Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

A Night of Luck Kicks Starts Hammers Season

This is my first post offering my photographic view of our second season at the London Stadium as it unfolds. I won’t add any text unless a post or an image needs it, but I hope you all enjoy my photographic diary of our home games. I will be looking at different aspects of attending our home games and there will be more images of fans as the season develops looking at the highs and lows of being a Hammer. Enjoy the rest of your week after our first 3 points of the season.

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The HamburgHammer Column

Taking the terriers for a walk in the Olympic Park - While girl power in German football is alive and kicking

WHAT A BLOODY RELIEF THAT WAS! 2:0 in our first home game of the season, and never in doubt! We had to win this and we did just that.

Everything was a bit different this week though, and all it took was our first home game of the season being selected for a Monday night kickoff. Which is why my column was moved by mutual consent from my usual spot to this one. In general I try to make it over for the first home game of the season as a matter of principle, but this time I somehow didn’t quite fancy it, especially with the Spurs game coming up so shortly after. I ain’t missing that one!

Germany was well represented though in my absence as I know that our dear friend Ebi found his way to the London Stadium for Huddersfield and it looks like his presence fortunately helped to lift the team and put the much needed three points in the bag for us.

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In a pouring rain that would give the average summer day in Hamburg a run for its money the game was tense right from the start. I was surprised to see both the lineup and the formation, but it was looking decent enough for us in the first half in which Joe Hart didn’t have to make a single save, testament to how well we contained Huddersfield, but also a sign that we had finally managed to play a full half without committing an individual defensive howler allowing the opposition to score easily.

West Ham created numerous half-chances, starting in the second minute already when Kouyate nearly reached the ball delivered by Carroll after a knock down, but the midfield maestro just missed with his slide to get us an early lead. One minute later Carroll himself missed with an early shot. We then breathed a collective sigh of relief when Collins was back up again eventually after going down with what looked like a head injury. I was impressed to see us closing down the opposition so much better in this game than previously, Zabaleta and Chicharito teaming up, hunting like a pack of wolves and winning the ball near the corner flag in the 9th minute.

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Chicharito then had the best opportunity to score, but his effort only found the crossbar. In the 26th minute it was Antonio, showing some blistering pace on the left wing, winning us a freekick in the process which only resulted in a Collins header that was easily saved by Huddersfield’s keeper.

It was Antonio again in the 29th minute, showing his pace once more to get past his marker on the right wing this time, with not much of an end product though.
There was a weak penalty shout from a tug on Kouyate in the box one minute later while Zabaleta showed some more intent upfront with yet another committed closing down of his opponent which was great to watch.

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There were a few more half chances from Carroll, Antonio and Kouyate late on in the first half and that was that, still goalless, but at least no goal conceded.
Start of the second half and it was more of the same initially, a quick counter attack led by Chicharito in the 53rd minute looking promising, but again with no end product to show for it.

Huddersfield got into the game better now and started creating some chances of their own which however were dealt with properly by Hart and our defenders. Hart had his first proper save to make in the 54th minute, Kouyate then sliced another effort wide two minutes later and then came the 64th minute and the first change for West Ham: Chicharito off, Ayew on. Judging by the crowd reaction I wasn’t the only one thinking at that point WTF ??? Ayew, as we all know now ended up a shrewd super sub, being man of the match after scoring one goal himself and setting up another.

There were also some nice deliveries from Cresswell throughout the game, both from corners and conventional crosses. He looked a lot more like the Cresswell from the final Boleyn season in this game.

And then the breakthrough came in the 72nd minute, Ayew setting up Obiang with a nice pass on the edge of the box, Obiang curling a beautiful effort that looked destined for the top left hand corner only to find Zanka’s back, taking a wicked deflection and sailing agonisingly slowly into the opposite corner…GOAL!!!! 1:0 to West Ham, they all count I suppose.

Boy, did we deserve that bit of luck there, I think it was a good shot from Obiang full stop and he might have scored even if there hadn’t been a deflection, but I won’t argue about a goal that set us up for our first league win this season!

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And only five minutes later it was that man Ayew again, scoring with a tap in (again) from two yards out after Fonte’s initial effort from a Cresswell corner was blocked.
That goal very much broke Huddersfield’s spirit although there was a very decent shot from Ince Jr. hitting the crossbar nine minutes from the end.

Two more substitutions late on (Sakho for Carroll and Rice for Obiang) and it was game, set and match and three points for the mighty Hammers, thank you very much!

So, what impressed me the most in the game ?

a) Our defense looked a lot more solid and I think this formation works very well for us. Zabaleta was fantastic, chasing down players time and time again and even Fonte looked fairly comfortable.
b) The overall effort looked spot on and the players were running and tackling their guts out which was good to see. Also we cut down on the number of stupid passes and silly mistakes, so we actually didn’t gift a goal to the opposition. Result: Clean sheet!
c) Carroll won plenty of balls for us and looked sharp and hungry. Long may it continue. At one point he put in a cross which made me think: Shouldn’t he be the one at the end of that cross ? Which sounds physically impossible though…:-))
d) Antonio was a menace for the opposition all game. Pace, tenacity, strength. With Arnautovic on the other wing this could get interesting.
e) We managed to win a game without Mr.West Ham on the pitch. I am happy to see Mark Noble back in the starting XI for us again when healthy, but it’s still good to know we can prevail without our skipper if need be.

I am really happy for Bilic that the team got this win for him (and us) and this should somewhat ease the pressure on the birthday boy now I reckon!
Has Bilic lost the dressing room ? On account of this game I highly doubt that.

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Away from West Ham, in other (more local) news, last weekend carried a distinctive female theme in German football, both in general and also for me personally. It all started with Bibiana Steinhaus becoming the first ever woman to referee a league game in the Bundesliga. And by all accounts she had a very impressive debut indeed, debut being a bit of a misleading word here as she has obviously umpired numerous games in the Bundesliga 2 before and also been on the sidelines as assistant referee or fourth official in the Bundesliga too.

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The best word to describe her refereeing performance is inconspicious which is the best thing you can ever say about a good referee. Her refereeing style is relaxed and laid back, but firm when she has to be. She is also a great communicator, laying down the law in a clear and concise manner, also explaining her decisions to the players.

And it seems to work fantastically well with her rarely being accused of putting her stamp on the game unduly. Some referees have the tendency to make the game about themselves a lot instead of leaving the limelight to the players.

Bibiana Steinhaus has earned rave reviews with her umpiring of the Hertha Berlin-Werder Bremen game, both from fellow referees (like her partner, former British referee Howard Webb who, like Steinhaus, is from the fuzz away from the pitch) and also players like Bayern’s Franck Ribery or goalkeeping legend Iker Casillas.
Steinhaus for instance correctly played the advantage in one instance which subsequently led to a goal. It’s stuff like that which shows that the lady clearly knows what she’s doing and she will definitely have a great future in the game. As a fan you rarely root for the guy (or girl) with the whistle, but in this case I’ll make an exception.

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As a sidenote, Hertha BSC as a club also showed a nice gesture to mark the occasion of the first ever game umpired by a woman in the Bundesliga by selling half-price tickets to female fans. With female referees it is a bit like with young players, if they are good enough it doesn’t matter about age (or gender in this case). Saying that I would now expect many more female refs to follow in Bibiana’s footsteps and it won’t be long before women umpiring football games at high levels will not even raise an eyebrow anymore, it’ll be accepted and seen as a normal and good thing for football.

On a personal level I was so starved of football that I did my very own Super Sunday last weekend. Strangely enough all three major Concordia teams were playing on the same day with little overlap, so I did the crazy thing and watched our newly formed Ladies team play their first league game away from home (but still close to my place), at the ungodly hour of 9 am (easy 4:0 win), followed by the Cordi 2 game at home at 11 am (I missed the first 15 minutes of the 5:2 win) to be crowned by Concordia’s first team beating Hamburg SV’s third string 2:1 in their afternoon game.

Concordia Ladies getting ready for their first win of the season

This being my first ever ladies game attended in person, I found it to be both an interesting and entertaining experience. It was more a girls’ team though, with most of the players being aged between 16 and 24. There was all the usual passion, joy to play football and team spirit I am used to whenever I watch lower league football.
But two things struck me in particular: One, the difference in playing ability was mind-boggling, both between the two teams, but also within the teams.

Some of the girls couldn’t control a single ball, but were good at running or blocking the ball. Others were the full package, with their passes always finding a teammate, some tricks and flicks too and great reading of the game.

The second thing that struck me was how the game went along without any fuss, no bad tackles or foul language, no arguing with the referee over decisions, if players weren’t genuinely hurt, they got up off the muddy clay quickly, no moaning, no bitching. It was a very unaccustomed, but pleasant way to watch football.
Don’t start me off on the nicknames though, one of the bigger girls was called regularly on the pitch by her less than complimentary moniker “Cherry Tart”. Needless to say I felt peckish eventually, hearing cake getting mentioned every two minutes…:-))

I will definitely watch another ladies game later this season. Of course West Ham games and also the Cordi lads will keep me occupied in the main, but I have to say that you can have a jolly good time as a connoisseur of the beautiful game when watching ladies football. There’s nothing girly about it, some of the ladies are tough as nails and when you see a nice free-flowing counter attack it is great to watch, no matter if the players in question are male or female.

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With the first West Ham home game (and win) finally out of the way now, let’s hope The Hammers are off to bigger and better things this season.
The start wasn’t great (what else is new?), but it’s still early days and we can have a pretty decent season after all. After the Huddersfield win I have hope again…COYI!

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Book Review

Match Thread: West Ham v Huddersfield Town

West Ham v Huddersfield Town
FA Premier League
London Stadium
KO 8pm
TV: Sky Sports
Radio: BBC Five Live

Please use this thread to comment on the match as it progresses.


Lineup Prediction

Lineup Prediction: West Ham v Huddersfield Town

This is perhaps the most difficult lineup to predict so far this season. By all accounts Slaven Bilic is going to pick an attacking side and is going to “go for it”. What does that mean? Two strikers? 4-4-2? 3-5-2? If it’s 4-4-2 does that mean Cresswell moves into the left hand side of midfield ahead of Masuaku, given we have no other left sided players? Could, as SJ Chandos suggested yesterday, Nathan Holland be in line for a first team debut on the right of a four man midfield, with Antonio moving over to the left? Surely not. If we have learned one thing it’s that Antonio needs to be played in his rightful position.

My suspicion is that we will play 3-5-2 with Carroll and Hernandez up front. But if we play three central defenders, who will they be? Personally I’d go with Reid, Ogbonna and Rice, but I suspect James Collins will get the nod over Rice. But if Antonio is to play on the right as a wing back, that leaves no room for Zabaleta. In theory he could play more centrally in place of Obiang.

My head is spinning.

You have until 6.55pm to enter the Predictor League

PS I am unable to go to the game tonight and David Hautzig cannot do his normal match report. Should anyone wish to oblige, do let me know.


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Huddersfield

Blast from the past

4th March 1972 – Chicory Tip were number one with ‘Son of My Father’ (an important theme for this match preview!), the seven-week miners’ strike had just ended and Dirty Harry had just been released in UK cinemas as West Ham United completed a 3-0 win over Huddersfield.

Just a week earlier, Town had beaten the Hammers 4-2 to knock them out of the FA Cup at Leeds Road. The Londoners sought revenge and got it at Upton Park as Clyde Best (pictured below) bagged a brace and ‘Pop’ Robson the other in front of 18,521, Ron Greenwood’s Hammers easing to victory in our last league meeting with the Terriers.

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The Hammers went on to finish the 1971/72 season in 14th place, while Ian Greaves’ Huddersfield ended up bottom and were relegated. Best was the Irons’ top goalscorer with 23 goals from 56 appearances, while Trevor Brooking was voted Hammer of the Year for the first time with Bobby Ferguson runner-up. Derby won the First Division title and Leeds won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Bobby Ferguson, John McDowell, Tommy Taylor, Bobby Moore, Frank Lampard, Harry Redknapp, Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking, Geoff Hurst, ‘Pop’ Robson, Clyde Best.

Club Connections

A small number of players have worn the shirts of both West Ham United and Huddersfield Town. 2008 Hammer of the Year Robert Green has recently joined the Terriers. Others who have represented both clubs include:

Defenders: Dickie Pudan, Archie Taylor, Simon Webster, Elliott Ward, Steve Walford, David Unsworth.

Midfielders: Peter Butler, Diego Poyet, Mark Ward.

Strikers: Dave Mangnall, Jack Foster, George Crowther.

Lou Macari managed both clubs, while Chris Powell played for West Ham and managed Huddersfield. Sam Allardyce played for the Terriers and managed the Hammers.

Today’s focus though is on a full-back who played for West Ham in the 1990s and had a loan spell with Huddersfield. Kenny Brown was born on 11th July 1967 in Barking – his father Ken made 474 appearances for the Hammers between 1953 and 1967, winning the FA Cup in 1964 and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965. Kenny began his career with Norwich under his father’s management in 1986 before moving to Plymouth in 1988. He made over 100 appearances for the Pilgrims before moving to First Division West Ham United in August 1991, initially on loan. The Browns would be the third father-and-son pairing to play for West Ham after Jim Barrett Senior and Junior, and Bill Lansdowne and Billy Lansdowne. They have since been joined by Frank Lampard Senior and Junior, Steve and Dan Potts, John and George Moncur, and Rob and Elliot Lee.

The 24-year-old Kenny made his debut in a 0-0 opening day draw with Luton at Upton Park on 17th August 1991 and scored his first goal for the club in his fourth appearance in a 3-1 win over Aston Villa at Upton Park 11 days later. His move was made permanent for what would become an eventual fee of £235,000. His second goal for Billy Bonds’ men was the first West Ham goal I ever saw, in a 2-1 home defeat to Manchester City on 21st September 1991. Kenny had to wait seven months for his next goal but it was one that went down in Hammers folklore – the winner in a 1-0 triumph over Manchester United which helped deny the Red Devils the title and handed it on a plate to Leeds. The Irons’ relegation would be confirmed just three days later. Kenny made 33 appearances in all competitions in 1991/92.

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Predominantly a right-back but happy to fill in at left-back or in midfield, Kenny made 19 appearances the following season and scored two crucial goals in the promotion run-in. His late long-range strike at Birmingham on 3rd April 1993 sparked a dramatic comeback from 1-0 down to an eventual 2-1 win and he bagged the third in a 3-1 win at Swindon on 2nd May on the penultimate weekend of the season – the Hammers were promoted by virtue of scoring one more goal than nearest rivals Portsmouth.

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Kenny found game time hard to come by in the following two seasons, making 12 appearances in each of the 1993/94 and 1994/95 campaigns. Harry Redknapp had taken over from Bonds by the time Kenny scored his last goal in claret and blue, in a 2-0 FA Cup third round win at Wycombe on 7th January 1995 (he is pictured above, celebrating with Alvin Martin). A flurry of loan spells followed – Kenny made five appearances for this evening’s opponents Huddersfield in 1995 and also spent time at Reading, Southend, Crystal Palace, Reading again and Birmingham before signing permanently for the Blues in a £75,000 move in January 1997. Kenny’s final appearance for West Ham had been in a 1-0 home win over Nottingham Forest on 3rd February 1996. He had made 79 appearances for the Hammers in all competitions, scoring six goals. My video below is a compilation of Kenny’s six strikes in claret and blue.

The 29-year-old Kenny quickly realised he had made a mistake in moving to St Andrew’s, the club then being owned by David Sullivan and David Gold – he teamed up again with Bonds at Millwall just four months later. His last action in the Football League came at Gillingham, where he spent the final months of the 1998/99 season. Kenny signed for non-league Kingstonian before moving to Ireland with Portadown, then on to Wales with Barry Town. Kenny became player-coach and later manager at Barry, winning the Welsh League and Cup double in consecutive seasons. He resigned after a turbulent change of ownership which saw the club unable to pay its players. Kenny returned to England, signing for Tilbury, and ended his playing days in Spain with Torrevieja, an hour south of Benidorm.

In May 2006, Kenny was appointed Director of Football at Javea, near Alicante, and ran a summer school there with Julian Dicks. Kenny was appointed Dicks’ assistant at Grays in September 2009 and was named assistant manager at Concord Rangers in June 2012. Just a month later though, he was appointed Lead Development Coach at Barnet. After a season with the Bees, Kenny moved to Chelmsford to be assistant manager to Dean Holdsworth but departed before Christmas 2013 when Holdsworth left the club. Kenny joined Dagenham and Redbridge as Academy Manager in the summer of 2014, working with the Under-12s to Under-16s. Now aged 50, he is currently Academy Head of Coaching at Millwall.

Referee

Monday’s referee is Kevin Friend. The Leicester-based official has been involved in top-flight matches since 2009 and took charge of the Hammers in our historic 3-0 victory at Liverpool in August 2015. He sent off Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and West Ham’s Mark Noble in that match at Anfield, with the latter’s dismissal rescinded on appeal.

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Friend last took charge of the Hammers in April for our 1-0 home win over Swansea. He is also remembered for the soft penalty he gifted Hull in our 1-0 defeat at the KC Stadium in September 2013 when Joey O’Brien was adjudged to have shoved Robbie Brady. Friend compounded the error by later denying the Irons a clear penalty when Jake Livermore handled in the area. Don’t expect much from Friend in the way of handball decisions – he also denied the Hammers a penalty in a match at Everton when Aaron Cresswell’s cross was handled by Seamus Coleman.

Possible line-ups

Super Slaven Bilic will be hoping to celebrate his 49th birthday today with three points from this fixture (Happy Birthday Slav). The manager should have Winston Reid, Andre Ayew and Andy Carroll available but Edimilson Fernandes and Manuel Lanzini are injured, while Marko Arnautovic completes his three-match suspension. England’s Number One Joe Hart has failed to keep a clean sheet in his last 22 league appearances – a run stretching back to 8th January.

David Wagner could hand debuts to two new signings – right-back Florent Hadergjonaj and attacking midfielder Abdelhamid Sabiri – but forward Collin Quaner has a knee problem and will be assessed. Centre-half Martin Cranie and central midfielder Jonathan Hogg are both likely to miss out through injury. Centre-half Jon Stankovic is a long-term absentee but left winger Rajiv van La Parra should be available.

Possible West Ham United XI: Hart; Zabaleta, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Kouyate, Obiang, Noble; Antonio, Chicharito, Ayew.

Possible Huddersfield XI: Lossl; Smith, Zanka, Schindler, Lowe; Mooy, Billing; Kachunga, Ince, van La Parra; Mounie.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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