I have seen some comments and also read an article recently where some are condemning West Ham for not having any players at this years World Cup. So, I thought it best to have a look back at previous tournaments and see what has transpired since the halcyon days of Moore, Hurst and Peters.
Since we won the World Cup in 1966, England have failed to qualify three times. Those years were 1974, 1978 and 1994 and West Ham did not have any players representing any other countries playing in those tournaments. Trevor Brooking (England) and Van Der Elst (Belgium) played in the 1982 World Cup finals and Alvin Martin (England) and Frank McAvennie (Scotland) both played in the 1986 tournament in Mexico. It is a real shame that Brooking was past his prime, aged 33 when he got his one and only game in a World Cup finals match. He came on as second half substitute for just 26 minutes against the hosts Spain in Madrid. In 1990, 1998 and 2006 we only had four representatives in total. Ludek Miklosko for the Czech’s in 1990, Rio Ferdinand for England and Bernard Lama for France in 1998 followed by Shaka Hislop for Trinidad and Tobago in 2006. In fact we have only had 15 players from West Ham play in the World Cup finals since 1974 – that is fifteen players in the eleven times the event has been held over the past forty years. So, the fact that we have no players from West Ham at this years Finals is not exactly earth shattering stuff.
OK, so let’s have a look at the two times we have sent a large contingent. Those years were 2002 and 2010. In 2002 we sent the largest contingent of English West Ham players since 1966. David James, Trevor Sinclair and Joe Cole all went to South Korea and England were beaten in the quarter finals by the eventual winners Brazil. In 2010 we had four players leave from the Boleyn to go and play in South Africa. Robert Green and Matthew Upson of England were joined by Jonathan Spector (USA) and Behrami (Switzerland).
Make of it what you will, but those last two aforementioned World Cup years where we had a total of seven representatives, what happened to West Ham the following season? Yep, that’s right, we were relegated both times! The three previous times we have sent no one we had respectable seasons including winning the FA Cup in 1975. Now I am not saying that sending players to a World Cup is detrimental to the club’s following season, but it will mean we should have a completely fresh squad when it comes to the start of pre-season training later this year.