously hard to find without paying the earth!
And we are a club which never seems to get it right! Just as everything looks like coming up rose we are left staring at a mess!
Just as we believe we’ve nailed it something goes wrong – we seem to be a cursed club in this area!
Remember the Dean Ashton transfer of which even Alan Pardew said we’d paid over the odds at £7.25m yet had he not got injured most, myself included, reckon he would have been a serious bargain.
He was a proper “old fashioned” centre forward who could hold the ball up and knew how to find the net. Left foot, Right foot and headed goals weren’t a problem for Deano. This was a proper goal-scorer.
Then of course injury struck and despite coming back, we all knew it was the end for Deano.
Craig Bellamy was a good, all round team player who scored vital goals, but Man City came calling and the money they offered – with the Icelandic owners pouring our money down the pan – couldn’t be turned down.
Some say Sam Allardyce isn’t good with strikers although I’m not sure about that. Of course his scouts do the spotting and let’s not forget he managed to get Nicolas Anelka to Bolton and scoring.
He also squeezed Carlton Cole’s best scoring return – albeit in a league below the top flight, by making him the focal point of the team.
So lets take a look at strikers signed during the his era with my personal ratings.
John Carew – Hailed as a a coup, a former Champions League player with a half decent scoring record in the top flight, signing for a Championship outfit.
The big Norwegian managed just two goals and is a guy I’ll remember as the slowest player I’ve ever witnessed at professional level.
He did however earn us a crucial point away at Palace before failing to find a club after E13 and retired. 3/10
Sam Baldock – After an explosive start to the season with MK Dons, the Hammers snapped up the pacey youngster.
His first two goals against Blackpool developed into a good scoring run which was interrupted by a hamstring injury. His absence coincided with the signing of Vaz Te , which limited his opportunities.
In a 4-4-2 Sam would score at a higher level and I don’t think this is the last we’ve heard of him. Lined up in a front three too often, which didn’t suit him. Sold to Bristol. 6/10
Ricardo Vaz Te – Is he a Striker? He’s a “Forward”, I’d say playing off the striker is his best role. He was instrumental when signing from Barnsley in our Play-Off winning side, scoring 10 goals in 15 league games – an absolute steal at £500k. He possesses that little spark and I still think he can contribute. 7/10
Nicky Maynard -. Maynard was a bit like David Connolly, a good Championship finisher. It was never going to work for Maynard though – as he is a striker, playing him out wide was a total waste. Scored two league goals and an excellent goal in the play offs against Cardiff. Sold to Cardiff 6/10.
Modibo Maiga – Big Sam splashed £5m on the FC Sochaux man, 6 ft 2, good in the air and an eye for goal who had allegedly failed a Newcastle medical the year before. He scored on his full debut in the cup against Crewe and got a fantastic goal against Southampton. After that it was all downhill. He just looks totally lost on a football field and doesn’t suit English football. He did score the winner away at Spurs in the Cup though. 3/10.
Wellington ‘Welly” Paulista (Loan) – A Sullivan signing, scored plenty in the reserves but never pulled on the famous Claret and Blue for the first team. It’s Unfair to rate him. Returned to his parent club in Brazil.
Andy Carroll –At the end of last season you’d have to say an 8/10 but that’s where the story starts! Andy is clearly an excellent footballer but his injury record is worrying. He missed a quarter of last season and half of this one. If he gets sorted he could be prolific. 6/10
Marouane Chamakh (Loan) – Awful, just awful. He was a panic loan from Arsenal to cover for Carroll. Apparently Big Sam said he could play up front with Andy. Inevitably, he scored against us for Palace – this is West Ham. A generous 1/10.
Mladen Petrić – Another panic signing. A very unfit Mladen came off the bench to set up Kevin Nolan winning a penalty against Everton. He apologized for a Cup performance on his Twitter account, did nothing else of note was released and is now playing for Panathinaikos.
That list shows we have been incredibly hit and miss and remain entirely limited with our system on the type of striker we can sign.
Here’s hoping that Traore bucks the trend. Whether he does or not we’ll be hunting another forward come June as he will return to Monaco.