“I’ll tell you, there will be no comparison with what Frank Lampard will achieve in football and what Scotty Canham will achieve in football.”
Those famous words spoken by Harry Redknapp when he was manager of West Ham in the mid-nineties, with a young Frank Lampard by his side. Only a handful of players make it to the very top of the game from a young age, and Redknapp believed in his nephew despite the predictable taunts of favouritism.
In a Q and A session with West Ham fans - made famous by on social media - Redknapp explained his decision to one argumentative fan:
“I want to ask Harry if the publicity he has given Frank warrants it because I don’t think he is quite good enough yet and I also think that in the last couple of years you’ve let some good midfielders go for peanuts like Matt Holland and Scott Canham?”
“No they definitely wasn’t good enough. He [Frank] is good enough and definitely will be good enough. I let Scott Canham go, he was a good kid and worked very hard, he has gone to Brentford and can’t get into their team he’s 21 years of age, I let him go because young Frank is 17, 18 and he is miles in front of him.”
“That ain’t really true”
“That is true. We offered Scott Canham a two-year deal and he turned it down, he didn’t want to stay here. It was his decision to leave the club. I tried my hardest to keep him here. I doubled his wages, two-year contract, I said if you get in the team you’ll earn good money.”
We all know what happened to Frank Lampard, who became Chelsea’s top goalscorer in history and won every single trophy available in English and European football, including the Intertoto Cup, but whatever became of Scotty Canham? That West Ham fan was one of many who believed he would have a big future in the game, but things did not quite develop for the midfielder after he left the Hammers.
After rejecting the offer from West Ham he moved onto Brentford for £25k, having been on loan there in the latter part of the 1995-96 season. He played 34 games for the Bees over two years before dropping down to play for Leyton Orient and then Chesham United.
But Canham did have talent. He played several times alongside David Beckham for Essex at county level and even came up against, and scored against Everton and Paul Gascoigne in the FA Cup. He was a promising player who never quite fulfilled his potential but still made over 100 appearances in the Football League.
His career ended with spells at Farnborough and Thurrock before he hung up his boots in 2007. In 2012, he invested his money into a car repair company and now lives in Essex with his young family. Things could have been so different if he had signed that contract with West Ham two decades ago but he is now partly back in football, working as Aveley’s assistant manager.
Harry Redknapp was right. Frank Lampard went on to become one of the top players in the world but Canham has finished with no regrets, telling the Daily Mail in 2017:
“Life is not about the Holy Grail, it's about the journey - and I had a journey. I may not have been in the Premier League earning £60,000 per week, but who cares?
“You die with your memories, you can't take that away, and I had some fun. But I knew it was time to stop. I got out with my knees and hips intact and I can run through the park with my kids now.”