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The Scottish connection

Filed: Saturday, 8th May 2004
By: Graeme Howlett

Last weekend, Scottish Hammers Don Hutchison and Christian Dailly both hit the target against Watford, thereby underlying their importance to Alan Pardew as he seeks to take his team into the Premiership via the play-offs.

West Ham's association with players from Scotland has been a long and successful one and, with the likes of Hutchison and Dailly on board looks set to continue.

Join KUMB as we take a look back at some of the best - and worst - imports from north of the border.

The hits ...

John Dick was, in tandem with strike partner Vic Keeble (who was playing his first season for West Ham following a £10,000 switch from Newcastle), instrumental in the Hammers' return to the top flight of English football back in 1958.

The Glasgow born forward - who was also the first Hammer to play for Scotland - went on to hit 27 goals from just 42 appearances in the first division during the 58/59 season, thereby confirming his ability at the very highest level (the Hammers eventually finishing 6th in Division One).

Dick was also top scorer in 61/62 (23 from 38) before eventually moving to Brentford for £17,500. John sadly passed away four years ago.

Bobby Ferguson was responsible for the great Gordon Banks not coming to West Ham. Former Hammers manager Ron Greenwood had pledged to buy the young Scottish goalkeeper (£65,000 from Kilmarnock) as soon as the Scottish side were knocked out of the Fairs Cup. In the meantime, Banks - whose current club had reluctantly agreed to sell - was offered to Greenwood as first option.

However Greenwood, being the gentleman he was, refused to renege on his pledge - hence poor Ferguson was probably on a loser from the start.

The big Scot made his debut at the beginning of the 67/68 season, replacing the long-serving Jim Standen. Until the 73/74 season Ferguson was almost ever-present between the sticks, before being replaced himself by the highly-rated Mervyn Day.

By the end of 1975, and after 276 appearances for the Hammers, Ferguson had realised that he was unlikely to regain his spot from Day, and moved on to various destinations before eventually settling in Australia.

Ray Stewart was the undisputed penalty king. Younger followers of the club would perhaps find it hard to believe that anyone could match Julian Dicks' spot-kicks, but the canny Scot was more than a match for anyone from 12 yards.

John Lyall bought the 19-year-old Stewart south of the border in the summer of '79, when he signed the young full-back from Dundee for a fee of £400,000. His debut - an instantly forgettable 1-1 draw at Preston - was the Hammers fourth of the campaign, but the first without defeat.

Just three games later Stewart scored the first of over 50 penalties for the Hammers in a 2-1 win against Burnley. But it will be his spot-kicks against Aston Villa (FA Cup quarter-final 1980) and Liverpool (League Cup Final 1981) for which he will be best remembered.

Trevor Brooking, speaking to KUMB some time ago said of his former team-mate:

"Tonka scored 50-odd penalties for West Ham, and the three he missed were in games when there was nothing riding on it. Whenever it was a test he just didn't seem to have a nerve."

Frank McAvennie remains the most successful Scot to have played for the Hammers. The blonde-haired playboy earned his place in Hammers history as part of the side which achieved the club's highest ever finish - third place in Division One, back in 1986.

McAvennie endeared himself to Hammers fans not just because of his undoubted ability, but because of his desire to enjoy life to the full. A natural entertainer, Frank spent at least as much time in Stringfellows as he did on the training ground during his West Ham career; a string of beautiful companions at assorted nightclubs meant he was the 80's equivalent of David Beckham, forever being photographed wherever he went.

McAvennie's two spells at the club were punctuated by a spell at his beloved Celtic, to whom he finally returned after leaving London for good in the summer of 1991. Typically Frank, his farewell performance - as a half-time substitute against Nottingham Forest on the final day of the season - resulted in a hat-trick scored inside 25-minutes.

Don Hutchison, like McAvennie, has spent two separate spells at West Ham. Originally signed by Harry Redknapp in 1994, the-then record signing (£1.5m) regained that particular honour when Glenn Roeder paid Sunderland a record £5m for him in 2002.

An undoubted talent, Hutchison's career has however too often been dented by controversy. During his first spell at the club Hutch was pictured in the News of the World naked but for a Budweiser label preventing further embarrassment. And just last year he was involved in an altercation with a fan during a game at Upton Park.

But now finally fully fit, Hutch's greatest contribution to the club could still be yet to come, with the play-offs looming on the horizon.

Neil Orr was a versatile player who could fill in either at centre-half or in midfield. Bought by John Lyall (who also came from Scottish stock) from Greenock Morton for £400,000 in 1982, Orr made his debut for the Hammers in a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford.

Much under-rated by many supporters, Orr was considered influential enough by Lyall to play 33 games in the 85/86 season in which West Ham - also blessed with fellow Scot's McAvennie and Stewart - finished third in the First Division.

Orr left East London the following season after 185 appearances for the Hammers, returning to Scotland to play for Hibernian. He finally hung up his boots in 1995 before becoming a UEFA qualified coach.

Christian Dailly is worthy of being declared a 'hit' after being named club captain by Glenn Roeder at the beginning of the 2003/04 season. A player that broke several records during the early stages of his career, Dailly has been much criticised by Hammers fans but remains an automatic choice at the heart of the Hammers defence.

The misses ...

One of the first Scots to make an impact at West Ham was James Jackson, a pacy full-back who joined West Ham in 1905. However Jackson's career was one of the shortest for an import, lasting just 25 games of that same season.

John Cushley was a talented midfielder who broke into Ron Greenwood's first team in 1967, making 27 appearances that season. In the next two seasons he only played a further 19 games before moving back to Scotland with Dunfermline.

Jimmy Lindsay joined the Hammers during the late-60's heyday as a striker making his debut at Sunderland in a 2-1 defeat, and during his three years at the club found it tough to make the breakthrough into the first team - so much so that it was nearly 18 months before he scored his first goal for the club. His best season at West Ham saw him notch 17 appearances in the 68/69 season; three years, 45 appearances and only two goals later he was on his way to Watford.

Tommy McQueen was yet another of John Lyall's Scottish signings, moving to East London in 1986. Never a regular first-teamer, McQueen managed just 36 appearances for West Ham before moving back to Scotland in 1990 to join Falkirk.

Another Tom - McAlister - joined the Hammers in 1981, just at the time when Scottish goalkeepers were pretty much the laughing stock of British football. Always the understudy to Phil Parkes, McAlister managed just 100 appearances in his nine years at the club.

... And the one that got away

Kenny Dalglish was one of the greatest strikers produced by Scotland. During the 1970's and 1980's, Dalglish won almost every honour it is possible to attain at club level with both Liverpool and Celtic.

But in the late 60's the young Dalglish could well have been playing for the Hammers. Sent down to London from Glasgow, Dalglish spent a week on trial before eventually ending up at Liverpool (via Manchester United with whom he also trialled), where he became an international superstar.

Fellow Scot Jimmy Lindsay, who roomed with Dalglish during his brief stay in London recalls:

"I remember one of Kenny's first practice matches. We used to do a lot of one and two-touch football - anyway, the game started and you'd think he'd played it all his life. You didn't have to be a genius to see he could play."

Some other Scottish Hammers

Bob Allan (79 appearances for the Ironworks and West Ham, 1899-1903); Tommy Allison (165 apps, 1903-09); Jimmy Andrews (120 apps, 1951-55); Sandy Clark (34 apps, 1982-83); Norman Corbett (103 apps, 1936-50); Dave Gardner (80 apps, 1904-07); Billy Grassam (179 apps, 1900-03, 1906-09); Lawrie Lesley (61 apps, 1961-63); Tommy McAlister (100 apps, 1981-89); Archie Macauley (91 apps, 1937-47); Robbie Stockdale (9 apps, 2003/04); Peter Grant (Alan Pardew's assistant)

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

Your Comments

by Kevin
03:10PM 14th Oct 2009
''Dailly and McAlister should be swapped above. McAlister was quite a competent goalkeeper when called up to the first team, making many memorable saves. Dailly, by complete contrast, and despite being a model professional behind the scenes, committed many howlers in the centre of defence which inevitably led to goals being scored against us, particularly during our last relegation season. As a centre half he was a complete liability, his better position being as a midfield anchor man where he could do less damage, in my opinion.''

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