Blast from the past
Monday 31st March 2014 – 5 Seconds of Summer were number one with ‘She Looks So Perfect’, a jury was selected to hear a fresh inquest into the 96 deaths caused by the 1989 Hillsborough disaster and Captain America: The Winter Soldier was in UK cinemas as West Ham United completed a 2-1 win at Sunderland.
Andy Carroll opened the scoring in the ninth minute, rising above the Sunderland defence to power home a header from a left-wing corner. The visitors doubled their lead five minutes into the second half, Carroll chesting down a high, hanging free-kick from halfway by James Tomkins into the path of Mo Diame, whose shot skidded into the corner beyond the helpless Vito Mannone via a slight deflection.
Gus Poyet introduced winger Adam Johnson and the substitute swept in a precise finish with 25 minutes remaining to set up a tense finale but the Hammers held out to leave the Black Cats second bottom and four points adrift of safety with eight games to play.
Sam Allardyce’s Hammers would go on to finish the 2013/14 Premier League season in 13th place, with the Mackems ending up one below in 14th position. Manchester City won the title, Arsenal won the FA Cup and Mark Noble was voted Hammer of the Year for the second time.
Sunderland: Vito Mannone, Phil Bardsley, Santiago Vergini, Wes Brown, John O’Shea (Craig Gardner), Marcos Alonso, Liam Bridcutt, Ki Sung-Yueng (Ignacio Scocco), Lee Cattermole (Adam Johnson), Connor Wickham, Fabio Borini.
West Ham United: Adrian, Guy Demel, James Tomkins, Winston Reid, George McCartney (Pablo Armero), Mark Noble, Matt Taylor, Stewart Downing, Kevin Nolan (Antonio Nocerino), Mo Diame (Roger Johnson), Andy Carroll.
A large number of players have worn the shirts of both Sunderland and West Ham United. Of the current crop, Jermain Defoe will be facing the team he began his professional career with back in 2000. A brief run-through of others who have represented both clubs is best served by dividing them by playing position:
Defenders: Danny Collins, Matt Kilgallon, Keith Coleman, Wayne Bridge, Mick McGiven, Harry Forster, Ernie England, Tal Ben Haim, George McCartney, Calum Davenport, Andy Melville, Anton Ferdinand, Clive Clarke.
Midfielders: Stewart Downing, Christian Bassila, Harry Hooper, John Foreman, Don Hutchison.
Strikers: Billy Moore, David Bellion, Lee Chapman, Brian Deane, ‘Pop’ Robson, Charlie Crossley, Jack Dowsey, Bill Robinson, David Kelly, Dave Swindlehurst, David Connolly, Jack Foster, Dick Bell.
Paolo Di Canio also played for the Hammers and managed the Black Cats, while Sam Allardyce managed both clubs and also played for Sunderland.
Today’s focus though falls on a player who played an ill-fated eighteen matches in all competitions for West Ham before experiencing better times at Sunderland – Gary Breen was born in Hendon on 12th December 1973 and started his career as a youth player with Charlton. He moved to Maidstone United where he made his first professional appearances at the age of 17 before joining Gillingham in 1992, where he worked with Glenn Roeder. Breen moved on to Peterborough in 1994 for £70,000 before signing for David Sullivan and David Gold’s Birmingham in February 1996 for £250,000. He was on the move again less than a year later, signing for Premier League Coventry in a £2.5m deal.
Breen stayed at Coventry for five years before an impressive 2002 World Cup with the Republic of Ireland, coupled with being out of contract, saw him receive an abundance of offers for pastures new. Barcelona were reportedly interested and a move was actually agreed to move to the San Siro with Inter Milan but the central defender failed a medical. Roeder, Breen’s former manager at Gillingham, subsequently brought the 28-year-old to West Ham United in the summer of 2002 on a free transfer. He made his debut in a 2-2 home draw with Arsenal on 24th August 2002 and made 13 starts in all competitions, with an extra five appearances as a substitute. Only two of these 18 appearances ended in a clean sheet and only four in wins. Perhaps his finest hour in claret and blue was playing the full 90 minutes of a 3-2 win at Chelsea on 28th September 2002 which, to this day, stands as our last win at Stamford Bridge.
Breen never really recovered from his penultimate appearance as a Hammer, a 6-0 defeat at Manchester United in the fourth round of the FA Cup on 26th January 2003. After attributing an exemplary performance and a clean sheet for the Republic of Ireland against Scotland down to “organisation”, Breen and an angry Roeder had an “expletive-ridden confrontation” when the defender returned to Chadwell Heath from international duty, with Roeder reportedly “on the receiving end”. Breen had been unhappy at being made the scapegoat for the defeat at Old Trafford and his subsequent exclusion from the team. A source close to the club was reported as saying: “Everyone knew what was going on and it got quite angry, with swear words all over the place. There was a group of young players standing outside and they heard every word. After Breen came out of the office, Roeder was very different at training. It was all ‘nice one Breeny’ and well done Gary’."
Breen would only make one more appearance for the Hammers, as a substitute in a 2-1 win at West Brom on 23rd February 2003. He would play no further part in the Hammers’ ultimately doomed attempt to remain in the top flight. He signed for his former Ireland manager Mick McCarthy at Sunderland, also newly-relegated from the Premier League. The 6’1 centre-half would return to Upton Park to secure the Championship title with the Wearsiders in late April 2005, Breen’s Black Cats recording a 2-1 win. A third relegation, having experienced the same fate previously with Coventry and the Hammers, would follow in 2006 however and Breen would again be released after 107 appearances and seven goals for Sunderland.
McCarthy, who had left Sunderland in March 2006, would sign the 32-year-old Breen for his new club Wolves later that summer. Breen would go on to captain the Molineux club before departing for Barnet in December 2008, where he was appointed player-coach – he would be named player/assistant manager the following summer. Breen, who won 63 caps and scored 7 international goals for the Republic of Ireland, left Barnet in the summer of 2010 and retired as a player. He had a spell at former club Peterborough as first-team coach under Darren Ferguson between 2013 and 2015 and now, aged 43, features on Setanta Sports and Abu Dhabi’s coverage of the Premier League. Breen also worked on BBC Radio’s Euro 2016 coverage in France last summer.
The referee on Easter Saturday will be Andre Marriner; the 46-year-old’s most recent Hammers appointment was the 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea last month, while he also took charge of Boxing Day’s 4-1 win at Swansea and the 1-1 home draw with Stoke in November. Prior to that, in August’s trip to Manchester City, he had failed to send off Sergio Aguero for an elbow on Winston Reid with the Hammers trailing 2-1 with 14 minutes remaining. The Argentine was retrospectively charged with violent conduct and suspended for three matches, a decision which did nothing to benefit West Ham. Marriner did, however, show leniency that day towards the visitors by failing to issue Arthur Masuaku with a second yellow card on more than one occasion.
Marriner has been the man in the middle for two of the Hammers’ previous visits to the Stadium of Light, those being the 2-1 defeat in March 2008 and the 2-2 draw in October 2009 – Sunderland scored a winner deep into stoppage time in the former, while Marriner sent off a player for each side in the latter (the Mackems’ Kenwyne Jones and the Irons’ Radoslav Kovac). Since we achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 the Birmingham-based official has been far from a good omen for West Ham – he has refereed fourteen of our league matches, officiating in only three wins for the Hammers, four draws and seven defeats.
Sunderland manager David Moyes could be without injured left-back Bryan Oviedo, who is likely to join Paddy McNair, Jan Kirchhoff and Duncan Watmore on the sidelines. Sebastian Larsson starts a three-match suspension. The Mackems have failed to score in their last seven games, a run stretching back to their 4-0 win at Crystal Palace on 4th February.
Slaven Bilic will be without Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna, Pedro Obiang, Michail Antonio and Gokhan Tore. Sam Byram is likely to start having shaken off a knock while Aaron Cresswell may be held back for the Everton game having only returned to training yesterday. Mark Noble starts a two-match suspension after picking up ten yellow cards. Andy Carroll and Jonathan Calleri will, according to Super Slav, share the minutes up front, while Diafra Sakho is pushing for an appearance too.
Possible Sunderland XI: Pickford; Jones, Denayer, Kone, Manquillo; Rodwell, Cattermole, Ndong; Defoe, Anichebe, Borini.
Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Byram, Fonte, Collins, Masuaku; Kouyate, Lanzini; Feghouli, Ayew, Snodgrass; Carroll.
Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!