Adrian, Adrian, Adrian
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 29 May 2019 at 8:30pm
Written by: @samizgould
They say the best goalies are some of the biggest characters, and after the club today announced the end of Adrian’s contract and sadly his time in East London, we say goodbye to a goalie who is a true character and whose passion helped fill his goal and endear him to the Hammers faithful.
Adrian San Miguel del Castillo arrived on a free transfer from his boyhood club Real Betis in Spain during the 2013/14 season when big Sam Allardyce was looking for a long-term replacement for Jussi Jaaskelainen. Arriving as an unknown (after only one full season in La Liga), we have been treated to seven years of acrobatic saves, never an ounce less than 100% commitment and a real love for his teammates and the people that cheer the team on. With 150 appearances in Claret and Blue in all competitions and a return of 43 clean sheets, there is no doubting what a bargain Adrian has proved to be.
Most of us will never forget him flinging his glove to the ground as he drove the ball low into the left to score his famous penalty in round 3 of the FA Cup against Everton and send us through. The joy on his face was the same as every time he’d make a diving save and scream with joy at his efforts. That year the 2014/15 season was one of his best, but perhaps slightly shaded by the final season at Upton Park, where, like so many of our players, they showed their full ability. He was twice voted runner up in the Hammer of the Year awards, highlighting his importance to the team. Adrian’s sustained form across this period lead to getting a call up to the Spanish national team where Vincente Del Bosque sang his praises; but unfortunately he was never capped. Mind you, anyone would find getting past De Gea, Reina and Casillas for a place in goal more than a little challenging.
More recently we haven’t seen the swagger that defined his best periods in goal. After being dethroned first by Darren Randolph, then Joe Hart, and currently Lukasz Fabinksi his role has become the loyal backup. When his chances did arrive, particularly during Joe Hart’s time and the first season in the London stadium he wasn’t himself. With a defence lacking steel in front of him and his composure surprisingly missing he was never able to consistently reclaim his place and it looked like an error was never too far away.
Fabianski has quickly shown his quality and with Adrian never ready to give up on a first team dream, a move was always on the cards. Sadly, a return to his hometown club in Betis may prove difficult as they are well stocked with keepers on long contracts, but no matter where he goes he will leave us with a genuine sense of sadness and a wish for a happy final phase of his career. As a player that has everything West Ham fans ask for, full commitment, passion and a belief they can improve and offer their best for the badge. So, for one final time and with great regret and thanks we scream in our worst Rocky impersonation Aaddrriiaann!!!!!