Who is West Ham’s best ever penalty taker?
PUBLISHED: 12:30 11 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:30 11 September 2019
PA Archive/PA Images
The Hammers have had three stand-out stars from the spot, but who is the best?
When you look at the history of West Ham penalties, three men stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Sir Geoff Hurst used to take them, but his miss in the League Cup semi-final against Stoke City in 1972 stands out.
Billy Bonds had a go for a while, of course he did, while Geoff Pike missed one in a relegation battle against Manchester United, only to make up for it by scoring from open play.
Paolo Di Canio managed a few in his time, while Johnny Byrne and John Bond also had their moments.
But no-one comes close to our top three of Scotland international Ray Stewart, current skipper Mark Noble and the 'Terminator' Julian Dicks.
None of them attackers, but all three with nerves of steel and in the case of Stewart and Dicks, a no-nonsense ability to absolutely thump it.
In third place for us is Dicks, who scored 36 times from 12 yards, missing just seven.
His most memorable came in December 1996 against champions Manchester United at Upton Park.
United had led 2-0, but back came the Hammers to pull one back, before Michael Hughes won a spot-kick with 12 minutes left.
Up stepped Dicks to hammer the ball past Peter Schmeichel and earn a stunning 2-2 draw.
Noble is a very different sort of penalty-taker, but percentage wise the most effective.
He likes to send the keeper the wrong way and his record of 36 goals and four misses is second to none for the Hammers.
He likens his penalties to the ones he used to take down the park as a kid and it seems to do the trick.
Despite that, he has lost the spot-kick duties on two occasions.
First to Italian Alessandro Diamanti, who scored four of his eight goals in claret and blue from the spot in the 2009-10 season under Gianfranco Zola.
Then at the beginning of last season, Noble handed the reins over to Marco Arnautovic as the club tried to persuade him to stay.
They didn't manage it and the Austrian only scored one.
But the champion penalty-taker for the Hammers has to be Stewart.
He took over from Bonds after arriving in 1979 and during his 11 seasons at the club, he was renowned for his thumping strikes which earned him the nickname of 'Tonka'.
Often he hit the ball so hard that he would have two feet off the ground as he hit it.
He scored 76 penalties and missed 10, with three being put in on the rebound, two by himself and one by Paul Goddard.
Five of his misses were saved and two went wide.
Stewart scored some vital goals as well.
In the FA Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa at Upton Park, he scored the last-minute winner for the second division side with a nerveless finish.
A year later, he was at it again in the League Cup final at Wembley against mighty Liverpool.
After Alan Kennedy's controversdial goal seemed to have gifted the cup to the Reds, Liverpool handballed in the 120th minute and Stewart struck again.
Noble has a long way to go if he wants to catch Stewart, but these are stunning statistics and to have three players with such great records is a remarkable achievement.
But Stewart is King!
1st: ray stewart 88.37%
'Tonka' as he was known, was a prolific thumper of the ball from the penalty spot at West Ham.
In his 11 seasons at the club, the Scotland international scored 76 penalties, missing 10, of which three were scored from the rebound.
Two of them were his own rebounds, while the other fell for Paul Goddard.
2nd: MARK NOBLE 90%
'With 36 successful penalties and only four misses, 'Nobes' has the best percentage record of our top spot-kick men.
It is only the fact that Stewart has many more kicks to his name that he is not number one.
3rd: julian dicks 84%
'Dicksie' used brute force for his penalties thumping them past the keeper.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Newham Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.