Sport.co.uk’s top 3 West Ham wonderflops
Wonderflop! n. A professional footballer procured at great expense of whom much is expected but whom, after much wailing and gnashing of teeth, is moved on – often for a significantly reduced fee – having established himself as a negative reference point for generations of the club’s supporters. (It is worth noting that a Wonderflop is substantially remunerated for leaving this unwanted legacy.)
By now, West Ham United fans, the names of a few former Hammers will have sprung to mind as you recall the unbridled excitement that heralded their acclaimed arrivals, that first glaring miss/poor first touch/other such early insight into the anguish to come, the moment you gave up on them altogether and, of course, their ignominious exit from Upton Park.
So join Sport.co.uk in celebrating the non-achievements of the following West Ham United Wonderflops! – and, given that we are limiting our choices to just three, feel free to add your own Irons Wonderflops! in the comments section at the bottom of the page…(or even just let us know what you think of the job Avram Grant is doing at the Boleyn Ground)…
(The term ‘Wonderflop!’ was coined by Sport.co.uk contributor Josh Antmann. All rights reserved. Any unlawful use of the term ‘Wonderflop’ may be punishable by an hour in the Sport.co.uk scorpion pit, or a week’s seclusion in the company of Peter Drury and Clive Tyldsley.)
Kieron Dyer – He’s back! Well…sort of. Having returned from the Seventeen Year Injury Layoff to take his place in the Hammers team for the previous games, Dyer missed the 1-1 draw at Stoke City with rumours of a bust-up with Avram Grant doing the proverbial rounds. Dyer has apparently denied this but added that he doesn’t know why he wasn’t selected – so everything’s fine, then. An explosive attacking talent for Newcastle United and England, Dyer’s catalogue of injuries – which is now almost as thick as the Argos catalogue – eventually led to a £6m move to the Hammers, who have since incurred the karma of Harry Redknapp shipping out crocked goods such as Danny Williamson and Steve Lomas.
Sport.co.uk says: 25 appearances in three years? That’s Wonderflop!
Florin Valeriu Raducioiu – The scorer of four goals for Romania at the 1994 World Cup, Raducioiu’s arrival from Espanyol was met with glee by the Upton Park faithful (no relation to Marianne) and consternation from their Premier League rivals. They needn’t have worried. Despite scoring as a late substitute in a 2-0 win over Manchester United, Raducioiu’s card was marked from the moment Harry Redknapp discovered that he’d missed a game to go shopping with his girlfriend. After scoring just twice in 11 league appearances, Raducioiu returned from whence he came, moving from club to club to such an extent that he remains the only player to have graced all of the English, Spanish, Italian, French and German leagues.
Sport.co.uk says: Skipping a game to go Harvey Nichols? That’s Wonderflop!
Marco Boogers – Harry Redknapp’s recent admission that he signed Sandro for Tottenham without having seen him play in person brings to mind the cautionary and oft-repeated tale of £1m Dutchman ‘Mad’ Marco Boogers. West Ham reportedly fended off interest from Everton to ‘land’ the striker who, in only his second appearance, was sent off against Manchester United for more or less trying to make a clog out of Gary Neville. But, as it turns out, he didn’t then run off to live in a caravan. Spaketh Bill Prosser, West Ham United’s PA and travel arranger at the time:
“Marco was depressed after being sent off in his second appearance for West Ham at Old Trafford and disappeared for a few days. West Ham’s Clubcall reporter phoned me and said he was trying to find Boogers for an interview but could not reach him. He asked if I had booked any flights for him. I told him I hadn’t, but added: ‘If he has gone back to Holland, he’s probably gone by car again’. The reporter misheard me and stated on Clubcall that I had said ‘If he’s gone back to Holland, he’s probably gone to his caravan’. As you know, journalists often listen to Clubcall. Which explains why, the following day, the back page headline in The Sun was: ‘Barmy Boogers Living In A Caravan’. The legend endures and Marco Boogers never played for West Ham again. I feel a bit responsible for his misfortune.”
Sport.co.uk says: Even the caravan myth turned out to be rubbish? That’s Wonderflop!