The HamburgHammer Column

Stratford Diary: Popcorn, how to turn(er) a season around and forever eating bubble

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Another highly enthralling and exciting trip in the bag, with a lot of surprise experiences along the way. It was a trip where I hadn’t exactly overloaded my travel itinerary.
In fact nothing at all was scheduled in advance, apart from the home games against Chelsea and Arsenal of course, but other than that I was aware it was the busy Christmas period, so I knew my friends from the blog might not be able to be at my disposal 24/7 resulting in my having to improvise somewhat – but that led to some other good experiences, so it was eventually another worthwhile trip.

But let’s try to start, well, from the start. First day.

Friday, December 8th – Day of departure
Another early morning on the bus and tube to the airport. And the first scare of several to follow. Due to some family related health issues my nerves were playing tricks on me. So I briefly forgot my suitcase after I had just finished the security procedures at Hamburg airport. For five minutes I panicked, but got assisted brilliantly by airport staff and after retracing my steps I found my luggage sound and safe where I had left it. So I could board the flight to Heathrow on time, ready to start my trip.

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The trip from Heathrow to Stratford is a lengthy one at the best of times. But if you get on the wrong DLR train on top of that it gets even worse. Still, I made it to my airbnb accommodation by way of Abbey Road Station (not the Beatles one though but the one in East London). My hosts were a lovely Colombian lady (sometimes hard to understand, especially as she sometimes was talking in Spanish to me for no apparent reason and with no regard to the fact I don’t speak or understand Spanish) and her husband whose parents were of West Indian heritage, but he was born and raised in Whitechapel, it doesn’t get more Cockney than that surely, we had some nice chats during my stay and he made me laugh after I talked to him about the Arsenal game the next morning.

I told him about the goalless draw and he asked when the replay would now take place, being unaware that there are no replays for draws in league fixtures.
Not a football fan then I suppose…:-))
I made use of the excellent transport links and took a bus to Upton Park, briefly mourned the vast emptiness that used to be the Boleyn Ground and got some grub.
As there were no customers in Nathan’s Pie&Mash Shop I decided to have some fish&chips at Ercan Fish Bar in the Barking Road before moving on to the Newham Bookshop.

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As usual I was made to feel welcome with open arms, a cup of Rosie, mince pies and a good chat. Needless to say I returned the favour and got myself some West Ham and general football related books. I also filled out a petition card to the local MP to keep the statue at its current location.
I feel it belongs there and is one of the few remaining objects that remind us that West Ham United FC used to be such an important part of this neighbourhood.
If we want a statue there our board should commission a new one (can’t be costing the world) and put that at London Stadium, but not the original one.

Either way I returned to Stratford late afternoon for a quick “Welcome back to London” pint in a pub I passed on the way (I think it was the “Queen’s Head” on West Ham Lane) and then settled down in my room for the rest of the evening as I knew an early kickoff was awaiting the next day – and I wanted to be ready for that.

Saturday, December 9th – Matchday 1 – Chelsea at home
I didn’t expect anything from the two games I was going to attend. I fully expected zero points and two almighty drubbings. And even that was being optimistic in my book.
But I was looking forward to it anyway as it meant meeting some of my good friends from the blog again, in this instance BSB and Russ (still the original one).
As my lodging was en route they picked me up in Arthingworth Street (E15) and when I got into the motor I was greeted with a familiar tune.

Yes, the unofficial Hamburg anthem sung by Hans Albers, the one I had treated them with upon their arrival to my town. It was a nice touch although to be frank I would have prefered a London themed ditty like “London Calling”, “Streets of London” or “The Battle of Barking”. But you can’t have everything…;-))
After parking the car near the stadium we ventured into Stour Space where the Supporters Club has found its new home. I had recently become a member and was desperate to try it out and I found it to be pleasant and cosy enough, with a good group of fellow Hammers in there to share a pre-match drink and some banter before taking the short walk into the stadium.

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Luckily enough I could sit with the gang again (BSB, Russ, VOR and Gramsci), so I had a reasonably decent view of our demolition of Chelsea, never in doubt that one!
I kept asking myself during the game: Where do those aliens actually live who abducted our team and replaced them with clones that could play organised and utterly professional football against one of the top sides in the country ?

We kept our shape, we kept a clean sheet, Adrian had a reasonably quiet 90 minutes and the outfield players all looked like they gave a monkey’s. That effort didn’t go unnoticed by the crowd who created a brilliant wall of noise at times, the rocking atmosphere we had been missing for so long. It’s still not a football stadium.
But that fact becomes far less important when the team are playing their collective guts out.
It was a pleasure seeing yet another of my customary 1:0 wins at London Stadium and just as lovely to meet HammersWest in person who had travelled all the way from her surely much warmer home base in California.

As nobody else had time and desire for a pub crawl I joined BSB at his little palace in Dagenham East where we settled down for some football watching, rabbitting on about football (and life) before ordering some giant pizzas to celebrate our win over Chelsea in style.

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It had been a long day, but BSB was good enough to drive me “home” to Stratford later that evening which was obviously very kind. He’s a gentleman anyway, but I suppose our win had put him in a jolly good mood as well.

Sunday, December 10th
Essentially this was going to be a lazy Sunday as I couldn’t be bovvered to venture out on my own if I could avoid it and BSB once again offered his hospitality as there was a triple bill of football on the telly, and why not! First though it was a Full English for us at one of the best caffs the Enjoy Cafe in Dagenham.
I enjoyed my breakfast with a nice helping of bubble on the plate, despite initially not being entirely sure what it actually was.
Once again though my threadbare nerves were playing up as just before we left I couldn’t find my wallet. I knew that I had taken it to the cafe as I had been handing some money to BSB when we ordered our food.

I checked the usual pockets and went into full panic mode with BSB staying unbelievably calm. In my mind a terrible movie was being played out, with some geezer nicking my wallet from the table where I had left it unattended for a few seconds, containing not only my money and cash card, but also my ID.
The next stage of my inner movie saw me having to inactivate my cash card and go to the embassy to sort out new documents so I could actually get back on the plane and travel back to Hamburg. Still BSB remained totally calm, claiming he couldn’t imagine the wallet getting nicked just like that.

And then I found it, in a pocket of my jacket I never use. So why did I use it this time ? Well, we had switched tables just before our orders arrived and my jacket was hanging over the chair. So I suppose when I put the wallet back into the jacket I wasn’t actually wearing I must have used the nearest pocket which wasn’t the regular one.
Once my blood pressure had returned to customary levels we could settle down in BSB’s living room, enjoying a triple bill of football (including the brilliant personality analysis of Jose Mourinho from Oasis founder and Man City nut Noel Gallagher).

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We could then enjoy his wife Karen’s famous chili con carne, BSB still claims it was beef, I reckon it was a concoction of squirrel, badger and peacock, but either way it was yummy and if it is yummy I will eat it…:-))

Monday, December 11th – Matchday cancelled
Bugger! If there was one game I had been looking forward to for this trip it was our U23’s game against their Spurs counterparts on Monday evening in that great little football ground in Dagenham, but the snow bomb that had exploded the previous day made sure the pitch was waterlogged and in no condition for the fixture to go ahead.
BSB gave me those news just as I had left Tate Britain. Yes, you read that correctly. Usually during my trips I don’t do touristy stuff in London anymore, but I made an exception this time as I didn’t want to stay in Stratford all day and as I am a massive fan of William Turner’s paintings I was keen to see some of them again, having last seen them probably ten years ago.

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As museums tend to overwhelm me I joined two guided tours that gave me some nice insights and also pointed me to some of the many highlights in the gallery.
Did you know that Tate Britain was erected on the site of a former prison ? That Mr.Tate made his fortune from selling sugar to the world in large quantities ? And that William Turner bequeathed most of his paintings and sketches to the British nation rather than selling them so that normal folk can now marvel at them rather than just millionaires and posh people ? No ? Neither did I.

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I had to improvise later on as the West Ham U23 game wasn’t on. So I grabbed a bite to eat in Stratford before going to see a film at Stratford East Picturehouse.
What film did I choose ? Well, I was feeling a bit lonely as a foreigner in London and I like my food, so I chose Paddington 2.
I could empathise with a peckish visitor in London and I was happy enough that the film was taking me to various locations in and around London (including a prison) and unsurprisingly food was again a major theme throughout. Just my kind of flick!

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As it was an early evening showing it was a bit if a bizarre experience as I was watching the film in the company of just two other paying customers. At least that minimised the chances of somebody spoiling things for the rest by fiddling around with their smartphones all the time. Very enjoyable film. Money well spent. And I finally got to eat some popcorn in Stratford! I wouldn’t dream of buying the stuff when watching West Ham, but a cinema surely is the perfect environment for munching some popcorn!

Tuesday, December 12th
I returned to the arts again, having enjoyed myself so much the day before, so I started out in Tate Modern, being greeted in the giant turbine hall by grown up people swinging about on various swings, like on a playground. Apparently this is a statement from the artist how swinging can solve most of our current problems in the world, therefore some of the swings will soon be moved to various locations in London and Britain. Maybe if readers of this blog do some copious swinging it will help West Ham to stay up!

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I cannot claim to be an expert on art, but I have to confess I struggle somewhat with modern art. Some of the stuff at Tate Modern looked right ridiculous, weird or even disturbing to me. Some of the items looked like my ten year old nephew might have done a better job. There was a thing called “Yellow Curve”, an oil painting that looked like a plain yellow triangular shape (which in fact wasn’t triangular, but that’s not the point). maybe I just don’t get it. Maybe there IS nothing to get actually. Maybe it’s just supposed to look nice on a wall. Which it kind of did.

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I then got a message that Iron Liddy, Longtime Lurker and a surprise guest (or two) would be meeting me later that evening for a drink. That gave me the chance to return to Tate Britain first and do the guided tour of Turner I had missed the day before. It was highly entertaining (I bought three books on Turner alone from the museum shop afterwards) and after the tour I got chatting to the tour guide (who was obviously a big Turner fan too) who enquired if I had come to London just for the Turners.

When I told her i was there mainly for footballing reasons she asked what club I was supporting. When I told her West Ham she smiled and said her son was an Arsenal fan which added some personal spice for the derby the following day. As nice as that lady was and even though we both shared a fondness for certain paintings I wanted our boys to demolish her son’s team on the pitch of the London Stadium on Wednesday. But first it was off to my old stomping ground in Barking.

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I had a drink or two with Liddy and the Lurker in The Barking Dog pub (which brought back some memories from when I was actually living there, in Barking that is, not in the pub!). It was great to see them again and they helped me to keep my chin up despite the already mentioned family issue of mine. Thanks for that guy and gal!
We then hopped on the District Line for the quick ride to Upminster where I could put another face to a name when Hugh Jardon joined our round in the pub.
To be followed by Mr.Lids shortly after who had just finished a his weekly dose of playing indoors three a side football.

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We talked football and West Ham all evening and all had a jolly good time. I had the good fortune that the Lurker put me on the fast train to West Ham, so that I was back in Stratford in no time, ready for a good night’s sleep before another matchday!

Wednesday, December 13th – Matchday 2 – Arsenal at home
Yes, the night was a bit rough to be fair as I rarely drink more than two pints these days and it had been more than two the previous evening. So I didn’t venture out to Central London on my final full day in England, instead I began to pack my bags and lay low before it was time to walk over towards the stadium. This time I actually managed to find The Ribman (who had eluded me somehow at the Chelsea game) and I got my customary pork roll with hot sauce, of course we also shared some banter.
I told him that his stall was one of the few good things about the London Stadium and he just grinned at me. I suppose he hears that a lot!

Before kickoff I met briefly with some more regulars from on here, including Ray the Hammer, CRB, Irons1959 and his sister, AndyHammer (if I’m not mistaken) plus Dan Coker and his dad. Nice as usual, but unfortunately I couldn’t deliver another 1:0 home win. A goalless draw against Arsenal was another welcome result though, helping to consolidate our climb away from the relegation zone, so I was quite happy with that result under the circumstances.

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After the game I quickly said Hello to the guys from West Ham Fan TV. It was interesting to see them doing all their reaction videos and fancams, also how they were interviewing their counterparts from Arsenal Fan TV and vice versa. It seemed like everyone was recording with their smartphones to create content for their individual channels on social media.

I walked back to Stratford Station with the lads and had a chat with one of their main presenters, Ryan Archer, who is a Canning Town boy, and as I have stayed in that area during a previous trip we had a chinwag about what Canning Town used to be like during his childhood, growing up there – and we also agreed that West Ham were looking as if they had now turned a corner and could steer their way to a midtable position.

The West Ham Fan TV crew is a good bunch and I can really recommend their stuff on Youtube. It’s an especially good watch for overseas supporters like me who can only attend so many games in person. Keep up the good work lads!

Thursday, December 14th – Day of return to Hamburg
Back to Heathrow Airport midday, killing time at the airport with the flight back being delayed for over an hour. Still, it was a very decent trip, albeit it a slightly different and improvised one this time. I still find myself enjoying going back to London immensely. It may not be the most beautiful place in the world or the best city to live in, but without a doubt it is probably the most interesting city there is.

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As for West Ham ? Well, the matchday experience is beginning to grow on me. I still don’t like the stadium much, but I will continue to watch my beloved Hammers, if I can get a ticket. Not sure if I will buy another season ticket, I may just as well buy a club membership and buy single tickets if and when required.
Thank God our team is looking much better now and on course for staying up. Of course I would also watch us in the Championship. But staying in the Premier League will make my future trips slightly more appealing of course. COYI!

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David Hautzig's Match Report

Stoke City 0, West Ham United 3. Soooo Much Better.

The cliche is so overused it borders on ridiculous. Yet here I am, about to use it again.

It’s a game of inches.

If Chicharito’s curling effort on Wednesday curled an inch more, we are on 16 points. Out of the drop zone. The optimism we feel a bit of now would be full blown euphoria. But it didn’t go in. We are in 19th, no better off table wise than we were after the disaster at Everton. But we are playing better. Crystal Palace were de facto relegated a few weeks ago and now look at them. Who, other than probably god and every living West Ham supporter walking the earth, says we won’t go on an even better run and be comfortably mid table in a month?

The first seven minutes of the match were spent trying to sort out the truly abysmal performance of NBC Sports streaming service, for which I paid. I got it running on the iPad just as Obiang was warned for doing something. Not sure what, but the guy in black looked annoyed. Then my son hurt himself on a Lego piece, so First Aid was applied from minute seven to minute thirteen. Finally, with the iPad leaning on a box of paper clips, West Ham won a corner. The delivery was weak, but West Ham were able to keep the ball in the Stoke end. That bit of possession ended when Lanzini drove towards the box with Arnautovic crossing in front of him. Lanzini expected his teammate to zig. When he zagged instead, the threat for whatever it was worth was over.

When West Ham played as well as they ever have in the final year at Upton Park, it was the counter attack that played the crucial role. In the 16th minute, Stoke won a free kick from 25 yards out. Shaqiri sent it into the box right onto the head of Shawcross. His soft header looked to be a simple pickup for Adrian. But the ball rolled to the Spaniard’s left and off the post. West Ham cleared and broke on a counter with Lanzini leading the way. As he cut to his left inside the box, he fought off a challenge from Allen. But Pieters followed his teammate, and Lanzini went down. Replays showed the penalty was soft at best, and perhaps a dive at worst. But we have been on the wrong end of so many of those kinds of decisions I was happy to accept the gift. Noble stepped up and buried it, and West Ham were on top.

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Stoke 0
West Ham 1

As the first half continued, The Hammers continued to look defensively solid and organized. Stoke certainly tried to penetrate, but most attacks ended with a hopeful ball into the middle for Crouch. A strategy we can certainly sympathize with.

Mark Noble, for all of his service to the club, is a divisive figure at this stage in his career. Many supporters have long called for the end of his days in the starting eleven. But over the past few matches, Noble has been critical to West Ham’s success. So when he came off injured in the 34th minute, my heart sank. Not because Rice wasn’t capable, but because things had started to click for us. Without Noble, I wondered if the balance we had found would be lost. Minutes later, Stoke won a free kick but Cresswell cleared. Moments later, Arnautovic was sent in alone by an inadvertent header off of a Stoke player. Butland closed down the angle and knocked the ball out for a corner.

Stoke came back down the other end and Shaqiri sent two very fine crosses into the box, but on both occasions nobody was there to receive the knockdowns from Crouch or Shawcross. Moments later, Lanzini tried a long, low drive that forced Butland into a diving save to his left.

In the first minute of added time, Cresswell intercepted a pass from Ramadan and broke into the Stoke end. He found Arnautovic in the box, ten yards from goal. The former Stoke player did well to beat both men in the box, but when he should have scored he didn’t even hit the target. That had “only if” written all over it.

Stoke 0
West Ham 1

Stoke won a corner in the opening minute of the second half when a Ramadan shot from just outside the box went off Zabaleta. The Shaqiri delivery found Diouf in front of goal, but his header went over the bar. Stoke continued on the front foot and won a free kick moments later but Shaqiri sent it right to Adrian.

Masuaku is very, very good on the ball. In the 50th minute he dribbled into a crowd that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a train platform. But somehow he came out of the crowd and won a free kick. Cresswell’s delivery found Arnautovic at the far post but his attempted header back towards goal went over the bar. The home side followed that by winning a handful of set pieces, but the Hammers were resolute.

Hernandez has scored more goals against Stoke than any other team in England other than Wigan. Just saying in case Moyes was curious.

Back to the game.

In the 59th minute, West Ham should have been elated with a two-nil lead. Arnautovic made a fantastic run and was fed in all alone. He dropped his right shoulder and tried to beat Butland at the near post but hit the side netting. It looked in, which made the reality even more disappointing.

By the 65th minute, the action was utterly frantic. Both sides tried to attack after misplaced opposition passes. But neither side could keep up their pressure. Antonio looked gassed, but instead of Hernandez it was Sakho that replaced him. In the 68th minute, Arnautovic had yet another great look at goal but his left footed effort went off the bar. It could have been three for him on his return to the Bet365.

Stoke won a corner in the 72nd minute when a Charlie Adam won a corner after his shot was deflected out by Obiang. West Ham dealt with the set piece, but Stoke came back with yet another ball from Adam. This time it was a cross that found Shawcross in front of Adrian. For all of Arnautovic’s chances for us, Shawcross had his for Stoke. And just like his former teammate, he couldn’t find the net.

The law of averages says that if you have enough chances as a footballer, eventually you will have some success. In the 75th minute, Arnautovic had the ball near the top of the Stoke eighteen yard box. He rolled a pass to Lanzini, and made the perfect give and go move into the box. Lanzini found him, and the man Stoke supporters love to despise….hate is too soft a word…slid it past Butland.

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Stoke 0
West Ham 2

West Ham should have made it three in the 83rd minute when Hernandez and Sakho broke on a counter. Hernandez seemed to have enough time to make a soufflé let alone take a shot. He decided to pass to Sakho, who first tried to chest the ball over the line from three yards out. When that didn’t work, a cheeky back heel was next on the agenda. Neither idea found the back of the net.

Finally, Obiang released Lanzini and Sakho on a counter. The wantaway man from Senegal timed his run perfectly, Lanzini timed his pass perfectly, and Sakho took his chance perfectly.

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Stoke 0
West Ham 3

A few minutes later West Ham looked to better their goal difference, and it was Hernandez that could have added a fourth. He broke into the box and tried to beat Butland from a few yards out. But the angle was too tight, and the ball went out for a corner.

There was a moment in added time that caught my eye. We were up by three. We could have been up by six. The three points were ours. Done and dusted. Stoke had the ball and pressed forward down the left, because it’s probably not acceptable to just say “I’m through with this” and walk off. Like gnats buzzing around your head, West Ham defenders harassed any Stoke player with a sniff of the ball. Did they want the clean sheet? Or have they just rediscovered the joy of defending well? Whatever it was, it was lovely to behold.

Final Score
Stoke 0
West Ham 3

“Seven points from three above. Now we need seven from three below. Stoke was above us going into today” was the text I received from my best mate, Jon. Who, by the way, was furious to see Bilic go and lectured me that Moyes was an awful choice. There is a lot of time left in the life and times of West Ham under Moyes, so the final verdict is yet to be read by the jury. But it would be hard to say we are worse off than we were a month ago.

Oh, and if ANYBODY on our board tries to take ANY credit for this, they had better re-consider. Sometimes less is more. And in their case, saying nothing is the best option.

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Match Thread

Match Thread: Stoke City v West Ham

Stoke City v West Ham
FA Premier League
Britannia Stadium
KO 3pm
TV: None

Please use this thread to comment on the game as it progresses.

The GoatyGav Column

Michail Antonio - Nearing Talismanic Status?

You just know when you miss certain players. Something about their play makes such a significant contribution that, when it’s not there, there’s a vital ingredient absent from the mix. That little bit of ‘magic’ that sparks the team. In the case of Michail Antonio I’m of the genuine belief that he’s a player who affects West Ham to that degree.

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In the last three games, where many of us held little hope of West Ham putting any points on the board, Antonio has been an outlet to take pressure off our defence. So often he turns defence in to attack with his driving runs that he has become a target for the ‘out ball’ when needed. Perhaps lacking the finesse of Manu Lanzini Michail is so effective when in possession of the ball, with his pace, power and positivity, it really does, more than, make up for any lack of artistry in his play.

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Down the years we’ve had a few talisman players of note. At the time, and whilst not gaining legendary status in my opinion, Carlos Tevez was a talisman whose late season form made a huge contribution to the team’s Premier League survival. Another in more recent times was Paulo DiCanio. When Paulo was ‘on it’, which was very consistent for a player of that type, he often ‘pulled’ his team-mates up a level or two. I could go further back in time and name many others but the last example of a talisman I’d like to name, to illustrate a point, is that of Scott Parker. There may be something to the argument that Super Scotty stifled other midfielders a little but there’s no denying that his work ethic was second to none. Of course there was more to his game than graft but he lead by example in his time at our club and the effect that had on the other players can’t be underestimated.
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So many have had varying qualities in the club’s history. Michail gives you some of these but one of the reasons his impact on the team is so constructive is that he runs himself ragged for the cause. On the subject of work-rate I feel that Mark Noble’s contribution to our win against Chelsea and Arsenal has gone a little under the radar. Nobes seems to get his fair share of criticism from fans, which he deals with manfully, so when he does play well he deserves all the plaudits. Personally I feel that he’s come through a period of poor form but is now hitting a purple patch – long may it continue.

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Back to Michail Antonio his character is another big contributor to my opinion that he’s becoming a talisman. His goal celebrations suggest he still loves the game. The way he handles himself could be a model for many in terms of PR and, you get the feeling, he’s simply ‘good to have around’ in a team environment. The fact that my nephews went to school with him, the younger of which played at Tooting and Mitcham at the same time as Michail, although not in the same team, the older having been in the same year as him, and speak so highly of him may have contributed to my opinion however I’d like to think I’d have come to the same conclusion without that link.

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Apologies for the short post this week. Mrs Goatygav took a bad fall on the ice on Tuesday and, after 5 hours at Wycombe A&E, is now incapacitated with her arm in a sling meaning I’m running around tying up shoe laces and other tasks she’s unable to undertake. Last night’s performance against Arsenal has gone quite a way to compensating for my expanding to do list. A win against the Stokies this weekend would more than make up for it all.

COYI! West Ham 4 The Cup!

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Stoke v West Ham

Blast from the past

23rd March 1957 – Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister, Tab Hunter was number one with ‘Young Love’ and Tyrone Power was starring in Seven Waves Away. West Ham United met Stoke City at the Victoria Ground for a Second Division encounter on the day Sir Patrick Abercrombie, a town planner best known for the post-World War Two re-planning of London, died.

Ted Fenton’s Hammers were to emerge victorious with a 1-0 victory at the home of the Potters in front of 19,794 with the winning goal coming courtesy of Geordie left-winger Malcolm Musgrove (pictured). Musgrove had scored a double on the same ground almost exactly two years previously. The 23-year-old ended the season with 10 goals from 44 appearances. Inside-left John Dick, absent for this game at Stoke, finished the campaign as the Irons’ top goalscorer with 13 goals in 41 matches.

West Ham would finish the 1956/57 Division Two season in eighth place, while Frank Taylor’s Stoke would end the campaign in fifth position. Leicester and Nottingham Forest would win promotion, Manchester United won the First Division title and Aston Villa won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Ernie Gregory, John Bond, Malcolm Allison, Noel Cantwell, Andy Malcolm, John Smith, Mike Grice, Mick Newman, Billy Dare, Eddie Lewis, Malcolm Musgrove.

Club Connections

Marko Arnautovic returns to the club he left in the summer, while Glen Johnson welcomes the club with whom he started his career. A reasonable number of players have also worn the shirts of both Stoke City and West Ham United. These include:

Goalkeepers: Tony Parks, Steve Banks, Lawrie Leslie, Pat McMahon, Bob Dixon.

Defenders: Clive Clarke, Abdoulaye Faye, Danny Collins, Billy Cope, Matthew Upson.

Midfielders: Luke Chadwick, Matthew Etherington, Paul Allen, Kevin Keen, Victor Moses.

Strikers: Lee Chapman, Jack Farrell, Sir Geoff Hurst, John Carew, Wilf Phillips, Henri Camara, Nicky Morgan.

Lou Macari has also managed both clubs, with two spells in charge of the Potters.

Today’s focus though is on a centre-forward who played top-flight football with Stoke and West Ham – he is also the great-uncle of actor and Hammers fan Ray Winstone. Frank Richardson was born in Barking on the 29th January 1897. He began his career at Barking Town before moving to Plymouth in the Third Division South in 1921. He signed for First Division Stoke in March 1923, scoring once in eight games as the Potters were relegated at the end of the 1922/23 season. He scored twice in six Second Division appearances with Stoke before making a top-flight return with newly-promoted West Ham United.

Richardson (pictured), who had scored three goals in 14 appearances in total for Stoke, joined the Hammers in their first-ever top-flight campaign in October 1923. He made his debut in a 2-0 home win over Chelsea on 27th October 1923 and scored his first goal in claret and blue the following week in a 4-1 win over Birmingham at Upton Park. His second and final goal for the club came in front of 40,000 at Aston Villa, in a 1-1 draw on Christmas Day 1923. His last appearance for the Hammers was in a 1-0 FA Cup second round replay defeat at Leeds on 6th February 1924.

Having scored two goals in 11 appearances for West Ham United, Richardson decided to return to the Third Division South and signed for Swindon. He impressed during his two years at the Robins before signing for Reading, with whom he won the Third Division South title in 1926. His time at Elm Park saw him reach the FA Cup semi-finals. He left Reading in the summer of 1930 to return to Swindon and he had a short spell at Mansfield before retiring in 1931. Frank Richardson passed away at the age of 90 on 19th May 1987.


This Saturday’s referee is 49-year-old Graham Scott. The Oxfordshire-based official will be taking charge of only his second Premier League match involving the Hammers, his other appointment being our 3-1 win at Southampton in February this year.

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Scott was, however, the man in the middle for our 2-1 League Cup victory over Cheltenham in August 2013 and is pictured above sending off Callum McNaughton in the defender’s only Hammers appearance as the club were knocked out of the same competition by Aldershot in August 2011.

Possible line-ups

Stoke, who have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last seven games, will be without Bruno Martins Indi, Kurt Zouma, Stephen Ireland and Jese, while former Hammer Glen Johnson is very doubtful. Saido Berahino is yet to score for Stoke since signing in January – his run without a goal stretches back to 27th February 2016, when he scored for West Brom in a 3-2 win over Crystal Palace.

For West Ham United, Sam Byram, Jose Fonte and Edimilson Fernandes are on the injured list, while Winston Reid is suspended. Cheikhou Kouyate may be fit enough to return. The Hammers are winless in their last eight league meetings against Stoke.

Possible Stoke City XI: Butland; Cameron, Shawcross, Wimmer, Pieters; Shaqiri, Allen, Fletcher, Sobhi; Crouch, Diouf.

Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Zabaleta, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku; Noble, Obiang, Lanzini; Antonio, Arnautovic.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

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