Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Crystal Palace

Blast from the past

Today’s blast from the past is the replayed home clash with Crystal Palace from 1997/98. The first game had to be abandoned due to floodlight failure after West Ham had come from two goals down through strikes from John Hartson and Frank Lampard. Neil Shipperley’s double had put Palace in control before the Hammers’ comeback. The forgotten goals can be seen on the video below, along with the moment the lights went out on Lampard’s celebration.

A replay of the match was arranged for Wednesday 3rd December 1997 – Lou Reed’s ‘Perfect Day’, recorded by various artists for Children In Need, was number one and West Ham United were to enjoy an almost perfect night against their south London visitors in front of 23,335 at Upton Park. The Hammers went ahead in the 31st minute when David Unsworth’s raking crossfield pass found Eyal Berkovic who controlled expertly, cut inside Simon Rodger and laid the ball off for Hartson (pictured below in this very match) to drive in beyond Kevin Miller at the near post. The Eagles were level three minutes before half-time though when a corner from the left found Andy Linighan at the near post, Stan Lazaridis failed to deal with it on the line and Shipperley bundled home to equalise. The Hammers were not to be denied their interval lead however. Lazaridis atoned for his earlier error by providing a high, hanging cross which Hartson headed against the crossbar – Berkovic, following up, swept home left-footed to restore the hosts’ lead.

Two Hammers’ players went on to notch their first ever goals for the club in the second half. Unsworth was the first, volleying home acrobatically in the six-yard box after Ian Pearce had headed on Lazaridis’ 48th minute corner. Steve Lomas was the second, steaming into the area unmarked to power home Hartson’s cross to make the score 4-1 on 71 minutes after good initial approach play from Berkovic and Samassi Abou.

Harry Redknapp’s Hammers would finish 8th in the Premier League in 1997/98, while the Eagles would end the campaign in bottom place and were relegated. Arsenal won a Premier League and FA Cup double.

West Ham United: Craig Forrest, Tim Breacker, Ian Pearce, Rio Ferdinand, David Unsworth, Stan Lazaridis (Keith Rowland), Steve Lomas, John Moncur, Eyal Berkovic, Samassi Abou (Paulo Alves), John Hartson.

Crystal Palace: Kevin Miller, Marc Edworthy, Hermann Hreidarsson, Andy Linighan, Dean Gordon, Jamie Smith (Michele Padovano), Neil Emblen, Simon Rodger, Itzy Zohar, Paul Warhurst, Neil Shipperley.

Club Connections

Marouane Chamakh is injured, ruling out an appearance against West Ham United with whom he spent a brief loan spell in 2013. Alan Pardew, an ex-Palace player and now manager of the Eagles, will face the club he managed between 2003 and 2006. Victor Moses could face the club where he started his career. A large group of players have turned out for the Hammers and the Eagles. Divided here by position, they include:

Goalkeepers: Perry Suckling, Steve Mautone, Vincent Blore.

Defenders: Kenny Brown, Neil Ruddock, Paul Brush, Danny Gabbidon, Chris Powell, Alan Stephenson, Tony Gale, Matthew Upson, Darren Powell.

Midfielders: Michael Hughes, Hayden Mullins, Carl Fletcher, Jobi McAnuff, Kyel Reid, Ray Houghton.

Strikers: Ian Wright, Jeroen Boere, Clive Allen, Dave Swindlehurst, Paul Kitson, Ron Brett, Dave Sexton, Freddie Sears.

Malcolm Allison and Jack Tresadern played for the Hammers and managed the Eagles, while Iain Dowie played for both clubs and also managed Palace.

With a nod to the final season at the Boleyn Ground, this season’s match previews for home games will focus on one of the more high-profile names to have played for both clubs. Today’s focus is on a former England international forward who had two spells with Crystal Palace either side of a successful stint with West Ham United. Johnny ‘Budgie’ Byrne was born in West Horsley, Surrey, on 13th May 1939 to Irish immigrants. He played youth football for Epsom Town and Guildford City while working as an apprentice toolmaker before his schoolteacher, ex-Crystal Palace and West Ham goalkeeper Vincent Blore, alerted Palace manager Cyril Spiers to the teenage Byrne’s talents.

Byrne signed a professional contract on his 17th birthday in 1956 and went on to score seven times in 28 matches in the 1957/58 season as Palace finished in 14th place in the Third Division South. He scored 17 goals in 45 matches in the 1958/59 season as the club became founder members of the Fourth Division, new manager George Smith leading the ‘Glaziers’, as they were known, to a seventh-place finish. In 1959/60 Byrne scored 16 times in 42 matches as Palace finished eighth in Division Four. Byrne became a first team regular, and was popular with the Palace fans. A new breed of striker, standing only 5’8 but weighing 11.5 stone, Byrne was adept at dropping off his marker and finding space before either assisting a team-mate with an inspired pass or using his own skill, speed and powerful right foot to create opportunities for himself. In the 1960/61 season, Byrne scored 30 of Palace’s 110 goals as the club reached the Third Division. He left Crystal Palace in 1962 for West Ham United having scored 85 league goals in 203 appearances.

Ron Greenwood paid a fee of £65,000 to take ‘Budgie’ to West Ham United, a record between two British clubs – a jovial character, the nickname ‘Budgie’ was the result of Byrne’s incessant, cheerful chattering. The fee was made up of £58,000 plus ex-Palace striker Ron Brett who was valued at £7,000. Brett was tragically killed five months after the move at the age of 24, when his car hit a lorry. Greenwood would later compare Byrne with Argentine footballer Alfredo Di Stefano. Byrne’s Hammers debut came on 17th March 1962 in a 0-0 draw at Sheffield Wednesday. He played 11 games in his first season, scoring a single goal, in a 4–1 home win against Cardiff in April 1962.

The 1962/63 season saw him score a hat-trick in a 6-0 League Cup win over Plymouth and end the season with 14 goals in all competitions, only one behind leading scorer Geoff Hurst. Byrne beat runner-up Bobby Moore in the Hammer of the Year voting in 1963/64 as the Hammers won the FA Cup. Byrne had amassed 33 goals from 45 games in all competitions for this season, overtaking Hurst as top goalscorer. This included a league hat-trick in a 4-3 win over Sheffield Wednesday and FA Cup goals in the fourth round against Leyton Orient, the fifth round against Swindon and two in the quarter-final against Burnley.

The 1964/65 season opened with Byrne scoring as West Ham and champions Liverpool shared the Charity Shield having drawn the game 2–2. He also scored a hat-trick as the Hammers beat Tottenham 3-2 at Upton Park (the first goal can be viewed in the video below, with all the other goals in the second video further down). Byrne scored in the first round of the European Cup Winners’ Cup against La Gantoise, the third round against Lausanne and in the semi-final against Real Zaragoza. In the 1965/66 season West Ham were again involved in Europe as holders of the Cup Winners’ Cup and also reached the 1966 League Cup Final. Byrne was on the scoresheet in the Cup Winners’ Cup, in the second round against Olympiakos, the third round against Magedeburg and in the semi-final against Borussia Dortmund as the Hammers exited the competition. He scored five goals in six games in the League Cup including one in the first-leg of the final against West Brom which West Ham won 2–1. Albion won the second leg 4-1 at The Hawthorns though to take the trophy with a 5-3 aggregate win. Byrne finished the season with 17 goals in all competitions behind Geoff Hurst who, on the verge of his 1966 World Cup success, scored 40 goals in 59 games.

Byrne played for England at both youth and Under-23 levels, becoming the first Fourth Division player to win an Under-23 cap while with Crystal Palace. Byrne, however, might be described as a talented nearly man, missing out as he did on places in both the 1962 and 1966 England World Cup squads. First capped for the senior England team in 1961, for a game against Northern Ireland and while still at Crystal Palace, Byrne seemed likely to figure in the 1962 World Cup in Chile having been transferred across London for a sizeable fee in the months before the tournament. However, Byrne was involved in a post-match fracas with West Brom and former England right-back Don Howe in the tunnel at The Hawthorns on 31st March 1962. The story goes that influential figures at the Football Association – where a selection committee still carried great influence when picking the team – were unimpressed by this and consequently excluded him. Byrne notched his first England goals in June 1963 in an 8-1 away win over Switzerland but perhaps his finest Three Lions moment arrived in May 1964 when he scored three goals in Lisbon as England beat Eusebio’s Portugal 4-3, Byrne clinching his hat-trick with an 88th-minute winner.

Byrne helped England beat Wales at Wembley the following season while playing at inside-left and started in the same position at Wembley again in April 1965 for a 2-2 draw against Scotland, in a season he comfortably ended as West Ham’s top goalscorer with 25 goals. For Byrne, a man with the world at his feet, one of the First Division’s top forwards, on the verge of a European final and now having the chance to re-establish himself in the England team a year before the World Cup finals, this proved to be the last of his 11 international caps. England were reduced to ten men against the Scots when Ray Wilson was forced off by injury. With no substitutes allowed, Byrne slotted in as emergency full back – however, Byrne himself then suffered an injury to his knee but gamely battled on with the Three Lions effectively down to nine men. Byrne’s injury, however, was serious with ligament damage to the knee and he had done himself no favours by playing on. He not only had to sit out the rest of the Hammers’ triumphant European campaign, but he was still not fit come the start of the following season. Byrne returned but could only show glimpses of his previous form and was hindered by injury throughout the 1965/66 campaign. His exceptional talents were never in doubt but, although he scored 8 goals for England in his 11 appearances, he never fully established himself at international level.

Byrne returned to Crystal Palace, by now in the Second Division, in February 1967 in a deal worth £45,000. He scored 1 goal from 14 appearances in his first season back and 4 goals in 22 appearances in 1967/68. Byrne was proving to be past his peak as a player and, only a year after rejoining the club, he was transferred to Fulham for £25,000 in March 1968. Byrne would eventually go to play in South Africa, where he also went into management.

Bobby Moore was a close friend of Byrne’s – according to acclaimed sports writer Brian Glanville, the two men once sat together on a warm South African night when Moore said, envisaging a partnership in management: “You and me, Budgie, you and me!” It was never to be. Moore passed away in February 1993 and Byrne died, aged 60, of a heart attack in Cape Town, South Africa on 27th October 1999. A minute’s silence was held for Byrne and his former team-mate Dave Bickles, who had died five days after ‘Budgie’, at the 0-0 UEFA Cup draw against Steaua Bucharest at Upton Park.


This Saturday’s referee is Mark Clattenburg. The Durham-based official’s record when taking charge of Hammers matches generally bodes well for us – he was the man in the middle for our 3-1 victories at Crystal Palace both this and last season, refereed our 3-1 home win over Southampton in 2013/14 and, in the previous year, took charge in 2-1 wins at QPR and at home against Norwich. On the flip side, he had no choice but to send off Kevin Nolan in a 2-1 defeat at Fulham two seasons ago and was also the man in black for a woeful away showing at Villa Park in a 2-1 defeat in February 2013. Clattenburg also officiated in the 2-1 defeat at Leicester in April which followed his part in the controversial 2-1 league defeat at Everton last November when Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring from an offside position and various tackles, clashes and simulation went unpunished. His most recent appointment involving the Hammers saw us lose 1-0 at Southampton despite Clattenburg sending off Victor Wanyama early in the second half. Clattenburg’s previous Hammers match should have seen him issue a red card to Bastian Schweinsteiger for elbowing Winston Reid in our 0-0 draw at Manchester United shortly before Christmas.

Possible line-ups

Slaven Bilic will again be without the injured Sam Byram and James Collins while Cheikhou Kouyate missed Senegal’s midweek match with Niger due to bronchitis and a slight fever, according to Senegalese sources. Nigeria’s Victor Moses and Ecuador’s Enner Valencia will also have returned to Chadwell Heath late in the week due to international duty on Tuesday in Egypt and Colombia respectively. James Tomkins could return at right-back but may not be risked from the start with crucial games looming on the horizon.

Crystal Palace are likely to be without injured strikers Emmanuel Adebayor, Marouane Chamakh and Connor Wickham. Midfielders James McArthur and Yohan Cabaye are also set to be ruled out but Mile Jedinak could be passed fit.

Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Antonio, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Noble, Obiang; Sakho, Lanzini, Payet; Carroll.

Possible Crystal Palace XI: Hennessey; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare; Jedinak, Ledley, Mutch; Zaha, Bolasie; Campbell.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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Talking Point

Payet will not be expelled from the UK

Iain asked to republish a piece I wrote on Claret and Hugh about a Daily Mirror article suggesting Payet could be sent packing back to France if the UK voted to leave the EU.
Since publication The Mirror have corrected their claim that it was Payet’s international debut last week.

A misinformed piece in the Daily Mirror has suggested Dimitri Payet would not be able to play for West Ham if the UK were no longer part of the European Union.

The article by Joe Mewis says: “Britain goes to the polls on June 23 and a Brexit vote could radically change the face of the Premier League. Anthony Martial, Dimitri Payet and N’Golo Kante would not have been able to play in the Premier League this season, if the UK had not been part of the EU.”

“A Brexit could mean that more than 400 players would lose the right to play in the UK, according to a study from the BBC .Under current employment rules, any player with an EU passport is free to play in the UK without restriction, while those from outside Europe must meet specific Home Office criteria which depends on how many international appearances they have made and where their county sits in the FIFA rankings.”

“That would mean West Ham playmaker Dimitri Payet and Leicester midfielder N’Golo Kante would not have met the criteria, as they were yet to make their international debuts when they arrived in the Premier League this summer. Payet and Kante both made their France debuts during the international break, but a player from a top 10 nation must have played in 30% of their games over a two-year period in order to qualify for a work permit.”

West Ham season ticket holder, George Bucci contacted Claret and Hugh to point out that Payet has 17 international caps in total for France, 15 of which were gained before he joined the Hammers last summer.

He was called up for the senior national team for the first time by Laurent Blanc for the Euro 2012 qualifying matches against Romania and Luxembourg and made his debut in the former on 9th October 2010, coming on as a substitute for Karim Benzema in the 86th minute and assisted Yoann Gourcuff’s goal to make it 2–0.Three days later, he came on for the last 30 minutes against Luxembourg and again assisted Gourcuff for a goal.

Work permit rules for the Premier League say the player’s country must be at or above 70th place in the official FIFA world rankings when averaged over the two years preceding the date of the application. France currently rank 24th in the world but were ranked 7th in 2014.

Although it is true that Payet has not played 60% of his country’s competitive matches during the two years preceding the date of the application he would almost definitely be permitted on the exceptional talent criteria. He played 10 international matches between 2014-2015 with another two this year.

The suggestion that the Premier League together with the UK Border Agency would expel 400 players from the Premier League after a potential break with Europe is frankly ludicrous and just scaremongering.

You can safely vote which vote in the BrExit election in June which ever way you want knowing it won’t remotely affect on Dimitri Payet’s ability to play for West Ham.

Player Analysis

Who Should Play Against Palace?

Guest Post by Banjo

We are going to have this debate at sometime so why not have it under one thread? I actually found writing this pretty scary, the strength of the starting XI is pretty scary but take a look at what we can potentially bring off the bench after an hour and look at the players that don’t even make the bench.

Is there anyone out there that thinks we would not be challenging Leicester and the Spuds at the top of the Premiership if we had had their good fortune with injuries?

Here is my considered view of our starting line up on Saturday although I would not be surprised to see Byram for Tomkins, Reid for Collins and AC for Sakho.




That is an embarrassment of riches there and to think we are going to add 4 or 5 players to that squad during the summer as well as Samuelsen and Cullen perhaps.

Feel free to beg to differ. For once I’m not sure anyone can be wrong.

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Talking Point

60,000 seats - but 60,000 fans?

I’ve always thought that after twenty years of going to the Boleyn as a season ticket holder; after seeing all the ups and downs that Mark Noble has spoken about during his loyal career; that I never let football affect my mood too much. Living with three Arsenal fans and having been at a school with countless Spurs supporters, I always chuckled at their fluctuating moods and their bursts of anger whenever it came to the football. As a West Ham fan, you’re grounded in reality. You dream big, of course, but you understand the limits and don’t let it all get to you.

Having said that, I’m now going to go back completely on my word. 2016 already feels like a incredibly positive year in general – and partly that’s down to the shape of the club at the moment. With six games left at the Boleyn, a possible trip – or two – to Wembley on the horizon, the atmosphere of hope and excitement is palpable.

Add to that the move to the Olympic Stadium and last week’s news that we will now have a 60,000-capacity stadium. Karren Brady introduced the news with the quote: “West Ham fans are famous the world over for their wonderful support. They have demonstrated this once again at matches this season and in the way that they have embraced the move to the new ground. We are delighted to be able to reward that magnificent support by releasing additional Season Tickets and bring even more visitors to the Park to enjoy all that it has to offer.”

All good news, no? 2016 gets better and better? Well, I thought so, until a recent text from an old work colleague. One of those moaning Arsenal fans, of course. He messaged me delightedly to tell me that he and some of his other Arsenal mates had clubbed together and bought a few cheap season tickets at the Olympic Stadium. I was shocked and bemused. “Really?” I asked. “Yeah, too hard to pass up when that cheap,” was his reply.

West Ham fans may be famous for their support, as Ms Brady wrote, but it’s not just West Ham fans that will fill those 60,000 seats. There may be many non-Hammers in the stands too.

Now, this is to be expected in an age when season ticket prices in London for the Premier League are extortionate. Arsenal’s cheapest is 1,035 – that’s more than our most expensive offer at the Olympic Stadium (excluding the 1966 seats). Chelsea’s cheapest is 595; Tottenham’s least expensive 765. West Ham deserve tremendous credit for being at the forefront of cheaper tickets for fans – of course, it does help not having to pay for a world-class stadium, just like City with their Commonwealth Games inheritance. But it has to be noted that cheap tickets, in a well-connected stadium, at a time when London is increasingly expensive for fans and residents alike, is unfortunately going to attract not just tourist fans but other football fans desperate for live Premier League games.

Whose fault is that? Yes, the clubs and the Premier League for their mad rush for gold. But West Ham – the club and us fans – have to realise that we aren’t going to be surrounded by life-long fans with family connections in E20. The goal of being a big club – with the global standing of Manchester United and the bizarrely large Twitter following of Arsenal – means that a whole new breed of “West Ham fan” will come in: the tourists, the businessmen, the European entrepreneur, and yes – even the odd Arsenal fan eager for cheap games.

Within this context, I remember a Sunday Supplement podcast a few weeks back when a journalist referred to a conversation with David Sullivan where the chairman said that ticket sales weren’t crucial to a club’s finances. It was the TV money that mattered. It is good to hear that – and hopefully that kind of thinking will start permeating through other clubs’ hierarchies so that ticket prices begin to drop. However, it must be noted that such thinking also leads me to wonder – well, why the need to the Olympic Stadium in the first place? Yes, the spectacle makes it more enticing for luring big name players. But do we need 60,000, even 66,000 seats, if it provides nothing to the club in terms of revenue but instead just adds countless fans who are not there for the love of the club but solely for their love of a good bargain?

Of course, I don’t bemoan having foreign football fans come to visit. I’ve been to Europa League finals and even recently went to a FC Koln v Schalke match and cheered on the home side because it’s a great experience and a wonderful feeling to be part of another city’s club, joining in with their celebrations. But the worrying aspect is the text from that Arsenal fan: how many “other fans” from other domestic clubs will descend on the gates of E20 and not give it their all? It’s impossible to tell and it’s impossible for the club to know who exactly is joining as a member or a season ticket holder.

What is clear is that as West Ham enters a new phase of possible Champions League football at discount rates, we will become the envy of many a football fan – home and abroad – and we will no longer be a family club. That is something to embrace and feel excited about – but it comes at a cost too. There is a battle for the soul of the club ahead, I feel, and we need to make sure we sing loudly and proudly to drown out those “fans” that don’t bleed claret and blue.

The S J Chandos Column

West Ham line up another exciting transfer coup!

The news broke yesterday that West Ham are on the verge of yet another exciting transfer coup. This time the club are in the final stages of setting up a deal for the transfer of Valencia’s exciting young striker, Toni Martinez. Martinez is 18 years of age and can play as a centre forward, a second striker or on the left of a front three. His goal scoring record at U-21 level in Spain is outstanding, having scored over 100 goals in the last three seasons and he is widely tipped as a future star. The early details about the deal suggest that Martinez will cost £2.5m, although there is talk of Valencia wanting a buy-back agreement in the deal, as a precaution if the player fulfils his full potential in East London. Hopefully the club’s negotiators will find a way around that possible sticking point.

Valencia based newspaper, Super Deporte, are reporting that they interviewed Martinez after training yesterday and the player confirmed that he was just awaiting confirmation from his agent that the deal has been finalised. By way of background, it appears that Martinez wants the move because he has become discontented with the lack of first team opportunities at Valencia. While Martinez will undoubtedly start next season in the Hammers U-21 squad, with the possibility of a loan deal at some point, the fact remains that if he performs well then there will be real opportunities for him at West Ham.

If this deal is completed then it will be another excellent transfer coup by Tony Henry and the West Ham’s excellent scouting set-up. It is clear that they are working at two interrelated levels: at established first team level, recruiting players who can slot straight in to the first team squad; but also at a level below that, snapping up young stars with the potential to develop in to regular first teamers. In the latter category the club, in recent times, have signed the likes of Don Henry, Stephen Hendrie, Martin Samuelson, George Dobson, Luka Belic and Sam Ford; all of whom have supplemented the club’s home grown Academy prospects at U-21 level. It is a winning strategy and one that will produce dividends for the future of the club.

At U-21 level the club really do have some outstanding prospects. Both Reece Burke and Josh Cullen have done very well on loan at Bradford. Similiarly, Samuelson has really impressed on loan at Peterborough. It is a great pity that Reece Oxford’s proposed loan deal at Charlton did not come off, but there is every prospect that he could get more first team game time before the end of the season. Other youngsters thought to be on the verge of a first team debut are George Dobson, Marcus Browne and Djair Parfitt-Williams. So, all in all, things are looking very healthy, indeed, at Academy level. And that is exactly the way that it should be at a club like West Ham United, with its peerless reputation for youth development.

The club, as a whole, have made massive strides in the right direction this season. However, the target must be, long-term, sustained success. In order to secure that the club must not only sign top class, ready made, talent, but also ensure that talent is developed through the Academy; weather that is home grown starlets like Oxford or recruited young talent like Samuelson and Martinez. The club must ensure that the pathway from Academy to first team squad is kept open, unlike at other top PL clubs like Man City and Chelsea. That is crucial and will help sell the club to other top youth prospects in future.

If the club can get its transfer/recruitment formula absolutely right then it will be a crucial factor in delivering the ‘holy grail’ of sustained future success. COYI!

SJ. Chandos.

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