Dan Coker's Match Preview
Blast from the past
Back in 1985/86, West Ham United visited Leicester City on the 11th January 1986, beating the Foxes 1-0 at Filbert Street in front of 11,512. This away victory came on the day Countdown co-presenter Rachel Riley was born, the day after Lovejoy made its BBC debut and the day before Catchphrase first aired on ITV. Pet Shop Boys were number one with ‘West End Girls’ and National Lampoon’s European Vacation topped the UK box office.
The only goal of the game came courtesy of 25-year-old Frank McAvennie (pictured above). Alan Dickens released Mark Ward down the right and his dinked cross was met by a looping McAvennie header which beat Ian Andrews in the Leicester goal. McAvennie would top the Hammers scoring charts with 28 goals from 51 matches in 1985/86. The goal can be viewed in my video below.
Liverpool clinched the 1985/86 championship while, in the final-game decider for the runners-up position, Everton beat the Hammers 3-1 at Goodison Park to leave the Irons in third place, still our highest ever League position. Unfortunately there was no prize of a European place in 1986/87 following the Heysel ban on English clubs in Europe. Liverpool would complete the Double by winning the FA Cup. Tony Cottee would be voted Hammer of the Year, with strike partner McAvennie runner-up.
Leicester City: Ian Andrews, John O’Neill, Russell Osman, Simon Morgan, Bobby Smith, Ali Mauchlen, Gary McAllister, Ian Banks, Andy Feeley, Steve Lynex, Mark Bright (Alan Smith).
West Ham United: Phil Parkes, Ray Stewart, Alvin Martin, Tony Gale, Steve Walford, Mark Ward, George Parris, Alan Dickens, Alan Devonshire, Frank McAvennie, Tony Cottee.
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, Mike Newell, Brian Deane, Keith Robson, Paul Kitson, David Speedie, Bertie Lyon, Norman Proctor, Les Ferdinand, David Kelly, Tony Cottee, Jimmy Quinn.
Frank O’Farrell and Jimmy Bloomfield have played for the Hammers and managed the Foxes.
Today’s focus is on another who played for West Ham United and managed Leicester City. Martin Allen was born in Reading on the 14th August 1965 and started his professional career at QPR in 1984. Martin was born into the famous footballing Allen family – the son of Dennis Allen (who played for Reading, Charlton and Bournemouth), the nephew of Les and cousin of Paul, Bradley and Clive. He played in the 1986 League Cup Final during his time at Loftus Road before joining Lou Macari’s West Ham United in the summer of 1989 for a fee of £670,000. He scored on his Hammers debut in a 3-2 home win over Plymouth on 26th August 1989 and bagged another in his next appearance at Upton Park in a 1-1 draw against Swindon. Allen scored an impressive 11 goals in 48 appearances in his first season with the club and also picked up a red card in a League Cup quarter-final against Derby – it was Allen’s strike against Wimbledon that had booked the Hammers’ place in the last eight. He had gained a reputation as a midfielder with an eye for goal – his combative nature in the middle of the park also lived up to his nickname, ‘Mad Dog’.
Billy Bonds had taken over from Lou Macari midway through the 1989/90 campaign – Allen’s goal at Middlesbrough had given Bonzo his first win as Hammer manager. 1990/91 would see Allen spend more time as a substitute than the previous season – he made 46 appearances but 12 of these were from the bench. He scored five goals in this promotion-winning campaign – four came in October 1990 with two in a League Cup second round second leg 2-2 draw at Stoke and another double in a 2-1 home win over Charlton. His final goal of the season was in the reverse match at Selhurst Park, Charlton’s temporary home, in a 1-1 draw.
The fateful First Division campaign of 1991/92 saw Allen spend a considerable amount of time on the sidelines with an Achilles injury – he scored two goals from 24 matches, both against Sunderland in a 3-2 FA Cup fifth round replay defeat at Upton Park on 26th February 1992. Allen was a key member of the 1992/93 promotion-winning side though, playing 44 matches as he teamed up with new signing Peter Butler in midfield – the pair provided a tough-tackling, no-nonsense approach which allowed wingers Kevin Keen and Mark Robson to create for free-scoring Trevor Morley and Clive Allen, Martin’s cousin who had joined from Chelsea towards the end of the previous campaign. ‘Mad Dog’ scored four goals – September strikes in a 2-1 home win over Watford and 3-1 triumph at Peterborough were followed by a goal in a 6-0 smashing of Sunderland at Upton Park and another in a 4-0 home victory over Brentford.
1993/94 saw ‘Mad Dog’ stamp his paws on the Premier League – he scored ten goals in 34 matches. Most of his game time in the early months of the season came from the bench and he only registered one goal before Christmas, in a 2-0 League Cup second round second leg win at Chesterfield. He won his place back in January 1994 and scored three goals in as many matches – against Watford in a 2-1 home win in the FA Cup third round, at Aston Villa in a 3-1 defeat and in a 3-3 home draw with Norwich – he kept his place in midfield for the rest of the season as the Hammers consolidated their top-flight status. A flurry of goals between March and May saw Allen bag six goals in nine matches, including a delightful lofted effort over future Hammer David James in a 2-1 home defeat to Liverpool and typical long-range efforts in a 2-1 home defeat to Blackburn and 2-0 win at Arsenal. Although Ken Monkou did score an own goal later in the 3-3 draw with Southampton on 7th May 1994, ‘Mad Dog’ holds the distinction of being the last West Ham player to score in front of the terraced North Bank having struck earlier in the second half of the game.
1994/95 saw Harry Redknapp take up the managerial reigns – Allen scored twice in 33 appearances that season, in a 2-1 win at Chelsea and 2-0 home win over Southampton, both in October 1994. Allen’s final goal in claret and blue came in a 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest on 26th August 1995. His last appearance for the club was four days later in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham at Upton Park. After the death of his father Dennis, who used to watch Martin from the West Stand at Upton Park, Allen decided it was too emotional to play at Upton Park and left the club for Portsmouth in August 1995. He had made 232 appearances for the club, scoring 35 goals. 33 of Mad Dog’s 35 goals can be seen in my video below.
After two years at Fratton Park, Allen moved to Southend where he ended his playing career in 1998. He began his managerial career as assistant to future Hammers boss Alan Pardew at his hometown club Reading and managed Barnet, Brentford and MK Dons before getting the Leicester job in May 2007. Due to a strained relationship with chairman Milan Mandaric, mainly revolving around player transfers, Allen was only in charge for four games before leaving the club on 29th August 2007. He won two, drew one and lost one of his matches with the Foxes.
Now 54, Allen has since managed Cheltenham, Barnet (for four further spells), Notts County, Gillingham, Eastleigh and, most recently, Chesterfield.
The referee on Wednesday will be David Coote. The Nottingham-based official will take charge of a West Ham game for only the fifth time, with the Hammers yet to win a game he’s refereed. His only other Hammers appointments were for our 2-0 defeat at Burnley in December 2018, our 3-0 loss at Wolves last January, our 1-1 draw with Sheffield United in October and, most recently, our 2-1 home defeat to Leicester last month.
Coote has refereed nine Premier League matches so far this season – he has issued 34 yellow cards, one red and awarded two penalties, one of which was saved by Lukasz Fabianski in the reverse fixture between the Irons and the Foxes.
Leicester City should have Wilfred Ndidi available but Daniel Amartey and Matty James will miss out. The Foxes have conceded 12 goals in their last six Premier League fixtures, one more than in their opening 17 matches.
For West Ham United, Lukasz Fabianski, Ryan Fredericks, Jack Wilshere, Andriy Yarmolenko, Michail Antonio and Felipe Anderson are definitely out. West Ham have won only twice in ten Premier League away meetings, drawing four and losing four. The Hammers have triumphed just three times in nine league games when going ahead, drawing three and losing three, and dropping 15 points across those matches.
Possible Leicester City XI: Schmeichel; Pereira, Soyuncu, Evans, Chilwell; Tielemans, Ndidi, Praet; Maddison; Vardy, Iheanacho.
Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Zabaleta, Rice, Noble, Masuaku; Snodgrass, Fornals; Haller.
Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!
The GoatyGav Column
Side to side movement, sometimes interspersed with passes back towards our own goal, in an attempt to dominate possession of the ball, became the team’s MO under Manuel Pellegrini. Last season saw some semblance of ‘Samba’ football when the players would work their way in to the final third before upping the tempo and finding gaps but, with confidence at a low ebb, the system of play became, at best, ineffective.
Patient build up often works. Most of my formative years, watching football, were spent admiring the Liverpool teams of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. People forget that it wasn’t all fast paced excitement by those sides that won numerous domestic and European titles. The amount of times that they’d play out wide then come back and recycle the other way often became monotonous. Pro Liverpool commentators referred to it as ‘probing’. A phrase that you don’t hear very often now. Probably for the best n’all but the key thing was that Liverpool had the players to do it. Watching West Ham over the last eighteen months it became clear that, whilst the squad was good, we didn’t have the depth to dominate the ball and were ‘sussed’.
It all became a little repetitive. Despite the fact that I genuinely wanted Manuel Pellegrini to turn things around the frustration of watching him stick rigidly to his methods became too much for me and I, eventually, joined the voices calling for him to move on. Now that’s in the past and I’m optimistic for the rest of the season.
We are already seeing more threat for the team. More opportunities are being created as the ball is moving quicker and more space is being found by the players as the boys hit opposition earlier and before they’re properly back in defensive shape. And that was at the nub of it. Opposing teams were more comfortable defending against us because we allowed them to become very difficult to break down while we held the ball instead of breaking in numbers and zipping it forward. When I think back to the Crystal Palace home game I admired the speed at which they got their two banks of four, with less than five yards between them, set back up once they’d lost possession. They were extremely difficult to break down. In hindsight, however, there’s more than just a smidgeon of a notion that I shouldn’t have been so full of regard for them considering our tardy build up. Within five minutes of the start against Bournemouth you could see the shift in approach.
I’m genuinely hopeful that we see this, more dynamic play, continue under David Moyes. It’s going to take a little while to get the boys playing the way that he wants but the signs of the commitment to swifter attacking methods are in some evidence. It’s definitely not there yet. The evidence of that were on show against Everton when, on more than one occasion, the fans were urging the players forward in greater numbers while Everton were out of shape. The old tendencies were still there as some strolled forward when they should have been sprinting but I do feel that things are moving in the right direction now. Hopefully we’ll see the team commit to getting numbers forward together against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. We, as fans, are in desperate need of some cheer and a good cup run would be just the tonic.
Trailing one-nil going in to the last ten on Sunday the Ironesses turned things around with an Alisha Lehmann brace. Brighton Women went ahead in scrappy fashion in the first half. With the ball bobbling around in the box from a corner it was, just about, bundled over the line before being cleared. The referee took a few seconds to indicate the goal but, despite it’s ugly nature, it counted all the same. Lehmann’s equalizer followed some great work out wide on eighty minutes when she, standing unmarked, took her turn to bundle the ball over the line before grabbing the winner from a long, route one, kick from Courtney Brosnan. The Brighton defence allowed the ball to bounce before Alisha outpaced them to latch on to the opportunity with a smart finish for the winner. A goal of real quality. You can view the highlights on the following Youtube video: -
Congrats to the team who ease any relegation worries that may have started to loom. Next are an Arsenal team, just coming off a heavy four-one defeat to Chelsea, at home in the F.A. Cup on Sunday. Good luck ladies.
No game for the Under twenty-threes since the three-all draw away at Reading. No game this weekend with bottom of the table Sunderland next up on the 2nd Feb . With only a single point out of fifteen games the Mackems shouldn’t prove too big an obstacle to gaining three points however the youngsters from Northumberland will be aware that captain Coventry (wouldn’t be the best name for a Superhero would it?) Holland and Alese all now loaned out and the squad is not as strong as it has been. Best of luck to the boys for that.
Have a good week all & COYI!
The HamburgHammer Column
I wasn’t sure if I should even post a column this Monday as I have a bit on my plate at the moment, what with my brother being in hospital again, the rising levels of negativity surrounding my club(s), both at West Ham and Concordia and yet another league game, this time against a club with, similar to us, a recently appointed manager at the helm which unfortunately didn’t result in three more points for us. Still, was it a point gained ? Or two points lost ?
But I will do try and write at least a bit, gather some of my thoughts and invite you all, as usual, to post comments below as news, transfer rumours and quotes from the manager, players or the board may roll in throughout the day.
I will also try to tone myself down a bit as, frankly, football is not worth getting into a frenzy, especially if one of your loved ones is battling for dear life.
Which means I will still post, but probably stay away from fighting the same old wars on here time and time again.
For that reason I am not going to speak about the fan protest which took place in Stratford on Saturday shortly before the game. This has been thoroughly discussed on here in the comments and previous articles and, like it or not, the topic at hand is likely to continue to instigate debate and argument in the coming weeks and months anyway, without me adding fuel to the fire.
You all know where I stand on this and some people have already been moaning about all the board bashing, the repetitive negativity on here and other blogs, so for the time being I don’t intend to add further to it, not in this article anyway. But I cannot guarantee I will never again refer to these issues in my comments. Simply because how this club is being run does affect what happens with the team on and off the pitch – and what a manager, any manager, is able to achieve at West Ham in 2020 and beyond. It’s all connected and at some point in future we may even have no team left to support at all, so when fans criticise and protest, more often than not it’ll be because they love the club and care a lot about it being well.
We are without a shadow of a doubt officially in a relegation dogfight now – and we are likely to remain in that dogfight for the rest of the season, hopefully with a positive outcome at the end, meaning Premier League safety and the soothing comfort of the television money it brings for another season.
David Moyes certainly has his work cut out for him, the current situation at our club being one hell of a challenge that would prove tricky for any manager really, the injuries to our better players ain’t helping either (Antonio always struggling with his hamstring, Fabianski still out, Anderson out for 2-3 weeks apparently with the back injury he suffered when he landed hard and awkwardly on the pitch late in the Sheffield United game, Wilshere never being available etc.).
At this stage you need players to stand up and be counted, guys with cojones and guts. Preferably with some skill at playing football as well.
I wouldn’t expect any of those to arrive in the transfer window, so they will have to come from within the squad we already have.
Moyes will have to work his magic with the current hand of cards at his disposal. Will that hand be good enough ? Or can he at least bluff our way out of trouble ?
Who then will be our committed and vocal leaders on the pitch for the rest of the season, galvanising their teammates to the level of effort and desire we desperately need to win games now ?
Do we actually have the quality to stay up ? On paper for sure, but we don’t play the beautiful game on paper, as we all know. We had a team back in the day that was deemed “too good to go down” and they did just that at the end of the season. That team contained players such as David James, Paolo DiCanio, Trevor Sinclair, Joe Cole, Jermain Defoe and Michael Carrick.
Names alone don’t keep your team up, skill, effort, desire and good old-fashioned teamwork on the other hand do.
I have full confidence that under Moyes we will be more solid defensively. But will we also find a way to be more clinical in front of goal ? We were pretty wasteful against Everton in that regard, in a game we could and should have won as Everton weren’t playing well on the day.
It’s going to be a long, hard and bumpy road for the rest of the season, yet, as for now, I still have faith we can stay up.
Not necessarily because of our own sheer brilliance but due to three teams playing even worse, saving our neck at the end of the day.
There’s not much time to ponder and reflect as games are coming thick and fast these days. Beginning with a tough away trip to Leicester on Wednesday, followed by the arrival of an old friend in the shape of former West Ham player and manager Slaven Bilic who will bring his West Brom team to the London Stadium on Saturday for what promises to be a feisty FA Cup encounter.
Usually I would wish Slav and his team every success in football, but this Saturday I hope we do beat West Brom any which way we can, if only to raise our collective spirit and mood among a fanbase that surely could do with a lift. COYI!!!
As the game against the Toffees has shown though, football rarely is straightforward, nevermind a walk in the park or a piece of cake, be that a slice of Black Forest gateau or a nice chunk of chocolate roulade, if you prefer that. Sometimes football is a tough old hard biscuit. Or even an egg and cress sandwich gone bad.
I certainly don’t expect Leicester or West Brom to make it easy for us this week out of pity for the underdog or because their manager is still a much respected hero for many West Ham fans. It’s going to be a tense week, also for myself on a personal level – as you’re reading this I shall be on my way to seeing my brother at his local hospital after his most recent surgery last Thursday.
He is slowly recovering now from his operation, feeling bored senseless lying in bed all day, waiting for any news about his upcoming therapy which may include more chemo, maybe another surgery or probably some outside-of-the-box solution (some procedure aimed at deliberately causing the body to develop fever symptoms with unusually high temperatures in a controlled environment, if I understood it correctly), just in case the regular remedies aren’t working out. We shall see.
Let’s just say it gives me another thing to worry about other than just West Ham. Or Concordia who have also been struggling in their most recent winter break friendly yesterday afternoon against a very motivated young ETV Hamburg U21 side which beat the Cordi first team by an embarrassing 3:0 scoreline.
It says it all really if the grilled sausage at halftime represents the highlight of the entire matchday experience…;-))
Hamburg SV and St.Pauli, by the way, will resume their league fixtures midweek after the coming weekend.
Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary