Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughReo Coker continues his downward spiral (Video) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Reo Coker continues his downward spiral (Video) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Reo Coker continues his downward spiral (Video)

Rewind back to February 2006 and Alan Pardew’s newly-promoted West Ham side have just beaten Arsenal, who would eventually reach the Champions League final that season, a team that contained messrs Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp, Robin Van Persie and Freddie Ljungberg, 3-2 at Highbury. In fact they had not just beaten them, they had deservedly beaten them, particularly in a first half that saw take a two goal lead. At the heart of everything good about the Hammers that night was their skipper, Nigel Reo-Coker.

It was not just the goal scored by Reo-Coker, shown in the video below when he capitalises on a horrendous mistake from Sol Campbell to powerfully stride through to tuck away the opening goal, but his entire performance was simply outstanding. The then 21-year-old looked like he had the drive, passion, commitment and technical ability to cement himself as one of the country’s outstanding midfielders and indeed it was no surprise when he was placed on the stand-by list for England’s 2006 World Cup squad, though he eventually lost the chance to compete in the tournament due to a back problem.

However, those heady months in 2006 have proved difficult to live up to ever since for Reo-Coker, who now six years on finds himself signing a short-term deal at struggling Championship side Ipswich Town. So where did it all go wrong? Reports began the following season after the World Cup, a season in which West Ham struggled and only stayed up on the last day courtesy of Carlos Tevez, that Reo-Coker’s performances and attitude, both on and off the pitch was beginning to take a turn for the worse. Suddenly, the West Ham keeper was being accused of arrogance and disdain and was dubbed as the ringleader of the “Baby Bentley brigade”, as dubbed by incoming Hammers boss Alan Curbishley.

The tag proved hard to shift and the 2007-08 season saw Reo-Coker move to Aston Villa and although he made a bright start under Martin O’Neill, the midfielder was eventually released at the end of the 2010-11 season after failing to make a considerable impact in the Villa first team. The former England Under-21 midfielder’s next stop was Bolton and although by all accounts he was one of the Trotters’ better players in a miserable season, he was still unable to halt Bolton’s slide into the Championship, upon which he exercised an option to release himself from his contract.

Perhaps Reo-Coker was under the impression that there would be offers forthcoming from Premier League clubs. There is no doubt however that at the age of 28, Reo-Coker finds himself in danger of being on the footballing scrapheap unless his time at Ipswich proves a success.

Adam Mazrani