I’m a forgotten Premier League star… now I own my own restaurant and named it after my old club’s stadium


A FORMER Premier League cult hero now owns his own restaurant – and he has even named it after his old club’s stadium.

This now 47-year-old ex-full-back kicked off his footballing career with his hometown club Nancy in France.

News Group Newspapers LtdThis ex-defender quickly became a fan favourite at West Ham[/caption]

WEST HAM UNITED FCThe East End hero was back to watch the Hammers at the weekend[/caption]

During a five-year spell in their first-team, he helped them to win promotion to Ligue 1 before Metz swooped to sign him in 1998.

A year later he first caught the eye of West Ham as he played against them in the 1999 Uefa Intertoto Cup Final.

The late Glenn Roeder, who was working as a scout for then-Hammers boss Harry Redknapp, pushed the Hammers to make a move and that eventually led to him heading to Upton Park initially on loan in January 2001.

Roeder then replaced Redknapp as West Ham manager that summer, and one of the first things he did was snap-up the defender permanently.

This star, who arrived as a virtual unknown, went on to play in 35 of the club’s Premier League matches as he thrived in a team full of famous names such as Paolo Di Canio, Michael Carrick and Joe Cole.

But it was his performances that led to him being voted the Hammer of the Year.

However, his time in East London would only last another 12 months as he was shipped off to Portsmouth.

Unfortunately, he failed to replicate his form for West Ham at Pompey and played just 12 league matches for them during his year on the South Coast.


That led to a return to France with Le Havre in 2004, but that stint only lasted one season and eight matches before this player decided to hang up his boots.

The ace we are talking about is none other than Sebastien Schemmel.

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And now the popular ace is doing something very different indeed – and still retains his love for the Hammers in an incredible way.

Schemmel owns and runs a restaurant in Luxembourg named “Upton Park” as well as having the club’s crest tattooed on his arm.

He told West Ham’s website:  “West Ham was fantastic, to be honest. It was the best moment of my football career. It was amazing to play for these fans and this club.

“It was a big mistake for me to leave the club because if I’d stayed there in 2003 and 2004, I’m sure I’d have finished my career with West Ham.

“I was very pleased to play for this club. It’s my club. I have a tattoo of the West Ham crest and it is an honour to have this on my arm!

“I played two years with West Ham and every minute and every hour was fantastic.”

News Group Newspapers LtdSebastien Schemmel was awarded the Hammer of the Year trophy 21 years ago[/caption]

Schemmel was back at West Ham on Sunday for the first time in years to watch them beat Leeds 3-1 at the London Stadium and was joined by his two children for a post-match walk on the pitch.

He told WHUFC.com: “It’s very special for me to be back here, because 21 years ago I was here and received the trophy for Player of the Year, so for me that was big dreams and it’s a special day for me today too.

“It was strange to sign in England because the first thing was for me to stay in Metz. I signed for West Ham and now I never forget what happens to West Ham! The first year was amazing, the people, the fans, Upton Park, so I want to thank everybody for this two years.

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“I think this was the best team I had ever seen in my life – Joe Cole, Paolo Di Canio, Michael Carrick, Tomas Repka – it was a very fantastic team and it’s a very good memory when I talk about that.

“I think Joe and Paolo were much, much better, but I gave my all on the pitch and I think for that the fans voted for me, so I want to say thank you, even 21 years later!”

News Group Newspapers LtdThe French full-back only spent two seasons in East London before heading to Portsmouth[/caption]

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