Match Thread

Match Thread: West Ham v Leicester City

West Ham v Leicester City
FA Premier League
London Stadium
KO 3pm
TV: None

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

Opposition Q & A

Opposition Q&A with Leicester City

After a much stronger West Ham performance against Manchester United last weekend, this Saturday sees us welcoming Leicester City to the London Stadium. Coming off the back of a defeat they will be hoping for a good result against us to maintain their current position of seventh. Ahead of the game I spoke to Chris Forryan of online fanzine leicestertilidie to garner his thoughts on the season, the game, etc.
Hi Chris, Leicester have been a bit like West Ham in having 3 or 4 managers in the past 4 years. Were you one of those who thought Claude Puel’s time was up? Early days yet, but how is Brendan Rodgers standing up to comparison with him and previous incumbents?
Regarding Puel: I was sceptical when he was appointed, and he had the poisoned chalice of letting some of the title winners and big earners leave whilst bringing through our excellent youth prospects. That said it is hard to rebuild a house when the current one is crumbling around you and at times the team was. Results overall were not good enough and he never won over the fans. I was surprised he stayed as long as he did, a couple of good wins over Man City & Chelsea at Christmas keeping him in the job a bit longer. Too early to judge Rodgers at the moment to be fair.

As the season wraps up Leicester sit ‘best of the rest’, but you’ve got a hard run in, do you think you’ll stay in 7th place? Are you satisfied with that, or do you think that as recent champions you should be closer to the top 4?

That was a one off season, but we have struggled to follow up that success. Top 4 is out of the question when you look at the clubs that occupy those positions normally. With a couple of the big boys normally struggling each season a top 6 should be our aim. If you ask will we finish top 7 this season? No we have a tough run in and I think it would be too soon. Let Rodgers have a full pre-season and look to aim for that 2019/20.

How do you think Manuel Pelligrini is doing on his return to the Premier League with West Ham?
Surprised me when he went to West Ham to be fair, but then I was when Rodgers joined us. Always interesting to see how Managers that win things with clubs with ‘money’ like MCFC actually manage with less financially backed clubs. After a poor start he seems to have got you improving and next season will be the real test

Where will West Ham finish the season?
Top 10 might just be beyond you this season, but you should be in the group just behind this.

You’ve had a few players come into your team since you won the league who have been your best and worst recent purchases? Can any of them replace Rihad Mahrez and N’golo Kante?
Gray flatters to deceive in the Mahrez mould but if we can keep hold of Youri Tielemans after his loan expires he could prove to be better than Mahrez. When Ndidi is on form he looks as good as any we have had to replace Kante. And he has seen off European heavyweights Iborra & Silva to be first choice in that position.

Gary Lineker or Jamie Vardy?
Jamie Vardy. Lineker is a hero to LCFC fans but he was a tap in from inside the box player. We all know what Vardy can do from anywhere in the opposition’s half.

Who is going to get you vote for player of the season this year, and who has also been in the running?
Ricardo Pereira is leading the poll on the LTID website atm and I must agree with that. Now he has settled into one position of attacking Right back (rather than switching every game between RB & RM) he has made that position his own.
Ndidi is good and had Marc Albrighton not got himself injured and than there is Youri Tielemans, had he been here all season he would have probably walked it.

Who has not merited their place in the Leicester City squad?
Kelechi Iheanachi. Lets face it you or me could score goals if we played in that Man City team. He looks lazy and uninterested and has one season to prove himself under Rodgers if he is lucky, or he will go. If we sign another striker he will fall further down the pecking order anyway.

Which West Ham player if any, would you like to see lining up for Leicester?
Can we have Declan Rice please.

Yes Declan is proving to be very popular! How will Leicester line up against West Ham on Saturday? Team/Line up?
I would imagine the same as Newcastle last Friday night. Newcastle came and did a job on us, they all have a point to prove.

Are you confident you can beat us this weekend? Prediction for the score?
You can’t tell with Leicester this season, so no I’m not. We are both coming off defeats, but will go for a 2-1 Leicester Victory.

Well many thanks to Chris for his time. I think that despite having a few players missing, we will build on last week’s performance and get back to winning ways. I’m going to reverse Chris’s prediction and go for 2 – 1 to the Mighty Claret and Blue. COYI!

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Leicester

Blast from the past

22nd August 1953 – Frankie Laine was number one with ‘I Believe’, Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn were in UK cinemas in Roman Holiday and, two days after Len Hutton’s England cricket team had defeated Australia to win The Ashes for the first time in 19 years, the Hammers defeated the Foxes at Upton Park in front of 22,157 spectators.

25-year-old Cork-born centre-forward Fred Kearns (pictured) was the star of the show, scoring a hat-trick in a 4-1 win for the Irons. Outside-left Jimmy Andrews was also on the scoresheet for the Hammers, while an Arthur Rowley penalty was all the visitors could muster in consolation.

These would be Kearns’ last goals for the club – the likeable Irishman had signed from Shamrock Rovers as a full-back but found brief fame and international recognition (he won one cap in 1954 against Luxembourg) when switched to centre-forward. He had made his Hammers debut on 8th October 1949 in a 1-1 home draw with Chesterfield and scored 16 goals in 48 appearances in the claret and blue, making his final appearance in a 2-1 home win over Doncaster on 20th March 1954 before transferring to Norwich in the summer of that year. He went on to play for Tonbridge, Margate and Deal Town, and was assistant manager of Ramsgate in 1980. Fred Kearns died in Margate, aged 59, on 7th January 1987.

West Ham would go on to finish in 13th place in the Second Division, while the Foxes recovered from this heavy early-season defeat to top the division and win promotion to Division One. Tommy Dixon, who didn’t feature in this victory, would be the Irons’ top goalscorer with 19 goals in 32 matches in 1953/54. Wolves won the First Division title and West Brom won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Ernie Gregory, George Wright, Noel Cantwell, Derek Parker, Malcolm Allison, Frank O’Farrell, Tommy Southren, Dave Sexton, Fred Kearns, John Dick, Jimmy Andrews.

Leicester City: John Anderson, Ron Jackson, Arthur Lever, Tommy Dunne, Matt Gillies, Jimmy Baldwin, Mal Griffiths, Arthur Rowley, Derek Hines, Johnny Morris, Tommy Dryburgh.

Club Connections

Players who have represented both the Hammers and the Foxes include:

Goalkeepers: George Hebden, Colin Mackleworth.

Defenders: Gary Charles, Chris Powell, Dickie Pudan, Rufus Brevett, Paul Konchesky, Dai Jones, Matthew Upson, Clive Clarke, Billy Oakes, Fred Milnes, John Paintsil.

Midfielders: Andy Impey, Shaun Newton, Nolberto Solano, Franz Carr, Sid Bishop.

Strikers: David Connolly, Albert Carnelly, Brian Deane, Keith Robson, David Speedie, Bertie Lyon, Paul Kitson, Norman Proctor, Les Ferdinand, David Kelly, Tony Cottee, Jimmy Quinn.

Frank O’Farrell, Jimmy Bloomfield and Martin Allen have played for the Hammers and managed the Foxes.

Today’s focus is on a striker who played for Leicester City before a loan spell at West Ham United later in his career. Mike Newell was born in Liverpool on the 27th January 1965 and started his professional career at Crewe in 1982. He signed for Third Division Wigan in October 1983 and played in the 1985 Football League Trophy Final before joining David Pleat’s top flight Luton in January 1986. He played four times for England Under-21s before dropping down to the Second Division to sign for Leicester in September 1987 for a club record fee of £350,000. The 22-year-old Newell scored on his debut in a 4-1 win over Oldham at Filbert Street on 16th September 1987 and went on to notch four goals in his first five Foxes matches.

Managed by his former Wigan manager Bryan Hamilton, the Foxes had been relegated the previous season and were struggling in the early stages of the 1987/88 campaign when Hamilton was replaced by another of Newell’s old bosses, David Pleat, in December 1987. Newell was sent off twice in 1987/88 but scored 11 goals in 44 games as the Foxes finished 13th. There was an improvement in performances and results but Leicester lacked the consistency to maintain a promotion push and, after a total of 26 goals in 96 matches, Newell returned to the top flight in a £1.1m move to Everton in June 1989. He had been Leicester’s top scorer in both of his seasons at Filbert Street and scored in his final game for the club, in a 2-2 draw at Sunderland on 13th May 1989 as the Foxes finished 15th in the Second Division.

Newell played alongside Tony Cottee during his time at Goodison Park and was a runner-up in the Full Members’ Cup in 1991. He moved to Kenny Dalglish’s Blackburn in November 1991 and scored the winning goal in the Play-Off Final against former club Leicester to send Rovers into the inaugural Premier League. He stayed at Blackburn for five seasons, finishing fourth and second in the Premier League, before winning the Premier League title in 1995. He scored a nine-minute hat-trick in a Champions League fixture against Rosenborg.

The 31-year-old Newell left Blackburn to join David Sullivan, David Gold and Karren Brady at Birmingham in the summer of 1996. The drop into the First Division proved unsuccessful and Harry Redknapp brought him to West Ham on loan during a striker crisis in December 1996, with Florin Raducioiu out of favour and Iain Dowie and Steve Jones out of form. Newell made his debut in a 3-1 defeat at Chelsea on 21st December 1996 and appeared in his only Hammers victory a week later, a 2-0 home win over Sunderland. He failed to score in his seven appearances in claret and blue and made his final appearance for the Irons in a 2-1 defeat at former club Blackburn on 1st February 1997, a game which saw Rio Ferdinand score his first senior goal. Redknapp moved to bring in double act John Hartson and Paul Kitson, while Newell joined Bradford in another loan move the following month.

Newell left Birmingham permanently later in 1997, moving north of the border to join Aberdeen. He returned to first club Crewe in 1999 but his stay was shortlived before transferring to Doncaster later that year. He finished his playing career with Blackpool in 2001. Newell has since managed Hartlepool (with whom he won promotion from Division Three in 2003), Luton (winning League One in 2005) and Grimsby. He has also worked at Accrington and Saudi Arabian side Al-Shabab. Now 54, Newell is currently assistant manager to Bryan Hughes at Wrexham – the Dragons are currently fourth in the National League as they seek a return to the Football League.


Saturday’s referee will be Lee Probert, who will take on his first West Ham appointment since our goalless draw at Stoke in April 2017; his previous match in charge of the Hammers had been our 3-0 win at Tottenham in October 2013. He also refereed our 3-2 home defeat to Liverpool in December 2012, awarding the Hammers a penalty for a Joe Allen handball.

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Probert also took charge of our 1-0 home victory over Swansea in February 2013 and our 2-2 home draw with Manchester United in April 2013, when he allowed Robin van Persie’s late equaliser to stand despite the Dutchman being in an offside position. Probert sent off Matt Taylor for a push on Billy Sharp in the aftermath of awarding the Hammers a penalty in a 1-1 home draw with Southampton in February 2012. The 46-year-old Wiltshire-based official also issued a red card to Tamir Cohen in our 2-1 home defeat to Bolton in March 2010.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United have lost only three of their last 31 home matches against Leicester stretching back to 1967, with 21 victories and seven draws against the Foxes in that time. Manuel Pellegrini will be without Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Manuel Lanzini, Samir Nasri, Andriy Yarmolenko and Andy Carroll. Marko Arnautovic is available, while late checks will be given to Aaron Cresswell, Jack Wilshere and Chicharito. Robert Snodgrass has been given a one-match ban but, like Wilfried Zaha earlier in the season, this does not come into effect while the player and club consider their right to appeal.

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers will be without Daniel Amartey. The Foxes are unbeaten in their last three visits to east London.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Zabaleta, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice; Antonio, Noble, Snodgrass, Anderson; Arnautovic.

Possible Leicester City XI: Schmeichel; Pereira, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell; Ndidi; Gray, Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

Nigel Kahn’s Column

Carpet Bagging Brady

Saturday, at last, sees the result of a long campaign by the club to improve the stadium, to make it look & feel more like the home the fans deserved when the move was first planned way back in 2010.

Karren Brady, at last, will be able to write in her Sun column the wonderful thing she has finally achieved and has delivered on her promise – a home fit for heroes.

I can feel the excitement bubbling away in you all, and how will we all feel when we finally lay our eyes on that most wondrous of changes, the Claret Carpet.

‘F*****G underwhelmed’ will be my response. Should we really be that bothered about it? Does it really improve anything? Not for me it doesn’t.

It is just a different carpet. But how did we get to this point and why should actually we be questioning Brady of Kensington on the mess in the first place. So sit back and let us all take a trip back into mists of time and the sorry saga of the London stadium carpet.

os green carpet cgi

2013 SAB meeting, Boleyn ground

The club makes a presentation to the SAB of their new Olympic stadium bid plans, with images of the ground showing the (non) retractable seating pushed forward with the football pitch outlined. In between the seating and the pitch was to be a green cover over the track which would serve two purposes.

1. To hide the fact the seating didn’t cover the tracking but just moved up to it
2. It was to be green so to convince the eye that the distance between seats and pitch wasn’t as bad as the moaners were saying, so it would look seamless.

OK, they probably weren’t the two examples the club would have used but let’s face it, they are both correct, but it is not like the club were ever going to admit the above was true.

Now the club from day one wanted green carpet and that’s what they got, & remember that was planned way before any company was chosen to manage the stadium or pick up the bill. The club wanted green carpet & as Karren was in charge of the move KAREN BRADY WANTED GREEN CARPET. [No need to shout, Nigel – ed]

So let’s jump forward to 2017, and after a not so great start to season two in the new place Slaven Bilic came out after the Brighton defeat and said…

It is impossible to bring the crowd closer but we can improve things by changing the perspective. Imagine you are a player, you are running back to defend or you are joining the attack – you look up and it is not easy, because everything is green ahead of you, to appreciate exactly where is the end of the pitch and that can psychologically affect your willingness to do it.

Now why I find that strange is because if you’re a professional player it’s surely up to you to know where the pitch starts and stops, or basically, where the white lines are.
The linesman will not be running up and down on a different floor, they will be running up the side of the touchline, not on the pitch but off it, so how does changing the surrounding help when you will still have about 6ft of grass for the linesmen to run around on?

Not only that but as both sides have to use the same pitch, why is it being used as an excuse by the manager of the team that plays every other game on it & not the visitor who gets too confused? By it just once.

Billic also added though…

We have done everything we can to receive permission to do this, especially our vice-chairman Karren Brady.

He then praises the work Brady has been doing in trying to get this changed. OH, you mean the same Karen Brady WHO WANTED GREEN CARPET, in 2013. As excuses for losing a football pitch go, that is pitiful, but then in his praise of Brady does that allude to something else.

The club was under pressure not only because of the poor start but many fans were not happy with the stadium and were being vocal about it.


Bear with me here but I have a what if… what if Karren Brady had asked Billic to say that to so she could use it to put leverage on LS185, stadium controllers, in her bid to try to appease the fans and West Hammify the stadium a bit more? I know that sounds far fetched and perhaps my utter distrust of the woman means if she claimed West Ham wore claret & blue, I’d want to double check that fact.

Poor old Slav, he didn’t last much longer, sacked after losing to Liverpool 4-1 though how losing to Liverpool 4-1 is deemed worse than losing to Brighton at home 3-0 I’m not sure, but anyway that’s not part of this story.

The stadium owners at first disagreed, as they were in dispute with West Ham over many things. Then the owners agreed but only if the carpet was dark blue to match London Stadium’s own brand colour. Surely for the sake of the players’ eyesight and the fact the green carpet was detrimental to their playing ability KB would agree.

Oh no, she said, cant have dark blue, that’s Tottenham’s colour. Now while she may be right on that, surely if it saved the club paying, as blue would have done, & if it benefitted the team’s performance as the green carpet was so detrimental they claimed, & it could have been claimed it was the Thames Ironworks 1st colour, (missed a marketing trick there KB) then they would have agreed. But no, she didn’t agree.

Perhaps if we had had Blue carpet then we might not have lost those goals to Burnley that caused the fans to demonstrate and show the owners what they really thought of them.

Mmmm, thank god she didn’t go for the blue then.

We can now jump forward to this year, & West Ham successfully win their case against the stadium owners in that the stadium wasn’t exactly what they wanted (or something like that) and as crowning glory the LLDC, who have kicked out LS185 and taken over the stadium, have agreed to allow Karren her Claret Carpet, and was she happy. She said…

This is wonderful and long-awaited news for the football club and our supporters. In the aftermath of the expert determination, myself and the Board worked extremely hard to progress this because we knew how important it was to our fans. London Stadium is globally recognised as the home of West Ham United, and therefore it is only right that our traditional club colours are in prominent and key areas of the playing arena.

So now a carpet that KAREN BRADY WANTED GREEN in 2013 will be claret and she has the cheek to extoll how hard she had worked. Surely if the green carpet had been a contributing factor to the players not performing well enough at home in securing us the victories we should have got, then she shouldn’t be back slapped, but sacked. After all, she signed off on the deal and was paid a bonus of £1 million for doing that & part of that deal was the green carpet. But then I’m drawn to my conspiracy theory because if that was a clever ruse used by KB to put leverage on the owners to get her the claret carpet, she could then use that as an example of the board working hard to making progress on the West Hamification of the stadium.

It’s no JFK moment that’s for sure, but it certainly made me think.

There is a rule of thumb I use with West Ham and the off-field board shenanigans we see: THE TRUTH IS ALWAYS STRANGER THAN THE FICTION.

The GoatyGav Column

Memorable Semi-Final Sees West Ham Women Win Through To Wembley

Suddenly realising that I didn’t have any cash in the house I jumped in the motor to try and get to the nearest cashpoint. Within two hundred yards I experienced gridlock and did an about turn after which I came face to face with, what I suspect, was the Reading team coach around a corner. Behind the coach were two 17 seater West Ham supporter mini-busses full to the brim with OAP West Ham fans who smiled as I, safely and slowly, mounted the pavement beside them to get around and out towards the 2nd nearest Tesco Express. Following a quick visit to the cash dispenser I headed away from the numbers, using local route knowledge and got back without further incident.

After a telling off for forgetting to buy the milk I hot-footed it out of the door and walked the 10 minutes to Adams Park at a brisk pace. The first steward I spoke to sent me to the home end where I was asked, by another steward, Alan, who I know personally, to go back if I wanted to pay by cash. On the way up I got chatting to a father and son who’d come from Leeds to see the game. They asked me if I’d travelled far to which I said “Oh yeah – the ten minute walk was murder.” Walking back I saw the elderly fans I’d seen on the mini-busses earlier – all of whom smiled at one of their own again. After a short time queuing at the Home end turnstile I paid my £7 and went back up towards the Away end where all the West Ham fans were located. I started to get a feel for Women’s football when I was stopped by the officials manning the retractable player ‘tunnel’ and found myself standing right next to the players as they entered the pitch.

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When I got up to the West Ham end I couldn’t find a seat and stood by the barrier to the pitch to watch the match. After a relatively slow start, with Hendrix rising imperiously to win two early headers while looking very solid, I saw the first of West Ham’s attacks. It was a nice move down the left hand side with the impressive Claire Rafferty playing a great ball, at the end of it, in to Kiernan. The move didn’t result in anything but it did show signs of promise. With twelve minutes on the clock Rafferty showed the defensive side of her full-back role with a brilliantly timed, chance saving, tackle that any defender would have been proud of.

Despite Reading playing more balls in behind the defence the off-side trap was working well – catching our opponents out three times in the first eight minutes of the game with further instances throughout the first half. The West Ham faithful were in good voice as much of the decent play was coming down the left. In the fifteenth minute one such attack saw Kiernan control well and turn out towards the touchline but instead of playing a give and go with Rafferty she took the defence on herself and lost out to the robust Reading back line. It was at this stage that I, along with others, started to notice some inconsistencies in refereeing decisions with tackles from our ladies being punished with free kicks compared to similar tackles being let go for Reading. More on that later.

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Overall I’d say we had the slight better of it up to twenty minutes despite a silly free kick being given away by Gilly Flaherty on our right after eighteen. That said Anna Moorhouse wasn’t troubled with anything that came in to the box. Either she cleared, the ball was over hit by Reading or Brooke Hendrix cleared her lines. With all the decent stuff we saw our women play I felt that Alisha Lehmann wasn’t seeing enough of the ball but as the half went on Katie Longhurst, who was among our best on the day, started to play some terrific football on the deck as she put in a great shift. Late in the half West Ham won a corner from which Lehmann broke and delivered a great ball but nothing came of it. Last action to speak of in the first half saw Gilly Flaherty get her head on a corner which went wide.

I took a stroll in search of a match programme. All sold out in our section I went back towards the Reading end but was held at a barrier that had appeared between the two sets of fans. After a quick “alright” exchanged with Ian ‘Moose’ Abrahams, as he was heading in the opposite direction towards our fans, I took advantage and sneaked past the stewards. Sadly the programmes were also sold out at the Reading end too but thankfully I managed to get back in with our fans as the, overfilled, West Ham section was being allowed free access to again.

I got chatting to Martin from Andover and his charming family who’d travelled up for the match. Martin, many other fans around us and I were convinced that the Ref was a Reading fan but the early stages of the second half appeared to suggest he was attempting to ‘balance out’ some of the perceived bias of the first half. Then the Reading goal. All but left completely unattended Rachel Furness headed in to the corner. A disappointing goal as, similar to the previous day at Old Stretford, we conceded against the run of play. The West Ham girls, however, continued to give their all in front of an encouraging Hammers support. The West Ham faithful’s encouragement was rewarded shortly after when Lehmann found herself in space and slotted home. Many of us commented that we thought the keeper would get to the ball to make the save but it, thankfully, ended up in the back of the net to put us level.

Reading got a hold of it in the following dozen or so minutes and were rewarded with a penalty on sixty eight. We all feared the worst when the vastly experienced Fara Williams stepped up but her strike hit the post and rebounded out to be cleared. What a relief! Williams had a guilt edged chance later that we, once again, expected to see end up in the back of the net but it wasn’t to be her day as the chance was missed to re-instate Reading’s lead.

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West Ham finished the stronger, with Longhurst, Rafferty and Lehmann combining well down the left, despite a couple of nervy moments as well as continued poor delivery from Reading. Anna Moorhouse was taken out in the seventy fifth minute which was one of two long stoppages that led to six minutes being added on to the ninety. Before normal time finished an impressive Brianna Visalli, who’d replaced Lucienne Reichardt early in the second half, had a great chance from a wide position but the ball sailed past the post on it’s way out. Interestingly Reading previously had a similar chance that ended in the same way but were awarded a corner – one of the strangest decisions I’ve seen at Adams park since an offside was given directly from a throw in two seasons ago in a game against Morecombe. Frankly it was one of an impressive collection of poor decisions from the Ref who had a bad day at the office.

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The second period of extra time was a bit of a blur from which I remember Visalli being pulled down for a free kick between 20-25 yards out which was blasted way over the bar. So penalties it was. Reading’s first was neatly dispatched by Gemma Davidson as was ours by our own number nine Jane Ross. Rakel Honnudottir blasted over before Viaslli had hers saved leaving it at one each. Then a horrible slip and miss was followed up neatly by Adrianna Leon, who also had a good game, to put us two – one up. Reading then drew level before the, otherwise, excellent Longhurst put one over the bar for us to make it two each after four taken. A post and in preceded Gilly Flaherty’s spot kick which found the back of the net despite a keeper’s hand to it before Moorhouse stopped a low shot to set up Cho So-Hyun’s blasted winner in to the top left corner.

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Overall I was struck by the accessibility of the players who celebrated WITH the fans – something I’ve not experienced in quite some time. Katie Longhurst came over to us and gave such a genuine, heart felt, “Thank you SO much for your support,” with her eyes welling up with joy and pride – such was her emotion at reaching the final. Credit to Jack Sullivan who took a great deal of time with young fans after his half time interview as well. On my way out I got to give my personal congratulations on a great match to Brooke Hendrix which she acknowledged with a thank you back.

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It was a truly memorable occasion that will live long. I hope that the club can do something to help us get to Wembley after the Southampton game at home because I’d love to be there to shout the ladies on again. Big congrats to the team, Matt Beard and his assistants for their, well deserved, booking of their place in the final.

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Have a great week all.


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