Keane joins list of dream debut Hammers

Robbie Keane’s debut goal at Blackpool last week, put the Recorder back down memory lane to recall those other great debuts in claret and blue.

ROBBIE KEANE may not have been firing on all cylinders on Sunday, but he had already confirmed the faith Avram Grant has shown in him, with a superb debut against Blackpool.

The 30-year-old striker joined a long list of illustrious and not so illustrious Hammers who have begun their career at West Ham in excellent style.

Victor Obinna may have got most of the headlines at Bloomfield Road with his double, but perhaps more significant was the manner of Keane’s strike after 37 minutes of the match.

Obinna blasted two shots at keeper Richard Kingson and when the ball fell to Keane in the box, he blasted it home.


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It was the sort of goal that West Ham don’t usually score, but they now possess a poacher in the penalty area and that should make life a lot easier for the Hammers.

“It’s always nice as a striker to score on your debut, but of course, the most important thing was getting the win,” said the Tottenham marksman, who teamed up well with Freddie Piquionne, both at Blackpool and on Sunday against Birmingham City.

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“We linked up well,” confirmed the Irishman, who limped off after 76 minutes of the 1-0 defeat with a tight muscle.

“Freddie is obviously strong and good in the air, while I like to drop off and play in the holes. I think we can combine quite well and the longer we play together, the better we will get.”

If Keane plays he may have to link up with a new partner on Saturday after Piquionne disappointed against Birmingham, with Carlton Cole and Demba Ba the two candidates.

But the fans already have faith in Keane’s ability and with him in the team, their chances of survival are greatly enhanced.

The last two players to score on their West Ham debuts were Zavon Hines and Ilan.

Despite his failings, Ilan helped keep the Hammers up last season. With any luck Keane can do the same.

ALL THOSE DREAM DEBUTS

PERHAPS the strangest debut goalscorer for the Hammers came way back in 1905 from George Kitchen.

Playing against Swindon Town, Kitchen struck from the penalty spot – though the strange thing about it was he was the Hammers goalkeeper!

A little earlier than that, Bill Grassam (below) scored four on his debut against Gravesend in 1900, while Arthur Winterhalder managed a hat-trick against Spurs in 1906 – it doesn’t get much better than that.

Tudor Martin’s hat-trick against Newcastle in 1936 was followed after the war by four on debut for Don Travis against Plymouth in1946 and three more for Ken Tucker against Chesterfield a year later.

In more recent memory, Jimmy Greaves’ debuts always result in goals and his first game for the Hammers against Manchester City in March 1970 saw him grab a double, while in 1971 there were two debut goalscorers as the prolific Pop Robson notched against Nottingham Forest and Ade Coker scored against Crystal Palace.

Since 1971 the following players have scored on their debuts:

Billy Jennings

Bobby Barnes

Alan Dickens

Tony Cottee

Leroy Rosenior

Martin Allen, who had a superb first game against Plymouth Argyle.

Clive Allen

Lee Chapman

Trevor Sinclair

Ian Wright

FredDIE Kanoute

Jermain Defoe’s strike made him the 84th Hammer to score on his debut in 2000.

David Connolly

Bobby Zamora

Kepa Blanco (with his first touch)

Carlton Cole (within seconds)

Freddie Sears (again within seconds of coming on)

Zavon Hines

Ilan

and Robbie Keane

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