In March 2012, West Ham were very short of goalkeeping options. From the three they had, two were unavailable; Marek Stech was out on a loan deal and Peter Kurucz was injured, making Robert Green the only option.
Sam Allardyce was desperately searching for other options and in the end the name of Portsmouth’s Stephen Henderson came up and an emergency loan deal until the end of the season was arranged between the two clubs. However, as the south coast club was in deep financial difficulty at the time it was thought that Portsmouth may not be able to complete their fixtures.
As West Ham had already won six points from Pompey that season, they were desperately keen not to lose them and stepped in with a £1m bid for the goalkeeper. Henderson didn’t make a single appearance for the rest of the season.
Since Henderson moved to Upton Park permanently, he has not had the best of times. He has only featured twice in competitive matches. These were both in the Capital One Cup and his second appearance saw him concede four goals in a home defeat to Wigan Athletic.
Shortly after, he was sent out on a one month loan to Championship side Ipswich Town where he initially impressed and signed an extension on the deal for the rest of the campaign, featuring in most of their matches before being recalled by the Hammers in March 2013.
Due to stiff competition from both Jussi Jaaskelainen and young Swiss international Raphael Speigel he again failed to feature and another loan spell followed for the Irishman as he was sent to Bournemouth for a period of three months where he also joined up with midfielder Jack Collison who had also signed a one-month loan deal with the Cherries.
Matters didn’t go quite so well for Henderson during this spell as he dislocated his shoulder in only his second game for the club, putting him out of action for six months.
Although he remains in East London, the competition at West Ham has greatly increased, as last summer Big Sam concluded a deal to bring promising Spaniard Adrian to the club from Real Betis and he has since replaced Jaaskelainen as first-choice.
So the question could be posed, why is Henderson still with the club? It seems hard to understand how he is going to regain his place on the bench an, apart from that, he is currently blocking the progression of young keepers Sam Howes and Tim Brown. Why do they need another goalkeeper when they already have six; one would have thought they would have enough cover even if the regular starter and substitute option couldn’t play.
Unless the club are planning to use Henderson in the future, they should move him on to create a space in the squad for one of the other options to come in and also free up some money on the wage bill to further strengthen their squad for the coming season.