Where Are They Now?: 80s Stars

Mark Ward 1985 -1990

Signed from Oldham in 1985 for £250,000 as a replacement for the departing Paul Allen, Ward played every game in the 1985-86 season which saw West Ham finish 3rd in the top flight.

A strong busy right sided midfielder, Ward had an edge to go with his guile and his gutsy determined performances made his a popular player with the fans in the late 80’s.

Ward left for Manchester City in 1990 as part of the deal that saw Ian Bishop and Trevor Morley move in the opposite direction. Ward stayed two seasons with City then moved onto play for his boyhood club Everton before moving down the Leagues to play for Birmingham before moving onto play in places as obscure as Iceland and Hong Kong as well as a variety of non-League clubs through the 90’s.

Ward came back into the public consciousness in 2005 when he was imprisoned after police found cocaine with a street value of £645,000 in a property Ward owned. Ward admitted renting the property but nothing more and was sentenced to 8 years in prison after declining to name names for a lighter sentence.

Ward spent his time inside Walton prison and his description of his time behind bars in his book from right wing to B wing is as fascinating as it is harrowing. Ward has always admitted to making a “silly mistake” and is looking to re-build his life after incarceration. The man who Stuart Pearce described as his toughest opponent is still fondly remembered by the West Hams to this day.

Leroy Rosenior 1988-1992

Signed from Fulham in 1988 for £275,000, the former England youth International scored in first 3 games for the club. A strong wholehearted player whose career with the club was blighted by injury, Rosenior played for the club through the turbulent post John Lyall years.

Eventually sold onto to Bristol City in 1991 Rosenior moved into the Non-League representing Fleet Town and Gloucester City before retiring in 1998.

Rosenior made one appearance for Sierra Leone in 1993.

After his player career Rosenior went into coaching and management with Torquay, Shrewsbury and Brentford to name a few. Famously Rosenior was put in charge of Torquay United for 10 minutes and was removed from his position following a takeover at board level.

Rosenior now works as pundit and is a leading anti-racism campaigner and travels the country working as an ambassador for Show Racism the Red Card.

Leroy has just published his autobiography Its’s only banter in which he describes the level of racism he faced during his career in
football.

Alan Dickens 1982-1989

An attacking midfielder produced by the famous academy, Dickens signed as an apprentice in 1981 and was a member of the Youth Cup winning side of the same year.

Dickens made his first team debut in 1982 and went over play over 200 games for the club finally leaving in 1989. Dickens joined Chelsea for £635,000 but struggled to make an impact at the west London club after loan spells at West Brom and Brentford. Dickens moved to Colchester in 1993, he went on to play 32 times for Colchester but left the club after only a season .

Despite being only 30 Dickens did not play top level football again instead moving through a number of Non- League clubs once he played for Chesham United, Hayes, Collier Row, and Billericay Town finally ending his playing days at Purfleet in 1998.

Once his playing days were over Dickens trained to be a black cab driver in London and he regularly attends events with the Boys of 86 to remember West Ham’s greatest League season.

Dickens has gone on record stating that his biggest regret in football is leaving West Ham.