On this day - 11 July


Tony Cottee
Born: 11 July 1965, Forest Gate, England
Clubs: West Ham United, Everton, Selangor, Leicester City, Birmingham City, Norwich City, Barnet, Millwall

Prolific West Ham United marksman Tony Cottee is today celebrating his 50th birthday.

Born in Forest Gate, Cottee graduated from the Hammers' famed Academy in 1983, making his debut as a 17-year-old against Tottenham Hotspur. The teenager scored in a 3-0 win at the Boleyn Ground, the first of his 146 goals in claret and blue. 

The 1983/84 campaign, his first as an established member of the senior set up, saw Cottee plunder 15 league goals and a further four in cup competitions. Among them was the four he scored against Bury in a record 10-0 win over the Manchester outfit.

There was to be no let-up in front of goal, with 24, 26 and then 29 goals (in all competitions), to show from the subsequent three seasons. In the midst of those goalscoring feats, Cottee very nearly fired West Ham to top-flight glory, as John Lyall's men famously finished third in 1986.

The then princely sum of £2.2million saw Everton acquire Cottee's services in 1988, where he would remain for some six years, before Harry Redknapp swooped to bring him back to the Boleyn.

Now in the Premier League, Cottee continued to find the net with regularity, notching 15 times in the 94/95 season to steer the Hammers away from relegation. Another dozen goals followed in 95/96, in what proved his Hammers swansong, with the 5'7" forward departing for Malaysian outfit Selangor in October 1996.