The number 18s

  • by Staff Writer
  • Tuesday, 18th June 2019

West Ham's latest signing Pablo Fornals will wear the number 18 shirt during the 2019/20 season.

United's latest signing picked his new shirt number before flying out to Italy to participate in the European Under 21 Championships. And in doing so, he becomes the tenth Hammer to adopt the number 18 shirt since first went online in 1997.

The first player to wear the shirt during that 22-year-period was Frank Lampard, who went on to make 148 appearances for the Hammers before moving to Chelsea in a ?12million switch at the end of the 2001/02 season.

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The former England international was followed by French striker Youssef Sofiane who, on the contrary, was rarely seen wearing his. A teenager at the time, signed on a free transfer by Glenn Roeder, Sofiane made just two first team appearances during his three seasons at the club.

Next up was Israeli forward Vaniv Katan, who joined West Ham on New Years Day 2006 on a three-and-a-half year contract for a paltry ?100,000. Like his predecessor Katan was to barely feature for the Irons, making just eight appearances for the club prior to his return to Israel a year later.

It was a defender who was to don the number 18 shirt next, when American international Jonathan Spector arrived at the club via Manchester United in June 2006 in a ?500,000 switch. Spector was to wear 18 for the next five years before being released on a free at the end of the 2010/11 relegation campaign.

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Former French international Julien Faubert, who joined West Ham in 2007 and originally wore the number 20 shirt switched to 18 upon Spector's departure for his fuinal season at the club. After he was given a free transfer the vacant spot was taken by Alou Diarra, signed by Sam Allardyce for a season in the Championship.

Diarra's stint at the club saw him retain the shirt until the summer of 2014, when he left West Ham by mutual consent a year shy of his three-year term. The number 18 shirt was taken up the following month by Morgan Amalfitano, who arrived from Marseille in an ?800,000 deal.

Like Diarra, the French winger was also to leave the club by mutual consent in October 2015 despite having signed a new two-year contract earlier in the year. He made just 32 appearances for the Hammers, which included three goals.

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The shirt was back in the hands of a loanee in 2018 having remained unused since Amalfitano's departure in 2015. Joao Mario, who arrived on a half-season loan from Inter Milan was to wear number 18 for his 13 appearances and two goals during his brief spell as a Hammer.

Most recently the shirt was worn by Samir Nasri, who arrived at West Ham in January of this year but was restricted to just five first team appearances before being let go at the end of the season.

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