Many Hammers will remember Ivorian full-back Guy Demel as an inconsistent performer if there ever was one, but when on his game, he certainly did catch the eye going forward.
But, just how good was the paceman when he got his mojo on? How did his fruitful and journeyman-like career eventually culminate in a move to East London? And where is he now?
Born in France, and qualifying to represent Ivory Coast through his heritage, Demel began his footballing journey with French lower Tier side Olympique Nimes.
However, he was soon spotted by Arsene Wenger in North London, where he would move in 2001 at the humble age of 20.
But, things wouldn’t work out for the bright spark and the beginning of a successful spell in German football would await Demel.
Originally starting in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund, the defender impressed in both the league and European Competition for The Black and Yellows.
Despite this, marred by injury, the time was right for a switch to a thriving Hamburg in 2005, one that Demel wouldn’t regret.
The Ivorian, who featured in two World Cups and one African Cup of Nations for his Country, would make over 130 appearances for Der Dino, with highlights including runs on both the Champions League and Europa League.
Nevertheless, in 2011, at the age of 30, the African decided to pursue his dream of finally playing in the Premier League by taking an offer from Sam Allardyce at the end of his Hamburg contract.
It had been a late signing at the start of the 2011/2012 season as we sought promotion from the Championship to Demel’s desired English Top-Flight.
Despite not readily featuring throughout the season with the likes of Winston Reid and Joey O’Brien being preferred, injuries played into his hands when it mattered most, the Play-Offs.
The full-back was granted a starting place in both legs of the Semi-Final against Cardiff City and in the famous Final against Blackpool at Wembley, as Ricardo Vaz Te’s last-gasp winner gave us a hard-fought place back in the Premier League.
His performances over that period had convinced Allardyce of the ability that he possessed and Demel would go on to make over 30 Premier League appearances the following season, aiding greatly in a steady mid-table finish.
Things would just get better from there for the former Dortmund man as he bettered his number of PL showings by one and even managed to bag a first goal in England, albeit in fortunate circumstances during the 1-2 defeat to Liverpool at Upton Park.
Despite his admirable form, Carl Jenkinson would be signed in the summer of 2014, limiting Demel’s first-team opportunities and eventually leading to a Hammers exit at the end of the 2014/2015 campaign.
After leaving East London, Demel embarked on a series of strange and short spells, starting with an up and down period with Dundee United and moving onto time with Marseille-based outfit GS Consolat, famed for their parody of FC Barcelona’s famed badge.
Nowadays, Guy Demel, 36, is still enjoying a remarkable playing career that is heading for the 20-year mark with French Third Tier team Red Star FC.
Despite making many a defensive mistake in his incredible footballing existence, one thing that can’t be faulted is Demel’s dedication and passion for our beautiful game, even if things didn’t quite work out for him in a West Ham United shirt.