Andy Malcolm - 1933-2013

Everyone at West Ham United was deeply saddened to learn that Andy Malcolm has passed away at the age of 80.

A true West Ham great, Malcolm was voted the very first Hammer of the Year in 1958 after being ever-present in the Division Two title-winning side of the same year.

A wing-half famed for his ability to nullify even the most talented of opponents, Malcolm played 306 first-team games for the Club between 1953 and 1961, scoring four goals.

A tough-tackling, limpet-like man marker who never gave his opponents a moment's peace, Malcolm was born just a stone's throw from the Boleyn Ground on 4 May 1933.

After joining from Dury Falls Secondary School in Hornchurch and coming the junior ranks, Malcolm became West Ham's first-ever England youth international.

He was handed a first-team debut at the age of 20 on 5 December 1953, when he lined up alongside the likes of Ernie Gregory, John Bond, Frank O'Farrell, Malcolm Allison, Dave Sexton and John Dick in a 2-1 Division Two defeat at Notts County.

Over the next seven-and-a-half seasons, he would rarely miss a game, and was ever-present as West Ham won the Division Two title in dramatic fashion in 1957/58.

Indeed, that season was also Malcolm's most prolific as he netted three of his four career goals for the Club, scoring against Swansea Town, Bristol City and Cardiff City.

The following campaign, 1958/59, Malcolm shut down some of the finest attackers in the country, including Chelsea's Jimmy Greaves and Fulham's Johnny Haynes, as West Ham finished sixth on their return to Division One.

Although a senior England cap eluded him, Malcolm's form saw him named in the Football League representative side alongside Bond which took on the Scottish League in October 1958.

The popular wing-half's time at the Boleyn Ground came to an end in November 1961, when he joined London rivals Chelsea in a deal which saw a £11,000 fee and player Ron Tindall move in the opposite direction.

Malcolm spent just a few months at Stamford Bridge before moving to Queens Park Rangers in October 1962. There, under manager Alec Stock, he played his part as the Hoops embarked on the greatest period in the club's history.

After leaving Loftus Road in 1965, Upton Park-born Malcolm played for South African sides Westview Apollon and Port Elizabeth City before returning to England with non-league Brentwood Town.

Following his retirement in the late 1960s, Malcolm was landlord of three public houses in Essex before returning to South Africa on a permanent basis in 1986. It was there, in the city of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province, that he passed away following a short illness on Boxing Day 2013.

Tributes have poured in from Malcolm's former West Ham team-mates, including Frank O'Farrell - West Ham's oldest surviving Hammer at 86 - and European Cup Winners' Cup winner Joe Kirkup.

"I knew Andy very well as he played right half while I played left half," said O'Farrell. "He was a very determined player, a tough tackler with a good attitude. It is very sad news and I will include Andy and his family in my prayers."

"I had just joined the West Ham staff when I first met Andy Malcolm," added Kirkup. "He was very good to me. I remember both Andy and Ken Brown helped me to buy my first car. I was only 17 and they came with me to Elephant & Castle to ensure everything was fine. He was such a tough tackler and I would back Andy against anyone.

"I remember we were playing a friendly in Wales and I got hit hard and was concussed on the pitch. Andy came over to ensure I was ok and I said I was seeing two of everyone. 'Kick the one that moves' was his response!"

Tim Crane is the editor of EX Magazine and spoke to Malcolm by telephone just last month while researching for his upcoming book 'They Played with Bobby Moore'.

"You talk to the players who played with him and they all hold him in the highest possible esteem, telling me he is the best man-marker West Ham have ever had," said Crane. "Some players called him a 'Shadow' because they were more likely to get a kick from Andy than a kick of the ball!

"I spoke to Andy myself just a month ago and he obviously loved his time at West Ham. He was part of the group of players that included the likes of John Bond and Ken Brown and was in the team when a young Bobby Moore came through.

"There are lots of great stories about Andy. In the early 2000s he bumped into Johnny Haynes at an airport and Johnny went up to him and said 'You are still following me around closely after all these years!'."

Malcolm will be laid to rest at a funeral service in Port Elizabeth on Friday 10 January.

Everyone at West Ham United would like to pass on their sincere condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.