West Ham’s Premier League captains from bottom to top!


By Simon Leyland

This wonderful club of ours has seen more than its share of ups and downs over the past three decades,  and that rollercoaster ride is reflected in our list of captains.

From solid professionals to enigmatic attackers, West Ham have been led by a variety of individuals down the years.

Let us have a look at every West Ham club captain during the Premier League era from least to most effective. I will not include our current captain Declan Rice as he is still in situ.

So in reverse order….

      1. Matthew Upson                   

A fine defender in his prime but Upson was so anonymous as West Ham captain that everybody assumed Scott Parker led the team instead.

His two seasons as skipper saw the Hammers finish 17th and 20th, while Upson was an unused substitute on the day relegation was confirmed at Wigan.

Hardly the next Billy Bonds, then.

      1.  Paolo Di Canio                         

Hear me out please!.

Di Canio, rightly, is a cult hero for a generation of West Ham fans. Both bonkers and brilliant in equal measure, Di Canio was one of those wonderful footballers that were worth the admission fee alone.

But he wasn’t the right captain for a young squad. After taking over as skipper in 2001, Di Canio had numerous run-ins with Glenn Roeder and almost left for Manchester United at the start of 2002.

What most fans dismissed as Paolo being Paolo could be interpreted as a self-centred streak that damaged the team and started the slide towards relegation in 2003.

Matters came to a head when Di Canio stormed off after being subbed at West Brom and Roeder ostracised him from the team.

Brilliant footballer, without a doubt. Unsuitable captain, sadly so.

        1. Joe Cole                         

The one that got away.

As West Ham faced the drop, despite a team full of internationals, Roeder gave Cole the captaincy in order to reinvigorate the side.

It nearly worked. With Cole driving the team forward from midfield, West Ham were in Champions League form over the second half of the 2002-03 season and Cole deservedly won the Hammer of the Year award.

But West Ham still went down and Cole was never going to stay in the Championship. His move to Chelsea was the heartbreaking consequence of West Ham’s incompetence.

        1. Christian Dailly                   

Dailly was only captain for a season where West Ham lost in the play-off final, but in the Play-Off semi-final second leg against Ipswich Town he scored the winning goal, poking into the bottom corner after controlling fellow goalscorer Matty Etherington’s corner with his unmentionables.

Fair play, Christian. Fair play !.

            1. Ian Bishop           

Bishop was a stylish and elegant central midfielder who served West Ham well during his nine years at Upton Park.

At his best, Bishop was a passing midfielder with few peers who chipped in with the occasional spectacular goal and led West Ham to promotion in 1993.

He was also captain when West Ham yo-yoed between the First and Second Divisions (ask your Grandad ) in the early 1990s

          1. Lucas Neill                         

Neill was the de-facto leader as West Ham escaped relegation in 2007, providing the steeliness sorely lacking earlier that season.

The Aussie was appointed club captain after “Baby Bentley” Reo-Coker’s departure and performed a solid enough job under both Alan Curbishley and Gianfranco Zola before leaving on a free in 2009.

The final six tomorrow!

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