Monday, 15 Apr 2024

The Greatest West Ham Players of All Time: A Tribute to the Legends

West Ham United has a rich history, and over the years, they have had the privilege of witnessing some truly talented players grace the pitch in the famous claret and blue. From Paolo Di Canio’s moments of magic to Carlos Tevez’s heroics, these players have left an indelible mark on the Premier League. Let’s take a look at some of the greatest West Ham players of all time.

west ham best player

25. Yossi Benayoun

Alan Pardew brought the Israeli international to West Ham for a bargain price of £2.5m. Benayoun made his mark with a string of impressive assists and unforgettable goals. Despite moving to Liverpool and later returning on loan from Chelsea, Benayoun demonstrated his undeniable quality during his time at West Ham.

24. Glen Johnson

Although he only made 15 appearances for West Ham, Glen Johnson had a significant impact during his time at the club. Graduating from the academy, he showcased his defensive prowess and attacking flair. Johnson’s career would later see him become a regular right back for England.

23. Kevin Nolan

Kevin Nolan was instrumental in West Ham’s return to the Premier League, leading the team to victory in the playoff final against Blackpool. Underrated for his contributions in midfield, Nolan formed an excellent partnership with Mark Noble and led by example on and off the pitch.

22. Jermain Defoe

Jermain Defoe was a high-quality striker for the Hammers, despite his departure to Tottenham in acrimonious circumstances. Defoe’s ability to find the back of the net was undeniable, scoring 29 goals in 79 games for West Ham. His quality in front of goal was truly remarkable.

21. James Tomkins

As an academy product and Mark Noble’s best friend, James Tomkins proved to be a valuable asset for West Ham. His surprising sale to Crystal Palace left many fans longing for his return. Tomkins’ commitment and love for his boyhood club were evident throughout his time at West Ham.

20. John Moncur

John Moncur, known for his battling qualities in midfield, made 176 appearances for West Ham. Although he had a reputation for being a skillful player, Moncur was admired for his commitment and work rate. His unforgettable performance in a London derby against Spurs only solidified his place as a cult hero among the fans.

19. Dean Ashton

Dean Ashton’s career was marred by injuries, but his talent was undeniable. In just three seasons at West Ham, Ashton managed to score 15 goals in 46 appearances before an unfortunate injury forced him into retirement. Had he stayed injury-free, Ashton would have undoubtedly been one of the best forwards in the Premier League.

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18. Alvin Martin

Alvin Martin, a one-club man, made nearly 600 appearances for West Ham during his illustrious career. As an uncompromising defender, Martin epitomized the spirit of West Ham. His contribution to the club was not only on the defensive end but also on the football pitch.

17. Tony Cottee

A West Ham legend, Tony Cottee returned to the club during the Premier League era. Cottee’s impressive goal-scoring record helped West Ham secure a fifth-place finish in the 1997-98 season, the club’s highest top-flight finish. Despite leaving for Everton, Cottee left an indelible mark during his second spell at West Ham.

16. Manuel Lanzini

Manuel Lanzini, a fan favorite, has made a significant impact in his relatively short time at West Ham. Known for his creativity and ability to create goals, Lanzini has become an integral part of the team. At just 24 years old, Lanzini has a bright future ahead as West Ham builds a team around him.

15. Michael Carrick

Michael Carrick, another academy product, had a stellar career, especially at Manchester United. However, it was at West Ham where Carrick’s talent was first recognized. Known for his composure and passing ability, Carrick made 136 appearances for West Ham before moving on to Spurs.

14. Scott Parker

Scott Parker’s contributions to West Ham did not go unnoticed. A tireless midfielder, Parker made 113 appearances for the club and won two Hammer of the Year awards. His performances earned him an England call-up and recognition as the Football Writers player of the year in 2011.

13. Frank Lampard Jr.

Despite leaving for Chelsea and winning numerous accolades, Frank Lampard Jr. cannot be forgotten when discussing West Ham greats. Lampard played a crucial role in West Ham’s fifth-place finish in the 1997-98 season. His incredible goal-scoring ability set him apart, even when he played against his boyhood club.

12. Slaven Bilic

Before his current role as West Ham manager, Slaven Bilic was an exceptional defender for the club. Bilic formed a formidable partnership with Julian Dicks in the heart of the defense. Although his managerial style has been questioned recently, there is no doubt about his prowess as a player.

11. Joe Cole

Joe Cole was a highly sought-after talent, with Manchester United offering £16m for him as a 16-year-old. Cole made his debut at just 17 years old and quickly became a key player for West Ham. Despite injuries later in his career, Cole displayed moments of brilliance and provided a glimpse of his immense talent before his move to Chelsea.

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10. Trevor Sinclair

Trevor Sinclair’s impact on the pitch cannot be overlooked. His incredible cross for Paolo Di Canio’s wonder goal against Wimbledon showcased his ability. Scoring seven goals in his first 14 games for West Ham, Sinclair earned an England call-up and was a key player during the 2002 World Cup.

9. Steve Lomas

Steve Lomas was a no-nonsense midfielder who always gave his all on the pitch. Named club captain when West Ham won the Intertoto Cup in 1999, Lomas was revered for his commitment and fully committed displays. He remains a fan-favorite in east London.


8. Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand, another academy product, established himself as one of the best center-backs in the world during his prime. Ferdinand won the Hammer of the Year award at the age of 19 and became the youngest ever international defender. His exceptional performances earned him a move to Leeds United for a then-record fee of £18m.

7. Dimitri Payet

While Dimitri Payet left West Ham in acrimonious circumstances, his performances during his final season at the Boleyn Ground were nothing short of extraordinary. Payet’s sensational free kicks and mesmerizing assists made him one of the most mercurial talents to ever play for West Ham.

6. Carlos Tevez

Carlos Tevez’s impact during his short stint at West Ham cannot be overstated. Playing a vital role in West Ham’s Premier League survival, Tevez scored crucial goals, including the winner against Manchester United on the final day of the season. His heroics earned him the Hammer of the Year award.

5. Mark Noble

Mr. West Ham himself, Mark Noble epitomizes the spirit and values of the club. With over 300 appearances for West Ham, Noble has been a pivotal figure in the team’s recent history. While his recent performances may not be at the same level, there is no denying his importance to the club.

4. Steve Potts

Steve Potts, a West Ham apprentice-turned-legend, made over 500 appearances for the club. Although he only scored one goal, Potts’ commitment and leadership on the pitch were invaluable. Winning the Hammer of the Year award and captaining the team, Potts will always be remembered as a club legend.

3. Ludek Miklosko

Ludek Miklosko made over 370 appearances for West Ham in an eight-year spell. Known for his cult status among the fans, Miklosko’s performances earned him his own chant. His memorable performance against Manchester United in the 1994-95 season endeared him to the fans even more.

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2. Julian Dicks

Julian Dicks, nicknamed “The Terminator,” was a force to be reckoned with. Known for his toughness and no-nonsense playing style, Dicks was undoubtedly one of the best defenders of his time. Winning the Hammer of the Year award four times, Dicks will always be remembered as a West Ham legend.

1. Paolo Di Canio

Inevitably, the top spot belongs to Paolo Di Canio. The fiery Italian was not only a remarkable footballer but also a passionate and skillful player. Di Canio’s unforgettable goals, including his famous volley against Wimbledon, left a lasting impression on West Ham fans. He will always be regarded as one of the greatest players to ever grace the Premier League.

These players have left an indelible mark on West Ham United’s history. Their contributions and moments of brilliance will forever be cherished by the fans. As West Ham looks to the future, they will undoubtedly hope to find new legends who can follow in the footsteps of these great players.


Q: Who is the greatest West Ham player of all time?
A: Paolo Di Canio is widely regarded as the greatest West Ham player of all time. His passion, skill, and remarkable goals have made him a legend in the eyes of the fans.

Q: Are any current West Ham players included in the list?
A: Yes, Manuel Lanzini and Mark Noble have been recognized for their contributions to the club and have earned their places among the greatest West Ham players.

Q: How many academy products are on the list?
A: Several academy products, including Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, and Julian Dicks, have made it onto the list. West Ham’s youth development has produced some exceptional talents over the years.

Q: Are there any players from recent seasons on the list?
A: Dimitri Payet and Carlos Tevez, who played for West Ham in the recent past, have been included due to their outstanding performances and their significant impact on the club during their time at West Ham.


West Ham United has been blessed with some truly exceptional players throughout their history. From Paolo Di Canio to Julian Dicks, these players have left an indelible mark on the club and will forever be remembered as West Ham legends. As the club looks to the future, they will undoubtedly hope to find new heroes who can lead them to glory once again.