Andy Carroll in Claret and Blue : A Retrospective
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 23 April 2019 at 8:00pm
Written by: @Rob_S_Wilcock
With news of his latest injury requiring surgery, it would appear that Andy Carroll, currently West Ham’s third longest-serving player, is set to depart the club over the summer when his contract expires. A polarising player and character, news of the big Geordie’s imminent departure is likely to be music to the ears of some Hammers, whilst others might still think he could do a job “if only we could get him fit” or if we offered him a pay-as-you-play deal. In any case, there will always be an undoubted sense of what might have been for the England international.
The writing was already on the wall for Carroll’s Liverpool career when Brendan Rodgers arrived at Anfield in the summer of 2012, only 18 months after Newcastle received a truly comical, record-breaking £35m for his services. In his fittest season as a pro, Carroll had played 47 games for Kenny Dalglish, but he’d only scored nine goals, and the incoming manager, known for his pretty-passing triangles and counter attacking style, was quick to make him available for transfer.
One manager whose philosophy ‘Big’ Andy fitted perfectly into, however, was of course, Big Sam’s, and he jumped to the head of the queue, with us finally landing the player we were told the team would be built around (first on loan and then on a permanent basis a year later.)
But seven years after arriving at Upton Park, Carroll’s time can be summed up overall as a misfire.
Carroll took up a tremendous amount of our wage bill at the time of his arrival. The fact he’s never signed a new deal at West Ham, yet, at the time of writing, is still one of the highest paid players at the club, outlines just how little bang for our buck we have gotten from him. Earning £90,000 a week – equating to £4.68m a year – is a mind-boggling number, particularly given that we’d been playing championship football not too long before he signed for us.
This is before you take into account his injuries. Carroll has spent more time on the sidelines than not in his seven years at the club. Assuming he won’t play another Premier league game this season, Andy will have played in 126 premier league games for West Ham, whilst being missing for 140. In only two seasons since becoming ‘our’ player has Carroll played more than 20 games in all competitions, and in none of those seasons has he scored more than 10 goals.
His goal return in that time leaves much to be desired too. Whilst not known as a prolific finisher, scoring 33 goals in 126 games is still a disappointing amount for a player who, when fit, has had the entire team and system built around him, playing to his physical strengths and aerial ability. Having played in 16 competitive cup fixtures, Carroll has scored only once, that being his last and probably final goal for the club, against Birmingham in January’s FA Cup tie. This gives him a career total at West Ham of 34 goals in 142 games. This is in fact worse than his average during his time at Liverpool and Newcastle.
Granted, it isn’t all about goals. Carroll has been involved in some great team performances for West Ham and at various times down the years has made some game changing contributions for us. These have been so few and far between, however, that it’s very difficult to continue to justify such a large outlay on him. Carroll has earned £197,746 per game played at West Ham and a whopping £825,882 for every goal he’s scored. When you consider he was signed for a then-record £15m, we probably got better value out of £1,000 a week Mido than we did for a man who’s stayed for 6 years and had the team geared around him for 80% of the time he’s been here.
Hopefully for Andy, Hammers fans will remember him more for THAT bicycle kick against Crystal Palace which remains arguably the greatest goal we have scored at the new stadium (and probably will for some time), or his hat trick heroics against Arsenal.
Ultimately, however, Carroll’s signing was one that should have proved we could attract high-end talent and had the foresight to try and build a proper team around key players, but unfortunately in the end was the most symbolic representation of a club that has time and again shelled out huge wages to players highly unlikely to to prove their worth or provide any sell-on value.
All things considered, his time at the club has been a misfire, but he will leave in the summer having provided us with some great memories, and might just be a bargain for someone if he ever kicks the injuries to the curb.