West Ham legend: The club need to buy a top striker

PUBLISHED: 17:30 10 July 2017

West Ham United's Frank McAvennie scoring West Ham's 2nd goal against Oxford United at Upton Park.

West Ham United's Frank McAvennie scoring West Ham's 2nd goal against Oxford United at Upton Park.

PA Archive/PA Images

Former West Ham star Frank McAvennie on Giroud, Gray and others linked with the Hammers

Frank McAvennie as he is today outside the new German Doner Kebab shop in WestfieldFrank McAvennie as he is today outside the new German Doner Kebab shop in Westfield

What price would any team have to pay for strike duo Frank McAvennie and Tony Cottee? The mind boggles.

The Scotsman, one half of the duo that lit up the most successful West Ham league team in the mid-eighties, would be priceless today, but for McAvennie, he thinks that the club need to splash some proper cash on the team right now.

“I don’t know how much we would cost. Lukaku has just gone for £75million – do me a favour!

“I want the fans to get excited again. Football is nothing without the fans and West Ham fans are everything so put a team on the pitch for them. The fans are buying into it, they’ve stood by you, so that would be nice to see.”

Frank McAvennie tries to carve his way through the defence in his West Ham daysFrank McAvennie tries to carve his way through the defence in his West Ham days

The Scot, who is now 56, would surely fill his boots playing in the Premier League today and he wants to see players like him doing the business in claret and blue.

“The whole point of moving to the stadium was to put world class players on the pitch and it’s not happened yet,” he said. “I know it’s going to take time, but this is the second season and you’ve got to give the fans something to enjoy.

“Football is about entertaining. West Ham used to entertain all the time and though I’m not going back to the West Ham way, foorball in general is about entertaining people – so go and entertain.”

So who would McAvennie like to see manager Slaven Bilic sign? He is has plenty of things to say on the matter.

Frank McAvennie celebrates his Scotland call-uo for the World Cup in typically flamboyant styleFrank McAvennie celebrates his Scotland call-uo for the World Cup in typically flamboyant style

“I think they need players all over the pitch,” he said. “I would love to see a playmaker in there, someone who gets the ball, is comfortable, who can just pick a pass.

“Lanzini runs with it and he’s nippy and he’s good, but I’d like to see somebody who can get on the ball and see a pass before anyone else in the stadium, that’s my kind of player.

“I would like an Alan Devonshire or a Paul McStay, who I played with art Celtic, somebody who can pick a pass out and change the game in the blink of an eye.”

Someone like Dimitri Payet perhaps, hut another one like him is extremely hard to find, so who should manager Slaven Bilic bring in?

“I like Zabaleta,” said the Scotland international. “He can play centre-half and right-back, but I don’t know what Slaven is going to do.

“The chairman came out and said it was Bilic that doesn’t want Iheanacho, which is a strange one. Now they are talking about Andre Gray from Burnley, if he can’t get a game for Burnley, why do you want to take him for West Ham?

“No disrespect to the boy, he might be a good foil as a second striker, but not as the main guy – the West Ham fans need a main guy.”

He continued: “Giroud is better than what we’ve got. He’s a big lump, but I wish he has more heart though.

“Sometimes I look at him and I think ‘oh, he shuts his eyes as he jumps for a ball’ and you think ‘really?’ He’ll score a wonder goal, but then he will miss a sitter.”

So what of the players they already have and how did he think last season went? McAvennie is more positive.

“I thought the first year at the stadium would be about staying in the league, but they were top half and if you look at them they could have done a lot better,” he said.

“There was an awful lot of points they could have won, so you’ve got to look to the top half again this season.

“I’m hoping that West Ham will buy a decent striker. I like Carroll and I like Sakho, but you don’t get a full season between the two of them. You need someone who is going to come in, someone who is going to score goals, someone who is not going to get injured and then it one of the others comes with them, it’s even better.

“I think they need a top striker.”

Easier said than done and that seems to rule out a return for Simone Zaza!


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