Dan Coker's Match Preview

West Ham's Swiss Connections

With England playing Switzerland in the Nations League Third-Place Play-Off tomorrow, here’s my look at the Hammers’ Swiss Connections…

Valon Behrami

Valon Behrami was born in Mitrovica, Yugoslavia (now Kosovo) on 19th April 1985 but moved to an Italian-speaking village in Switzerland when he was five. He began his career with Lugano in 2002 before moving to Italy a year later, signing for Genoa. An all-action midfielder who could also play at right-back, he spent the 2004/05 season on loan at Verona before joining Lazio permanently in 2005, initially in a co-ownership deal which was made outright in January 2006. Behrami also made his first appearance for Switzerland in 2005.

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In July 2008, the 23-year-old Behrami was signed in a £5m deal by Alan Curbishley as West Ham’s main summer purchase. He made his debut at right-back in a 2-1 home win against Wigan on 16th August 2008, the opening day of the 2008/09 season. Curbishley left the club just four matches into the campaign and was replaced by Gianfranco Zola – Behrami, now a fixture in midfield, scored his first goal under the Italian’s tutelage in a 1-0 win at Sunderland on 23rd November 2008. His only other goal in his first campaign came in a 2-0 FA Cup fourth round win at Hartlepool on 24th January 2009. His season was ended in March 2009 when he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in a home match against Manchester City – the injury would keep him out for six months.

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The Hammers struggled against relegation in 2009/10 with Behrami scoring just one goal, a crucial early strike in a 3-0 home win over Hull on 20th February 2010. Behrami was part of the Switzerland squad which exited the 2010 World Cup in South Africa at the group stage – he was sent off in a 1-0 defeat to Chile. He made just eight appearances in the first half of the 2010/11 season under Avram Grant but scored two goals – the first in a 2-2 draw at Birmingham on 6th November 2010, with his final goal for the club coming three weeks later in a 3-1 home win over Wigan. Behrami made his last appearance in claret and blue in a 5-0 defeat at Newcastle on 5th January 2011 – he had scored five goals in 60 appearances for West Ham United. These five goals can be viewed in my video below.

Behrami left West Ham for Fiorentina in late January 2011 but departed for Napoli the following year. He moved to Germany, joining Hamburg in 2014, before returning to the Premier League with Watford in 2015. He returned to Italian football in 2017, signing for Udinese – now 34, Behrami is captain of the Serie A side. He has won 83 caps for his country, scoring twice.

Fabio Daprela

Fabio Daprela was born in Zurich on 19th February 1991. He started his career with Grasshopper, coming through the youth ranks before making his senior debut in 2007. A left-back, the 18-year-old Daprela moved to Gianfranco Zola’s West Ham United in 2009 – he had already represented Switzerland at Under-17 and Under-19 levels. He made his debut on 3rd January 2010 in a 2-1 home defeat to Arsenal in the FA Cup third round and made three consecutive starts in March 2010 – the Hammers lost all three matches against Chelsea (4-1), Arsenal (2-0) and Wolves (3-1). Daprela made three substitute appearances in April 2010, including crucial home victories over Sunderland (1-0) and Wigan (3-2), the latter securing survival in the Premier League. His eighth and final appearance in claret and blue came on the final day of the 2009/10 campaign as Daprela played the full 90 minutes in a 1-1 home draw with Manchester City on 9th May 2010, a game which would also be Zola’s last as manager at the club.

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Daprela joined Italian side Brescia in August 2010 and spent three years with the Lombardy-based club before moving to Palermo. Daprela had represented the Swiss Olympic team at London 2012, and would win the Serie B title with his Sicilian club. He joined Carpi midway through the club’s debut season in Serie A in January 2016 but could not halt the club’s slide towards relegation. He signed for Chievo Verona later that year but swiftly joined Bari on loan. Daprela returned to Switzerland in 2017, signing for Lugano – now 28, he is still with the club.

Edimilson Fernandes

Edimilson Fernandes was born in Sion on 15th April 1996. He started his career with Sion, coming through the youth system and making his debut in 2013. He played every minute of Sion’s Europa League campaign in 2015/16 before the club were knocked out by Braga in the last 32; he also made his debut for the Swiss Under-21 side during this season. He signed for Slaven Bilic’s West Ham United in the summer of 2016 for a £5m fee at the age of 20.

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The cousin of both Gelson and Manuel Fernandes, Edimilson made his debut in a 1-0 League Cup third round win over Accrington Stanley on 21st September 2016. His only goal for the club came in the next round of the competition, and proved to be the winner in a 2-1 triumph over Chelsea on 26th October 2016 at London Stadium. The goal can be viewed in my video below.

Fernandes made 32 appearances in 2016/17, 12 of which were starts. He made his debut for the senior Switzerland side in November 2016. Mainly at home in a central or attacking midfield position, Fernandes also played on both flanks during his time in claret and blue – the 2017/18 campaign saw him make 16 appearances, 11 of which were starts. He played particularly well at Wembley as the Hammers defeated Tottenham 3-2 in the League Cup fourth round.

Fernandes spent the 2018/19 season on loan at Fiorentina in Italy’s Serie A and signed permanently for German club Mainz last week. He had made 48 appearances for West Ham United, scoring one goal. Now 23, he is currently a member of Switzerland’s Nations League squad.

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My West Ham Story

The New Kit: Looking Back to the Past or Another Step Forward?

West Ham United’s 2019/20 new Home and Away kits were unveiled last week and, as the official website have let us know, the all-white 1980 FA Cup-inspired away shirts are “proving particularly popular with supporters“. For me though West Ham’s new home kit is something very special, because the original shirt which has inspired Umbro, was used back in the time when I first came across West Ham United.

In these times, when I was attending grammar school in my home town in Lower Austria, my classmates and I were very much interested in English football. In 1975-76 Liverpool had won the UEFA Cup and then, for six seasons in a row, the “Champions League” of this age was won by English clubs: from 1977 to 1982 Liverpool were winners of the European Cup three times, Nottingham Forest won it twice and Aston Villa once! English clubs hence were the best in Europe and that drew my and my classmates’ attention to the First Division of the English Football League. Back in these days every Sunday the evening sports show in Austrian TV had some of the goals that had been scored over the weekend on the often deep and muddy pitches of the English grounds. And the FA Cup Final could even be watched “live” every year on Austrian TV!

Goalkeeper shirts had to be green

The English goalkeepers in these days always wore green shirts, and so I also got me a green goalkeeper shirt for the matches we played in school (a colour which I had always liked because it is the colour of my favourite Austrian club, Rapid Vienna). Playing in goal myself, I was particularly interested in English goalkeepers, and it was Phil Parkes of Queens Park Rangers to whom I paid special attention, because one of my close friends, with whom I shared the passion for Rapid Vienna, had already become a loyal supporter of the Hoops.

The fascination of claret & blue

But not only blue and white hoops had caught my attention, also these claret shirts with the blue sleeves were something very special for us, because West Ham’s and Aston Villa’s “claret and blue” were completely unusual colours for football shirts in Austria.

Therefore I also kept an eye on West Ham’s results and when the club won the FA Cup in 1975 and reached the 1976 European Cup Winners’ Cup Final, also the Hammers became one of the teams to watch! And that brings us back to the new home shirt, because the strip which served as a model for the 2019 claret home shirt (shoulders, upper part of the chest and sleeves in blue) was used from 1976 to 1980 and was first sported in the European Cup Winners’ Cup Final in Bruxelles against Anderlecht in May 1976. I watched this game on TV and I have kept a newspaper cutting of the match report showing then West Ham keeper Mervin Day and a West Ham defender in the new shirt.

These days also were the time when I first travelled to England in 1976, repeating that journey in 1977. And then I visited Scotland some years later in 1980 when I already studied at university. But as all of these trips only could take place in July, my hosts would just treat me to a match of cricket and no live football could be watched! But on our trip through Europe with an “interrail ticket” in 1977 we were able to manage getting to Kaiserslautern in Germany to watch our first live game of an English team: QPR played a friendly there on the Betzenberg against 1. FCK. Phil Parkes still played for QPR then.

Phil Parkes, Trevor Brooking and FA Cup glory

When Phil Parkes moved from Loftus Road to Upton Park in 1979 for a transfer fee of £ 565,000, being the most expensive goalkeeper at the time, attention switched from QPR to West Ham more and more, and I can confirm that QPR was not on my radar anymore. And I remember very well to have watched the FA Cup final 1980 when the Hammers won the Cup thanks to Trevor Brooking’s famous header which beat Arsenal: “1-0 to the Cockney boys!”

The 1976 home shirt was used by the Hammers for today unbelievable four seasons, but in 1980, as we all know, this shirt was not the one which Trevor Brooking sported on the Wembley pitch against Arsenal in May 1980, when the Hammers won silverware for the last time in their history so far. In that final both of the teams played in their away kit: the Gunners in yellow shirts and blue shorts (well, and the shorts could really be called “short” these days!), and West Ham in all-white. Therefore it’s no surprise that the new white Umbro away kit inspired by the cup win of 1980 has proved so popular among West Ham’s fans that its pre-orders have hit record numbers since its launch last week. I’m sure I will be tempted to order one as well soon, especially as since last season non-sponsored shirts are available in all sizes, not only for children. But somewhere in my wardrobe I should already have an old white cup final replica shirt, just couldn’t find it the other day.

Quite some years already

I also have some old shirts of my Austrian favourite team Rapid Vienna of course, which I started to support in primary school. When I became a “Rapidfan” by the end of the sixties, it took them 14 years to repeat their winning of the Austrian championship, albeit they had won it in 1967 and 1968 for the 24th and 25th time in their history. And with West Ham it’s even worse: Now it’s almost forty years since winning the FA Cup in 1980, and even the latest cup final in which West Ham have played dates back to 2006, quite some years already!

Fourteen years seemed to be a very long time for a young guy, whereas I now feel that the 14 years since West Ham’s promotion back to the Premier League in 2005 (which was followed by a fantastic season under the tenure of Alan Pardew with the highlight of the cup final against Liverpool) have passed very quickly. But forty years are quite a long period also for an older man, aren’t they? And haven’t older people got the habit to become impatient from time to time? Will there ever be a season when the Irons win some silverware again? Maybe next season, forty years after 1980?

If the shirt can help that task and inspire the Hammers to return to Wembley glory, as FA Cup-winning defender Alvin Martin is quoted on the official website , so be it. But more important is who’s at the helm as manager and which kind of business he can do in the summer. Therefore I’m happy with the shirt, but I also say: “In Pellegrini we trust!” Manager Manuel Pellegrini has started to build something special at West Ham and we have already seen a change of mentality of the team in several games throughout the last season.

Let’s hope that the new kits do not only serve as mere reminiscence of former success, but will bring back some silverware to the club in the near future! West Ham have made some big steps forward in the transition season that was 2018/19. Now they should be ready for the next level if MP is allowed to continue what he has begun.

Let the “Pellegrini Regulation” continue! Come on you Irons!

Talking Point

'Stuck in the Middle with You'

On Monday evening alongside a few friends I returned to my old school to play in the local six a side league. We drew 1-1 but once we get fitter and used to playing with each other again, we’ll be storming the league. On the website for this six a side league, the standard of refereeing is said to be FA quality, but on Monday it certainly did not feel like it! The bloke who was on the larger side to be polite, stood on the side lines and appeared more interested in the other game on the adjacent pitch! I’ve decided therefore to discuss the contentious topic of refereeing.

In an interesting article written by Jonathan Freedland, in which he briefly discusses refereeing and the abuse they get from football fans, he refers to the progress made with referees in the NBA (National Basketball Association).

He writes ’The NBA has built a state-of-the-art “replay center” in Secaucus, New Jersey, complete with 110 screens connected by super-fast cables, where a disputed incident on the court can be viewed from any angle, slowed down to a 60th of a second. Basketball referees have become fitter too: no more “fatboys”’

The Premier League could take a lot from America’s premier basketball league. Of course it will be fascinating to see how the introduction of VAR impacts games next season: I hope we get a few more penalties! If I was a referee at the highest level of football, I’d be aware that you will never be able to please everyone but I would want to give myself the best chance not to make mistakes. Clearly all the referees have to pass fitness tests, but some would surely be better off shedding some timber to give themselves the best chance of doing their job as well as possible. As I’ve said previously, I try to avoid criticising the referee as much as possible as sometimes it can simply cover up a poor performance from the team. However, we must hope VAR reduces some blatant mistakes that have been made (Liverpool at home, United away, Leicester at home etc).

In my time playing youth football I encountered numerous referees, some of which were pretty good and others who were not. As both a person and a footballer I like to think of myself as calm and collected, therefore I never verbally abused referees. The best referees I experienced were those who allowed the captains to discuss events on the pitch within reason and who explained their decisions. The referees who demanded no back chat were often the ones who lost control of the game and were rather condescending. Clearly at the level of football I played at, the referees did not have to be in peak physical condition but obviously it helped if they moved from the centre circle! Put it this way, if a foul occurs which could potentially be given either way, the referee is more likely to give it the way of the team who does not constantly complain and question every decision.

I agree with my Dad in that being a referee is a very difficult job, and certainly not one I would want to do. Hopefully the standard of officiating improves next season and we get the rub of the green a bit more. We shall see, but perhaps before criticising an official next season, pause and consider whether you are really angry about a decision or simply the team being poor.

Coincidentally after writing this, I remembered my friend Rhys is probably starting a referee course very soon. With a bit of luck we shall one day see him officiating in the Premier League!

Hope everyone is well, have a good week.

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Crossed Hammers & Three Lions: Sir Geoff Hurst

Welcome to the latest in a series of articles designed for international matchdays – a look back at former Hammers players who wore the Three Lions of England.

Today, as England prepare to face the Netherlands in the Nations League Semi-Finals, we look back at a bona fide all-time Hammers legend. Sir Geoff Hurst was born in Ashton-under-Lyne on 8th December 1941. His family moved to Chelmsford when he was six years old and he became a West Ham apprentice at the age of 15, making his first appearance under Ted Fenton in the Southern Floodlit Cup on 15th December 1958 at the age of 17 – the Hammers beat Fulham 3-1. He made his First Division debut in a 3-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest in February 1960; however, he was torn between cricket and football, playing regularly for the Essex Second XI between 1962 and 1964 and missing pre-season training due to his cricketing commitments led to regular early-season fitness issues. He scored his first goal in claret and blue in a 4-2 home win over Wolves on 18th December 1961. Hurst, who began his career at left-half, was switched to a striking role by Ron Greenwood in September 1962, a move that was to totally change the course of his career. Forming a successful partnership with John ‘Budgie’ Byrne, Hurst would prove a key figure in the Hammers’ unprecedented success in the mid-1960s.

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The 1962/63 season saw Hurst score 15 goals in 29 games and he bagged 26 goals in 50 appearances during a successful 1963/64 campaign, including 11 goals in just seven matches in January/February 1964. Greenwood named the same 11 players in each of the Hammers’ FA Cup matches as the club embarked on a run which took them all the way to Wembley in 1964. Hurst scored one goal in a 3-0 win over Charlton in the third round and then two in a 3-0 fourth round replay against Leyton Orient before notching another in a 3-1 win at Swindon in the fifth round. Hurst grabbed the match-clinching third in the 3-1 semi-final win over Manchester United in the Hillsborough mudbath and scored the second equaliser in the Final against Preston with a header that bounced off the crossbar and over the line – an incident that would be repeated on international duty at the same venue two years later. The Hammers would go on to win the Final 3-2. Hurst was also part of the side that won the European Cup Winners’ Cup at Wembley in 1965, scoring 20 goals in 54 matches in 1964/65.

Having scored 40 goals in 59 appearances in 1965/66, including his first hat-trick in a 4-3 win over Newcastle on 11th December 1965, Hurst won his first England cap in a 1-0 friendly win over West Germany at Wembley on 23rd February 1966. His first goal for the Three Lions came in his next international appearance, the opener in a 4-3 win against Scotland at Hampden Park. He was named in the England squad for the 1966 World Cup Finals but only broke into the side for the quarter-final against Argentina when future club team-mate Jimmy Greaves was injured – Hurst scored the winning goal to send England through to a semi-final with Portugal. Alf Ramsey stuck with Hurst for the Final against West Germany despite Greaves’ return to fitness and the Hammers man repaid the faith with a hat-trick; Upton Park team-mate Martin Peters also scored, with Bobby Moore completing the holy trinity by lifting the Jules Rimet trophy as captain.

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Hurst was then the subject of a £200,000 bid from Manchester United’s Matt Busby. The offer would have smashed the British transfer record, almost doubling the standing record of the £115,000 the Red Devils had paid Torino for Denis Law four years previously. Greenwood rejected the offer. Hurst went on to score an incredible 41 goals in 49 games in 1966/67, including four against Fulham in a 6-1 home win and a hat-trick in his next match against the (at the time) mighty Leeds in a 7-0 League Cup triumph. This was the start of a run which saw Hurst score 14 goals in seven games in November/December 1966. 25 goals in 44 appearances in 1967/68 (including all four in a 4-1 League Cup third round win over Bolton at the Boleyn) was followed a goal in England’s Euro ’68 Third-Place Play-Off match against the Soviet Union in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, a match England won 2-0. Hurst scored 31 goals in 48 matches in 1968/69 on the way to an eighth-placed Hammers finish, including an astonishing double hat-trick against Sunderland in October 1968. Hurst also scored a hat-trick in England’s 5-0 friendly win over France at Wembley on 12th March 1969.

Hurst scored 18 goals in 42 games in 1969/70, a season which would see his great friend Martin Peters depart for Tottenham as the Irons finished 17th. He scored once at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, in a 1-0 group stage win over Romania. The Hammers would finish one place clear of relegation in 20th spot in 1970/71, with Hurst scoring 16 goals in 41 appearances. He scored his final goal for England in a 2-0 European Championship qualification match in Athens against Greece on 1st December 1971.

One of Hurst’s final acts as a Hammer was his biggest disappointment, however – having already scored a penalty in the 1971/72 League Cup semi-final first leg at Stoke, Hurst saw his powerful late spot-kick in the second leg brilliantly turned over the bar by England team-mate Gordon Banks in front of a stunned North Bank. The Hammers would miss out on a Wembley trip following two replays as the epic saga continued to unfold. Hurst scored his last goal for West Ham in a 3-1 defeat at Manchester City on 8th April 1972, with his last appearance for the club being a 2-0 home defeat to Liverpool seven days later. He had scored 16 goals in 48 matches in 1971/72. He won his 49th and final England cap later that month, in a 3-1 Wembley defeat to West Germany on 29th April 1972 – the same nation he had made his debut against and against whom he had enjoyed his finest hour.

Sir Geoff Hurst is, without doubt, West Ham United’s greatest post-war striker. He scored 249 goals for the club in 503 appearances in all competitions, placing him second behind Vic Watson in the list of the Hammers’ all-time highest goalscorers. During his twelve years as a professional in claret and blue he won all of his 49 England caps, scoring 24 international goals. He remains the only player to have scored a hat-trick on the biggest stage of them all, the World Cup Final. He also shares the record for the most League Cup goals in a career (49, with Ian Rush). He scored three goals in a game for the Hammers on six separate occasions, four goals on two occasions and six goals once. 37 of Sir Geoff’s 249 Hammers goals can be viewed in my video below.

Hurst left West Ham for Stoke in August 1972 for £80,000 and enjoyed a successful spell with the Potters, helping them to successive fifth-placed finishes in 1974 and 1975, higher than Hurst had ever finished with the Hammers. He signed for Johnny Giles’ West Bromwich Albion in the summer of 1975 for £20,000, scoring twice in ten Second Division matches before deciding to join Seattle Sounders in America, via Cork Celtic in Ireland. Hurst retired from playing in 1976. 21 of his 24 England goals can be viewed in my video below.

After calling time on a magnificent playing career Hurst went into management, first as assistant to Danny Blanchflower at Chelsea before being handed the top job at Stamford Bridge in 1979. An inconsistent time with the Blues ended with Hurst being sacked in April 1981 having failed to maintain a promotion push from the Second Division in either of his two seasons with the club. Hurst also assisted his former West Ham manager Ron Greenwood with England campaigns at the European Championships in 1980 and the World Cup in 1982. He went into the insurance trade after leaving Chelsea, taking two years out to manage in Kuwait between 1982 and 1984.

Hurst received an MBE in 1975 and was knighted in 1998. He is one of only five living footballing knights (the others being Sir Trevor Brooking, Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Kenny Dalglish). He now lives in Cheltenham and celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife, Judith, in 2014. He was presented with West Ham United’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.

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Netherlands v England

England face the Netherlands this evening in the semi-finals of the 2019 Nations League – it will be the 22nd meeting between the two nations. The pair have met on three previous occasions at a major tournament, with the Three Lions emerging victorious just once, in the group stages at Euro ‘96 with a 4-1 win. The match was played in front of 76,798 at Wembley on 18th June 1996. Fugees were number one with ‘Killing Me Softly’, The Passion of Darkly Noon topped the UK box office and, four days previously, Top of the Pops moved from its traditional Thursday evening slot to Fridays after 32 years (excluding six months in 1973).

The Dutch were dealt a blow after 23 minutes when former West Ham midfielder Paul Ince was brought down for a penalty which was converted by Alan Shearer. Terry Venables’ England doubled their lead six minutes after the interval courtesy of a header from future Hammer Teddy Sheringham. Shearer made it three after excellent build-up play from Paul Gascoigne and Sheringham before, not to be outdone, Sheringham bagged his own brace just after the hour-mark, converting the rebound after Darren Anderton’s shot had been saved by Edwin van der Sar.

Guus Hiddink’s Netherlands side pulled one back with twelve minutes remaining courtesy of a goal from substitute Patrick Kluivert which eliminated Scotland from the tournament.

England: David Seaman (Arsenal), Gary Neville (Man Utd), Gareth Southgate (Aston Villa), Tony Adams (captain, Arsenal), Stuart Pearce (Nottingham Forest), Darren Anderton (Tottenham), Paul Ince (Inter Milan), Paul Gascoigne (Rangers), Steve McManaman (Liverpool), Teddy Sheringham (Tottenham), Alan Shearer (Blackburn).

Subs: David Platt (Arsenal) for Ince, Nick Barmby (Middlesbrough) for Sheringham, Robbie Fowler (Liverpool) for Shearer.

Netherlands: Edwin van der Sar (Ajax), Michael Reiziger (Ajax), Winston Bogarde (Ajax), Danny Blind (captain, Ajax), Jordi Cruyff (Barcelona), Clarence Seedorf (Sampdoria), Ronald de Boer (Ajax), Aron Winter (Lazio), Richard Witschge (Bordeaux), Peter Hoekstra (Ajax), Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal).

Subs: Johan De Kock (Roda JC) for Witschge; Phillip Cocu (PSV) for Hoekstra, Patrick Kluivert (Ajax) for de Boer.

The previous articles in the series are:

Vic Watson
Jack Tresadern
Billy Moore
Ken Brown
Johnny ‘Budgie’ Byrne
Bobby Moore
Martin Peters
Frank Lampard Senior
Sir Trevor Brooking
Alan Devonshire
Alvin Martin
Paul Goddard
Rio Ferdinand
Stuart Pearce
Frank Lampard Junior
Joe Cole
David James
Robert Green
Stewart Downing

Dan Coker's Match Preview

West Ham's Dutch Connections

With England playing the Netherlands in the Nations League Semi-Finals tomorrow, here’s my look at the Hammers’ Dutch Connections…

Ray Atteveld

Ray Atteveld was born in Amsterdam on 8th September 1966 and began his career with Haarlem in 1985 before signing for Everton in 1989. A tough-tackling midfielder who could also deputise at right-back, he made 68 appearances for the Toffees, scoring two goals.

In February 1992, the 25-year-old Atteveld was signed on a month’s loan by Billy Bonds as West Ham battled against relegation from the First Division. Atteveld actually made more appearances in the FA Cup for the Hammers than he did in the league, making his debut by starting the fifth round tie at Sunderland’s Roker Park which ended in a 1-1 draw on 15th February 1992; he was again selected for the replay back at Upton Park 11 days later. John Byrne’s double put the Second Division Wearsiders in control before two wonder strikes from Martin Allen put the Irons back on terms. David Rush grabbed the winner as Sunderland progressed all the way to the Final that year. Atteveld’s only league appearance for West Ham was sandwiched in between the two cup ties, at Hillsborough in a 2-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.

Atteveld left Everton for Bristol City in the summer of 1992 but departed for Belgium’s Waregem the following year. He returned to the Netherlands with Roda and went on to have spells with fellow Dutch sides Vitesse, Groningen and Den Haag before retiring in 2002. Atteveld has since managed Roda and Den Haag in his native country as well as AEL Limassol in Cyprus. He later worked as a consultant academy coach at FC Banants Yerevan in Armenia before moving to Kazakhstan in 2013 where he worked as Academy Director at FC Kairat Almaty. Atteveld is currently Assistant Performance Director at Israeli club Maccabi Tel-Aviv, a post he has held since 2016 – he is responsible for the development of the Under-11 to Under-16 age groups at the club.

Jeroen Boere

Jeroen Boere was born in Arnhem on 18th November 1967. He started his career with Excelsior in 1985 before moving to De Graafschap two years later. An old-fashioned centre-forward in the target man mould, Boere moved to VVV-Venlo in 1988 but returned to De Graafschap in a loan deal – he scored an impressive 28 goals in 56 appearances during his two spells with De Graafschap. Boere was on the move again in 1990, signing for Roda JC but he returned to VVV-Venlo later that same year. He joined Go Ahead Eagles in 1991 before moving to England two years later.

The 25-year-old Boere joined Billy Bonds’ newly-promoted West Ham United for a fee of £250,000 in September 1993, hot on the heels of the arrivals of David Burrows, Mike Marsh and Lee Chapman. He suffered an ignominious debut on 25th September 1993, receiving a red card for an elbow on Kevin Scott in a 2-0 defeat at Newcastle shortly after entering the fray as a substitute. Boere scored his first goal for the Hammers in a 2-0 League Cup second round second leg win at Chesterfield on 5th October 1993. He made only three further appearances in claret and blue in 1993/94 and spent the final weeks of the campaign on loan at Portsmouth.

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Boere joined West Brom on loan in the early stages of the 1994/95 campaign, with Harry Redknapp now in the manager’s hotseat at Upton Park. He returned to east London in November 1994 with the Irons entrenched in a relegation battle; he scored his first league goal for the club in his first Premier League start, in a 2-1 defeat at QPR on 4th December 1994. Boere followed this up with a brace of headers the following weekend in a 2-2 draw at Leeds, salvaging a point from Elland Road after the Hammers had been two goals down. Forging a promising strike partnership with Tony Cottee, Boere scored with another header against Tottenham at the Boleyn on 14th January 1995 but the Irons would lose 2-1 to a Spurs side inspired by goalscorers Jurgen Klinsmann and future Hammer Teddy Sheringham. Boere’s strike against Tottenham’s Ian Walker did, however, deny the goalkeeper a chance to break a consecutive clean sheets record held by Ray Clemence.

With the return from injury of Don Hutchison, Boere found his first team opportunities again restricted, although he did score in a 3-0 home win over Wimbledon on 13th April 1995 and bagged a vital late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Ipswich four days later, which would transpire to be his final goal for the club. He made his final appearance in claret and blue as a substitute in a 1-1 home draw with Tottenham on 30th August 1995 before joining Crystal Palace the following month as part of the deal which brought Iain Dowie back to Upton Park for a second spell. Boere had scored seven goals in 29 appearances for West Ham United – all of these goals can be viewed in my video below.

After six months with the Eagles, Boere moved to Southend in March 1996 and spent two years at Roots Hall before moving to Japan to play for Saitama-based Omiya Ardija. In May 1999, after dinner with his wife at a restaurant in Tokyo, he was stabbed in his left eye and arm by two unknown men; his attacker was reported to be an Israeli criminal who was later found shot through the head in a Bangkok river. Boere lost his eye in the incident, forcing his retirement from football at the age of 31.

After his retirement, Boere owned The Half Moon pub in Epping High Street from 1999 until 2004. He moved to Spain in September 2004 to work as a real estate agent. Jeroen Boere tragically died at the age of just 39, on 16th August 2007. Reports regarding the circumstances of Boere’s death are conflicting; some outlets reported that the Dutchman died in a car crash, possibly on Ibiza, while other media reported that he was found dead at his home in Marbella. The Ilford Recorder stated that Boere had committed suicide. Boere left his wife and child, as well as two sons from a previous marriage.

Marco Boogers

Marco Boogers was born in Dordrecht on 12th January 1967. He started his career with second tier Dordrecht in 1986 before moving to top flight side Utrecht in 1988. He signed for RKC Waalwijk in 1990 but was soon on the move again, this time to Fortuna Sittard in 1991. Boogers joined Sparta Rotterdam in 1992 and finally settled, staying at the club for three seasons and helping the club to secure finishes in the lower-to-mid-table region of the Eredivisie in each of his campaigns with the club.

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The 28-year-old Boogers moved to England in the summer of 1995, signing for Harry Redknapp’s West Ham United in a deal worth around £1m. The centre-forward made his debut as a second-half substitute in a 2-1 home defeat to Leeds on 19th August 1995, the opening day of the 1995/96 season. Boogers is infamously remembered for his second appearance in claret and blue four days later, again as a substitute and this time at Old Trafford in a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United. The Dutchman was sent off after scything down Gary Neville and was struck with a four-match ban for reckless behaviour. The incident can be viewed in my video below.

The myth endures that Boogers then went AWOL to a caravan in the Netherlands. As with many a myth, this is far from the truth. West Ham’s former PA announcer, Bill Prosser, takes up the tale in a 2005 letter to The Guardian:

“Here’s a stitch-up of a work colleague, albeit an accidental one. In the 1990s I was the PA announcer at Upton Park. I also handled all of the club’s travel arrangements. You will remember that Marco Boogers famously went a bit doolally shortly after joining the club and was reported to be living in a caravan in Holland… Unfortunately it is untrue and it is my fault. Marco was depressed after being sent off in his second appearance for West Ham at Old Trafford and disappeared for a few days. West Ham’s Clubcall reporter phoned me and said he was trying to find Boogers for an interview but could not reach him. He asked if I had booked any flights for him. I told him I hadn’t, but added: ‘If he has gone back to Holland, he’s probably gone by car again.’ The reporter misheard me and stated on Clubcall that I had said: ‘If he’s gone back to Holland, he’s probably gone to his caravan.’ As you know, journalists often listen to Clubcall. Which explains why, the following day, the back page headline in The Sun was: ‘Barmy Boogers Living In A Caravan’. The legend endures … I feel a bit responsible for his misfortune.”

Boogers returned to first team action in east London in November 1995, making his third appearance for the club, again as a substitute, in a 4-1 home defeat to Aston Villa on 4th November 1995. He started, and scored, in Alvin Martin’s second testimonial, against Chelsea, a week later but could not repeat this form in league matches. He made his fourth and final appearance in claret and blue, yet again as a substitute, in a 4-2 defeat at Blackburn on 2nd December 1995. Writing in his 2014 autobiography, Harry Redknapp said of Boogers:

“Some of the risks were extreme. After being asked what I thought was a ridiculous amount by Bristol Rovers for a striker called Marcus Stewart in 1995, we went with Marco Boogers of Sparta Rotterdam, having only watched him on video. Other managers had bought on taped evidence but that had never been my way. Yet we were running out of time, the season was about to start, Boogers looked good, and would cost half of what Rovers wanted for Stewart. What the tapes never show, however, is what a player is like as a trainer, or a person. Boogers was hard work. The players didn’t like him, and he was a lazy worker. He got one kick in our second game of the season at Old Trafford, but it was on Gary Neville, and he was shown a red card. This caused him to become depressed, he claimed, and he returned to Holland. Very soon, we made that arrangement permanent.

Boogers joined Groningen on loan in February 1996. He was blighted by knee problems and returned to former club RKC Waalwijk a year later. He joined Volendam later in 1997 and ended his career back where it began, at Dordrecht, with a four-year spell between 1999 and 2003. He remained with his hometown club as technical director after retiring as a player and was briefly caretaker manager in 2005. Boogers is pictured on the left in the image below; he left the club in August 2017.

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