Where Are They Now?: Lucas Neill

Lucas Neill enjoyed a superb stint in East London between the years of 2007 and 2009 that saw him become the first ever Australian Captain of West Ham United, a leader by example.

But, why did his time at Upton Park only last for two years? How did such an outsider to Claret & Blue tradition earn such a prestigious role within the team? And where is he now?

Lucas Neill

Beginning his playing Career with The Australian Institute of Sport back in his homeland, Neil was soon scouted from England and made the move to Millwall as an 18-year-old.

It was in London that he quickly made a name for himself and found his natural position of full-back.

Neill would go on to make well over 150 appearances in a Lions Shirt, meanwhile earning his Australia debut, a National Team that he would also lead in the future.

But, after six years in South London, the Aussie handed in a Transfer Request in the hope of realising his dream of playing in The Premier League.

This worked and amid widespread interest, Graeme Souness signed the physical star for a fee of around £1 million, sparking an even more successful second spell.

Neill would be involved in everything from winning a League Cup to breaking the leg of Liverpool Legend Jamie Carragher during his time at Ewood Park, making the best part of 200 showings for Blackburn Rovers.

By the time that the versatile defender had held the right-back position for over five years, reports of approaches from Chelsea and Liverpool flowed and the Rovers skipper stated his intention to leave.

Bizarrely, Neil decided on a move to our struggling Hammers instead of a switch to Anfield, playing a significant role in the 2006/2007 Great Escape.

During the end of the campaign, he was awarded the Captaincy in the absence of injured Nigel Reo-Coker and when the midfielder left for Aston Villa in the summer, Neill was made permanent club Skipper.

The role suited him as he had so much experience in leading players and was already the Captain of Australia by that point.

His first season, a thorough success would see Neill net his first Claret & Blue goal in a defeat at The Hawthorns and almost lead us into European Football.

But, after the first season of the Gianfranco Zola era, things turned a little sour and the robust defender decided not to sign for a further year on his Contract, his Hammers adventure was over.

After leaving Upton Park, Neil would have a far from ordinary finish to a Playing Career that lasted almost 20 years.
Just months after his departure and at the age of 31, he moved to Goodison Park for an even thinner stint before moving onto Galatasaray in Turkey.

At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, it was alleged that Neill led a team mutiny against Manager Pim Verbeek before a game against Germany, the Socceroo refuted the allegations.

Later on, spells with Al Jazira, Al Wasl, and Sydney FC would prequel time in Japan with Omiya Ardija and eventual switch to Watford in The Championship before retiring after a Career-ending loan move to Doncaster Rovers.

Following a messy end to his international Career around the same time, the Aussie was declared as Bankrupt in England and unable to return to his Homeland.

Despite earning over £40 million in his Career, the former full-back is still reportedly struggling and has become somewhat of a “recluse” in recent times, not even the closest of former teammates know what he is currently doing or even how he is, according to many Australian Media Outlets.

He may now be relatively forgotten in Footballing terms, but Lucas Neill will always have a little piece of West Ham United history but perhaps it is another tale of what could have been for the controversial character.