Happy 39th Birthday Paul Konchesky
Paul Konchesky was born in Barking on 15th May 1981 (the exact same day as another former Hammers left-back, Patrice Evra) and went to school in Dagenham. He was a product of the Senrab club, which also produced the likes of John Terry and Jermain Defoe. Konchesky attended the West Ham United Academy as a youngster and was a season-ticket holder at the club who idolised Julian Dicks.
Konchesky joined Charlton at the age of 16 and became the club’s youngest ever player in 1997, a record since broken by Jonjo Shelvey. He sent a penalty over the bar against West Ham in a 2-0 defeat for Charlton at Upton Park in April 2002. The 21-year-old Konchesky made his England debut at the Boleyn Ground under Sven-Goran Eriksson in a 3-1 friendly defeat to Australia in February 2003. He joined Tottenham on loan in the summer of 2003 but was recalled in December of that year due to an injury crisis at his parent club.
Konchesky remained at Charlton until the summer of 2005 when he signed for Alan Pardew’s newly-promoted West Ham United for a fee of £1.5m. The 24-year-old made his West Ham debut on the opening day of the 2005/06 season, in a 3-1 home win against Blackburn on 13th August 2005. He was sent off in his next game, a 0-0 draw at Newcastle the following week, although the red card was later rescinded. He won his second and final England cap in a 3-2 friendly win over Argentina in November 2005 and scored his first goal for West Ham in a 2-0 home win over Sunderland on 4th February 2006. His second and final goal for the club, in the 2006 FA Cup Final in Cardiff, so nearly saw the Hammers lift the trophy before Steven Gerrard’s late intervention; Konchesky saw his penalty saved in the shoot-out as Liverpool won the FA Cup following a 3-3 draw. Both of Konchesky’s goals for West Ham can be viewed in my video below.
Having made 45 appearances in his first season at West Ham, a loss of form for both Konchesky and the Hammers team saw him make just 25 appearances in 2006/07, with new signing George McCartney increasingly preferred in the starting line-up. Konchesky’s former manager at Charlton, Alan Curbishley, took over midway through the campaign and Konchesky was sent off in Curbishley’s second match in charge, a goalless draw at Fulham on 23rd December 2006. His final appearance for the club came in a 4-3 home defeat to Tottenham on 4th March 2007.
Konchesky signed for Fulham for a fee of £3.6m in July 2007, having scored two goals in 70 appearances for West Ham United. He scored the BBC’s Goal of the Month in January 2009 against his old club at Upton Park, a game which saw the Hammers triumph 3-1. Having appeared for Fulham in the Europa League Final against Atletico Madrid, Konchesky followed manager Roy Hodgson to Anfield, signing for Liverpool for £3.7m on August transfer deadline day in 2010.
With Kenny Dalglish taking over as Liverpool manager, Konchesky joined Nottingham Forest on loan in January 2011 for the second half of the 2010/11 season. He joined Leicester in a permanent move at the end of that season. Konchesky spent the 2015/16 campaign on loan at QPR and joined Gillingham in a permanent move in the summer of 2016. He dropped down to the Isthmian League Premier Division to join Billericay Town in February 2017 and had a short spell with East Thurrock United of the National League South in the summer of 2018.
39 today, Konchesky owns Konch’s Kafe in Brentwood and is a patron of Stacey’s Smiles, a charity which provides treats and wishes for children with neuroblastoma.