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We take a look back at three former West Ham centre backs.

But where are they now?

Where are they now? Former West Ham United centre backsTony Gale 1984-1994

Affectionately remembered by team mates and fans alike, “Reggie” as he was nicknamed served the club for 10 years and was one of the stalwarts of the boys of ’86.

After leaving the Hammers in 1994 Gale moved to Blackburn Rovers and helped them to a historic Premier League in 1995. Tony was famously filmed leading the Blackburn team in a chorus of Bubbles in the celebrations after the Lancashire club secured the title at Anfield, thanks to West Ham holding Manchester United to a draw on the final day of the season.

Despite being offered a coaching role at Blackburn, Gale returned to London to play for Crystal Palace in the Second Division, his time with the Eagles was cut short due to injuries and despite a brief stint with non-league Maidenhead United Gale ended his playing career with the Berkshire outfit in 1998.

Always a man with a story to tell, Gale’s natural engaging personality and knowledge of the game made him an ideal candidate to forge a career in TV, He has gone onto to work for Sky both as a pundit and a co-commentator offering witty and incisive opinions in an erudite manner.

Gale is also Chairman of Isthmian League side Walton Casuals where he has twice filled in as caretaker manager, the manager’s position is currently held by his son Anthony who played over 200 games for the club.

Marc Rieper 1994-1997

A ball playing centre half, Rieper was a success in his short time with the club forming a successful partnership with current manager Slaven Bilic. Rieper moved onto to Celtic in 1997 winning the league and cup but suffered an ultimately career ending toe injury, forcing him to retire in 2000. Rieper quickly found a coaching role at his first club AGF and had a successful time bringing over a number of players from Britain including Irish international Liam Miller.

Rieper’s coaching career was short lived however as a change of manager at AGF led to Rieper tending his resignation. He is now a board member at the Danish club, but has business interests in the town of Aarhus in the form of a hotel which he owns and manages, and an online woman’s fashion store BA10.dk. He played 61 times for Denmark including Euro ’96 and the World Cup in 1998.

Andy Melville 2004-2005

A well-travelled Welsh international came to the club in 2004 helping the club to the play-off final of the same year against Crystal Palace. Melville represented a number of clubs with distinction, most notably Fulham who he helped establish in the Premier League in the early noughties.

Melville provided much-needed experience and stability to the defence during the clubs first season in the Championship following relegation in 2003 and would have been an outstanding example to the young pretenders who ultimately replaced him in the team, Anton Ferdinand, and Elliot Ward.

After finishing his career at Oxford United, Melville started his coaching career at Oxford Brookes University passing on his vast experience to young under graduates, he has gone on to work for Oxford United as assistant manager and is currently head of recruitment at Northampton Town.

Originally published at moorethanjustaclub.com

Post written by Ciaran Judge
for Moore Than A Club, Blog: moorethanjustaclub.com, Twitter: @MooreThanAClub

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