Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Tottenham

Blast from the past

Today’s focus sees us travel back almost 20 years, to the 13th August 1997 – Men In Black topped the UK box office, Will Smith was number one with the theme song from the same film and Tamagotchis took the UK by storm as West Ham United secured a 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in front of 25,354 at Upton Park.

West Ham took the lead after just four minutes, Stan ‘Skippy’ Lazaridis dispossessing Stephen Carr on halfway and carrying the ball into the Tottenham penalty area before squaring for Super Johnny Hartson (pictured below) to sidefoot home. Hartson’s strike partner Paul Kitson had a powerful header tipped over by Ian Walker and home debutant Eyal Berkovic sent a shot skimming wide of the upright before half-time.

The Hammers doubled their lead with twenty minutes remaining – Lazaridis was again the creator, providing the pass for Berkovic who shifted inside Ramon Vega before lifting the ball over Walker. In doing so Berkovic, who turned down Spurs to sign for the Irons, scored the first of his 12 goals in claret and blue. Tottenham grabbed what turned out to be no more than a consolation with seven minutes remaining, Andy Sinton released down the left by a quickly-taken throw-in and future Hammer Les Ferdinand sliding the ball in from the cross. There was still time for substitute Frank Lampard to rattle the crossbar for the Hammers before Vega forced a stunning tip-over from Ludek Miklosko with practically the last kick of an absorbing encounter.

Harry Redknapp’s Hammers would end the 1997/98 Premier League season in eighth position, while Tottenham would finish 14th. Rio Ferdinand was voted Hammer of the Year with Steve Lomas runner-up and Arsenal won a league and FA Cup Double.

West Ham United: Ludek Miklosko, Steve Potts, Marc Rieper, Rio Ferdinand, Tim Breacker, John Moncur (Frank Lampard), Steve Lomas, Eyal Berkovic, Stan Lazaridis, Paul Kitson (Michael Hughes), John Hartson (Iain Dowie).

Tottenham Hotspur: Ian Walker, Stephen Carr, Ramon Vega, John Scales, Sol Campbell (Stephen Clemence), Justin Edinburgh, Allan Nielsen (Andy Sinton), David Howells, David Ginola, Steffen Iversen, Les Ferdinand.

Club Connections

A large group of players have turned out for Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United. Divided here by position, they include:

Goalkeepers: Bill Kaine, Charlie Ambler, Tony Parks, Fred Griffiths.

Defenders: Calum Davenport, Paul Konchesky, Mark Bowen, Mauricio Tarrico, Steve Walford, Simon Webster, Chris Hughton, Percy Mapley, Fred Milnes, Mitchell Thomas, Neil Ruddock.

Midfielders: Paul Allen, Scott Parker, Jimmy Neighbour, Matthew Etherington, Mark Robson, David Bentley, Charlie Whitchurch, Chris Carrick, Ilie Dumitrescu, Martin Peters, John Smith, John Moncur.

Strikers: Mido, Frederic Kanoute, Peter Kyle, Sergei Rebrov, Kenny McKay, George Foreman, Dave Dunmore, Teddy Sheringham, Les Bennett, Jermain Defoe, Bill Joyce, Robbie Keane, Fred Massey, Jimmy Reid, Clive Allen, Bobby Zamora, Les Ferdinand, Jimmy Greaves, Harry Bradshaw.

Jack Tresadern played for West Ham and managed Tottenham, while Harry Redknapp played for the Hammers and managed both clubs.

Today’s focus is on an England international midfielder who began his career with West Ham United before signing for Tottenham. Michael Carrick was born on the 28th July 1981 in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear and was part of West Ham’s FA Youth Cup winning side in 1999, scoring twice in the second leg of the Final as the Hammers beat Coventry 6-0 on the night and 9-0 on aggregate. He made his first-team debut four days before his 18th birthday, on 24th July 1999 in a 1-1 draw away at Jokerit of Finland in the second leg of the Intertoto Cup third round. Carrick had a month-long loan spell at Swindon before a similar stint at Birmingham. He returned to Upton Park to score his first goal for Harry Redknapp’s Hammers in a 5-0 win over Coventry on the 22nd April 2000.

Carrick became a regular in the centre of midfield in 2000/01, scoring his only goal of the season in a 1-1 home draw against Aston Villa. A tall, elegant, cultured midfielder with a fine range of passing, Carrick made his England debut in May 2001 as a substitute in a 4-0 friendly win over Mexico – to date, he has won 34 caps for his country, without scoring. He has been part of the squad for both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups but has only played one game at a major tournament.

With Glenn Roeder now in charge, Carrick was on the scoresheet twice in 2001/02, scoring the Hammers’ consolation in a 7-1 defeat at Blackburn and, more positively, in a 2-1 home win over Chelsea. Despite the joy of scoring in a 2-0 home win over Tottenham in March 2003, Carrick and the Hammers experienced the agony of relegation in 2002/03.

The 22-year-old stayed with the Hammers for their first season in the second tier as Alan Pardew eventually took over the managerial reigns – he was voted by supporters as runner-up to Matthew Etherington for the 2003/04 Hammer of the Year award and was also named in the PFA First Division Team of the Year. His last goal for the club came on the 17th January 2004 in a 3-3 draw at Sheffield United and his final appearance for the Hammers came in the 1-0 Play-Off Final defeat to Crystal Palace in Cardiff on 29th May 2004. Too good for the Championship and with a lack of top-level football threatening to curtail his impressive development, Carrick returned to the Premier League in August 2004 – Arsenal, Everton, West Brom, Crystal Palace and Portsmouth all showed interest before Tottenham eventually won the race for his signature, paying around £3m for his services. Carrick had scored six goals in 159 appearances for West Ham United.

Carrick made his Tottenham debut on 18th October 2004 as a substitute in a 1–0 defeat at Portsmouth. He was often overlooked by manager Jacques Santini before emerging as a regular starter after the appointment of Martin Jol. His first full start for Tottenham was also Jol’s first game in charge of the club away to Burnley in the League Cup on 9th November 2004.

Carrick scored his first Tottenham goal on 3rd December 2005, netting the winner in a 3-2 home win over Sunderland. He scored his second and final goal for the club on 8th April 2006 in a 2-1 home win over Manchester City. Carrick was one of ten Tottenham players who fell ill at a hotel just before their final game of the season away to West Ham on 7th May 2006 as the players suffered from apparent food poisoning after a dodgy lasagne. He managed to play in the game but lasted just 63 minutes in the 2-1 defeat to his former club which saw North London rivals Arsenal beat them to fourth place in the league and the final qualification spot for the Champions League. It turned out to be Carrick’s final appearance for Tottenham – after two goals and 75 appearances for Spurs, he moved to Manchester United in July 2006 for an initial fee of £14m, potentially rising to £18.6m. Now 35 and out of contract at the end of the current campaign, Carrick is currently vice-captain of Manchester United.

Referee

The referee on Friday will be Anthony Taylor – the Hammers were allocated the 38-year-old on five occasions last season as he took charge of our defeat at Tottenham, as well as our home win over Newcastle which came just three games after he had controversially sent off Adrian against Leicester. He was also the man in the middle for our FA Cup third round win over Wolves and our 3-2 win at Everton in March. This season, Taylor took charge of our 2-0 defeat at Everton in October and our 2-1 defeat at Chelsea in August, awarding the home side a penalty and later controversially failing to issue a second yellow card to Diego Costa for an awful lunge at Adrian – Costa remained on the pitch to score the 89th-minute winner. His most recent Hammers appointment was our 1-0 defeat at Leicester on New Year’s Eve.

Indeed, controversy and incident are never far away when the Cheshire-based official is the referee for a West Ham United match. Taylor is the referee who had not one, but two red cards rescinded from the same game after he had sent off Carlton Cole and Darron Gibson in the Hammers’ 2-1 home defeat to Everton in December 2012. He sent off the home side’s Kevin Mirallas against the Hammers at Goodison Park in March 2016 and awarded the Toffees a penalty which Romelu Lukaku saw saved by Adrian.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United, who have kept three clean sheets in the last four Premier League matches, will be without Angelo Ogbonna, Pedro Obiang, Gokhan Tore, Michail Antonio and Diafra Sakho. Arthur Masuaku and Andy Carroll are both doubts for the London derby, with Aaron Cresswell set to make a return to the starting line-up. The Hammers have won only four of the last 19 Premier League games against Tottenham.

Tottenham Hotspur, who will close to within a single point of Premier League leaders Chelsea if they win tonight, are without Danny Rose, Harry Winks and Erik Lamela. Spurs have the opportunity to win a tenth successive league match, a feat they have not achieved since 1960, 57 years ago. There have been three red cards in the last three encounters between these two sides in East London.

Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Byram, Fonte, Reid, Collins, Cresswell; Kouyate, Noble; Snodgrass, Lanzini; Carroll.

Possible Tottenham Hotspur XI: Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Eriksen, Wanyama, Dembele, Alli; Son, Kane.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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Tribute

There's Only One Aaron Lennon - Join In With the Applause

As most of you will know, Aaron Lennon, the Everton winger and former Spurs player is going through a very bad time. He was taken into police custody over the weekend and is suffering from mental health issues. Even ten years ago, that sort of thing would have attracted ridicule from opposition fans, but over the last decade we’ve all learned a lot about mental health and it doesn’t have the stigma it once did.

The truth is that one in four of us will suffer from some sort of mental health issue in our lifetimes. It affects everyone from all walks of life. People are now willing to talk more openly about the issue and that’s why the stigma is gradually disappearing. I’ve covered the issue on my radio show a lot over the years and have been touched by the hundreds of people I have spoken to on air who have been willing to open up and tell their story. It doesn’t just affect a certain section of society, it also affects the rich and successful.

Aaron Lennon is a player I’d loved West Ham to sign. He’s our sort of player. Well on Friday we have our chance to show our support. In the seventh minute of the match, Tottenham supporters intend to have a minutes applause. We should join in with them. OK, it’s a gesture, but if I were him and watching the game on TV I think I’d be grateful that 57,000 people were thinking of me.

Tottenham and West Ham have a long rivalry, but in this one minute we can come together and demonstrate genuine human empathy for someone oing through some difficult times. It could happen to any one of us.

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Talking Point

Will it Really Be Any Different Next Season?

Guest Post by Paul Hickin

It’s the start of the season. There is acceptance, albeit begrudging, and adjustment to the new stadium. There is hope, with Slav at the helm, and the cynics who don’t think he’s up to it tactically, are either hoping to be proved wrong, or biding their time to be proved right, depending on how cynical they are.

And then there’s the post-mortem on the summer signings. Oh those summer signings. Did we learn nothing from last season, bringing in freebies passed their sell-by date, mercenary loan signings that will be either be off if they do well or will be cutting our losses if they don’t. Oh there’s an option to buy. Phew. But wait a minute. One of the freebies worked out, eventually, when played in the correct position, the promising young talent looks a real find, and some of the proven premier league talent just needed time to find their feet in a new environment, what with the jinx of injuries and all.

There’s also talk that AC will finally have a great injury-free season that has been laughed about. But then we can only laugh as nobody was going to buy him, and when he does play he is a beast. Still great from the subs bench but Andy will never settle for that. Noble is another one that divides opinion. We love a local hero, just a shame he’s more a local journeyman. Decent and his record in the side rather than out of it speaks for itself, but if we are going to head to the next level, then surely he must make the transition from team captain to club captain, with Reid becoming the club skipper.

Many still think even if we keep players fit and lady luck shines on us, then we can certainly have a promising top 10 finish and maybe win a cup. But then there’s plenty of calls for the youngsters to be bloodied in the cup games even though they aren’t yet pulling up trees in the lower leagues. Can’t have it both ways, alas.

Cast your mind to the start of the season. It really will be different this time around.

But which season do you have in mind?

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News

Please Stop Abusing the Accessible Toilets at the London Stadium

Blind Hammer appeals for Supporters to show consideration.

Accessible Toilets designated for use by Disabled or older Supporters at the London Stadium are being abused by non-disabled supporters.

This was the shocking complaint which emerged after the first ever meeting of the West Ham Disabled Supporters Advisory Board

Supporters explained that their access to these toilets at half time in particular is being blocked by supporters who have no need of these special facilities. Shockingly it was reported that these rooms are being used by supporters as a furtive smoking room so that they can enjoy a half time cigarette. This has meant that disabled supporters are missing parts of the second half of games as they have to wait to gain the access they should have as of right.

The Club responded at the Board to explain that there are 17 Accessible Toilets arranged around the ground which should provide good access for Disabled Supporters. Each toilet is accessed by use of a RADAR key which should in theory only allow eligible key holders to access the facilities.

Supporters explained that what is happening though is that when a key holder departs the toilet ineligible non-disabled supporters are intercepting the door before it closes and forcing their way in.

It was also reported that these so called supporters are also engaging in disgusting behaviour in relation to use of sink facilities.

West Ham has promised to try and improve the situation by increasing stewarding around the Accessible Toilet facilities.

It is my view though that we ourselves should stamp on this inconsiderate minority who continue to give football supporters a bad name. If any of you observe this behaviour then you should have no hesitation in giving them your opinion of their behaviour.

We should not need stewards to tell us how to behave. Come on – if you are one of the guilty ones doing this just stop it.

Let the Tottenham game mark a new standard in our crowd behaviour.

There is much more news to come from the Disable Supporters Advisory Board which will be reported on in future posts.

COYI

David Griffith

showing no consideration for their fellow supporters.

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The HamburgHammer Column

Cup, Spuds and going aboard the Battle Cruiser

Solid. Sturdy. Safe (Just about). Another 0:0 draw, against very decent opposition again, this time away from home.
Another vital point won by another makeshift starting eleven.
(It is a fact that not once this season we have been able to field our strongest XI. And we also won’t be able to do so this season with Antonio now out until summer.)

It was one of the more entertaining goalless draws, yet I probably won’t be buying the DVD of the match, should it ever become available in the club shop.
Yet again it was a very decent team effort, Adrian pretty much cemented his place in the side with a string of fine saves, our defenders appear to be developing a nice bit of understanding between each other, Masuaku delivered another MOTM worthy performance which only lasted one half though, but having him at LB already bodes well for next season. And Nordtveit helped us to register a third clean sheet in the three games where he started in his prefered position as holding midfielder.

We had some fantastic goalscoring opportunities (oh, how I wish that bicycle kick from Ayew after Masuaku’s cross had found the target!), but wasted them all, once again highlighting the need to give our striking department a good old overhaul in the summer. Calleri trying to score with a rabona when he probably had ten different alternatives at his disposal with greater chance of resulting in a winning goal, drove me nuts.

I really tried to find positives for Calleri, a reason to somehow warrant West Ham trying to sign him on a permanent deal, but frankly he didn’t give me much ammunition for his cause on Saturday. Yes, he runs a lot and puts himself about. But when it comes to that final decision, the end product, the main thing to judge a striker’s ability on, he falls short.

Maybe he just isn’t suited to the Premier League, but his decision making looks way off. I don’t see that striker’s instinct in him to put the ball over the line at all costs.
Scoring with a rabona of course is the very rare icing for a cake for any footballer, but in order to do that you need some cake to begin with.

A striker needs to score, it can be a screamer drilled into the top corner (prefered of course) , but also simple tap ins will do, or guiding the ball into the corner from short distance. Maybe Calleri needs even more games to adapt, maybe he lacks confidence, but he seems to have a tendency to go for the wondergoal, the complicated stuff, rather than trying to go for the end product first and foremost.

Talking of striker overhauls God knows what is up with Sakho (again). Is it another knock that kept him out of the Stoke game ? Just a little one or rather a bad reoccurrence of the back injury that was supposed to have been fixed with that recent operation of his ? Or is it indeed a question of attitude that Sakho isn’t willing to accept a place on the bench under no circumstance whatsoever ? In that case he can do one as far as I’m concerned. AS much as I may like a player for his skills and determination on the pitch I still like my West Ham players to be team players, guys who look at what’s best for the overall good of the team.

Every player wants to play, that’s understandable. But sometimes a manager is right to make a decision and put certain players on the bench, either for tactical reasons or because they are still in the process of returning from injury. As for Andy Carroll, well, his groin seem to belong to a 50 year old rather than a professional athlete. Maybe he is not suited to a sport that requires him to play 38 games a season. Maybe he is more suited to playing Cricket. American Football has a short season too, but thinking of Andy Carroll playing just 15 minutes as a Wide Receiver in the NFL makes me shudder with horror.

After being hit with the first crunching downfield tackle he’d probably break bones and pull muscles he never even knew he had. In short: I feel we need a complete overhaul upfront. Get rid of Carroll, Sakho and Calleri and bring in three more reliable options.

One of those could be Defoe. He is not exactly in the right age bracket of course, but he apparently has unfinished business at our club and a point to prove.
Plus he would arrive on a free (which should please the board) and if he can play another one or two seasons for us I’d be happy with that as long as we also sign two more strikers under the age of 30. But hopefully guys who have a decent injury record instead of season tickets at various doctors and physiotherapists.

Just briefly on last week’s raid on our club offices at London Stadium. I suppose things will become clearer soon what that was all about. Indications are that West Ham won’t be the main focus of the HMRC investigations, indeed that it’s more about dodgy agents and French clubs being naughty in terms of tax avoidance.
I hope for our collective sake that we are clean as a new penny in this case as for far too long West Ham have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Our owners have a great responsibility and also the power (at least to a degree) to create better headlines for our club over the summer.

I can’t say I’m overly optimistic they will will deliver, you won’t be surprised to hear that. But once more I shall be giving them, maybe foolishly on my part, the benefit of the doubt.

Doubt is something my lads at Concordia cannot afford this week. It’s Cup Day on Wednesday! The stupid local football authorities (aided by this obnoxious old football hating lady living next to Concordia’s ground) have determined that kickoff will be at 5:30 pm which is a shame as a lot of people won’t be able to make the game in time, not for kickoff anyway.
To remind you again, it’s the semifinal of the so called Oddset Cup against Norderstedt, a team playing one level above Concordia.

The winner of the Oddset Cup will go into the first round draw of the German equivalent of the FA Cup and once in the draw every small team (like Concordia) harbours dreams of finding a Golden Ticket by playing one of the big boys, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Moenchengladbach or Eintracht Frankfurt. Instead of playing in front of 258 fans you’d suddenly be able to move to a bigger ground and attract a crowd of thousands. But first we need the win against Norderstedt and I would expect a crowd of probably 1.000 fans which is about as close to full capacity as you can get at Cordi.

One side note, talking of crowds and full capacity: As you know one of my weirder visions is of Concordia one fine day playing West Ham in a preseason friendly (as West Ham sometimes do like to come to Germany for that kind of fixture). Initially I had thought this was a giant pie in the sky. But then on Friday evening (after the 2:0 away win at Barmbek) I had a little chat about that crazy thought with both the club president of Concordia and the press spokesman over a beer or two.

They were both intrigued by the idea and said the proposal did not only appeal to them but was also actually doable. I would obviously need someone with links to the relevant decision makers at the club (maybe Sean Whetstone can assist in that respect) to open a channel of communication in this matter, but I understand that West Ham do play lower league opposition in preseason fixtures from time to time.

Concordia couldn’t host a game like that at their home ground, it’s too small for that kind of fixture and couldn’t be policed properly.

But the club president assured me that, planned well in advance, a sufficient number of stewards and police staff could be organised and depending on how many West Ham fans might be expected to travel, the game could either be played at the Victoria Stadium (artificial pitch, capacity 5.000, both sitting and standing) or even St.Pauli’s Millerntor Stadium which holds just under 30.000, again both sitting and standing.

I know you have to be a bit bonkers in the first place to turn this dream into a reality, but why not ? It doesn’t have to be this summer. It can be in 2018, but it can be done if both clubs were willing to give it a go. I know West Ham played Hamburg SV in a preseason friendly in Flensburg a few years ago (I was there). I am aware there could be the usual issues about hooligans from both sides (maybe even those from other Hamburg based clubs) trying to spoil things for the proper football fans.

But I still like the idea of a game that’d be just a little bit different. West Ham playing Hamburg SV or St.Pauli would be the more obvious, the mainstream options as it were. Thinking outside the box though it could make sense. Or am I being hopelessly optimistic here ?

Only a few days left now before I fly over to London again, for my first ever derby against Spurs. I shall be there for the whole weekend, only flying back to Hamburg the Monday after (late afternoon), I have no idea yet how this weekend is going to shape up or who I will meet or what I’ll do apart from attending the Spurs game.

However, I’m confident that the WHTID crew (including the clique…:-)) won’t let me down in that respect! Let’s hit the old battle cruiser for a beverage or two! COYI !!!

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