Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Burnley

Blast from the past

In today’s preview, we travel back to 28th November 2009: The X Factor Finalists 2009 were number one with ‘You Are Not Alone’, The Twilight Saga: New Moon topped the UK box office and West Ham United beat Burnley 5-3 at Upton Park.

After Mexican striker Guillermo Franco had hit the crossbar with an 11th-minute header, Gianfranco Zola’s Hammers took the lead in the 18th minute when Scott Parker’s quick free-kick sent Jack Collison clear and the young midfielder tucked the ball away beyond Brian Jensen. The Hammers doubled their advantage 15 minutes later when Junior Stanislas’ shot was saved by Jensen but the Academy graduate settled himself to score from a tight angle. Jonathan Spector was felled in the penalty area two minutes before half-time with Carlton Cole (pictured below) converting the resultant spot-kick.

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The Hammers started the second half as they’d finished the first, Franco heading beyond Jensen from a Stanislas free-kick six minutes after the interval. A second penalty was won and converted by Chilean forward Luis Jimenez five minutes after he’d entered the fray as a 59th-minute substitute to give the Irons a 5-0 lead with just over an hour gone. Owen Coyle’s Clarets ensured West Ham would not keep a first home clean sheet of the season when Steven Fletcher tapped home Chris Eagles’ cross on 68 minutes and the duo combined again six minutes later for Fletcher to double his tally. Visiting defender Steven Caldwell was sent off in the dying minutes for a professional foul on Hammers substitute, and future Burnley player, Zavon Hines before Eagles had the last word, tucking home former Hammer Tyrone Mears’ cut-back to make the final score 5-3. The action from this match can be seen in my video below.

The victory was only the Hammers’ third league win of the season but they would not win again until Boxing Day. Zola’s West Ham would go on to finish 17th in a 2009/10 campaign that saw Scott Parker win the second of his three Hammer of the Year awards with Alessandro Diamanti runner-up. Burnley finished five points and one place below the Irons and were relegated alongside Hull and Portsmouth. Chelsea won a Premier League and FA Cup Double.

West Ham United: Rob Green, Jonathan Spector, Danny Gabbidon, Manuel Da Costa, Herita Ilunga, Jack Collison (Julien Faubert), Scott Parker, Radoslav Kovac, Junior Stanislas, Guillermo Franco (Luis Jimenez), Carlton Cole (Zavon Hines).

Burnley: Brian Jensen, Tyrone Mears, Clarke Carlisle, Steven Caldwell, Stephen Jordan (Christian Kalvenes), Robbie Blake (David Nugent), Andre Bikey, Graham Alexander (Kevin McDonald), Chris Eagles, Steven Fletcher, Wade Elliott.

Club Connections

A small collection of players have turned out for the Hammers and the Clarets. They include:

Goalkeepers: Tommy Hampson, Herman Conway and Frank Birchenough.

Defenders: Tyrone Mears, Joe Gallagher, Tommy Dunn, Jack Tresadern, Jon Harley and Mitchell Thomas.

Midfielders: Junior Stanislas, Reg Attwell, Matt Taylor and Luke Chadwick.

Strikers: Alan Taylor, Bill Jenkinson, Sam Jennings, Walter Pollard, Ian Wright, Ian Moore and Zavon Hines.

John Bond played for the Hammers and managed the Clarets.

Today’s focus, though, falls on a player who spent a season at Upton Park before appearing for Burnley a decade later. David Unsworth was born in Chorley, Lancashire on 16th October 1973 and began his career at Everton. He won the FA Cup with the Toffees in 1995 and also earned a full England cap.

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The 23-year-old Unsworth joined West Ham United in August 1997 in a swap deal with Academy product Danny Williamson. He made his debut, ironically, against the club he’d just left in a 2-1 Hammers defeat at Goodison Park, becoming the first ever Hammer to have a surname beginning with the letter ‘U’ (only Matthew Upson has since joined Unsworth in West Ham’s ‘U’ club). He played on the left side of three central defenders under Harry Redknapp, often alongside Rio Ferdinand and fellow new signing Ian Pearce as the Irons progressed from strugglers the previous season to an exciting, upwardly-mobile outfit also boasting Eyal Berkovic and John Hartson. Unsworth scored his first goal in claret and blue in a 4-1 home victory over Crystal Palace on 3rd December 1997. His second and final goal for the club was the winner in a 2-1 triumph over Chelsea on 14th March 1998. The 6’1 defender also converted spot-kicks in the Hammers’ FA Cup penalty shoot-outs at Blackburn in the fifth round replay and in the quarter-final replay home defeat to Arsenal. Unsworth was sent off in his penultimate match for the Hammers, a 3-3 draw at Crystal Palace on 5th May 1998. His final game in claret and blue was the 4-3 home win over Leicester on the final day of the season five days later. Unsworth had helped West Ham to an eighth-placed finish in 1997/98, their highest end-of-season standing since 1985/86. He made 41 appearances for the club, scoring two goals – both of these strikes can be seen in my video below.

With his family failing to settle in London, Unsworth moved to Aston Villa for £3m in the summer of 1998 – however, this transpired to not be close enough to the North West and Unsworth returned to Everton without even playing a competitive game for Villa. Unsworth spent six years back at Goodison Park before being released by David Moyes in 2004 – the defender teamed up with his former Hammers boss Redknapp at Portsmouth. Unsworth spent the second half of the 2004/05 season on loan at Ipswich after Redknapp’s departure from Fratton Park. A permanent move to Championship side Sheffield United followed in the summer of 2005 – he helped the Blades to promotion the following season but was released halfway through their 2006/07 Premier League campaign. Unsworth signed for Wigan in January 2007, returning to Bramall Lane on the final day of the season to convert the penalty which kept the Latics up and relegated the Blades.

It would prove to be Unsworth’s final game for Wigan and he returned to the Championship in August 2007, signing for Steve Cotterill’s Burnley at the age of 33. He made 31 appearances for the club, scoring his only goal in a 1-1 home draw with Leicester on 4th December 2007 by which time Owen Coyle had taken over as manager. Unsworth turned down the chance to stay with the Clarets at the end of the season and moved to Huddersfield with whom he ended his career in 2009.

After retiring, Unsworth joined Preston as Development Coach. He was promoted to First Team Coach following the departure of current Hammers assistant Alan Irvine, and appointed caretaker manager for a week in the winter of the 2010/11 season. Unsworth was again appointed caretaker manager in December 2011 but was dismissed on the appointment of new manager Graham Westley. In December 2012 Unsworth returned to former club Sheffield United as Head of Academy Coaching; he was named Assistant Manager to caretaker boss Chris Morgan in April 2013. He was appointed Assistant Manager of the Everton Under-21 team in September 2013, becoming manager of the team in 2014. He has had two spells in caretaker charge of the first team, most recently in the autumn of 2017.


Saturday’s referee will be Lee Mason from Greater Manchester. Mason refereed the Hammers once in 2016/17 – the 1-0 home win over Hull when he awarded the Hammers a match-winning penalty – but took charge of two West Ham matches the previous season, those being the 0-0 draw at Swansea in December 2015 and the 3-0 win at West Brom in April 2016. He also sent off Mark Noble at Birmingham in December 2009.

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Mason’s most recent games officiating the Hammers were both 3-2 defeats: at Southampton in August when he failed to send off Dusan Tadic but did give Marko Arnautovic a red card, before awarding the Saints a match-winning penalty in added time; and against Newcastle at home in December when he awarded the Hammers a penalty only for Andre Ayew’s effort to be saved. He refereed three Premier League matches involving the Hammers in 2014/15 – the 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa, the 1-0 home win over Sunderland and the 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford when he sent off Wayne Rooney, denied the Hammers a penalty when Morgan Amalfitano’s cross struck Radamel Falcao’s arm and disallowed Kevin Nolan’s last-minute strike for a marginal offside. Mason was also the man in the middle for our 1-0 FA Cup win at Bristol City in January 2015. He also officiated in four of our games in 2013/14, sending off two of our players (Mark Noble against Everton and James Tomkins at Cardiff) and disallowing a perfectly good Stewart Downing equaliser at Crystal Palace.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United’s squad is again struggling with injuries – Sam Byram and Winston Reid join Edimilson Fernandes, Pedro Obiang and Andy Carroll in the treatment room, while Arthur Masuaku sits out the final match of his six-game suspension. Angelo Ogbonna should return but James Collins is a doubt.

Burnley are without Tom Heaton, Robbie Brady, Steven Defour, Scott Arfield and Jonathan Walters. The Clarets are without a win in their last eight away games in all competitions, a run stretching back to 29th November.

Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Zabaleta, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Antonio; Kouyate, Noble, Lanzini; Arnautovic, Chicharito.

Possible Burnley XI: Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward; Lennon, Cork, Hendrick, Gudmundsson; Barnes, Wood.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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The Blind Hammer Column

In Defence Of Respect

Blind Hammer calls for an end to yob culture.

Yet again I was more upset by the behaviour of some West Ham supporters rather than the grisly team performance last weekend. For the second time in recent weeks a self-appointed mob of supporters thought it was acceptable, even desirable to ambush and aggressively intimidate an 81 year old man, after he had tried to depart an away game in which the team he supported had disappointed. These are the bald facts. The fact that this81 year life long supporter is also Joint Chair of West Ham does not detract from this unpleasant truth. It is never acceptable that behaviour of this kind should be tolerated or condoned. I have my own constructive criticisms of Board decisions in relation to West Ham. In more general political philosophy I am diametrically opposed to them. However I would never dream of promoting these criticisms during this current climate of visceral hatred. This level of sheer vitriol is completely over the top.

What we are witnessing here is the worrying collapse of basic human decency and respect. The anonymous aggression of keyboard warriors who hurl their expletives driven complaints into the electronic void is fuelling something darker here. The literally irresponsible aggression, with no consequences for the people launching these social media onslaughts, has very unfortunate real world consequences for Gold in particular. The climate of abuse finds him surrounded and hounded by yobs who feel vindicated in their bullying. So far they have confined themselves to bullying and intimidation. I fear much worse if the situation continues to deteriorate.

For the people feeling most loathing towards gold and Sullivan this will, I realise, cut no ice. There are cohorts of people who will never forgive the move from the Boleyn and will probably till their dying day want to punish them for this. What I cannot, and never will support is the way this hatred leads to degeneration from rational debate into vile abuse. This starts with people, including contributors on this site making sneering and lazy name calling attacks rather than relying on any intelligent argument. This includes describing Gold and Sullivan variously as “Spivs”, “Barrow Boys” and making what are supposedly unflattering references to their being more at home in “Romford market”.

I am staggered that it is West Ham supporters making [personal attacks of this kind. West Ham are not Chelsea. They are not a club dominated by arrogant upper class ex-Public Schoolboys who think it is frightfully funny to sneer at people with working class backgrounds. These Chelsea types will snigger if somebody does not have the right BBC, Eton or Harrow accent. We should have no toleration for this Upper class superciliousness. I have no issue with people with upper class accents supporting West Ham but I will argue forever with the view that people with privileged backgrounds are worth any more than any of the rest of us just because of their privilege or accent.

West Ham is a club steeped in the working class traditions of the east End. Our working class roots should be a point not of shame but of pride. . We should certainly never collude with snorting upper class condescendtion towards those ““vulgar East End” types. . . What is wrong with Romford market anyway? What is wrong with having working class origins and then achieving success in life? Attacking Gold and Sullivan on the basis of their accents or allegedly working class origins is lazy unreasoned prejudice.

Surprisingly the people most vociferous in launching these personal attacks do not extend this character assassination to the potential alternative sources of investment they so desperately crave. Instead, seduced by the lure of alternative international billionaire wealth, all critical perspective melts away and disappears. Why anybody should think that a Russian Oligarch, or a Chinese Billionaire, or an Arab royal, all of whom will almost certainly built their wealth on the cruellest and vicious human rights abuses, should have any more of a genuine claim to West Ham identity and support is a mystery to me. Yet these critics are frantic to invite these people into our club at any cost. I do not share their enthusiasm. The sex industry money of Gold and Sullivan is, comparatively, far cleaner than the horrific accounts of abuse which underlies the international billionaire wealth that other clubs are so happy to sell their souls for.

So it starts with this lazy prejudiced and sneering name calling. It then degenerates into more vile social media abuse where they are condemned for being “c***its”, Bas***d” and other equally unsavoury epithets. It ends with people feeling vindicated in aggressively confronting an 81 year old man in his car or car park. They are objects for unreasoned abuse. Gold gets spleen vented at him for decisions over which he has no control, including the ludicrous Wigan carpark condemnation for his alleged failure to “pick” Sakho for the game.

This abuse has to stop. Despite what anybody says it weakens our club and brings us into disrepute. My own view is that all efforts this season should now focus on supporting the club from the trapdoor of relegation. We should debate rationally about the issues at the times when they can be resolved. I disagreed with January Transfer policy, especially selling Ayew to a relegation rival. Others may still want to futilely complain about leaving Upton Park. However there is absolutely no mileage in complaining about these issues now. Now in the face of adversity it is time for respect to re-emerge and create the United positivity that this club needs to survive. There is actually much in the working class traditions of the east End that we can be proud of. Solidarity and hard work are values that West Ham in particular will need in the weeks ahead. There was a time I was proud of the traditions of loyal West Ham support in the face of difficulty. I fervently hope that it is this finer tradition which wins out in the weeks ahead.

David Griffith

Guest Post

Not the best away day

Guest post by Voice of Reason

Saturday 3rd March – Swansea away

In attendance: BSB, VoR, The OriginalRuss, Barney Magrew. Tickets also purchased for Irons 1959 and Safehands.

For 24 hours before the game we endured a logistical nightmare! Irons 1959 had been on a City Break to Venice with his sister who lives in Wales and wanted to go to the game, but we couldn’t get a ticket for her. They were coming back to Bristol Airport on the Friday and we arranged to pick Irons up from his sister’s house near Cardiff on the way to Swansea. All sorted. Safehands had to pull out on Friday, due to forgetting about the heats of the World’s Strongest Man, so we arranged to only take one car. BSB and me would pick up Russ, we would pick up Barney near Chippenham, then Irons and everything is hunky dory. Still sorted. But then Irons and his sister got snowed in at Venice and all hell broke out in our Administration Offices. Numerous texts and emails went back and forth between BSB and Irons before we found out that Irons and Ms Irons were flying back into Gatwick late Friday night and we would be contacted with an update asap. Then Iron’s battery on his phone went flat. He had packed the charger in his sister’s suitcase so that was him out of immediate contact. He used to be a teacher you know. Amazing. Still with me?

I heard nothing before I went to bed and, when I rose from my pit, I luckily checked my emails (which I don’t normally do at that time of the morning) to find one from Irons ordering me to pick his sister up from his house in Ilford at 6.45am and give her a lift home. Failure to do this would result in detention and being banned from games for the rest of the term. Irons had decided that he was not going to the game now as he was too tired. This left us with 2 spare tickets and Iron’s sister didn’t now want one.
From Iron’s house to BSB’s with a lady and a large suitcase on board (I almost wrote a large lady and a suitcase there which really would get me into trouble!), transfer into the BSBmobile, off around the M25 to pick up Russ, down the M4 to meet Barney, drop off Iron’s sister at Newport station so she could get a taxi (I’m not sure she wanted us to be seen loitering around her gaff) and then along to Swansea. So you see what we have to put up with?

Then, of course, it got worse. A shambles of a performance, resulting in a 4-1 loss and every ‘orrible ‘erbert turned up, despite the snow and travel warnings.

Much was made of David Gold being accosted by fans while he was getting back into his roller, but if it is any consolation to him, it was probably worse for us with what was around us in the stadium. They were not complaining about the board, they just lacked, err, a few basic social skills. Although I have to say that there was some world class pointing going on, the best of which came from some bloke in front of us who wanted a Swansea fan removed for “looking at him”. And you know what? That bloke looked at him more than once. Disgusting. A good drive home and thanks to Russ who did the majority of the driving and congratulations to Irons for having the good sense to give it all a miss.

VoR: 6 out of 10 for effort but could do better.

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Talking Point

WHUISA Statement on march

The West Ham United Independent Supporters Association (WHUISA) wishes to register its disappointment that the group has been unable to gain permission to hold a peaceful, lawful demonstration this Saturday, 10th March 2018.

Correspondence received today from Newham Council stated “it would be beneficial to all parties if we could postpone for a short period of time to give everyone time to consider a proposal which would be safe for participants, without substantial disruption to the road network and agreeable to stakeholders, landowners and those with responsibility for safety in the area.”

Since Thursday 1st March, the WHUISA committee has worked tirelessly with the authorities in order to comply with all proper regulations and procedures needed to hold a march. On behalf of the WHUISA committee, we would like to thank all those who have been involved with the efforts including the hundreds of new members who have joined us. The issue of a protest march will not be raised again until the WHUISA AGM later in the year, details of which will be sent to members.

Claims were also made that the group is affiliated with the Mayor of London’s office. This is untrue. WHUISA is a resolutely non-political, democratic, completely independent organisation, proudly affiliated to the FSF and will continue to work for the benefit of all West Ham United supporters and to hold the board to account.

We believe that this commitment to transparency is a fundamental requirement of WHUISA’s role as a voice of West Ham fans. All our work is done in consultation with our members so we hope if you are not already a member you will now join us now for just £1 (www.whuisa.org/join)

West Ham United Independent Supporters Association Committee – 6th March 2018


West Ham financial update

West Ham’s newly announced financial accounts show a record turnover and record profit but mostly due to the new TV deal which came in last season. The accounts published at companies house today show figures for last season up to 31st May 2017.

The main areas show:

O Turnover increase of 28.9% (£41.2m) from £142.1m to £183.3m

O TV income grew by 7% (£32.6m) from £86.7m to £119.3m

This is in line with many other Premier League clubs when the new Sky/BT deal came into effect last season. Most clubs have increased their turnover by a similar amount.

O  Ticket income grew by 6.3% from £26.9m to £28.6m

The modest increase might be a surprise to some but with 10,000 Under 16 season tickets for £99 and 8,000 Band 5 season tickets for £289 and prizes frozen the only way to increase revenue in this area is to increase ticket pricing which would not go down well with fans.

O Commercial and sponsorship including corporate hospitality sales were up by 35.7% from £19m to £25.8m

This area includes the corporate hospitality called Club London which increased to 3,200 members and better sponsorship deals in the new stadium.

O Retail and shop sales grew by 2% from £9.3m to £9.6m

Again a rather small increase but there are some mitigating factors. The last year in the Boleyn Ground saw record revenue from retail from dedicated merchandise the club shop currently lacks a car park and has limited footfall or passing trade outside of match days.

O The club published a gross profit of £64.4m but this reduced to a net profit of £43m after playing trading, taxation and interest.

While the profit is impressive the club remains relatively cash poor as many transactions are paid for upfront but accounted for (depreciated) over many years in the accounts. These include the £15m for the stadium (depreciated over 99 years, the club shop, office and Westhamification of the London Stadium (depreciated over 10 years) and many players 50% up front but depreciated over the length of the player’s contract.

O The accounts confirm the Boleyn Ground was sold for £38m.

West Ham had already received £10m up front in previous years so the balance of £28m was paid in July 2016 by the developers. This was used mostly pay off bank loans of £14.7m and London Stadium upfront fee of £15m.

O Wages increased by £10.4m from £84.6m to £95m which means wages account for 51.8% of turnover.

The highest paid director wages (believed to be West Ham Vice-Chairman Karren Brady) reduced her salary from £907,000 to £868,000.  In comparison, Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis was paid £2.65m plus a £1m bonus in 2016 despite not winning anything as a club so it could be argued her salary remains below the market rate. David Gold and David Sullivan did not draw a wage or claim any expenses.

O An update on West Ham loans:

External bank loans totalling £14.7m to shareholders CB Holding ehf (Icelandics) and (GC Co 102 Limited) David Sullivan were repaid on 15th July 2016 to make West Ham externally debt free of long-term non-share holder loans. Interest was charged at under 5%.

The club re-paid their £30m short-term loan to Media Rights and Funding secured against TV money on 14th July 2017. In August 2017 they took out two new short-term loans with Media Rights and Funding totalling £25m secured against the training grounds and Stadium lease to help with cash flow. These loans are due for repayment in July 2018.

The Share Holder loan balance has reduced from £49.2m to £45m in August 2016 after David Gold and David Sullivan were repaid £4.2m of their loans plus £2.2m in interest.

Interest on shareholder loans totalled £12.7m in May 2017 but £10m of this was later paid back to David Gold and David Sullivan on 18th August 2017. The interest on the remaining balance has reduced from 7% to 4% from 1st April 2017 with the shareholder loan balance due for repayment on 1st January 2020.

Shareholder Tripp Smith paid a £9.5m interest-free loan to West Ham in September 2017 after buying 10% of the shares from the Icelandic’s.

A full copy of the accounts can be found at:  

The club have published their own summary at https://www.whufc.com/news/club-accounts-published-for-2016-17

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