Young Academy graduate defender Bondz N’Gala was at one time, one of West Ham United’s brightest prospects, spending four years at the club between 2006 and 2010.
But, why did things never quite pan out for the robust centre-back in Claret & Blue? Did he ever go on to fulfil his potential in football? And more importantly, where is he now?
The boyhood West Ham fan was born in Forest Gate in September 1989 and always dreamed of becoming a professional footballer, joining up with the Hammers in his teenage years.
His aspiration came to fruition in 2008 when he was offered his first professional deal, having moved up through the youth ranks and impressed wildly along the way.
Many, including those who were coaching the youngster at youth level and even the first-team managers of his time at the Boleyn Ground, were tipping him for great things.
By the time of his first contract, N’Gala already looked to be developing the way many proclaimed he would, captaining the U21 or reserve team and getting into first-team squads.
His one and only ever appearance for the senior side came in the reign of Gianfranco Zola as an early second-half substitute in an away League Cup loss to Bolton Wanderers.
At this time, the back four-member had already embarked on two rather unsuccessful loans one being to non-league outfit Weymouth and the other to Milton Keynes Dons.
A short while later, his third spell would follow at Scunthorpe United followed by a brief stint with Plymouth Argyle still within the 2009/2010 season, and when he returned to East London, his contract was not renewed.
The young charge had slipped through the cracks but was determined to still make it in the big time, taking up an offer of a deal with Plymouth, now in League One.
He warmed to life with Argyle and this showed on the pitch too, although this only lasted a season as they suffered back-to-back relegations amid financial difficulties.
N’Gala decided to stay in the West Country after this, spending a campaign at Yeovil Town, which again, ended at the end of one season, hooking up with Stevenage next for 2012/2013.
Here, the story would be very much the same, spending under a year with the club, a time that was separated by a loan spell at London team Barnet and culminated with a move back down south to Portsmouth.
Despite a successful campaign with Pompey, in which he was able to get plenty of game time under his belt and even score a few goals, N’Gala was packing his bags once again after a season to head back to the familiar Barnet.
Remarkably, the Bees would be a team at which he would spend more than a season, helping to guide them back to the Football League and appearing over a century of times.
Although in spring 2016, he parted ways in North London and was forced to drop down a division to the National League with Eastleigh for an even briefer spell, just under two months.
In winter 2017 he hooked up with Dover Athletic in the same league, looking to help the Kent club to promotion and departing once again when this wasn’t achieved.
At the beginning of the 2017/2018 season, though, home comforts came calling for him in local side Dagenham & Redbridge, recently relegated to the National League.
Back in East London, he was subjected to another loan, not far, however, to fellow strugglers Leyton Orient, whose plight has been similar to that of the Daggers in recent times.
However, nowadays, N’Gala is back at the Chigwell Construction Stadium and looking to help his side see out the season in mid-table and improve their financial position.
As a result of the club’s struggles to remain afloat both on and off the pitch, David Moyes’ West Ham have offered to help out by facing off with them in a fundraising friendly to be played in March offering the centre-half the opportunity to face his former club.
Bondz N’Gala may only still be 28-years-old, but his journeyman-like career has already seen him represent 13 different clubs up and down the Football League and non-league systems, and who knows what the twilight years of his playing career may have in store for him?