Dan Coker's Match Preview
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!