Where Are They Now? Marco Boogers

When it comes to “worst Premier League signing in history” or “worst signing in football history”, Hammers legend Marco Boogers is certainly a hard man to overlook or beat, actually, the latter was easy.

But, how did the Dutch forward find himself in the best league in the world? How did he earn such an infamous reputation during his time in East London? And where is he now?

Marco Boogers

Boogers began his ill-fated footballing venture in the modest Dutch town of Dordrecht, playing for his home team FC Dordrecht in the second tier of football in Holland.

The striker was soon granted a move up the Dutch football triangle with Eredivisie side FC Utrecht, further moves to RKC Waalwijk and Fortuna Sittard, whilst Boogers made little progress.

His final assignment before leaving his home nation was with Sparta Rotterdam, up until then he had netted over 60 times in professional football, catching the eye of West Ham United scouts.

He was captured for around £1 million which was significantly more than it is today back in that market, much to the bemusement of the Claret & Blue Army that had never heard of him, but Harry Redknapp was keen, despite having never seen Boogers play.

Having officially joined in summer 1995, a home defeat to Leeds United haunted his debut, but his away bow at Old Trafford would go down in history as one of the most infamous Premier League debuts of all-time.

Coming on as a late substitute in a defeat is never easy, but Boogers made it a hell of a lot harder for himself by launching a rib-high challenge on Gary Neville and being instantly dismissed by referee Dermot Gallagher.

To make matters worse, the forward tried to blame the leverage of his “horror tackle” on the wet surface in Manchester and defended his actions by pointing out that Neville was able to continue playing.

Boogers picked up a four-match ban and would not feature again until December, in his final two games we shredded eight goals and Marco Boogers never played for in Claret & Blue again.

Having been loaned out to FC Groningen and not made a single appearance, Boogers was never seen again in East London from early 1996 and actually left the club and returned to RKC Waalwijk amid worsening knee problems.

However, the most curious part of his short time in East London was a bizarre tale involving him, and a caravan that he reportedly lived in back in his home nation, but the rumours were later dismissed as a misunderstanding.

Meanwhile, his club career continued with FC Volendam in northern Holland and then a return to where it all began in Dordrecht, where he would eventually retire in 2003.

After a brief spell as Interim Manager of Dordrecht in 2005, he is now the Technical Director and poised for a career in management at the age of 50.

The curious case of Marco Boogers remains one of the Premier League’s most joked about taboos and a real gift in terms of “Comedy Football”, something West Ham United has not been in short supply of in the modern era.