Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Everton

Hello and welcome to the 45th and final match preview of a turbulent season in the history of West Ham United, but one which closes with the Hammers safe in the Premier League.

Blast from the past

19th December 1998: B*Witched were number one with ‘To You I Belong’, Rush Hour topped the UK box office, Reece Oxford had been born three days earlier and media impresario Sir Lew Grade had died six days before this match.

West Ham United went into this home game against Everton on the back of away defeats at Leeds (4-0) and Middlesbrough (1-0) having risen to second in the Premier League with victory over Tottenham at the end of the previous month. 30-year-old French international Marc Keller scored the Hammers’ opening goal after 19 minutes that day in front of 25,998 at the Boleyn Ground – receiving a pass from Steve Lomas, Keller’s attempted cross from the left wing looped over Everton goalkeeper Thomas Myhre and into the net. Keller is pictured below celebrating his goal with Trevor Sinclair, Ian Wright and Frank Lampard.

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Everton forward Danny Cadamarteri slid home a 71st-minute equaliser from substitute Nick Barmby’s centre but the Irons weren’t to be denied, Keller supplying the left-wing cross four minutes later from which Sinclair converted a diving header which bounced over Myhre on its way into the goal. It was to prove an unhappy return to Upton Park for former Hammers Slaven Bilic, David Unsworth and Don Hutchison, all of whom played the 90 minutes of this match. ‘Hutch’ would return to east London in 2001 while Super Slav would return as manager just under 17 years later. My video below shows the goals from this game, as well as interviews with Keller and Eyal Berkovic.

Harry Redknapp’s Irons went on to finish in fifth place in the top flight that season, the highest Premier League position the club have recorded, while Walter Smith’s Everton finished 14th. Manchester United won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League Treble in 1998/99. Ian Wright finished as the Hammers’ top scorer with nine goals from 25 appearances. Shaka Hislop was voted Hammer of the Year, with Ian Pearce runner-up.

West Ham United: Shaka Hislop, Ian Pearce, Rio Ferdinand, Julian Dicks, Trevor Sinclair, Steve Lomas, Frank Lampard Junior, Eyal Berkovic, Marc Keller, John Hartson, Ian Wright.

Everton: Thomas Myhre, Alex Cleland, Slaven Bilic, Marco Materazzi, David Unsworth, Mitch Ward (John Collins), Olivier Dacourt, Tony Grant (Nick Barmby), Don Hutchison, Danny Cadamarteri, Mickael Madar (Michael Branch).

Club Connections

Sam Allardyce visits his former employers, while David Moyes welcomes his old club. Former Hammer and Toffee David Unsworth is currently in charge of the Under-23s at Goodison Park. They are joined in representing both clubs by:

Goalkeepers: George Kitchen, Richard Wright.

Defenders: William Wildman, Lars Jacobsen, David Burrows, Bob Young, Lucas Neill, John Russell, Alex McCartney, William Kelly.

Midfielders: Harry Dawson, Don Hutchison, Joe Blythe, Mark Ward, Ray Atteveld, Niclas Alexandersson, Danny Williamson, Ian Bishop, Thomas Hitzlsperger.

Strikers: Tony Cottee, Chas Crossley, Tony Weldon, Alex McDonald, Mike Newell, Enner Valencia, Nikica Jelavic.

Slaven Bilic played for both clubs and managed the Hammers.

Today’s focus falls on a player who played for Everton before spending two seasons with the Hammers. George Eccles was born in Newcastle-under-Lyme in (it is believed) 1874 and played for Middleport before joining Burslem Port Vale in June 1893. He played six Second Division games in the 1893/94 campaign and made 27 league appearances in the 1894/95 season, also featuring once in the FA Cup. He scored one goal in a 4-4 draw with Newcastle at the Athletic Ground on 6th October 1894. On 26th February 1895, when heading for a match against Notts County at Trent Bridge, he misread the train timetables and selected a non-existent train that only ran on market days, thereby missing the game. He played 17 league and two FA Cup games in the 1895/96 season and broke his collarbone in February 1896. He was sold to Wolves for a ‘considerable’ fee in May 1896 and finished tenth and third in the First Division in 1896/97 and 1897/98. Eccles scored one goal in 36 league games during his two years at Molineux before moving on to league rivals Everton.

Eccles, a sturdy full-back, made his debut for Everton in a 2-2 draw at Newcastle on 7th January 1899 and made ten appearances before the end of the 1898/99 campaign. The Toffees finished fourth, eleventh, and seventh in 1898/99, 1899/1900 and 1900/01, with Eccles playing 56 league and four FA Cup games during his three seasons at Goodison Park before switching to Preston. He did not feature in the Second Division for his new club in 1901/02, and instead transferred to Southern League West Ham United.

Described as a player as being “a grand tackler and an untiring worker”, Eccles (pictured) made his debut in the opening fixture of the 1902/03 campaign, a 1-1 home draw against Reading in front of 7,000 at the Memorial Grounds on 6th September 1902. He made 26 appearances that season, helping the Hammers to a tenth-placed finish. Eccles made consistency his byword during his time with West Ham and was an ever-present the following season, making 38 appearances in 1903/04 with the Irons dropping to 12th. His final match for West Ham United, on the final day of the 1904/05 season in a 1-0 home defeat to Swindon on 30th April 1904, was the Hammers’ last-ever game at the Memorial Grounds before the move to the Boleyn Ground. His proud record could not save him from the ruthless purge on the playing staff which saw only five players retained and a major influx of new faces to coincide with the move to Upton Park. In total he made 64 appearances for the club, without scoring – he left to make a brief playing return to the Football League with Bolton, against doctors’ advice that the Lancastrian climate would not agree with his health.

Eccles married the trainer’s daughter and stayed at Bolton for 40 years as assistant and then trainer. Bolton’s directors had a special medal struck for Eccles in 1930 to commemorate his handling of three successful FA Cup teams, including the 1923 Final against West Ham. George Eccles died just before Christmas 1945, at the likely age of 71.


This Sunday’s referee is 49-year-old Graham Scott. The Oxfordshire-based official will be taking charge of only his fourth Premier League match involving the Hammers, his first appointment being our 3-1 win at Southampton in February last year. He also took charge of the Hammers for 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. His most recent Irons match was our 2-0 home win over Watford in February.

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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.

Possible line-ups

For West Ham United, Sam Byram, Winston Reid and Michail Antonio are on the sidelines through injury. James Collins and Chicharito could be available. Everton have certainly been the Hammers’ bogey side in recent seasons – we have only beaten the Toffees once in the league, home or away, since April 2007, drawing five and losing eleven in all competitions since then. In addition, West Ham haven’t recorded a win over Everton by more than a single-goal margin since 1982.

Sam Allardyce will be without the injured Eliaquim Mangala, James McCarthy, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Rooney and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Mason Holgate will face a fitness test but Theo Walcott should be fit.

Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Zabaleta, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku; Kouyate, Mario, Noble; Lanzini, Arnautovic.

Possible Everton XI: Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Jagielka, Baines; Gueye, Schneiderlin, Davies; Walcott, Vlasic; Tosun.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

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Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

Hammers Hold Manchester United To A Draw At London Stadium

The Blind Hammer Column

A Point In The Right Way

Blind Hammer reflects on the performance against Manchester United.

The way and manner in which West Ham responded to safety was the main interest from this game. For the first time this season the players could take the pitch without negative pressure and underlying fear. It may seem odd that a performance which resulted in no shots on target that I can recall, nor one that produce any heroics from de Gea, can nevertheless provide satisfaction from our standpoint.

Most importantly whilst Man United dominated some periods of possession, at no time did they provoke a desperate West Ham response. Adrian had to make some fine saves but generally Manchester United could not be described as profligate, their chances coming largely from distance.

When you are a Blind Supporter attending a game you have to pick up signals from a variety of inputs. For me an immediate point of satisfaction was that Manchester united were caught offside in the first 10 minutes. A team of earlier Moyes vintage would have sat so deep that catching any top six team opponents offside was a remote possibility. West Ham have been vulnerable to the press all season but tonight they responded with presses of their own, including a memorable passage of play in the second half when they managed to encamp Man United in their own half.
Again a Blind Commentator gets an odd perspective sometimes. It was incredible the extent to which man United tried to continually construct play through Pogba linking up with Sanchez. Paul Pogba had so many touches of the ball and received the ball so frequently it, to a Blind listener sounded as if he was dominating the game. It seems that it is only a matter of time before Sanchez would run rampant. In reality Pogba’s ability to shape the game, for all his possession and touches was largely nullified by his constant shepherding by Kouyate. It took me a while to catch up but eventually I had much reduced anxiety as to the oceans of possession Pogba received, finally realising that he was doing precious little with it.

Too much of the mainstream media will focus on the lethargic limitations of Manchester United compared to their neighbours City. Mourinho’s constant whining that without even more massive investment they will not match City is probably true but does little to recognise the skills of opponents. The amounts invested in this squad are staggering compared to that invested in the players West Ham fielded. Luckily our nemesis, Lukaku was not fit but his young replacement, Lingard, recently starred for England. The fact is that United can invest staggering sums in one player such as Sanchez, and Pogba, which will exceed the entire spend for a window that West Ham can mount for their complete squad. All across the United team there were players who would walk into the West Ham squad and feature prominently. Even bit part players for Manchester united, such as Fellini, are touted as possible future West Ham regulars.

In this context the fact that West Ham could not only compete but make United look lethargic is of massive credit to them. This was a performance characterised by control as well as effort. It was, to be fair to Moyes, a triumph of tactics and planning rather than of luck, effort and desperate last ditch defending. It was a whole world away from the humiliation of the defeat against city. On the night possibly only Masuaku disappointed, Moyes correctly pulling him off to allow the introduction of Carroll.
Above all it proved that a point can be won against even a mega rich club boasting levels of wealth and investment at giddying levels that does not necessarily simply rely on frenetic effort.
It needed only one piece of genius from one of our attacking threats to transform an encouraging night into a brilliant one.

Moyes has only limited time to plan similar control against his old pals Everton at the weekend. However, more of the same please.
David Griffith

Match Thread

Match Thread: West Ham v Manchester United

West Ham v Manchester United
FA Premier League
London Stadium
KO 7.45pm
TV: Sky Sports
Radio: BBC 5 Live

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

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Man Utd

Blast from the past

The final day of the 1976/77 campaign – Liverpool were wrapping up Bob Paisley’s second league title, Manchester United were set to claim their fourth FA Cup trophy and West Ham United were at the end of a relegation battle in the First Division. As the Hammers hosted Manchester United on the 16th May 1977, Rod Stewart was number one with his double A-side ‘I Don’t Want To Talk About It/First Cut Is The Deepest’ and Rocky had just won Best Picture at the Oscars.

In front of 29,904, the Hammers went into this Monday evening encounter having won only two of their previous 13 matches but knowing a win would mean survival in Division One. A disastrous start saw the Irons 1-0 down after just thirty seconds, winger Gordon Hill putting the visitors ahead. West Ham levelled on the half-hour through Frank Lampard and Geoff Pike saw his penalty fly over the bar before the interval.

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Pike atoned for the miss by putting West Ham ahead seven minutes into the second half and East End nerves were eased when Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson (pictured above) extended the lead on the hour. In typical West Ham style though, nerves did not stay eased for long as future Hammer Stuart Pearson cut the deficit for the Red Devils five minutes later. Robson had the final word though, bagging his brace and sealing the Irons’ survival for another season with a goal fifteen minutes from time.

John Lyall’s words after the game echo through time to the end of what has proved to be a difficult 2017/18 campaign for West Ham United – “Adversity does you no harm if you learn from it”. Let’s hope that the Hammers hierarchy learn from their mistakes this season, for the benefit of everyone involved with the football club.

The victory saw Lyall’s West Ham end the season two points clear of the drop, recording a 17th-place finish. Tommy Docherty’s Manchester United would end the 1976/77 campaign in sixth position and would beat champions Liverpool in the FA Cup Final five days later. Two-goal hero of the day Robson ended the season with 14 goals from 32 games in all competitions. Trevor Brooking would be voted Hammer of the Year, with Alan Devonshire runner-up.

West Ham United: Mervyn Day, Billy Bonds, Mick McGiven, Tommy Taylor, Frank Lampard, Geoff Pike, Trevor Brooking, Alan Devonshire, John Radford, Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson, Alan Taylor.

Manchester United: Paddy Roche, Jimmy Nicholl, Martin Buchan, Brian Greenhoff (David McCreery), Arthur Albiston, Sammy McIlroy, Steve Coppell, Gordon Hill, Jimmy Greenhoff, Stuart Pearson, Lou Macari.

Club Connections

Michael Carrick makes his final visit to his first club as a player, while Patrice Evra, David Moyes and Chicharito welcome their former club. A largely impressive list of players join the quartet in representing West Ham United and Manchester United over the years. These include:

Goalkeepers: Roy Carroll, Les Sealey.

Defenders: Noel Cantwell, Fred Milnes, Jonathan Spector.

Midfielders: James McCrae, Bill McCartney, Paul Ince, Ralph Milne, Luke Chadwick, Ravel Morrison.

Strikers: Charlie Mackie, Billy Grassam, Stuart Pearson, Teddy Sheringham, Ted MacDougall, David Bellion, Carlos Tevez.

In addition, Dave Sexton and Frank O’Farrell both played for the Hammers before going on to manage the Red Devils, while Lou Macari played for the Old Trafford club before managing the Irons.

Today’s focus though is on one of the best defenders of the modern era – Rio Ferdinand was born in King’s College Hospital, Denmark Hill on 7th November 1978. He joined the West Ham United Academy in 1992 having been scouted by Frank Lampard Senior and made his first team debut on 5th May 1996 as a 17-year-old, coming on for Tony Cottee in the 68th minute of the final day 1-1 home draw with Sheffield Wednesday. Ferdinand’s first appearance for the club coincided with legendary centre-back Alvin Martin’s final outing in claret and blue – it was hoped that this was a symbolic changing of the guard, a passing of the baton with Rio seen as the long-term successor to ‘Stretch’. Further substitute appearances arrived in the early stages of 1996/97 at both Arsenal on the opening day and Sunderland a month later before a League Cup appearance from the bench in a 1-0 win over Barnet, with the winning goal in that game scored by Slaven Bilic.

Ferdinand joined Bournemouth on loan in November 1996 and Sir Alex Ferguson, who had Ferdinand watched during his two months with the Cherries, said he was “graceful, balanced, first touch like a centre-forward”. Having collected valuable first-team experience to go alongside his obvious natural talent, Ferdinand returned to Upton Park and made his first Hammers start in a disastrous 1-0 FA Cup third round replay defeat at the hands of Wrexham. With the Hammers also knocked out of the League Cup the previous month by another lower league side in Stockport and entrenched in a fierce battle for survival, Ferdinand had to grow up quickly. Coming on as a half-time substitute in midfield, he notched his first West Ham goal in a 2-1 defeat at Blackburn the following week, controlling a loose ball in the box expertly with his right foot before firing beyond Tim Flowers with his left. Ferdinand would miss only two of the remaining fourteen matches in 1996/97 (with the Hammers failing to win either of those he missed), with the young defender playing a crucial role alongside the likes of Bilic, Julian Dicks and new signings Paul Kitson, John Hartson and Steve Lomas in ensuring the Hammers successfully staved off the threat of relegation. My video below shows both of Rio’s goals in claret and blue.

After rounding off the 1996/97 campaign with a 2-0 defeat at the home of champions Manchester United, Ferdinand became a transfer target of Old Trafford boss Ferguson. Writing in his autobiography, Fergie states “Martin [Edwards, former Manchester United chairman] called the West Ham chairman, Terry Brown, who said: ‘Give us a million plus David Beckham.’ In other words: he’s not for sale”. Ferdinand made 35 Premier League appearances in 1997/98 as the Hammers improved and finished eighth and, at the age of 19, was voted Hammer of the Year by the club’s supporters – he remains, to this day, the youngest-ever recipient of the prestigious award. Having handed Ferdinand his full international debut against Cameroon in November 1997, Glenn Hoddle named Rio alongside cousin Les in his World Cup squad for France ’98, although the young centre-half did not receive any game time at the tournament.

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Ferdinand played a key role in securing West Ham’s highest-ever Premier League finish of fifth in 1998/99 and subsequently experienced European football with the Hammers the following season, playing every match in the successful Intertoto Cup campaign and appearing in three of the club’s four UEFA Cup fixtures. He played 47 games in total in 1999/2000, which was to prove his final full campaign in east London, but was left out of Kevin Keegan’s England squad for Euro 2000. His last game for the club was to be against his next employers, as West Ham went to Elland Road in November 2000 and beat big spenders Leeds 1-0 – Ferdinand was outstanding as Nigel Winterburn’s sole strike for the club won the match and, by the end of the following week, Rio was heading north for a fee of £18m, a transfer record between two British clubs at the time. It was also a world record fee for a defender. Rio had made 158 appearances for West Ham United in all competitions, scoring two goals. Chairman Terry Brown and manager Harry Redknapp claimed that, due to the uncertainty regarding the transfer system at the time, there was a possibility that no club would be in a position to be offered that type of money again. Nearly 18 years on, the current world record fee stands at £198m…

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The transfer heralded the beginning of the end for West Ham United’s modern-day Golden Generation – six months later, Redknapp had left and Ferdinand’s team-mate from youth team to first team, Frank Lampard Junior, was quick to follow. Within two further years, Joe Cole and Glen Johnson had departed, with Michael Carrick and Jermain Defoe also consigned to Upton Park history by the end of summer 2004. This collection of players have earned a total of 388 England caps, winning the Champions League, Europa League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup between them along the way. The proceeds from Ferdinand’s sale were spent on Christian Dailly, Rigobert Song, Titi Camara, Ragnvald Soma and Svetoslav Todorov – only one of those players (Dailly) made more than 25 league appearances for West Ham. The West Stand was coined by some fans as ‘The Rio Stand’ with many believing that some of the funds generated from Ferdinand’s transfer had helped complete a side of the ground which stood for just 15 years before it was knocked down.

As Leeds struggled financially, Ferdinand left the Elland Road club just under two years after signing for them, moving on to Manchester United for a fee of £29.1m – manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s long-standing interest had not waned. Ferdinand scored his first goal for the Red Devils on 14th December 2005 in a 4-0 home win over Wigan. His second goal for the club came just twelve days later in a 3-0 win over West Brom at Old Trafford. His last-minute winner over rivals Liverpool in January 2006 came in front of a delighted Stretford End and he repeated the feat against the same opposition in a 2-0 win at Old Trafford nine months later.

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Three days after a goal in a 4-1 win at Villa Park, Ferdinand scored his first goal in Europe for Manchester United in October 2007 in a 4-2 win away to Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League group stages – the Red Devils would go on to win the competition with victory over Avram Grant’s Chelsea in Moscow the following May. Ferdinand also scored in a 6-0 win over Newcastle in January 2008 and appeared in goal against Portsmouth in an FA Cup quarter-final when Edwin van der Sar was injured and Tomasz Kuszczak was sent off. Ferdinand’s final goal for Manchester United was the winner at Old Trafford in a 2-1 victory over Swansea on 12th May 2013 – the final goal of the Sir Alex Ferguson era.

After leaving the Hammers in 2000, Ferdinand went on to be named in the Premier League PFA Team of the Year six times by his fellow professionals, won six Premier League titles, three League Cups, six Community Shields, one Champions League and one FIFA Club World Cup. In September 2003, however, he missed a drugs test and was banned from competitive football for eight months from January until September 2004, causing him to miss half a Premier League season, Manchester United’s FA Cup triumph, and Euro 2004. He still won 81 caps for England though, scoring three goals, and captained his country on numerous occasions.

After twelve years, 455 appearances and eight goals with the Red Devils, he left Old Trafford for QPR in 2014, spending one year at Loftus Road before hanging up his boots in the summer of 2015. Now 39, Ferdinand was recently refused a professional boxing licence. Former Manchester United and England team-mate Paul Scholes said of Ferdinand:

“He was such a pleasure to play with and play in front of. To play in front of him, he made your job so easy. He was a great player, without a doubt the best centre-half I ever played with. I would say for a time as well he was the best centre-half in the world.”


The referee on Thursday will be Jonathan Moss. The Yorkshire-based official has sent off a player in six of his last eleven 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 last October 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 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, although this was later rescinded. Arguably the 47-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. He refereed our 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in November 2016. Moss’ most recent matches in charge of the Hammers were December’s goalless draw with Arsenal at London Stadium, our 4-1 win at Huddersfield in January and our 3-0 home win over Southampton in March.

Possible line-ups

David Moyes has Joe Hart available but is without Sam Byram, James Collins, Winston Reid, Michail Antonio and Chicharito. Top scorer Marko Arnautovic is available despite picking up a knock in the win at Leicester. The Austrian has scored ten league goals this season – Bobby Zamora was the last West Ham player to score 11 goals in a single Premier League season back in 2006/07.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is without Marouane Fellaini and Romelu Lukaku, both so often influential against the Hammers. Phil Jones and Alexis Sanchez are both available. Manchester United have only failed to score in two of their past 18 trips to West Ham. Anthony Martial has scored six goals in six games against the Irons. The Red Devils are without a win in their final away game of a Premier League season since 2011/12, when they beat Sunderland – they’ve drawn four and lost once since then, with the defeat coming at West Ham two years ago today in the final match at the Boleyn.

Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Zabaleta, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku; Kouyate, Mario, Noble; Lanzini, Arnautovic.

Possible Manchester United XI: De Gea; Darmian, Jones, Smalling, Young; Herrera, Matic; Sanchez, Pogba, Martial; Rashford.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

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