Forget the club legends and flair players, West Ham could do with one cult hero who was a defensive enforcer. Why? Because West Ham United have struggled all season in defence. Whether it’s because of injuries, poor form, or simply just a lack of bite in their tackling. The club could do with the passion of former Hammer hero, Tomas Repka.
Repka made the switch to East London from Fiorentina in 2001 for a, then, club record fee of £5.5million. He was with the club for five years and saw it all whilst in England. The top ten finish, the record breaking relegation and promotion back to the Premier League.
Bite Back In The Side
Many West Ham fans will be quick to point out the defensive capabilities and brilliant tackle statistics of Pedro, and it’s the Hammers defence this season that has lacked that bullish nature this season. All too often allowing players to pass them by, and, not committing to tackles with enough ferocity.
One current defender who has been omitted whilst he maintains his fine ginger beard is James Collins. A man who may well come back into the XI as Winston Reid sits out with an injury for the foreseeable future. In Collins’ absence, the West Ham back four look like a soft touch; especially, at full-back.
With some bite and someone barking orders at the back, perhaps the opposition wouldn’t cut through the defence like a knife through butter. They need someone to be authoritative at the back, and the only many who can do this in the current squad can’t get near the starting XI. Repka would come in, slot into the right back birth and give his opponents, and his own teammates hell if they weren’t up to scratch.
Tomas Repka joined the Hammers with the reputation of being a hot-headed player. In case any fans were sceptical, the Czech international was only too happy to oblige. Dismissed on his debut game for two yellows. Shown a straight red in his third game.
One thing Repka didn’t stand for was a lack of communication. Whether that was belittling players he had just up-ended in a game, having an argument on the pitch with his then centre-back partner Christian Dailly, berating the referees and sometimes even the fans! One thing is for sure, that West Ham back four would know what was going on if Repka was present.
There seems to have only been one man who was brave enough to get in Repka’s face, the most iconic of referee’s, who was more than happy to bite back!
Happy Birthday to former football ref Pierluigi Collina, 57 today 🎁
Here he is laying down the law to Edgar Davids & Tomas Repka! pic.twitter.com/4zqLjqzIT4
— Net World Sports (@NetWorldSports) February 13, 2017
The Making And Breaking Of Repka
The Czech international may have joined with the reputation of being a hard-nut, which, he all too gladly played up to, with four straight red cards alomg with just the 55 yellows. Although he may have been a liability at times for his ruthless tackling and hot-headed nature, he stuck by the club through the good times and the bad. He gave 100% every game, and was never one to shirk away when the going got tough.
Repka’s reluctance to leave when the club went down was highly commendable and you have to wonder just how many of this current West Ham squad would do likewise?
The defining moment which will stick with West Ham fans regarding Repka was his departure. In 2006 Repka had his contract mutually ended as he needed to return home with his family, but, wanted to play one last home game before doing so. Of course, he was hot-headed, tackles flew in, he even hit the post which is the closest he ever came to scoring.
But, it was the moment when the full-time whistle went. The cheers of “Super Tommy Repka!”, filled Upton Park. Yes, the man that many believed would hack down his own nan if she was an opposition winger had been reduced to tears by the West Ham faithful.
It was at that moment that even the doubters had no choice but to put Repka upon a pedestal littered with broken shinpads and the opposing wingers he had slain.
Although there may be an abundance of former heroes to pick from who would undoubtedly benefit West Ham United, with their defensive frailties right now – and lack of a trusted right-back – Tomas Repka would be the sure fire solution. Plus, just imagine the fireworks with him, Slaven Bilic and Julian Dicks in the same dressing room!
Which players join Mark Noble in their clubs holding them back from success…