For a club with a tradition of open attractive football, West Ham have been blessed with some fantastic goalkeepers over the years. Phil Parkes, Ludek Miklosko, Robert Green have all served the club with distinction making choosing some of the worst goalkeepers a surprisingly hard thing to do, for now I have settled on three candidates some of whom have gone on to serve other clubs well but didn’t really deliver when the Hammers needed them.
Allen McKnight 1988-1991 23 Appearances
McKnight was given the nickname ”McKnightmare” by the Upton Park faithful because of his frequent mistakes that regularly cost West Ham goals in the relegation season of 88-89.
McKnight was signed as the replacement for the legendary Phil Parkes and the club as a whole were on the decline after the heights of the 85-86 season.
He has the dubious distinction of losing his last two games for the Hammers 5-1 18 months apart, McKnight played 10 times for Northern Ireland and finished his career playing non-league football for Collier Row.
David James 2001-2004 91 Appearances
The omens were not good, when shortly after signing for the Hammers James suffered a serious knee injury on international duty in the close season and was unable to start the 2001-2002 season.
James was the number 1 in the clubs relegation that season and made a number of errors which cost the club dear. An image I have of James at the time is him laughing joking with Phil Neville after United had thrashed the Hammers 6-0 in the FA Cup as he walked off the pitch.
He didn’t leave straight after the relegation he joined Manchester City in January 2004. Throughout his career James had some very good times and some quite average ones, he didn’t really become the leader for West Ham he should have been at that point in his career.
Stephen Bywater 1998-2006 59 Appearances
Bywater was thrown in the first XI in one of the most famous games of the last two decades. West Ham 5 Bradford 4, West Ham were 4-2 very quickly in that and two of the goals were down to calamitous errors from Bywater, West Ham came back to win 5-4 in a game that famously saw Lampard and Di Canio fighting over who should take a penalty.
Bywater stayed at the club for a number of years and did play in both playoff finals starting in 2004 and replacing the stricken Jimmy Walker in 2005 but his West Ham career was quickly on the wane after 2005 moving further down the pecking order after the signings of Roy Carroll and Shaka Hislop following promotion to the Premier League.
Bywater has gone on told to forge a successful career with Derby County and Burton Albion amongst others in the lower leagues.
Which goalkeeper should play between the sticks in this dreadful XI? Vote in the poll below and stay tuned for next week’s nominees at full back.