I wasn’t at the game today and could only listen to it on the very poor BBC London commentary, so I can’t really write much of a report. Also, David Hautzig has a family function, so I don’t think he will be posting either. Sorry!
But it’s a great feeling to know that we got three points in a victory which seems to have been very deserved. From the commentary it seems clear that Marko Arnautovic was the clear man of the match and put in the kind of performance that we’ve been used to from him since David Moyes took over. It is also good to see Javier Hernandez on the scoresheer. Both of them have now clocked up quite a few goals between them and will both hopefully get double figures by the end of the season.
The other major plus today was apparently the defensive performance, especially from James Collins. I think Winston Reid is going to have his work cut out getting back into the side.
These three points push us up to 30, so only ten to go until safety. At least, that’s the theory. I do wonder about that, though, this season. Everyone seems very bunched up and and I still think anyone from Bournemouth in tenth could go down. Our next two games are quite tough – Liverpool away and then Swansea away, and they are going gangusters at the moment. Our next home match isn’t for a whole month, can you believe – Burnley on March 10th. By then, hopefully Lanzini will be back.
I’d love to hear what you all made of Joao Mario’s performance today. The commentator on BBC London didn’t seem to impressed, even though he seemed to be instrumental in many of our best attacking moments.
I’m not sure that there are many alternatives to this lineup, unless Patrice Evra is brought into the starting eleven. Both Reid and Fonte are said to be unfit, with Antonio and Arnautovic also said not to be ready to return.
A win today is absolutely vital, and I am gutted to miss the match. I’ve been fighting off the lurgy, as anyone who listened to my radio show yesterday will have heard! I really feel we are due a performance this afternoon and let’s hope we get it.
You have until 1.55pm to enter the Predictor League.
Following the midweek signing of Patrice Evra, today’s match preview carries a distinct left-back theme…
Blast from the past
With Black Box at number one with ‘Ride On Time’ and Dead Poets Society in UK cinemas, West Ham United took on Watford in a Division Two fixture on the 23rd September 1989. A 1-0 victory in front of 21,525 was recorded to give Lou Macari’s Hammers their third win in seven league games at the start of the 1989/90 campaign.
Having signed from Nottingham Forest for £750,000, centre-back Colin Foster made his West Ham debut in this game against the club he would leave the Hammers for four and a half years later. Foster would go on to make 110 appearances in claret and blue. A first ever Hammers goal from the penalty spot for Julian Dicks (pictured above) was enough to take the Hammers to fifth in the Second Division table. Stuart Slater’s 17th-minute run and cross earned the penalty, awarded for handball. Dicks would be voted Hammer of the Year (the first of four occasions that he would win the prestigious prize), with Slater runner-up. Dicks would also finish as top scorer with 14 goals from 52 matches. My video below shows the goal from this game.
West Ham United would finish the 1989/90 Division Two season in seventh position, two points adrift of the play-offs despite finishing as the division’s joint highest scorers with 80 goals, while Watford would end up in 15th. Leeds won the Second Division, Liverpool won the First Division title and Manchester United won the FA Cup.
West Ham United: Phil Parkes, Steve Potts, Alvin Martin, Colin Foster, Tony Gale, Julian Dicks, Kevin Keen, Martin Allen, George Parris, Stuart Slater, Eamonn Dolan (Leroy Rosenior).
Former Hammer Mauro Zarate is now on Watford’s books, although the Argentine forward is currently on loan in his home country with Velez Sarsfield for the rest of the season.
Other players to have represented both clubs, divided by position, include:
Goalkeepers: Joe Webster, Billy Biggar, Ted Hufton, David James, Perry Suckling, Manuel Almunia, Jack Rutherford.
Defenders: Jon Harley, Calum Davenport, Lucas Neill, James McCrae, Colin Foster.
Midfielders: Henri Lansbury, Alan Devonshire, Alessandro Diamanti, Stuart Slater, Jobi McAnuff, Jimmy Lindsay, Joe Blythe, David Noble, Jimmy Carr, Mark Robson, Valon Behrami, Carl Fletcher.
Strikers: James Reid, David Connolly, Jack Foster, Roger Hugo, Billy Jennings, Peter Kyle, Bertie Lyon.
Len Goulden played for West Ham and managed Watford, while Malky Mackay played for both clubs and went on to manage the Vicarage Road club. Glenn Roeder played for the Hornets and managed both clubs; Gianfranco Zola has managed both the Hammers and the Hornets.
Today’s focus is on a former Hammers left-back who went on to play for the Hornets. Chris Powell was born in Lambeth on the 8th September 1969; he started his career with Crystal Palace and was sent out on loan to Aldershot before moving on to Southend in 1990. He moved to Derby in 1996 after nearly 300 appearances for the Shrimpers. He signed for former Hammer Alan Curbishley’s Charlton in 1998, playing over 200 games for the club and winning five England caps, before moving to West Ham United initially on loan before making the move permanent.
Powell made his West Ham United debut under Alan Pardew at the age of 35 on the 14th September 2004 in a 1-0 home win over Rotherham – the left-back had known Pardew from their days at Crystal Palace. The Hammers had struggled in the left-back position the previous season with Rufus Brevett suffering a season-ending foot injury in just the second league game of the 2003/04 campaign. Wayne Quinn and Jon Harley temporarily filled the void with Hayden Mullins venturing out of position to play at left-back as the Irons missed out on a Premier League place via the play-offs. Brevett had returned for the start of the 2004/05 season but Powell was to take over, making 42 appearances for the Hammers – his final match in claret and blue was the Play-Off Final win over Preston in Cardiff to secure the Irons’ return to the top flight at the second attempt.
Powell’s dad had been a West Ham supporter but sadly passed away before he could see his son turn out for the club. The young Chris found a role model at Upton Park who inspired him to strive for a career in the game. Speaking a year before joining the Hammers, Powell said:
“Black and Asian people enjoy football, it’s a massive sport and they need to be encouraged to make headway. They need those role models. I would not have enjoyed my football if it wasn’t for my father supporting West Ham because of Clyde Best. That’s the link. There is always a link. People can look back and see why they supported a particular club, and generally for black fans it tends to be because of black players, like Ian Wright. The teenagers around that time were all supporting Arsenal. Now they’ve got Thierry Henry. I always feel there is something that a fan wants to pin their hat on and say, ‘I like them because of him’.”
Powell’s experience was crucial in the development of youngsters Anton Ferdinand, Elliott Ward and Mark Noble but he couldn’t agree on a contract with the club at the end of the season and instead returned to Charlton, replacing Paul Konchesky who signed for the Hammers.
After a season back at Charlton, Powell signed for Aidy Boothroyd’s newly-promoted Watford in the summer of 2006. He made 18 appearances for the Hornets before returning to Charlton for a third spell in the 2007/08 season, again playing under Alan Pardew in the Championship. He joined Leicester on a six-month contract in August 2008 and ended his playing career with the Foxes, retiring in the summer of 2010.
Powell had one game as caretaker manager at Leicester before landing his first managerial post at former club Charlton in January 2011. He won the League One title with the club in 2011/12, his first full season in management, but was sacked in March 2014 with the club bottom of the Championship. He was named manager of Huddersfield in September 2014; he was sacked 14 months later. Powell was appointed assistant manager at another former club, Derby, in May 2016 and would remain in post for ten months under two managers, Nigel Pearson and Steve McClaren. Powell, now 48, returned to management last month at former club Southend in League One – in a link back to a player who played in today’s featured ‘Blast from the past’ match, Powell has since named former Hammer Kevin Keen as his assistant.
This Saturday’s referee is 49-year-old Graham Scott. The Oxfordshire-based official will be taking charge of only his third Premier League match involving the Hammers, his first appointment being our 3-1 win at Southampton in February last year. His most recent game in charge of the Hammers was our 3-0 win at Stoke in December – Scott’s decision to award Manuel Lanzini a first-half penalty saw the Argentine retrospectively banned for two matches.
Scott was also the man in the middle for our 2-1 League Cup victory over Cheltenham in August 2013 and is pictured above sending off Callum McNaughton in the defender’s only Hammers appearance as the club were knocked out of the same competition by Aldershot in August 2011.
For West Ham United, new signing Patrice Evra could make his debut. Pedro Obiang, Edimilson Fernandes, Manuel Lanzini and Andy Carroll miss out through injury, while Arthur Masuaku sits out the third game of his six-match ban. Marko Arnautovic remains a doubt.
Northern Ireland international centre-back Craig Cathcart is set to return for Watford, while midfielder Tom Cleverley could also be available. Right-back Kiko Femenia and centre-backs Molla Wague, Christian Kabasele, Miguel Britos, Younes Kaboul and Tommie Hoban are all out injured, as are midfielders Nathaniel Chalobah and Will Hughes. Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes is also a major doubt.
Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Zabaleta, Fonte, Ogbonna, Reid, Cresswell; Kouyate, Mario, Noble; Antonio, Chicharito.
Lord Kitchener’s iconic image has loomed at the back of the mind of late. Whatever you feel about the owners of the club at the moment I think we all, or at least the vast majority of us, are behind the manager and what he’s trying to do at the club. Personally I am as frustrated as the next West Ham fan when it comes to the signings, or lack of, and all the other missing aspects of the 10 point pledge.
I’m trying to avoid writing about what the owners of the club are up to, or more like are not up to, at the moment. It’s proving to be quite difficult. As I write we’ve just signed Patrice Evra . Correct me if I’m wrong but did the manager state that an area we need to strengthen, with new players, was Full Back? Did David Moyes say he needs fresh, or perhaps not so fresh, blood in wide areas? Slipped me by if he did. From memory midfield was the key position to improve. Has to make you question who is making the signings.
After a terrible couple of weeks, which I won’t go over again as it’s been extensively discussed already, it does look like there’s some light at the end of the ‘injury tunnel’. Joao Mario has done well, in my view, since joining however our slump since the injuries to Arnie and Manu is dramatic. Physioroom.co.uk are currently quoting dates of 10th Feb and 3rd March for those two respectively. I’m hopeful and optimistic (default when it comes to West Ham for me) that we’ll soon see the team actually have some attacking ideas before too long. Fingers crossed – eh?
On the subject of injuries this weekend’s opponents currently top the injury table with 11 players out of action. Could have been 12 unable to take the field if the F.A. had taken action against Troy Deeney for his single finger gesture towards fans during the Chelsea game. The lack of action against the Watford livewire did, admittedly, take me by surprise. It would take a four goal winning margin for us to leapfrog them in the league but the 3 points are more important in the great scheme of this season. I guess league positions are important as the club gain further income the higher we finish. Not that it really matters to us fans – is that likely to lead to better quality signings at the end of the day anyway?
The squad is thin. The spine is short on numbers for backup. We have cover out wide. Why pay high wages to an ageing player we don’t really need? Cresswell and Masuaku (when the silly boy returns) are both good players on the left. Byram has put in some excellent game-time there too. As good as he his, sorry – I just don’t get it. At best it’s excessive – at worst profligate. If David Moyes initiated this move I’ll be gobsmacked. What’s worse he’s going to wear the 27 shirt.
As a fan who attends between 5 and 7 games a season I’m not going to pass judgement on those who part with their hard earned on a more regular basis. That being the case I won’t suggest that fans don’t vent their spleens at the club’s owners on matchdays. After all you can probably gather from the tone of this piece my opinion on the level of backing I believe recent managers have enjoyed, or put up with, from the board. What I would like to see is that, at the same time as a vocal protest, those same fans show their support for David Moyes, his coaching staff and the players. He needs us all to get behind the team. None of us want to end up going down – at least I hope that we don’t. Even if you would cut your nose off to spite your face by wishing it on our owners for their failure to deliver the signings we all deserve I would still hope fans would never wish to be relegated. There’s certainly a better chance of that happening if we don’t get behind the boys.