Here’s an article I wrote for my previous blog a while ago. Thought I might as well post it up here for those that never saw it and for those that still don’t know what ever happened to the ‘legend’ that is Marco Boogers.
Name: Marco Boogers
Date of Birth: 12th January 1967
Signed: July 1995 from Sparta Rotterdam – £1m
Debut: Premier League, West Ham United 1-2 Leeds United, 19 August 1995
Last Game: Premier League, Blackburn Rovers 4-2 West Ham United, 2 December 1995
West Ham United Appearances: 4
West Ham United Goals: 0
Before West Ham…
Marco Boogers spent nine years playing in Holland before his famous move to London’s East End. He started his career at FC Dordrecht before moving on to play for FC Utrecht, RKC Waalwijk, Fortuna Sittard and Sparta Rotterdam.
The striker was known for his goal scoring abilities, scoring 103 goals in 238 league games between 1986 and 1995. The season before he arrived at Upton Park, he was voted the third best player in he Eredivisie while only playing for lowly Sparta Rotterdam, who had finished 14th out of 18 teams.
With his goal-scoring reputation at an all time high, it was inevitable that interest from clubs in Europe’s top leagues was only around the corner. West Ham, Everton, Napoli and Borussia Dortmund where rumoured to be looking at Boogers. The rest, as they say, is history.
At West Ham…
“Someone sent me a tape of Boogers in action and urged me to watch it. I was very impressed.” Those were the words of Harry Redknapp who, to this day, insists his knowledge of Boogers was based around a video of him scoring some goals and looking very impressive.
Boogers came in to bolster West Ham’s attack that already consisted of Tony Cottee and Iain Dowie and he made his debut as a substitute in the Hammer’s 2-1 home loss to Leeds a month after signing.
But it is his second game, at Old Trafford, that will live long in the memory of West Ham fans old enough to remember it. Boogers came on for midfielder Danny Williamson and within minutes he was walking off again after a rib-high challenge on 20-year-old Gary Neville. A mass brawl followed before the Dutchman was given his marching orders.
Despite blaming his challenge on the wet pitch and pointing out that Neville was able to finish the game, Boogers was handed a four-match ban.
Boogers and his wife were struggling to adapt to life in London and therefore returned to the Netherlands during his ban. Cue the ‘caravan myth’.
The Hammer’s travel arranger Bill Prosser had received a phone call from a Clubcall reporter looking to get an interview with Boogers after that tackle on Neville. Prosser explained that Boogers had returned to his home town of Dordecht but had not booked him any flights, meaning he had “probably gone by car.”
The reporter had miss heard Prosser and thought he had heard “he has gone back to his caravan.” This lead to the The Sun running a headline the next day reading: “Barmy Boogers Gone to Live in a Caravan.”
Boogers returned, but never recreated his goal scoring abilities for West Ham, instead making only two further substitute appearances before a knee cartilage injury in December 1995 ended his career in England.
Boogers was then loaned out to FC Groningen in January 1996, before his contract was terminated by mutual consent the following summer.
After West Ham…
Eredivisie side RKC Waalwijk was Boogers’ next stop but his knee problems limited him to just 9 games in the 1996/1997 season. The striker then moved down a division to Eerste Divise side FC Volendam where he scored 25 goals in 51 games over two seasons.
Boogers returned to his hometown club FC Dordecht in 1999 and managed to finish his career on a high with 66 goals in 128 games. His knee problems, however, were limiting his chances of improving and he ended up calling time on his career in 2003.
So where is he now?
Marco is now technical director at FC Dordecht and does NOT live in a caravan.