Dan Coker's Match Preview
Blast from the past
West Ham United arrived at the home of West Bromwich Albion for a Premier League fixture on Tuesday the 2nd December 2014 having lost only two of their previous ten matches. Take That were number one with ‘These Days’, Paddington topped the UK box office and former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe died on this day as victory in front of 23,975 at The Hawthorns pushed the Hammers into the top five.
Craig Dawson ended Albion’s 323-minute Premier League goal drought after just ten minutes when he glanced in Graham Dorrans’ free-kick but Kevin Nolan nodded in to equalise in the 35th minute after Ben Foster had pushed out Andy Carroll’s spectacular overhead kick. Academy product James Tomkins increased the pressure on Baggies boss Alan Irvine by heading in Stewart Downing’s corner in first-half stoppage time for his first goal in over two years.
Sam Allardyce’s West Ham would move up to third five days later but would end the 2014/15 season in 12th position. West Brom would finish three points behind the Hammers in 13th place. Diafra Sakho was the Irons’ top goalscorer with 12 goals from 26 appearances. Aaron Cresswell was voted Hammer of the Year in his first season with the club, with Adrian runner-up for a second consecutive campaign. Chelsea secured the title and Arsenal won the 2015 FA Cup.
West Bromwich Albion: Ben Foster, Andre Wisdom, Craig Dawson, Joleon Lescott, Chris Baird (Brown Ideye), Graham Dorrans, Craig Gardner (Silvestre Varela), Chris Brunt (Youssouf Mulumbu), Saido Berahino, Stephane Sessegnon, Victor Anichebe.
West Ham United: Adrian, Carl Jenkinson, James Tomkins, Winston Reid, Aaron Cresswell, Kevin Nolan, Cheikhou Kouyate, Morgan Amalfitano (James Collins), Mauro Zarate (Carlton Cole), Stewart Downing, Andy Carroll (Enner Valencia).
West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion have shared a decent number of players over the years. These include:
Defenders: Danny Gabbidon, Peter McManus, David Burrows, Steve Walford, Gary Strodder, Harry Kinsell.
Midfielders: Alan Dickens, Franz Carr, Freddie Fenton, Morgan Amalfitano, Nigel Quashie.
Strikers: Geoff Hurst, Tudor Martin, David Speedie, Jeroen Boere, Frank Nouble, John Hartson, Chippy Simmons, Vince Haynes, Tommy Green, David Cross.
Archie Macauley played for West Ham and managed West Brom, while Sam Allardyce played for the Baggies and managed the Hammers. Bobby Gould played for both clubs and also spent a period as manager at The Hawthorns.
Today’s focus though is on a player who played for both clubs in the 1990s. Peter Butler was born in Halifax on the 27th August 1966. He started out at Huddersfield in 1984 and spent two years with the Terriers, including a loan spell with Cambridge. He moved to Bury but stayed for a matter of months before making a permanent switch back to Cambridge. Butler signed for Southend in 1988 and spent four years with the Shrimpers, which included a loan spell back at Huddersfield.
The 25-year-old Butler, a 5’9 tenacious, tough-tackling midfielder, joined Billy Bonds’ West Ham United in the summer of 1992 in a £175,000 move and made his debut on the 16th August 1992 in a 1-0 win at Barnsley. He became a fixture in the side alongside Martin Allen in a central midfield brimming with steel and grit, making 44 appearances in all competitions in his first season, and scored his first goal for the club in a 2-1 home win over Peterborough on 9th February 1993. His second goal of the campaign came in a 4-0 triumph over Brentford, again at Upton Park, on 17th April 1993. Butler was part of the team which clinched promotion to the Premier League on the final day of the 1992/93 season against his former club Cambridge – the match was the last played in front of the old South Bank.
‘Butts’ played in over half of the Hammers’ matches back in the big time as he savoured his first taste of top-flight football. He scored his only Premier League goal against Coventry in a 3-2 home victory on 11th December 1993 and was Man of the Match in a game watched by legendary Hungarian player Ferenc Puskas. Butler picked up a knee injury and missed the final month of 1993/94 but had more than played his part in establishing the Hammers as a Premier League side.
Butler made five appearances for new manager Harry Redknapp at the start of the following campaign, with his final match in claret and blue coming in a 1-0 home victory over Aston Villa on 17th September 1994. Butler has since stated on this very website that he “loved every minute” of his time with West Ham and “felt honoured to have put that claret and blue shirt on my back every game”. He departed for Notts County for a fee of £350,000 in October 1994. His mother was terminally ill at the time and passed away suddenly – Butler wanted to move nearer to home to be near his father who was also not well. Butler’s three goals for the Hammers can be viewed in my video below.
After three goals in 78 appearances for West Ham United, Butler spent two years at Meadow Lane, taking in loan spells at Grimsby and West Brom. He made his move to The Hawthorns permanent in 1996, making 65 appearances for the club in total. He enjoyed two-and-a-half good seasons with West Brom before being offered a coaching position at hometown team Halifax.
He left Halifax in 2000 and was offered a three-year appointment on a sporting visa in Australia, joining Sorrento in the northern suburbs of Perth, West Australia as Director of Youth Development. Butler played for the club too, hanging up his boots in 2002. From there, he took a Technical Director position at the East Malaysian FA before moving to Bali. He moved on again, this time to Singapore where he coached the Singapore Armed Forces side for eight months in 2004/05. Three months of consultancy work back with the East Malaysian FA was followed by a move to Indonesia in 2006 to coach Persiba Balikpapan. Butler, who can speak Malaysian and Indonesian, moved on to Kelantan in Malaysia in 2008 before becoming Technical Director of Burmese club Yangon United a year later.
Since 2010, Butler has managed Thai club BEC Tero Sasana, returned to Kelantan and Persiba Balikpapan for second spells and managed Malaysian outfits Terengganu and T-Team. He was manager of the Botswana national team from 2014 until earlier this year. Butler, now 51, left his job as manager of South African club Platinum Stars last week.
Saturday’s referee is Paul Tierney. The Lancashire-based official has been the man in the middle for one Championship and two League Two matches so far this season. The 36-year-old has refereed the Hammers once before, in the 1-1 draw with Everton in November 2015 which saw James McCarthy’s tackle on Dimitri Payet put the Frenchman out of action for two months.
West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis has a doubt over Nacer Chadli while Gareth McAuley is lacking match fitness. Oliver Burke and James McClean should be available.
Slaven Bilic is without Mark Noble, Edimilson Fernandes and Manuel Lanzini. Andre Ayew claimed a goal and an assist from the bench against Huddersfield on Monday and is pushing for a return to the starting line-up. Marko Arnautovic is available after suspension.
Possible West Bromwich Albion XI: Foster; Dawson, Hegazy, Evans, Nyom; Krychowiak; Phillips, Barry, Livermore, Rodriguez; Rondon.
Possible West Ham United XI: Hart; Fonte, Reid, Collins; Zabaleta, Kouyate, Obiang, Cresswell; Antonio, Carroll, Ayew.
Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!