Has to be Greeno for me. Lukasz Fabianski has made a tremendous start to life as a West Ham player, winning the Hammer of the Year prize in his debut season. Green made 108 appearances for the Hammers in this decade though, and was England’s number one goalkeeper for a spell. Alongside Scott Parker, he was a rare shining light in keeping us up in the first half-season of the decade and his performances in the Championship helped us to promotion, particularly his saves early on in the Play-Off Final. A great character who was loved by supporters.
Difficult choice, sadly not for good reasons. We haven’t really had a decent right-back in this decade, to be brutally honest. Lars Jacobsen was solid but unspectacular, as was Joey O’Brien. I never really rated Guy Demel. Julien Faubert came very close to being named in this side as he was good on the ball, decent going forward and helped swing the Play-Off Final in our favour when he was introduced as a second-half substitute. Zabaleta has never been the player he was at Man City for us and I’m not a huge Fredericks fan. Sam Byram could have been a decent player for us were it not for injuries, so it’s Carl Jenkinson who just gets the nod – solid enough defensively and came up with a couple of goals in Slav’s first season. James Tomkins nearly got the call but was always a centre-half really and I’d rather have an orthodox right-back in the side.
Cult hero. Would put his body on the line, great leader, spirited – a proper, British centre-half. I was delighted when Sam Allardyce brought him back to the club following promotion and he proved to be a bargain signing. Difficult to leave the homegrown Tomkins out of the team as I was always a fan of his too but the ‘Ginger Pele’ gets the call.
If you’d have told me I’d have named Reidy in my Team of the Decade at the end of the 2010/11 season, I’d have laughed. One of Sam Allardyce’s real success stories, he transformed Reid into a bullish centre-half whose partnership with Tomkins was one of the cornerstones of our promotion in 2012 – another reason why it was so tough to leave Tomkins out. Came up with big goals against rivals Millwall and Tottenham and scored the last ever goal at the Boleyn to defeat Man Utd and round off the perfect script to that glorious night. Great to see him back on the bench to end the decade after a long spell out with injury.
I was always a big fan of the understated and underrated George McCartney, who did a fine job for us in our promotion season and establishing the club back in the Premier League – I remain stunned that no other club picked him up after his release in 2014. But it has to be Cressy for me – our first-choice left-back for over half the decade, capped by England, a great crosser of the ball and a scorer of the odd (often spectacular) goal.
Skipper in my Team of the Decade, his true worth to the club will not be fully felt until after he retires. So unlucky not to win international recognition, particularly in that 2015/16 season when he was superb and, for me, at his best. One of my favourite ever Hammers and a penalty king, his place in this team was never in doubt.
What fantastic service Scotty gave us – a Football Writers’ Player of the Year despite finishing bottom of the league and relegated with his club, scored the goal that kept us up in the first half-season of the decade and was our best player by a country mile in 2010/11. Pretty much carried the club in the opening 18 months of the decade and even turned out hours after the death of his father to help us to a goalless draw at Tottenham. Easily won the first two Hammer of the Year awards in the first two years of the decade, Parker was a perfect picture of passion, perseverance and pirouettes – one of my all-time favourite Hammers.
A scorer of crucial goals, pace, power, good in the air and a great character. Plays on the right wing in this team to allow himself to get in on the back post and be an aerial threat.
Just gets in the side ahead of the more technically-gifted Manuel Lanzini due to the role he played in the club’s promotion and establishment as a Premier League side. The club needed leadership and a stronger team spirit when he arrived in 2011 and he helped instil that when he joined as captain. His goals in February 2014 also helped keep us up that season.
For me, our most gifted player of the Premier League era, even above Di Canio. For 18 months he was an absolute joy to watch. I absolutely loved Dimi – his fantastic free-kicks, his sublime skill, his delicious delivery. What a player! The way he left us was deplorable but I prefer to recall the moments of pure joy he gave us during his stint in claret and blue. Helped deliver the best season I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness in 2015/16, scored the best free-kick I’ve ever seen live and quite possibly the best solo goal too – his two assists in that final Boleyn match gave us a victory that will stay in the memory forever.
A really tough one to call this, and very much an ‘on his day’ selection. Carlton Cole was excellent in our promotion season but, for me, was at his best in 2008/09 so before this decade started – he struggled to live up to those heights in the 2010s. I was a huge Andy Carroll fan and he probably comes the closest to being selected in this side – Arnie’s extra touch of skill just sees him get the nod ahead of the big Geordie, who was no slouch on the deck himself. Demba Ba and Diafra Sakho both had some great goalscoring runs in their spells with the club too but I’m going for Arnautovic – strong, quick, a good finisher with a thunderous shot but perhaps not with a proper striker’s instinct. I’d like to think my inclusion of Kevin Nolan just behind him will ensure that he will get the tap-ins that Arnie wouldn’t.
Subs: Lukasz Fabianski, James Tomkins, George McCartney, Declan Rice, Manuel Lanzini, Diafra Sakho, Andy Carroll.
Manager: Super Slaven Bilic.