West Ham United are a club that holds a unique place in the history of English football. Although Silverware has not been abundant at the club during the past, three of England’s 1966 World Cup squad, Bobby Moore, Martin Peters, and Geoff Hurst, played for the Hammers, leading to Irons fans claiming West Ham had won the World Cup.
Hurst is just one of the forward players to make a significant impact at West Ham during their history. In fact, the Hammers have had several prolific strikers. Here are their top-ten record goalscorers:
Vic Watson (326 goals in 505 appearances)
Watson is the club’s all-time top goalscorer, with a goal-to-game ratio of over a goal every other game for the Hammers. He represented West Ham from 1920 and 1935, having arrived from Wellingborough for just £50.
It was money spent as he was prolific in the 15 years he spent with the club from the capital. During his West Ham career, he scored 13 hat tricks. He even found the net six times in an 8-2 victory over Leeds at Upton Park in 1929.
Unfortunately for Watson, despite his superb goalscoring record, he left West Ham in 1936 for Southampton, having failed to win silverware with the Irons.
Geoff Hurst (252 goals in 502 appearances)
The forward has gone down in history as the man who scored the hat-trick for England in their 4-2 win over Germany in the 1966 World Cup final. However, at club level, Hurst was prolific for the Hammers, with a goal ratio of a goal every other game for the club from the east end of the English capital.
Hurst joined West Ham as an apprentice as a 15-year-old in 1957 and stayed with the club until 1972. Unlike some of the players on this list, Hurst won silverware with the Hammers during his time with the club.
In 1964, Hurst scored in a 3-2 FA Cup final victory over Preston North End. The following season, the forward was in the Irons team that won the European Cup Winners’ Cup. The following season Hurst was a finalist in the League Cup, only for the Irons to suffer a 5-3 aggregate final defeat against West Brom.
Hurst won the West Ham Player of the Year award in 1966, 1967 and 1969. He was also inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
John Dick (166 goals in 351 appearances)
The Scottish inside-left arrived from Crittall Athletic in 1953 while he was serving his national service in the British army. He went on to spend nine years with the Hammers, proving to be highly prolific in front of goal before a switch to Brentford in 1962.
Despite his eye for goal with the Hammers, Dick made just one appearance for Scotland, which came against England at Wembley in 1959.
Jimmy Ruffell (166 goals in 548 appearances)
The forward joined West Ham in 1920 and spent 17 years with the Hammers. Ruffell was part of the Hammers team that played in the first-ever FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium in 1923. Unfortunately for everybody connected with the Hammers, they suffered a 2-0 defeat against Bolton Wanderers.
Ruffell held the record for most West Ham appearances until the great Moore broke it in 1973. He was his team’s top scorer in seasons 1927-28 and also 1934/35. However, he was not always that prolific in West Ham colours, as incredibly for a forward player, he failed to score in seasons 1921–22, 1932–33 and 1936–37.
Tony Cottee (146 goals in 336 appearances)
Cottee was a product of the West Ham youth academy and enjoyed two spells with the club. The forward first gained notoriety in season 1983–84, when he scored 15 goals in the First Division. The following season Cottee was even more prolific, as he scored 17 times in the English top flight.
In season 1985/86, Cottee won the Young Player of the Year award after firing home 20 goals in the English First Division. He became the British record signing in 1988 when he left for Everton in a deal worth £ 2.2 million.
Cottee returned to West Ham for a second spell in 1994 after six years on Merseyside. He went on to score a respectable 23 goals in 67 league appearances for the Hammers in his second spell with the club.
During his career, Cottee made seven international appearances for England but never scored for the Three Lions.
Johnny Byrne (108 goals in 206 appearances)
Byrne joined the Hammers in 1962 from London rivals Crystal Palace for £65,000 and became a big figure for the Hammers. The forward helped his team to win the FA Cup in season 1963–64.
His 33 goals in 45 goalscorers that season made him the Irons’ top scorer and also won him the club’s Player of the Year award. Byrne’s goals also helped his team reach the European Cup Winners’ Cup final in 1965 against 1860 Munich, although he missed the final held at Wembley due to injury.
Byrne made 11 appearances for England between 1961 and 1965, scoring a respectable eight goals during his international career.
Pop Robson (104 goals in 255 appearances)
Robson became the club’s record signing in 1971 when he joined the Irons from Newcastle, having been prolific for the Magpies. The forward from the north east was the Hammers’ top goalscorer in two of his opening three campaigns with the Hammers, while also winning the club’s Player of the Year award in season 1972-73.
Robson left the Hammers in 1974 to join his hometown club, Sunderland. The forward returned to West Ham in 1976 and spent three more seasons with the Hammers, scoring 47 goals in 107 First Division appearances before re-joining Sunderland in 1979.
Trevor Brooking (102 goals in 643 appearances)
Brooking is a West Ham legend who spent 18 years with the Hammers as a player. The midfielder won the FA Cup with West Ham in 1975, when the Irons defeated London rivals Fulham 2-0 in the final at Wembley.
In 1980, West Ham repeated the feat, as Brooking scored the only goal in a 1-0 final victory over another capital rival, Arsenal. During his time with the Hammers, he also finished as a runner-up in the 1976 European Cup Winners’ Cup and was a finalist in the 1981 League Cup.
Such was Brooking’s achievement with West Ham that the club named a stand at Upton Park after the England star. When they left the Boleyn Ground in 2016, the club did the same at their new home, the London Stadium.
Malcolm Musgrove (100 goals in 300 appearances)
The left-winger made his debut for West Ham in 1954 against Brentford after joining the Hammers in December 1953. Musgrove’s biggest achievement during his nine years with the club from the English capital was helping them become Second Division champions in season 1957-58.
His strike rate of a goal every three games is a respectable one, considering he was a winger rather than a centre-forward.
Martin Peters (100 goals in 364)
As well as being remembered for his part in England’s aforementioned World Cup win in 1966, Martin Peters is a true West Ham legend. He came through the youth ranks at West Ham, signing as an apprentice with the club in 1959.
Peters was part of the West Ham team that won the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965 against 1860 Munich, as well as being a losing finalist in the 1966 League Cup.
The midfielder also enjoyed a relatively successful international career, making 60 appearances for England and scoring a respectable 20 goals for the Three Lions.