Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Sheff Utd v West Ham

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Sheffield United on Sunday is open HERE. Entries can be submitted until 12 noon on Sunday.

Blast from the past

7th March 1931: Oswald Mosley had set up his New Party (later to become the British Union of Fascists) six days previously, and Mikhail Gorbachev, Rupert Murdoch, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Norman Tebbit were all born during the course of the month. Meanwhile, West Ham United took on Sheffield United at Bramall Lane in front of 13,315.

Syd King’s Hammers went into the game on the back of five successive defeats, conceding 15 goals in those reverses. Third in the top flight shortly before Christmas 1930, West Ham had dropped to mid-table by the time of this game in early March 1931, a similar position to that occupied by their Yorkshire hosts. The Irons came away with maximum points though, claiming a 2-1 victory courtesy of goals from their two wingers, outside-right Tommy Yews (pictured below) and outside-left Jimmy Ruffell.

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The Hammers would slump to an eventual 18th-place finish in 1930/31, only five points clear of relegation. Sheffield United ended up in 15th place – Manchester United were relegated in bottom position. Arsenal won the league title and West Brom won the FA Cup. Viv Gibbins was the Irons’ top goalscorer, notching 19 goals in 22 appearances.

West Ham United: Bob Dixon, Alfred Earl, Reg Wade, Jimmy Collins, Jim Barrett, Joe Musgrave, Tommy Yews, Stan Earle, Vic Watson, Wilf James, Jimmy Ruffell.

Club Connections

West Ham United and Sheffield United have shared a number of personnel over the years. A run-through of those who have represented both clubs includes:

Goalkeepers: Ted Hufton, Tom McAlister, Bill Biggar, Richard Wright and Mervyn Day.

Defenders: Jon Harley, Matthew Kilgallon, David Unsworth, Jimmy Holmes, Wayne Quinn, Simon Webster and Fred Milnes.

Midfielders: Don Hutchison, Kyel Reid, George Ratcliffe, Joe Cockroft, Franz Carr, Herbert Winterhalder, Ravel Morrison, Lou Raisbeck, and Jim Simmons.

Strikers: Billy Barnes, Henri Camara, David Kelly, Brian Deane, Peter Kyle and Dick Leafe.

Martin Peters played for West Ham and Sheffield United; he also managed the Blades.

This week’s focus though is on a player who represented Sheffield United and later played for Thames Ironworks. Kenny McKay was born in Wishaw, Lanarkshire in 1876 – he started his footballing career with Hamilton Academical before moving south of the border to sign for Sheffield United. McKay was a member of the Blades side which won the 1897/98 First Division title; this was to be his one and only season at the club. McKay moved to Tottenham in a surprise transfer and scored on his debut against Thames Ironworks on 3rd September 1898.

McKay (pictured) signed for Thames Ironworks in their final season before reforming as West Ham United. Francis Payne, the club secretary, had been given the task of finding players for the club’s first season in the top division of the Southern League; according to one report Arnold Hills gave Payne £1,000 to find the best players available. With this money he brought McKay, Tom Bradshaw and Bill Joyce from Tottenham. McKay made his Irons debut in a 1-0 Southern League defeat at Reading on 16th September 1899 and scored his first goals for the club two days later, bagging a brace on his home debut in a 4-0 win over Chatham at the Memorial Grounds. An inside-right, McKay enjoyed a particularly impressive run of five goals in seven FA Cup games – one in a 6-0 thrashing of Royal Engineers, another in a 4-0 win at Grays, two in a 7-0 win at Dartford on 28th October and another in a 2-0 home win over New Brompton as the Irons won through to the competition’s fifth qualifying round. McKay also scored in a 3-1 Southern League defeat at Southampton on 16th December 1899 before tragedy struck the club – the aforementioned Bradshaw, McKay’s Irons team-mate and former Tottenham colleague, died of consumption on Christmas Day 1899.

McKay scored in a 2-1 home defeat to QPR five days after Christmas and was also on the scoresheet twice in successive games in mid-January as the Irons ushered in the 20th century, in a 1-1 draw at Bristol Rovers and 3-0 win at Sheppey United. McKay scored his last goal at the Memorial Grounds in a 4-2 home win over Sheppey, with his final goal for the club coming in his next match away at Millwall, the winning goal in a 1-0 triumph. Thames Ironworks finished in 14th place and would be required to play a Test Match against Fulham to maintain their senior divisional standing; ironically, the game would be played at White Hart Lane, McKay’s former stomping ground, and it would be his last appearance for the Hammers. The Irons recorded a 5-1 victory on 30th April 1900 to preserve the club’s Southern League First Division status. Just over a month later, the club was reformed as West Ham United.

After scoring 13 goals in 36 appearances, McKay returned to Scotland, playing a single season with Wishaw United. He moved to Fulham in 1901, helping the Cottagers to win the Second Division of the Southern League in 1902 and 1903. His date of death is unknown.


The referee on Sunday will be Martin Atkinson. 2020/21 is Atkinson’s 16th as a Premier League referee. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Atkinson has refereed 28 of our league matches, officiating in 14 wins for the Hammers, three draws and 11 defeats.

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Atkinson’s Hammers appointments last season were our 1-0 win at Southampton in December, our 1-0 defeat at Arsenal in March, our 3-2 home win over Chelsea in July and our 3-1 win over Watford later that month. His most recent match in charge of the Hammers was our 4-0 home win over Wolves in September.

Possible line-ups

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has doubts over John Egan, Enda Stevens, Sander Berge, Lys Mousset and Rhian Brewster but Ethan Ampadu and John Fleck are available. Jack O’Connell is a long-term absentee. Right wing-back George Baldock is the younger brother of former Hammers striker Sam Baldock. Sheffield United have been victorious in all of their previous Premier League home games against West Ham – 3-2 in March 1994, 3-0 in April 2007 and 1-0 in January 2020. The Blades have gone 11 league matches without a clean sheet though, conceding 20 goals.

For West Ham United, Angelo Ogbonna is expected to be fit but Michail Antonio remains a doubt. Antonio has scored eight goals in his past six Premier League away appearances. Mark Noble is available but Andriy Yarmolenko is out. Noble is just one Premier League goal away from equalling Paolo Di Canio’s record of 47 for the club. West Ham haven’t won a top-flight match at Bramall Lane since April 1968.

Possible Sheffield United XI: Ramsdale; Basham, Ampadu, Stevens; Baldock, Norwood, Berge, Lundstram, Lowe; McGoldrick, McBurnie.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Coufal, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku; Bowen, Soucek, Rice, Fornals; Haller.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

The Jimmy Cooney Column

International duty, boredom, and managing overconfidence.

I’m going to be very honest, I’ve never became very interested in international duty. I don’t hate it, I like the World Cup, and you can’t have the World Cup without the tourneys it feeds.

I’m happy Haller scored for the Coast!! Maybe he broke the seal, And, Benny helped Algeria qualify for AFCON (so we will lose him if he’s still here for next Jan/Feb but we have many bridges to cross before we get there) :)) I learned that the latest round of international duty, called the Nation’s League.

And, at the time of editing, Rice scored in a 4-0 rout of Iceland, Soucek also headed one home for Czech Republic in a 2-0 win over Slovakia, in which Vlad Coufal played all 90 mins, Gen.Balbuena helped Paraguay remain unbeaten against Bolivia in 2-2 draw, and Randolph earned a clean sheet in his 50th cap as the mighty Irish drew Bulgaria, only Fabianski suffered an unfortunate come from behind 2-1 loss against the Netherlands, and as of 18:08hrs (6:08p.m. EST in the U.S.) none of the abovementioned players suffered any injuries (thank you, Higher Power of Good) and no more West Ham players have tested positive for the “VID”, and other than feeling back for Fabs, I’m genuinely happy for all who went out, I’m really psyched for Haller, Rice and Soucek, all scoring. However, in spite of how glad I am for them, I’m still more concerned what this will mean for putting out the best XI for Sunday. Beating Sheffield United is my top priority.

Perhaps it’s the fact that the U.S. men’s team has met with mediocre success in the World Cup, and, there haven’t been too many Star Spangled Hammers that graced the pitches of East London (according to John Northcutt up until 2007 and I was following by then, so there’s only been 3, I believe, John Harkes, Ian Feuer, who between the two of them, had 14 League apps, but one, who between 2008/11 made 101 League apps and one that had a really good night on the 30th of November, 2010 Jonathan Spector), who had a brace in a classic match, during a 4-0 whoopin’ of Man U, along with Carlton Cole scoring the other brace in the League Cup match, I’ve called the “Snow Cup”, but that’s pretty much it, you have your good American keepers from the States, Kasey Keller, Brad Friedel, Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, and you had some firepower with Landon Donovan and someone I’d have loved to see at West Ham was Clint Dempsey, I was pretty up us making him an offer in 2011 but everything worked out as it should have.

it’s not that I don’t care about the Lady Hammers success or the U.S. women’s “soccer” success, I’m very proud of the Women’s U.S. club who are the best in the World! I’m very pro women’s sports, but just being honest, between the work thing, the family and friends I have left, my electric guitar and rock & roll addiction, and the other few pro sports clubs that haven’t been changed so much that I still recognize them, (all are a whole different games I just choose to accept the change, some I welcome, most make me cry when I’m alone) I just have enough fight left to cheer them on!

(Since I’m most likely gaffing this up, Courtesy of Nigel Kahn; below is a link of the highlights of “The Snow Cup” match that feature the Jonathan Spector, and Carlton Cole braces.)


Thank You Nigel. All yours, and Dan Coker’s video work is priceless. I personally appreciate it.

It appears that the South Americans prize international play the most, and imho, Germany has excellent football, however, if I were an aspiring American who’s was trying to go as far in my career as possible, it would most certainly be to make the EPL, not just because I’m a “semi pro” Anglophile,
the most intense football leagues are in England, sometimes, I think the most exciting can be the Championship, (old Div 2, I wish they would include the Divisions era stats along side the Premier League era stats, but, I suppose they have Google for that now) however, I never want West Ham to be in the Championship again, the Vaz Te goal at ‘87 mins at Wembley live on Television is good enough, and if I were Noble , next time, we are at Wembley, let it be in a few months playing for the FA Cup. I’d definitely choose the Premier League if I were that good, and the rest would fall into place (and chances are, if I’m good enough for the Top flight of England, I’m probably playing for the “USMST”). So, it’s all good, I just love the grit of league play.

Really, my biggest beef with it [International duty], right now, first and foremost is that Yarmo’s life is danger cos he’s got the “’VID,” and of course on the less life impacting, but still important factor to our season, the loss of our impact striker for Sheffield United away. And back to my concerns about Sunday, Antonio is apparently ready to rock, so, the Predictor this week should be interesting.

Honestly, at this point I’m not changing anything, except I do trust Diop to fill in for Balbuena if he needs a rest, and especially if Oggy is ok, that is key. We just need to be better on the ball, and work on better passing, cos I think our 4-5-1, should look more like a 3-4-3 against Sheffield United, even on their patch. We need to be on the front foot from the jump.

For some reason, I still ask myself why, why are they risking the future and overall fitness of the ALL the world’s football players and anyone they come into contact with? FOR THE MONEY!!!!, It’s all about the cash. This is where I reveal that the only reason I like money us cos you need it to live. I’m not greedy enough….. hmmmm… (perhaps I’ll expand on that another day) anyway, They easily could reschedule until sometime soon, but not during yet another spike in the ongoing, and seemingly never-ending world wide pandemic. UGGGGH!!

Anyway, Was there a strange moon out last Friday? Things were kinda cruising, then, an air of negativity (sucks being an empath)…..

Perhaps, because a week after it was Friday the 13th? (The first shutdown world wide officially started on the 13th of March,) which, will now bring out my inner “Cliff Clavin”, "Its a little known fact that ‘Friday the 13th’ being “unlucky” is derived from the day in history, of Friday the 13th of October, 1307 A.D., when French king Philip IV the Fair, declared the Knights Templar the enemy of the people, and the persecutions of all the different orders of the Knights Templar.

It kicked off a pretty lousy weekend Tbh, My explanation, (not excuse) is that I was taken by surprise on both flanks cos, at that moment, I’m doing my best to get stuff done…… and since my mood is dictated on how well West Ham does, I was feeling pretty good, cos we were still the buzzin, coming off the scrappy win over Fulham, AND The Philadelphia Union won their first Silverware, later that day by winning the Eastern Conference, but also for having the best record in the whole league. When you pair that with the West Ham win, and it really was alot more important than we realize, we didn’t know about by Yarmo having COVID, the passings of Doug Wragg, or Ray Clemence as of yet, (R.I.P.).

However, as the week wore on, the feel good wore off quickly cos of a surprisingly confrontational debate regarding our CF situation, there is the Oggy scare, who sounds like he may not be available now after all, I guess over all, we really are a “glass half empty” lot, like Iain pointed out in the “Why Football?” Podcast. (Great job, btw, fella) :) and, eventually, the negativity creeps in, and of all the misunderstandings, resentments and the rivalries. I ain’t the only one who goes off when they feel insulted, there’s a few other rivalries round this digital pub! However, as Smurfy says, that’s what makes it fun!

I’m not sure if I’d use the word “fun” however, I know what he means, and agree with his point about debates are going to get heated, but I prefer for them to remain civil with everyone “walking” away still “Irons in Arms” at the end of it.

Needless to say, there were a few heated debates, of which a few I either overreacted to, or was just plain wrong about something, however, I’ve made my amends to all who I needed to, and all is well.

The reason I’m saying this is cos I try to stand up, admit my wrongs, ask for forgiveness, and live with the consequences either way.

I hope it’s moving forward, (refining my social media etiquette, that is the main mode of mass communication these days. What I need to remember, is that most of it is just banter, which, when I know we’re just takin it, I’m one of the most fun jokers to be around, it’s when I think I’m being insulted, is when I have misunderstandings. Usually it’s when I see something that offends me.
What I will keep in mind is it ain’t all about me, AND, if there is something too deep that I may not be in the mood for being spoken to about, or something does offensive to me, or, I simply don’t understand, I must remember to not feed into it, I simply put down the pad, and cool off…. for a good day or two if needed… and if, and hopefully when the opportunity presents itself, let those involved sort it out. This is going to sound strange, but I think my fellow columnists would agree, to do this reliably, your life changes a little! (Iain…..4 columns a day???? I admire ya chap. You are “Action Man”!!! :)

Seriously though, I have to do deeper research, and pay better attention, if my column is to improve and become more dynamic….. I feel like I almost have a job, but honestly, it’s almost the same rush as playing a gig, I mean nothing will ever top playing in front of any group of people over the size of about 50 or the largest I’ve played for was 2000, and they are singing along to a song that YOU wrote

I must admit though but this is a very second close, (it could be a job I love!) and In spite of my “Irish” getting up a bit easy, I admit, I really try to get along with everyone, believe me, I actually hate conflict, believe it or not. Not because I’m not good at it, it just I don’t like being angry with my mates Especially my West Ham mates.

I’m also trying to master the template that you must use to file the column, and for some reason (cos tech and I just don’t get along) I’m struggling to insert pics, so there may be a huge West Ham United logo on the whole column!! However, eventually, I will figure it out (even if I have to do it on Facebook) :0 lol :) I moan, cos tech seems to dislike me. :))

Ok Dammit!!! countdown to Sheffield United, the Blades!!!, and as we have the time, for this weeks installment, I’d like to perhaps hear any “Old Guard” anecdotes or memories of their experiences traveling to Bramall Lane in South Yorkshire to over the years. What kinda town is Sheffield? Def Leopard hails from there, and “High&Dry” and “Pryomania” could be two of the most seminal albums of the 1980’s hard rockin hair stage. “The Full Monty”, the play, turn’d film or other way around, depicts a city that looks and at the time, kind of like Bethlehem Pa. and once thriving steel town in the late 1800’s to the 1970’s that fell on hard times.

The more I think about this match itself, the more I remember what happened last year (another dubious VAR decision that cost us a point), with the conspiracy theory that a fair shake may not be had in Sheffield due to the Tevez controversy, that they all no doubt blame us for the spanner Tevez put into their survival chances , by coming to West Ham United under alleged treachery of which I could never understand, by coming to West Ham and playing a huge roll in the great escape of 2006/07, then, quickly turn around, take a higher offer from Manchester United the summer after. As a matter of fact I was thrilled that during the “Why Football” podcast Iain was on, brought up the actual stat that said West Ham United had the most taken away from them via VAR and comparable offenses went left alone for other clubs. I knew I wasn’t that kind of crazy. I’m a different kind of crazy.

Of course I’m not telling anyone anything they don’t know already, unless you happen to be new to football or West Ham United, in which case let me say “WELCOME ABOARD!” (Meds to the left, straight jackets to the right……). :-)

Sheffield United. 20th place 0-W-1D-7L GD -10 1pt.

One may look at this as say “3pts in the hole”, and sure other facts like only Burnley has less goals for (3) than Sheffield United (4). or dismiss worrying about the win, “we can really run up our GD after this, sure, were on their patch, but, no worries………..”

This is EXACTLY the type of match I dread, and exactly the type of match we’d gaff up. It’s almost as if this West Ham Squad is better when they are backed into a corner, we weren’t horrible against Fulham, however in spite of the fact that we came out on full gizmo, hit the woodwork and Areola kept some otherwise guaranteed goals out in a quick flurry, then, once that rush wore off, it was Fulham’s turn to come close a few times. We need to have a more attacking mentality, perhaps train anticipating having more possession, cos we haven’t been used to that, we need to be better on the ball, cos if we can just rattle the defense , we just may be able to win 0-4????

Ok, the key is not Haller, formations, or anything like that…..it’s about confidence, overconfidence, and managing the difference between healthy confidence, and cockiness, and a sharp and sustained attack, like Vicksburg.

Treating them like the were Liverpool, that would be giving them too much respect, but treating them like Southend United, (sorry Hammertime Mikey, but, they did win last week) :-)) however they are the lowest club in the table of Div 2, and to treat them with NO respect, would be an even bigger mistake. Hubris kills. For real, for real! Just take a look at the news.

The key to beating Sheffield United as I may have pointed out earlier, is to attack, attack, attack, I may have edited out due to the excessive changes I’ve had to make writing the column in the style I chose to experiment with this week, and let’s just say, in no meaning of the term, was this a “success”, so, even though I hate to even paraphrase such an opportunistic thief as Thomas Edison, no matter how intelligent he was “I’ve already learned one way NOT to do it!”

As for the squad, I have no idea who I’m going to change, sit start, I wouldn’t change the system, but you almost ha be to if A. Oggy doesn’t start, B. Fred starts for Coufal, and how does Haller feel if he’s not at least started WITH Antonio and Bowen, which mean possibly dropping Masuaku, which I just don’t think is a good idea right now.

I want Haller to work out, some say its too late and it may be, but If doesn’t work for Haller, it would be a shame, cos I think the biggest reason is he has not had enough of a chance, not so much in terms of “time” in the measurable sense with seconds, hrs, days, etc, I mean he hasn’t had enough stability for a long enough time TO establish a steady work rate, good service, a report with his attacking partners, due to injury, some players upping their skills, COVID-19 has probably played the biggest part, and he was bought under Pellegrini, a completely different manager with a whole different strategy, after all.

I really don’t mean to offend those who I get on with well on well with here, that are “Haller Out” and I know I’m not. I don’t know how this fits into “fact” or “opinion”, cos, I really can’t care if the phrase “in my humble opinion,” or “IMHO” offends somebody, it really means I’m of the opinion, that Haller will go on to score 12 more goals and assist 20 however, I’m humble about it, cos, I could be incorrect! Thats all! :)

Either way, I really hope their defense will not be able to cope, even if they catch us on a counter, it’ll look more like 1-3, or 2-4 instead of 0-1 or 1-2, (then again, if we could have a howler), and be the generous suckers that give Sheffield their first point/s of the campaign! Besides,I’ll take a 0-1 Hammers win, gimme those pts baby!!!!

However, With the right attitude, and effort, and match plan, then we MAY see a rare win up in Sheffield, cos our record, historically, was not to encouraging, however, perhaps it’s our turn to change a trend in our favor.

Love You All



Nigel Kahn’s Column

It's Time to Care for the Past

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Sheffield United on Sunday is open HERE. Entries can be submitted until 12 noon on Sunday.

The Daily Mail on Tuesday launched its enough is enough campaign into Football and its link to causing dementia in later years. This subject has been around for at least 20 years now, since the death of Jeff Astle who suffered in his later years with the awful disease. The startling thing for me that jumps out about Astle was that he died aged just 59 and had been diagnosed 5 years previously, for me that is very young to have suffered from this condition that we would normally expect to see in more later years.

It is said that as the population lives longer the amount of the population that will suffer from this will only increase, I’m sure many of the readers of this will have a story to tell of a loved one/relative that lived & suffered from this most terrible of diseases.

Is the link to football and the high rate of an effect it has had on old pros conclusive though, and if it is, what can the authorities do to help combat it.
In 1992 I bought my 1st house in Plaistow, a small terraced property a 10-minute stroll to the ground. My next-door neighbours were an elderly couple, Isabell and Bert and across the road was Len, another elderly gentleman who lived on his own.

Len was a character from the start, I pulled up one night outside his house, he came up to my van, tapping on the window. “Boy, Boy, come with me please all my lights stopped working” so into his house I stepped, in pitch dark, I tried nearly every light switch in his house to no avail. His Lights did not work at all.

To fix the problem I needed light to see, I walked over to my house to get a lamp to plug in.

Telling my wife the problem, she said, check the bulbs. Not everyone could have blown, must be the fuse.

On entering Lens house, just to check, I took the bulb from the lamp and put into the light in the hallway. On came the light. I changed every bulb in Lens house and that fixed that except that night as I went to bed, coming from Lens House I could see him standing there, switching the lights on then off, on then off, constantly. Bert next door had eyesight trouble so to be neighbourly I went in one day to see him to chat about West Ham, I had just bought an original 1930s cigarette card collection at a boot sale. I thought Bert would love hearing about this so took it in to read to him the blurb on the back of each card.

Here’s one for you Bert, Len Goulden, you must remember him. Remember him his wife replied, that’s Len across the road, let me go get him. Just a minute later she’s back, with old Len in tow, I show him my collection and Lens face lit up, Tommy Lawton was his favourite. Apparently, Len knew Tommy very well and told us in his eyes one of the best in the world at the time. Do you remember this player, Len, putting his card in front of him?

Len stared blankly at the card, I’m now looking at him thinking, is he playing a game. No, who is he? Sadly Len had failed to recognise himself.

The next year I spent many a night, getting Len back into his house after being locked out and sadly it was obvious that Len was suffering from problems and eventually he was moved into a care home by his family, where he would see out his days.

When the Jeff Astle case was highlighted by his family I had no doubt there must be a connection, but it took years of campaigning by the family to bring the authorities running the game to take notice. It is ok to take notice but what is needed is some kind of plan to try to stop the players of today joining those of yesteryear in suffering.

Firstly, The PFA and the FA should have set up a foundation to look into what are the links between footballers and the high rate of them that develop dementia. The cause is said to be heading the ball, is that being studied.

Care is next, PFA and the FA should have dedicated care home available to all ex-pros, this affects not only those that played at the top but it goes right through the game from top to bottom. If the Actors guild can have retirement homes for old actors then surely the PFA can have the same, after all, why pay your head the highest amount of money for any Trade Union chief without making sure you take care of those that fund that wage.

The Daily Mail listed 28 players including Dave Sexton and Martin Peters from West Ham, who have died or are currently suffering. For those who may still think that football and specifically the heading of the ball has no part, Only 1, Peter Benetti, was a goalkeeper.

In August this year the Daily Mirror reported on 4 ex-footballers all dying in 1 week, all suffered from Dementia, not 1 was a goalkeeper.

There was a study done in Scotland of over 7,000 footballers born before 1977,

Ex-pro footballers 3 times more likely to get dementia from heading balls,

The question of whether heading footballs can damage the brain has been debated for years and much of the UK media suggests it was the key reason why such a link exists.

But it’s important to note:

• the researchers did not look at possible reasons behind the results, such as heading footballs
• while the study found the risk of dying from neurodegenerative disease was almost 3.5 times higher for footballers, fewer than 2% of the footballers in the study died from these health conditions
• the researchers found footballers were less likely to die from some other conditions, such as heart disease, and were less likely to die before age 70
• the researchers do not know if the results are relevant for people who play football for fun or at an amateur level

In researching the study it seems it was funded by the PFA & The FA but then what was the outcome of the studies and why has it seemingly been put on a back burner so much that the Daily Mail saw fit to launch their campaign.

Chris Sutton the former Norwich Blackburn Celtic & Chelsea forward is now considering suing the PFA & FA as his family cares from his Ex-pro Dad.

The family of Chris Chilton, Hull City’s record goalscorer have resorted to setting up a go fund me page to help care for him. They raised £30,000 for Hull fans and some ex-players. Have the PFA stepped in to help though? I couldn’t find that answer.

The time for studies to prove the link is over for me, the link is proved. The list of ex-players is exhausting reading as it just grows and grows, and the only goalkeeper I found to have died suffering was Peter Benetti, Goalkeepers don’t head the ball anywhere near the number of times outfield players do.

I’m not expecting the FA nor the PFA to find a cure, but they need to show they care and start now to set up the network of specialist care homes needed to help look after those that helped to create the cash-hungry game with have now.

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Crossed Hammers & Three Lions: Matthew Upson

Welcome to the latest in a series of articles designed for international matches – a look back at former Hammers players who wore the Three Lions of England.

Today, as England prepare to face Iceland in the League A Group 2 Nations League match at Wembley, we look back at a West Ham United and England centre-back. Matthew Upson was born in Suffolk on 18th April 1979. Originally at Ipswich’s School of Excellence, Upson joined Luton as a trainee after Ipswich youth coach, and former West Ham United Academy Director, Terry Westley moved to the Hatters. Upson joined Arsenal in 1997 after just one league appearance for Luton. After a year out with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, the centre-half spent a short loan spell with Nottingham Forest.

Upson moved to Alan Smith’s Crystal Palace on loan in the spring of 2001 but spent the 2001/02 season back at Highbury, making 14 Premier League appearances which earnt him a title winners’ medal at the end of the campaign. He broke his leg in February 2002 and joined Reading on loan in September 2002 to aid his recovery and return to action. He signed permanently for David Sullivan and David Gold’s Birmingham in January 2003 and spent four years with the Blues, winning seven England caps during his time at St Andrew’s – he made his Three Lions debut in a 2-1 win over South Africa in Durban on 22nd May 2003.

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The 27-year-old Upson signed for Alan Curbishley’s West Ham United in January 2007 for an initial fee of £6m, rising to £7.5m depending on appearances. Birmingham boss Steve Bruce later claimed that he was forced to sell Upson by Karren Brady, Birmingham’s managing director at the time. Upson made his debut for the relegation-threatened Hammers at Aston Villa on 3rd February 2007, but had to be withdrawn with a calf injury 30 minutes into the 1-0 defeat. He lasted just 11 minutes of his comeback match a month later against Tottenham before again succumbing to injury in a match the Irons would eventually lose 4-3.

West Ham eventually pulled off the Great Escape without Upson but he was to have a much bigger impact throughout the rest of his career in claret and blue. He made 33 appearances in a 2007/08 season which saw West Ham finish tenth in Curbishley’s only full campaign in charge – his first goal for the Hammers was the winner in a 2-1 triumph over Manchester United at Upton Park on 29th December 2007. Upson also made a return to the England side under Fabio Capello in a 2-1 win over Switzerland in February 2008, becoming the first Hammers centre-half to wear the Three Lions since Rio Ferdinand eight years earlier.

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In July 2008, Upson’s squad number of 6 was retired by the club in memory of Bobby Moore, after which he took the number 15 shirt. Gianfranco Zola took over early on in a 2008/09 campaign which saw Upson make 41 appearances in all competitions as the Irons finished ninth – he also won a further seven England caps, becoming a mainstay of Capello’s defence and making five starts. He was named Man of the Match and scored his first goal for his country in a 2-1 win in Germany in November 2008 – this goal can be viewed at the 0:47 mark of the video below. Upson was linked with a £10m move to Manchester City and Tottenham in the January window of 2009, but Zola and the board opted to cash in on Craig Bellamy instead.

The 2009/10 season began with Upson being appointed captain after the departure of Lucas Neill. Upson scored in the season’s opening match, a 2-0 win at Wolves, but bigger clubs had again been sniffing around, with a £15m bid from Liverpool reportedly rejected, while interest from Fiorentina, Arsenal and Aston Villa was also rebuffed. The club opted to sell James Collins instead. Upson made 35 appearances during the campaign, scoring a further two goals – in a 2-1 defeat at Stoke on 17th October 2009 and in a 1-1 draw at Avram Grant’s Portsmouth on 26th January 2010, which was to prove to be his final goal for the Hammers. The cash-strapped Irons avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth but Upson had still impressed sufficiently to travel to South Africa as part of England’s 2010 World Cup squad – he would end the tournament as the Three Lions’ joint-top goalscorer, thanks to his header in the 4-1 second round defeat to Germany. It was to be Upson’s second goal in his 21st and final cap for his country. His goal in this game can be viewed at the 1:33 point of the video below.

The 2010/11 season would be an unmitigated disaster for West Ham United. Grant joined the club as manager from Portsmouth, the first appointment by Upson’s former Birmingham employers Sullivan and Gold. He made 35 appearances as the Hammers were relegated in bottom position – his final match in claret and blue came in a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City on 1st May 2011. The 32-year-old Upson left the club on a free transfer later that summer, opting to remain in the Premier League with Stoke. Upson had made 145 appearances for West Ham United, scoring four goals – each of these four goals can be viewed in my video below.

After a year and a half with Stoke, Upson dropped down to the Championship to sign for Brighton, initially on loan before making the move permanent in the summer of 2013. He returned to the top flight with Leicester a year later before signing for Championship side MK Dons in the summer of 2015. He retired from playing in 2016. Now 41, Upson is currently working as a pundit for the BBC – he has a son, Elijah, with his wife Ellie, a British runner.

England v Iceland

England face Iceland this evening in League A Group 2 of the 2020/21 Nations League – it will be the fifth meeting between the two nations. The most famous meeting between the pair came in the second round of Euro 2016 and resulted in a 2-1 win for the Icelandics in front of 33,901 in Nice on 27th June 2016. Drake featuring Wizkid and Kyla was number one with ‘One Dance’, The Secret Life of Pets topped the UK box office while, three days earlier, the UK voted to leave the European Union in the Brexit referendum – Prime Minister David Cameron resigned as Conservative Party Leader the following day.

Future West Ham players Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere were both involved on a night of ignominy for England. The Three Lions took the lead after just four minutes through a Wayne Rooney penalty but Iceland equalised just two minutes later when Ragnar Sigurdsson bundled home from close range following a long throw. Kolbeinn Sigthorsson scored the game’s winning goal in the 18th minute when his shot slipped through Hart’s hand.

Manager Roy Hodgson resigned in the aftermath of the match. Iceland would bow out to Dimitri Payet’s France in the quarter-finals, the West Ham talisman scoring one and creating another in a 5-2 rout in Paris.

England: Joe Hart (Man City), Kyle Walker (Tottenham), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Chris Smalling (Man Utd), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Dele Alli (Tottenham), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Wayne Rooney (captain, Man Utd), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Raheem Sterling (Man City).

Subs: Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) for Dier; Jamie Vardy (Leicester) for Sterling; Marcus Rashford (Man Utd) for Rooney.

Iceland: Hannes Halldorsson (Bodo/Glimt), Birkir Saevarsson (Hammarby), Kari Arnason (Malmo), Ragnar Sigurdsson (Krasnodar), Ari Skulason (OB), Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Charlton), Aron Gunnarsson (captain, Cardiff), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea), Birkir Bjarnason (Basel), Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (Kaiserslautern), Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (Nantes).

Subs: Elmar Bjarnason (AGF) for Sigthorsson; Arnor Ingvi Traustason (IFK Norrkoping) for Bodvarsson.

The previous articles in the series are:

Vic Watson
Jack Tresadern
Billy Moore
Ted Hufton
Jim Barrett
Jackie Morton
Ken Brown
Bobby Moore
Johnny ‘Budgie’ Byrne
Sir Geoff Hurst
Martin Peters
Frank Lampard Senior
Sir Trevor Brooking
Alan Devonshire
Alvin Martin
Paul Goddard
Rio Ferdinand
Stuart Pearce
Frank Lampard Junior
Joe Cole
David James
Kieron Dyer
Robert Green
Scott Parker
Stewart Downing
Joe Hart

Predictor League Competition

The Predictor League Table

Guest Post by Andrew Fish

Dear All, to beat the boredom of lockdown and the international break, I thought I’d have a go at putting together a predictor league spreadsheet. These scores will need to be validated and may not be 100% – but here you go – here are the results for the Fulham game. Only 85 posters entered this week – sorry Iain – a woeful 84 out of 85 for you:
1 Phil hurley 83
2 Rolfe Dawson 83
3 IronFish 83
4 Daveinnotts 79
5 Fortune Nelson ?? 79
6 Dazthehammer 78
7 East Belgian Hammer 78
8 Ham Salad Rice 78
9 Shimmy 78
10 Hammer Stu 78
11 Hammer63 76
12 SuperSyd 76
13 FloridaHammer 75
14 Heedsy 75
15 Stepneyphil 75
16 Brixhammer 74
17 Dan Coker 74
18 Melbourne Hammer 74
19 Onceahammeralways.. 74
20 Saltash Hammer 74
21 Brandon Cuda 73
22 JimmyM 73
23 Mywhufc 73
24 NAVAJOhammer 73
25 Ammerinaberdeen 72
26 Earl Gray 72
27 Tonka 71
28 Dicollio 70
29 Domwa 70
30 Ennate! 70
31 Iron Warrior 70
32 Ironylost 70
33 Johnsey 70
34 Adelaideboy 69
35 Birlo 69
36 GTstormtrooper 69
37 Hammertime Mikey 69
38 Heath 69
39 Ian O 69
40 Thorshammer 69
41 Two Claret Hoops 69
42 Hammerbyheart 68
43 Spuds Deep 68
44 sussexhammer 68
45 toddyhammer 68
46 London1963 68
48 Davewise 67
49 MoanerMe 67
50 Zebedee 67
51 JimRSA 66
52 mgroni57 66
53 Simon Harvey 66
54 Darlohammer 65
55 digger 65
56 DK 65
57 EJD 65
58 Half full or empty 65
59 HamburgHammer 65
60 Iron Mike 65
61 Jimmy Cooney Jr 65
62 Milk Man 65
63 Noble-Effort 65
64 Paul Smith 65
65 Rat Hammer 65
66 Stevo54 65
67 Thomas 65
68 Watty 65
69 West Ham 78 65
70 YorkieIrons 65
71 blakey 64
72 George 64
73 Dave 63
74 Nickupton 63
76 Southbank1975 63
77 Tigerduffy 63
78 Chelmer Hammer 60
79 QueenslandHammer 60
80 Skeg-Vegas-Hammer 60
81 Canadahammer 59
82 Ben Fisher 57
83 Brens Hammers 57
84 Iain Dale 57
85 WHU647580 57
Top of the shop for the week were Phil Hurley, Rolfe Dawson and myself, all achieving 83 points. All 3 of us predicted the starting 11 and 7 subs correctly. We also all had Soucek as 2nd half goalscorer and correctly had Benrahma as 2nd sub and Lanzini as 3rd sub.
There were 2 newcomers, for the week, Hammert Stu with 78 points and London1963 with 68 points.
Then onto the cumulative table, which has been affected by posters missing the odd week here and there. Top of the shop are Johnsey and Iron Mike, both with 714 points across the 12 games so far, both averaging 59.5 points per game.
Then, in joint-3rd place are Dazthehammer and Phil Hurley, on 698 points, with Iron Warrior in 5th with 696 points.

1 Iron Mike 714
2 Johnsey 714
3 Dazthehammer 698
4 Phil hurley 698
5 Iron Warrior 696
6 IronFish 694
7 Milk Man 685
8 Darlohammer 684
9 Saltash Hammer 683
10 Heath 681
11 Shimmy 678
12 Dicollio 673
13 Stepneyphil 673
14 FloridaHammer 668
15 Paul Smith 668
16 Brandon Cuda 664
17 Heedsy 661
18 East Belgian Hammer 659
19 Onceahammeralways.. 656
20 Tonka 655
21 Two Claret Hoops 653
22 Ian O 652
23 digger 651
24 MoanerMe 650
25 Watty 643
26 Ben Fisher 640
27 Birlo 639
28 SuperSyd 637
29 Hammer63 636
30 Spuds Deep 631
31 Earl Gray 627
32 Ennate! 625
33 Thorshammer 623
34 Melbourne Hammer 622
35 blakey 617
36 West Ham 78 617
37 Iain Dale 614
38 JimmyM 614
39 EJD 613
40 Davewise 608
41 sussexhammer 603
42 Domwa 597
43 Brixhammer 596
44 Dan Coker 596
45 HamburgHammer 591
46 Noble-Effort 590
47 mgroni57 587
48 Ironylost 583
49 toddyhammer 581
50 NAVAJOhammer 578
51 Hammertime Mikey 577
52 Adelaideboy 573
53 Daveinnotts 636
54 QueenslandHammer 569
55 Southbank1975 567
56 Thomas 565
57 Rat Hammer 564
58 Dave 622
59 Half full or empty 558
60 Nickupton 558
62 Hammerbyheart 554
63 Skeg-Vegas-Hammer 554
64 Rolfe Dawson 548
65 JimRSA 544
66 Ammerinaberdeen 535
67 Canadahammer 531
68 GTstormtrooper 529
69 Ham Salad Rice 529
70 ROB IRONS 529
71 Jimmy Cooney Jr 527
72 DK 522
73 Brens Hammers 521
74 Tigerduffy 511
75 Stevo54 502
76 Simon Harvey 472
77 MrT 450
78 Fortune Nelson ?? 445
79 Hammerfannz 424
80 WHU647580 416
81 Sissons Fan 415
82 YorkieIrons 415
83 SteveC 403
84 KryptoKnight 396
85 Claret and blue sox 395
86 keno68 368
87 Richmond Hammer 342
88 Mywhufc 340
89 Ross Sade 334
90 George 327
91 Zebedee 309
92 WelwynHammer 292
93 chris90 271
94 KicKer54 252
95 JMan43 234
96 Mikea 220
97 Jim66whufc 212
98 Schramberg hammer 199
99 Ironsoton 194
100 Hammerboy 172
101 justahammer 168
102 Chelmer Hammer 163
103 Pie&Mashers 162
104 Popt87 162
105 BigEd 160
106 Alex edwards 158
107 minty 153
108 anyotherbizniz 143
109 Stephen2209 143
110 Hammermolder 141
How do you want this reported moving forward?
After every game? Whole weekly table plus cumulative? Just show the top 50?
Any feedback would be welcomed………..
So, onto the next game………Sunday 22nd November @ 2pm – Sheff Utd vs West Ham.
Will Haller start or will Antonio make a comeback?
Will Ogbonna be fit or will Diop start?
Will Benrahma start or be on the bench? Will Dawson make the bench for the first time?
Stay safe everyone and get through lockdown and the international break as best you can…….COYI !!!!

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