Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Arsenal

Blast from the past

8th April 1987 – Through the Keyhole had just made its TV debut, Ferry Aid were number one with ‘Let It Be’ (a single released following the Zeebrugge Disaster the previous month which killed 193 passengers and crew when a ferry capsized) and Little Shop of Horrors was in UK cinemas.

Meanwhile, 26,174 at the Boleyn Ground saw the Hammers beat newly-crowned League Cup winners Arsenal. 21-year-old striker Tony Cottee (pictured below) gave the Irons the lead on four minutes with his 100th goal for the club when he controlled Billy Bonds’ header across goal before firing past Gunners goalkeeper Rhys Wilmot from close range. George Parris conceded a penalty eight minutes later, bringing down David Rocastle – Hammers ‘keeper Tom McAlister, playing his first game in two years, saved Martin Hayes’ spot-kick but the referee ordered a retake for encroachment. Hayes converted at the second attempt to equalise for the visitors.

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Cottee restored the hosts’ lead 11 minutes into the second half with a penalty of his own after Parris had been brought down by Wilmot. Former Gunner Liam Brady secured the points for the Hammers with his first goal in claret and blue, carrying the ball from his own half before firing low into the corner with 11 minutes remaining. All the action from the game can be seen in my video below.

John Lyall’s Hammers finished in 15th place in the 1986/87 Division One season while George Graham’s Gunners ended up fourth. Cottee would be top scorer with 29 goals in 54 appearances. Billy Bonds was named Hammer of the Year, with Mark Ward runner-up. Everton won the league title and Coventry won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Tom McAlister, Billy Bonds, Gary Strodder, Tony Gale, Tommy McQueen, Mark Ward, George Parris, Alan Dickens, Stewart Robson, Liam Brady, Tony Cottee.

Arsenal: Rhys Wilmot, Viv Anderson, David O’Leary, Tony Adams, Steve Williams, David Rocastle, Michael Thomas, Paul Davis, Martin Hayes (Graham Rix), Charlie Nicholas, Perry Groves.

Club Connections

A large group of players have turned out for West Ham United and Arsenal. Carl Jenkinson is currently back at the Gunners having spent two of the previous four seasons on loan at the Hammers. Lukasz Fabianski, Jack Wilshere, Samir Nasri and Lucas Perez welcome their former club. Other players to have represented both clubs include:

Goalkeepers: Charles Ambler, Richard Wright, Manuel Almunia, Jim Standen.

Defenders: Matthew Upson, Nigel Winterburn, Steve Walford, Bob Stevenson.

Midfielders: Stewart Robson, Liam Brady, Yossi Benayoun, Archie Macauley, David Bentley, James Bigden, Roddy McEachrane, Alex Song, Henri Lansbury, Luis Boa Morte, Fred Kemp, Fredrik Ljungberg.

Strikers: Harry Lewis, Bobby Gould, Jeremie Aliadiere, Dick Burgess, John Blackwood, Fergie Hunt, Dr Jimmy Marshall, Kaba Diawara, Jimmy Bloomfield, Charlie Satterthwaite, Marouane Chamakh, Billy Linward, Lee Chapman, Tommy Lee, Ian Wright, Peter Kyle, John Hartson, Stan Earle, John Radford, Davor Suker.

Ron Greenwood was also assistant manager at Arsenal before becoming manager of West Ham.

Today’s focus though falls on a Scottish player who captained Arsenal before later playing for West Ham. James Jackson was born on the 15th September 1875 in Cambuslang, Glasgow but his family emigrated to Australia where he was raised from the age of two. He began his senior football career at Adamstown Rosebud in Newcastle, New South Wales. He returned to Scotland in 1893, appearing for Newton Thistle, Cambuslang and briefly for Rangers before moving to England to join Newcastle United, who he helped to promotion to the Football League in his first season.

A strict teetotaller, Jackson joined Woolwich Arsenal in 1899, attracted by the club’s willingness to help him open a sports shop just outside the Manor Ground. He made his debut aged 23 against Leicester Fosse on 2nd September 1899 and was a regular at the club for the next six seasons, playing either at left-back or wing-half. He was a virtual ever-present in the Gunners’ 1903/04 Second Division promotion-winning season, and captained the club in four of his five seasons at the club, including their inaugural top flight campaign. In all he played 204 matches for Arsenal, scoring one goal. He is pictured below, fourth from the right in the back row, with his Arsenal team-mates from the 1904/05 First Division season.

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Jackson left Arsenal in 1905 to become player-manager of Leyton, newly admitted to the Southern League, but he resigned to sign as a player for West Ham United in November 1905. A major capture for the Hammers, the East Ham Echo wrote:

“While with Arsenal Jackson was regarded as one of the finest backs in the South, and it was with great regret that the Woolwich club’s supporters learned that the skipper was leaving to take up the position of player/manager to Leyton. A few days ago the sporting public were greatly surprised to read in the London papers that Jackson had tendered his resignation, which had been accepted by the Leyton directorate. This was indeed a sensation, and was quickly followed by the startling, but welcome, news that he had been signed on for West Ham.”

The 30-year-old strong, forceful defender made his Hammers debut in a 2-0 win over Brighton at Upton Park on 11th November 1905. ‘Jemmy’ was ever-present for the rest of the 1905/06 Southern League season, forming a fabled full-back partnership with another Scot, Dave Gardner, and making 24 appearances as the Irons finished 11th. His final match for the club was a 1-0 defeat at Portsmouth on 28th April 1906.

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Jackson rejoined Rangers in 1906, spending two years with the club before moving on to Port Glasgow Athletic. He joined Hamilton Accies in 1910 but his spell with the club was brief before he signed for Morton. He ended his career in 1915 after four years with Abercorn. He had two sons who became footballers – the elder, James, played more than 200 times for Liverpool (where he was also captain) before being ordained a minister in the Presbyterian Church. The younger, Archie, played for Sunderland and Tranmere. Jackson’s nephew was the Australian test cricketer Archie Jackson. ‘Jemmy’ Jackson’s date of death is unknown.

Referee

The referee on Saturday will be Jonathan Moss. The Yorkshire-based official has sent off a player in six of his last 12 appointments involving the Hammers – the 4-3 defeat to Bournemouth in August 2015 saw Carl Jenkinson sent off, while the 2-1 win over Chelsea in October 2015 saw Nemanja Matic dismissed (then-Blues manager Jose Mourinho was also sent to the stands). Moss issued a red card to Jordan Ayew of Aston Villa in February 2016 with the Hammers going on to win 2-0 while, going further back, Burnley’s Michael Duff was also sent off by Moss in our 1-0 home win over the Clarets in May 2015.

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Moss also issued a red card to Cheikhou Kouyate in the 5-1 FA Cup fifth round win at Blackburn in February 2016, although this was later rescinded. Arguably the 48-year-old’s most controversial Hammers appointment was the 2-2 draw at Leicester in April 2016 when he sent off Jamie Vardy and awarded two penalties, the second arriving deep into stoppage time as the Foxes rescued a precious point. Moss’ matches in charge of the Hammers last season were December 2017’s goalless draw with Arsenal at London Stadium, our 4-1 win at Huddersfield last January and our 3-0 home win over Southampton last March. His most recent Hammers appointment was our 0-0 draw with Manchester United last May.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United will be without Fabian Balbuena, who has been ruled out for six to eight weeks after undergoing knee surgery. Ryan Fredericks, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko and Chicharito are also all out injured. West Ham have only beaten Arsenal once in 16 home matches in all competitions since 1999. The last four Hammers goals against Arsenal in home games have all been scored by Andy Carroll. The Irons have won their last two London derbies, beating Crystal Palace and Fulham in December.

Arsenal will be without Konstantinos Mavropanos, Rob Holding, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Danny Welbeck, but Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal and Mesut Ozil should all be available. Unai Emery’s first victory as Arsenal head coach came in this season’s reverse fixture. The Gunners are without a win in their last four away matches in the Premier League and have conceded nine goals in their last three.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Zabaleta, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Noble, Snodgrass; Antonio, Arnautovic, Anderson.

Possible Arsenal XI: Leno; Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi, Kolasinac; Xhaka, Torreira, Guendouzi; Ozil; Lacazette, Aubameyang.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!


News

Arnautovic Wants to Leave West Ham... For China

This is a statement from Danijel Arnautovic, Marko’s brother and agent said

“West Ham bought Marko for peanuts. They paid £20m for him, which is nothing in the current market. They bought him to keep them in the Premier League last season and he did that. He took every award at the club; best player, signing of the season and the players’ award. Now West Ham have a fantastic offer. It is close to double what they paid for him. He wants to go to a new market and challenge for titles. This is what he wants. It is his great desire that West Ham accept the offer from China. He knows the West Ham fans love him and he has a special connection with them, but things move on, this is the world of sport, and he hopes they can understand.“Marko is professional and is preparing himself for the Arsenal game. He will give 100 per cent for West Ham. That is Marko. He will never change.Until he is no longer a West Ham player, he will give everything to the club.He hopes the fans can respect his wishes.”

I have a lot of views on this, but given I am preparing for my radio show I’ll leave it you all to have your say.


The Blind Hammer Column

The "Mascot Scandal" - The Guardian Target West Ham Again.

Blind Hammer looks at the latest example of an unpleasant campaign.

The reporting of the so called “Mascot Scandal” demonstrates yet again, the Guardian unpleasant and biased football journalism.

For their own reason, the Guardian have decided that the decision to allow West Ham use of the London Stadium is a national disgrace. Ever since, they have pursued a relentless vendetta.

Routinely they snidely describe West Ham as “Tax Payers United”. This unwarranted smear may have been funny as a one off satirical comment but the constant smearing as West Ham as thieves of national resources is one eyed at best. They have shown surprising silence about the Stadium operators need to control budgets.

The good news story about the move to the London Stadium receives no attention at all. Instead every chance is taken to slur the venue. It has been described by them, completely unfairly, as a “soulless bowl”, Lacking in atmosphere. Whilst the London Stadium is self-evidently not Upton Park it does in fact reportedly create more atmosphere than that at similar Stadiums such as the Emirates and Etihad.

The Guardian gloried in reporting fan unrest when the team were performing poorly. They tried to link performance to the alleged Stadium failings.

Now the team is performing better this narrative is not so convenient.
They have moved to other targets. Their latest attack concerns West Ham alleged greed and avarice for charging fees for Children to appear as Mascots.

The headline of this criticism is all about West Ham, even though West Ham are not the only club, by any means, to charge fees for this.

Now charging parents £700 for their Children to appear as Mascots is undeniably steep. I would never contemplate doing this. However I would also never pay through the nose for a Corporate Box either. The ability to pay for privileged access to Football Stadia is a fact of Premiership life. In reality the description of West Ham as avaricious is completely unfair.

On Saturday West Ham sold an extraordinary 54,887 seats for an FA Cup game against Birmingham. There is no doubt that this gate, starkly distinguished from Spurs recent 30,000 at Wembley, arises not just from loyal West Ham support but also progressive ticketing policy.

For the game against Birmingham I personally paid £16 with the club providing a free seat for my sighted carer and space for my Guide Dog. Tickets were available to the public on general sale for £10. Any adult paying for a seat could bring a child for only £1. A father and son, or Mother and daughter could then attend the game on Saturday for £11.

A key part of West Ham’s bid for the London Stadium was their commitment to provide affordable football. They have delivered on this promise for 3 seasons now. It is still possible to pay for an expensive ticket, as at all grounds, but West Ham have consistently held prices down for other supporters. I still pay £299 for my concessionary Season ticket, a sum identical to that which I paid in my first season at the London Stadium. This ticket is incidentally cheaper than the Season ticket I had at Upton Park.

As reported on this site last week, West Ham ticket revenue has not grown, and remains at a surprisingly low level. . They are selling nearly twice as many tickets now, but at a lower price.

None of this fits the Guardian’s view of West Ham as a greedy avaricious club. As these facts do not fit their desired narrative they instead focus on the fees charged to the tiny number of families using the Mascot facility.

Nothing it seems will be reported which detracts from a view of West ham as a club fleecing not only the Tax payer but their supporters.

There are, in fact, lots of good news stories about West Ham and their supporters. West Ham have a continuing and extending reputation for providing one of the best, if not the best, disabled access in the country. This improvement extends far beyond pre-existing excellent access facilities at the Stadium. For example, as well as providing free in stadium commentary support for blind and visually impaired supporters West Ham organise 18 buses to convey the increasing number of their disabled supporters attending games. West Ham are making it possible for disabled supporters who could never previously attend, to now achieve their ambition. These positives are never reported.

Rich men and women will buy privileged access to their favourite football club. Short of a Social revolution this will continue . The important thing is that affordable access is provided for the rest of us. In this sense we can, despite the Guardian vendetta, be justifiably proud of our club.
COYI
David Griffith.


The GoatyGav Column

Don’t Knock It ‘Til You’ve Tried It – First Time Going Corporate At West Ham

Up until Saturday afternoon I’d only ever watched West Ham, from a Corporate Hospitality seat, as an away fan. Whilst it’s always great to see the Hammers in action, live, being an opposition away fan in a home box, or suite, is probably my least favourite way of seeing the boys play.

Thanks to my good lady I finally got to watch the Claret & Blue from home Hospitality seats. Quite impressed I was too. Family and friends joined me for the ‘treat’ which was an offer from the club at a fraction of the normal price charged for the dining and hospitality package in the ‘Great Briton’ suite.

Brunch in the Great Briton Suite

Not too sure what to expect our party arrived, minus one who was otherwise delayed, outside Entrance B to the London Stadium at 10.00. Once through the doors I left the ticket for the straggler in the ‘Glass Box’ room – an incredibly polished, if not slightly clinical looking, facility that compared favourably to previous entrances to suites I’ve visited.
My party had already headed off up the two sets of Escalators from the foyer to the Great Briton room when I began the automated climb. Once again I was rapt by the plush surroundings which reminded me, if not on as grand a scale, as the new, main building at Royal Ascot.

The service was extremely good from all the staff. Special mention to Alex who took great care of us.

We sat down to place settings that were top drawer. After the first cold one I was regretting having breakfast earlier, which I always do before leaving the house, and decided to leave the Brunch for a little while in favour of a second beer. Too early for a lager, maybe, but it was my birthday treat and I was determined to let my hair down so the amber fluid flowed for the rest of the morning and afternoon.

Allen McNight and me

One of the most impressive aspects of the day was the time and attention afforded to us by our former goalkeeper Allen McKnight. I can’t speak too highly of the Northern Irish keeper who signed for us from Celtic in the ‘80’s under John Lyall. Allen was highly engaging, interesting and a great compere for Brian Dear and Keith Robson who were also doing the rounds of the tables. Not really knowing the fella particularly well, beforehand, I really liked the ex-keeper’s style and demeanour as he happily spoke to our group for a decent period of time. We found Keith Robson extremely personable and Brian Dear was really funny while recounting stories of his playing days.

Marlon & me

The other Ex-Pro on duty was Marlon Harewood who happily agreed to have photos with many of us. He’s looking in great shape as shown below with my Nephew who’s the same age as him.

Marlon and nephew

The game, as you all, undoubtedly, know, got off to a fantastic start with Arnie pouncing on the loose ball from Ogbonna’s saved header. It should, probably, be mentioned that Diangana’s corner to set the chance up as a great delivery. Despite the early lead the West Ham support was extremely quiet. I wonder how many tourists were at the game however the away fan visitors from Birmingham were superb and generated the decibels with, virtually, non stop singing throughout the match.

After Marko’s substitution the tempo of the side reduced and Birmingham started to see more and more of the ball until the half time whistle. We were mystified as to why Arnie was taken off – a sentiment that the player seemed to share as he shoulder shrugged towards us in the stands after seeming to question the decision with Pellegrini. In hindsight the change of personnel made sense but at the time it appeared to be a strange one. Alan McNight was a little baffled by the decision, too, as our dialogue with him continued at half time. I’m happy to report that the beer flow also continued at the break.

Hosptitality seats

The second period continued much the same as the first with Birmingham enjoying more of the ball but rarely threatening our goal. The extra bottle of Moretti did seem to loosen my vocal chords, however, and, despite being in a corporate section where nobody signs, I wasn’t discouraged enough to belt out several songs with the support of friends and family – and ‘belt out’ would be an apt description.

With the introduction of Felipe Anderson on 79 mins the game changed again and it wasn’t long before the Brazilian had put Andy Carroll in with a great chance of scoring. Unfortunately a heavy touch took the ball the wrong side of the post before AC could finish and so we went in to the last few minutes with that feeling of foreboding as Wes Harding had performed a similar feat a few moments before Carroll’s muffed (A phrase inspired by the Dan Coker’s pre match piece with the video of the 1965 game against Birmingham) chance.

Sister and nephew in hospitality seats

After the final whistle we went back and enjoyed a couple more bevvies before moving on to the Howling Hops bar at Hackney Wick. Nature called at Highbury & Islington station so the opportunity for another scoop was taken advantage of, during the natural break, at the ‘Famous Cock’ pub where we had a good chat with a few Brummie fans.
While I won’t be rushing back to a leather padded seat in the near future I have to admit that we had a terrific day with some great memories and progress in to the fourth round of the Cup to boot. Here’s hoping for a decent draw.

Fame at last - in the match programme

COYI! West Ham 4 The Cup!


The HamburgHammer Column

2 goals, 1 Cup - and (still) plenty of injured players

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So, the new year has arrived…and West Ham haven’t slipped over the first banana skin lurking on the pavement towards Wembley aka the third round of the FA Cup.
I remember us going out against minnows too often on those occasions, Wrexham springs to mind, way back when I was still living in Barking. Or Allardyce feeding the kids to the wolves of Nottingham Forest to the tune of a 0:5 defeat.

For that reason I shall always be grateful for a cup game win for West Ham. Thrashings of lesser sides do still happen of course in the competition, but they are rare and it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things if we go into the next round after beating Brum by 2:0 or 5:1. It’s more vital that certain players got a well deserved rest while others got some much needed gametime to improve match fitness. Nasri got more than an hour and looked very promising and Carroll lasted for much longer than the 30 minutes Pellegrini had claimed he was capable of delivering.

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Some people said it was a boring game. I can’t agree. I thought Brum were very brave out there, pushing us hard all the way. Yes, we wasted opportunities galore again, but we had a lot of the ball and bear in mind this was a very unusual line up for us which needed some bedding in. And of course things didn’t get any easier when Arnautovic came off as a precautionary measure, giving Carroll a chance to show us what he can do.

He didn’t really show us anything we didn’t know already. We had the collective deja vu feeling of “here we go again” when he quickly went down like a lead balloon after what seemed like a pretty standard challenge, clutching his shoulder. As a West Ham fan you immediately think: “Is it gonna be just a minor injury (two weeks), a regular one (2-3 months) or a serious impact injury (rest of the season and way beyond) ?”

Then there was a long spell when the game pretty much passed Carroll by.
He was not quick enough, he couldn’t hold up the ball well and he missed an absolute sitter, put to him on a plate beautifully by Anderson. That’s one side of Carroll. And then he gave us his trademark leaping salmon routine. Showing us his other side. Powerful header, well placed, no doubt about it, unplayable, 2:0, game, set and match, next round, here we come!

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I have mentioned before that I reckon Carroll’s time at West Ham is coming to a natural end, with his contract expiring and the Geordie not really fitting the profile of a Pellegrini-style forward. Let’s take every contribution of his as a bonus, as a little bit of reward for all the times he was out injured for us over the years while still drawing the kind of wages you’d associate with a player who is pretty much leading the charts in all major performance categories for his team.

Which leads me back nicely to my pet topic as far as our great club is concerned – and that of course is the burden of the badger. The ridiculously long list of injured players.

I honestly don’t remember the last time a West Ham manager could pick his strongest team because there were either no injured players at all or those that were injured were only second-stringers or bench warmers anyway.

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None of us has a Scooby how good a West Ham team could be that has Diop, Balbuena, Rice, Lanzini, Wilshere, Yarmolenko, Anderson, Arnautovic and/or Hernandez together on the pitch at the same time.
I for one cannot wait to find out.

There seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel (and hopefully it’s not just the lights of another train approaching) insofar as Fredericks, Hernandez and Balbuena have all been rumoured to be nearing a return to training this week.

Of course this doesn’t necessarily mean those players will start games again straight away. But at least chances are they will be part of the upcoming matchday squads which should give us a strong bench. And that is what we need if we have to turn games around again which may be quite useful as we have been the kind of team recently to concede a goal or two first before starting to play some football with interest and intent.

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For me the persisting injury issue at our club is something that needs to be addressed by Pellegrini, at least a process needs to be started where everything at the club needs to be geared towards minimising the risk of players getting injured and improving the chances of getting players back to fitness as quickly and as effectively as possible.

I am under no illusions here, injuries are part of football, always have, always will. Some unfortunate knocks and challenges you can do little or nothing about.

But you can try to create a training environment that is state-of-the-art, not just for the sake of having a nice looking facility to present to new players but also to provide the best training and medical support you can get for a team expected to perform in the Premier League. It also requires the scouting network to monitor players thoroughly with regard to their injury history before signing them, evaluating whether a deal is worth a gamble or not.

In the short term this will cost a bit of money (as shown by plenty of clubs in England and beyond), but clubs are still building those modern training complexes and I suppose they have a good reason for it. Also in a economical sense. If you can keep your players healthy and fit, you don’t need to buy or loan replacements…money saved!
You can field your best side more often which should translate into better understanding on the pitch, better performances, more wins, better league position…more money in the bank from TV deals, merchandise sales etc.

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I think it’s something we shouldn’t even have to discuss, talking about a PL club willing to improve and go places. If you are a PL club at a certain point you need to not only keep talking about being one but acting like one too, looking like one, training like one, presenting yourself like one.
With Pellegrini in my book we have a very good, highly experienced and skilled football managaer, with a good pedigree and the knowledge of how it’s done.

I am confident he can at the very least start a process where we can begin to get the injury shenanigans under control to reach a normal degree, in comparison to other clubs. Having the highest number of injured players in the league for one season can be bad luck. If it happens several seasons in a row that excuse alone won’t wash any longer.

Arsenal coming up next weekend, a game I’m looking forward to a lot. Because most would expect Arsenal to win. We always seem to fancy those occasions and for some reason the players seem to be more up for those big local derbies. It’s a game I would expect to be high on intensity, high on incident and high on drama. Let’s hope we see a strong starting XI, a strong bench and a rocking London Stadium! COYI!!!

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Hamburg football update
Concordia have started the new year in style, winning the traditional Wandsbek Cup (indoor football tournament with ten teams from East Hamburg) for the fourth time in a row, beating the same opponent in the final for the third year in a row. I had my brother and my nephew with me and it was good fun overall. Things got a bit heated betweens certain sets of fans though and my little nephew nearly got into a shouting match with some rival fans who were saying nasty things about Concordia.
He was close to dishing out some colourful language and x-rated expletives back to them – I wonder where he got those from – but his dad and uncle told him to rise above it and focus on the fact that Concordia won their first (and most probably only) trophy of the season.
The Concordia teams are kicking off with their regular training schedules this week.
HSV and St.Pauli are still in the winter break.


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