Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Crystal Palace

Blast from the past

Today’s blast from the past features a 3-1 victory at Upton Park against this weekend’s opponents, Crystal Palace. It arrived more than a century ago, on the 25th of March 1910 in front of 15,000 spectators.

Bela Bartok’s ‘String Quartet No.1’ had premiered in Budapest six days earlier and, a week before the game, the first cinematic version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein had been released in the United States by Edison Studios, becoming one of the first ever horror films. In East London, legendary Hammers goal-getter Danny Shea (pictured) scored twice against our south London neighbours, while an own goal from 30-year-old Palace right-back Joe Bulcock completed the Irons’ goalscoring.

Born in Wapping on 6th November 1887, Shea was spotted by Charlie Paynter playing for the Builders’ Arms pub in Stratford. Nicknamed ‘The Artful Dodger’, he scored 186 goals in 290 appearances in two spells with West Ham. He died on Christmas Day 1960 at the age of 73.

Bulcock, the right-back who scored an own goal for the Hammers that day in March 1910, made 146 appearances for Palace between 1909 and 1914 having played for Bury in the Football League earlier in his career. The youngest of three brothers, he served as a private in the Welch Regiment during World War One and sadly died of wounds to the head at 36th Casualty Clearing Station in Watten, France on 20th April 1918 at the age of 39. He was buried in Haringhe Military Cemetery in Belgium.

Syd King’s Hammers ended the 1909/10 season in ninth position in the Southern League First Division. Shea finished the season as the club’s top scorer with 28 league goals and 31 in all competitions. Crystal Palace were to finish seventh, one point and two places above the Irons. Brighton were promoted from the division to the Football League as champions. Aston Villa won the league title and Newcastle won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: George Kitchen, Fred Shreeve, Bob Fairman, Robert Whiteman, Tommy Randall, Herbert Ashton, Fred Massey, George Webb, Danny Shea, William Silor, Fred Blackburn.

Club Connections

West Ham United Academy product and 2012 Hammer of the Year runner-up James Tomkins could feature for Crystal Palace, for whom he signed from the Hammers in a £10m deal last summer. Former Hammers manager Sam Allardyce, now in charge of the Eagles, will face the club he managed between 2011 and 2015. Ex-Hammer Kevin Keen is first-team coach at Selhurst Park. A large group of players have turned out for the Hammers and the Eagles. Divided here by position, they include:

Goalkeepers: Perry Suckling, Steve Mautone, Vincent Blore.

Defenders: Kenny Brown, Neil Ruddock, Paul Brush, Danny Gabbidon, Chris Powell, Alan Stephenson, Tony Gale, Matthew Upson, Darren Powell.

Midfielders: Hayden Mullins, Carl Fletcher, Jobi McAnuff, Kyel Reid, Ray Houghton, Michael Hughes.

Strikers: Ian Wright, Jeroen Boere, Johnny Byrne, Clive Allen, Dave Swindlehurst, Paul Kitson, Ron Brett, Dave Sexton, Marouane Chamakh, Freddie Sears.

Malcolm Allison and Jack Tresadern played for the Hammers and managed the Eagles, while Iain Dowie played for both clubs and also managed Palace. Alan Pardew played for the Eagles and managed both clubs.

Today’s focus though is on a current Nigeria international winger. Victor Moses was born in Lagos, Nigeria on 12th December 1990, the son of a Christian pastor. When Victor was just 11 years old in 2002 and playing in the street with a football bound together with sticky tape, his parents Austin and Josephine were attacked in their home and murdered. Religious riots between the Muslim majority and Christian minority divided Nigeria and Moses’ father, who had his own church, was a target. The orphaned Victor was hidden by his uncle for a week after the murder before he was flown to England for his own safety to seek asylum.

Moses, who was coached by former Chelsea and Arsenal defender Colin Pates while at school in Croydon, was offered a place in Crystal Palace’s Academy and scored 50 goals in one season for the Under-14s. He made his first team debut at the age of 16 on 6th November 2007 in a 1-1 draw with Cardiff. His first goal for the club arrived on 12th March 2008 in a 1-1 draw with West Brom. Moses made 16 appearances as the Eagles reached the Championship play-offs and signed a new contract with Neil Warnock’s men at the end of the season.

The winger scored twice in 32 matches in 2008/09 but Palace plummeted to finish in 15th position. Moses went on a run of scoring six goals in eight matches in the first half of 2009/10 and, as Palace went into administration in January 2010, the 20-year-old Moses was sold to Premier League Wigan for £2.5m. He had scored 11 goals for Crystal Palace in 69 appearances.

Moses spent two and a half years at Wigan before signing for Chelsea in August 2012. He made a loan move to Liverpool the next summer, spending the 2013/14 season at Anfield before another season-long loan move to Stoke materialised for 2014/15.

A third season-long loan took him to Slaven Bilic’s West Ham United on 1st September 2015 but not before the 24-year-old Moses had signed a four-year contract with Chelsea, his parent club. He made his debut in a 2-0 home win over Newcastle on 14th September 2015 and scored his first goal for the Hammers in his next match five days later, the opener in our terrific 2-1 triumph at Manchester City. An injury sustained at Old Trafford in early December, coupled with the emergence of Michail Antonio as a force in his stead, curtailed Moses’ progress but he did score his second goal for the Irons in our 5-1 FA Cup fifth round win at Blackburn on 21st February 2016. His final appearance for the club was as a substitute on the final day of last season in the 2-1 defeat at Stoke. Having scored twice in 26 matches for West Ham United, Moses returned to Chelsea.

Moses, now 26, has been a revelation for Antonio Conte’s table-topping Blues this season in the right wing-back position. He has also scored nine goals in 27 appearances for Nigeria since making his debut in 2012, having appeared for England at youth levels.


Saturday’s referee will be Neil Swarbrick. The Lancashire-based official took charge of two of West Ham United’s highlights from 2013/14, the 0-0 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and the 2-1 League Cup quarter-final victory against Tottenham at White Hart Lane. He also officiated in two league matches involving the Hammers in 2012/13, those being the 4-1 home win over Southampton and the 3-0 defeat at Sunderland. He was the man in the middle for the controversy-laden 2-1 home defeat to Arsenal in December 2014, disallowing Alex Song’s volley from distance for offside, awarding the Gunners a penalty for a Winston Reid foul on Santi Cazorla and failing to award the Hammers an injury-time penalty for a clear tug on Morgan Amalfitano. Swarbrick was also the referee for the FA Cup penalty-shoot-out triumph over Everton in January 2015, sending off Aiden McGeady in the process.

Swarbrick’s only appointments involving the Hammers last season were for our two trips to the North East; our 2-2 draw at Sunderland in October 2015, when he sent off Jeremain Lens, and the 2-1 defeat at Newcastle in January 2016. His only Hammers match this season was the 1-1 home draw with Middlesbrough in October.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United are without Alvaro Arbeloa, Arthur Masuaku, Gokhan Tore and Diafra Sakho. Michail Antonio did not train yesterday due to illness and is a doubt, while James Collins may not be fit enough yet to start. Dimitri Payet will not be considered but Sam Byram and Reece Oxford come into contention. The Hammers have not recorded a home victory over the Eagles since October 2003, having drawn two and lost two of the last four matches between the clubs in East London.

Crystal Palace will be without Steve Mandanda, Pape Souare and Connor Wickham while Wayne Hennessey, Scott Dann, James McArthur and Christian Benteke are fitness doubts. Wilfried Zaha and Bakary Sako are both on international duty at the African Cup of Nations, meaning Lee Chung-Yong could start.

Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Nordtveit, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Obiang, Noble; Feghouli, Lanzini, Antonio; Carroll.

Possible Crystal Palace XI: Hennessey; Kelly, Tomkins, Dann, Ward; Ledley, Cabaye; Townsend, Puncheon, Lee; Benteke.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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Francois Van der Elst 1954-2017

Former West Ham United forward Francois Van der Elst has passed away at the age of 62.

Francois Van der Elst was born in Opwijk, Belgium on the 1st December 1954 and joined Anderlecht at the age of 15, winning two national titles and four cups between 1971 and 1980. He also won the European Cup Winners’ Cup twice, in 1976 and 1978. The first of these finals was against West Ham United with the 21-year-old ‘Swat’, as he was known in his home country, scoring twice. Van der Elst scored 20 goals in 43 European games for Anderlecht and was widely regarded as the best forward in the Belgian league.

At the age of 25, Van der Elst left Anderlecht to sign for New York Cosmos where he played with the likes of Dutch midfielder Johan Neeskens and German legend Franz Beckenbauer. He also helped Belgium to second place in the 1980 European Championships and was part of the World Cup squad at Spain ’82. He scored 14 goals in 44 appearances for the Belgian national side having made his debut on 31st October 1973 in a 2-0 win over Norway played on his home ground at Anderlecht. Eight of his caps were won during his time at West Ham, with his final appearance for his country coming as a Lokeren player on 9th November 1983.

After a year in the States, the 27-year-old Van der Elst moved to England and to West Ham United for a fee of £400,000. He made his debut on 16th January 1982 as a substitute in a 1-0 defeat at Brighton in the First Division and scored his first goal for the club in his sixth appearance, in a 2-1 loss at Stoke on the 6th February 1982. That was the first of a spell that saw the Belgian score five goals in ten matches before the end of March 1982.

His only full campaign in claret and blue was a memorable one – he played 47 games, scored 12 goals and the Hammers finished eighth in the First Division. He notched four goals in as many games between 11th September and 2nd October as the Hammers thrashed Birmingham 5-0 at home, won 2-1 at West Brom, beat Man City 4-1 and won 3-2 at Arsenal. ‘Frankie’ also scored a hat-trick in the 3-3 League Cup fourth round draw at Notts County on 7th December 1982. His signing and goal at Tottenham is covered at the 1:27 mark of the video below.

Frankie scored in each of his last two matches at the Boleyn Ground, in a 2-0 triumph over Notts County on 7th May 1983 and in a 3-1 defeat to Arsenal three days later. His final Hammers appearance came at the age of 28 in a 4-2 win at Coventry on the 14th May 1983. After 70 appearances and 17 goals in all competitions for West Ham United, Van der Elst returned to his homeland, signing for Lokeren, with whom he stayed until his retirement from playing at the age of 30 in 1985 due to a fractured leg.

After his career, Van der Elst owned a snooker and billiards bar in his hometown of Opwijk. He still attended Hammers matches on occasion and had close ties with the Belgian Hammers supporters group. On New Years’ Day he collapsed and was resuscitated by a medical emergency team before being placed in an induced coma. After a period in intensive care, he eventually died from the sustained heart damage.

Former team-mate Sir Trevor Brooking said: “John Lyall managed to bring Francois in the season after we won promotion, adding to what was already a very good side. Technically he was very good and his style of play suited the way that John wanted to play. He was also a popular lad among the squad, well-liked by everyone, and obviously had an affinity with the supporters who saw him as the type of player suited to West Ham. It’s sad to hear of his loss, and obviously my condolences go to his family at this time".

Ex-Hammer Tony Cottee stated: “Francois was a lovely guy. He was in the team when I made my debut against Spurs, so I’ve obviously got great memories of that, and he was great to play with – very creative and skilful. I also remember him breaking my heart in the 1976 Cup Winners’ Cup Final though, when he scored two great goals for Anderlecht. There were a few tears in my house that night! It was a bit surreal to be playing with him just over six years later. He wasn’t at West Ham for too long but he made an impact and was a big favourite with the fans. He was one of those who paved the way for the future foreign players to come in – a genuine top player who was a success here and he won’t be forgotten”.

Former Iron Ray Stewart also paid tribute to his friend: “It’s terribly sad news and tragic for his family to have lost him at the age of just 62. Frankie was a great player and a great guy, too. I got really friendly with him as we lived near each other in Brentwood and used to travel in to training together. I used to drop him off at the airport if he was heading back to Belgium for whatever reason, and he’d let me use his car while he was away! We just clicked as pals, he was very easy to get along with and we spent a lot of time together. As a player, he was wonderful to play with, very intelligent, skilful and really fitted into the way that we played under John Lyall at West Ham then. I’d not spoken to him for a good few years but I still thought about him and all the good times we shared – I have so many great memories from that time”.

Francois Van der Elst passed away on Wednesday 11th January at the age of 62. I am sure all WHTID readers will join me in sending condolences and best wishes to Francois’ family and friends at this sad time.

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Man City

Blast from the past

West Ham United have met Manchester City in the FA Cup on four previous occasions, including one replay. The first of these meetings was in the fourth round at Maine Road in front of 26,495 on the 25th January 1998. Usher was number one with ‘You Make Me Wanna’ and Titanic had just been released in UK cinemas as the Premier League Hammers emerged victorious against the First Division Sky Blues with a 2-1 win. Future City schemer Eyal Berkovic gave the Hammers the lead in the 28th minute but Georgi Kinkladze scored a stunning solo goal to equalise just before the hour mark. West Ham captain and former City midfielder Steve Lomas notched the winner in the 76th minute, driving home a loose ball from the edge of the penalty area. Iain Dowie made his final appearance in claret and blue as an 87th-minute substitute.

The Hammers progressed to the fifth round, where they beat Blackburn on penalties in a replay, but would be knocked out by eventual Premier League and FA Cup Double winners Arsenal in a heart-breaking penalty shoot-out defeat after a barnstorming Quarter-Final Replay at the Boleyn. Lomas was voted runner-up to Rio Ferdinand in the Hammer of the Year voting.

Manchester City: Tommy Wright, Richard Edghill, Ian Brightwell, Kit Symons, Murtaz Shelia, Georgi Kinkladze, Michael Brown, Jeff Whitley, Uwe Rosler, Paul Dickov, Craig Russell.

West Ham United: Craig Forrest, Steve Potts, Rio Ferdinand, David Unsworth (Tim Breacker), Ian Pearce, Frank Lampard, Eyal Berkovic, Steve Lomas, Stan Lazaridis, Samassi Abou (Iain Dowie), John Hartson.

Aside from this fourth round victory in 1998, West Ham’s remaining FA Cup record against Manchester City is as follows:

2006 – Man City 1-2 West Ham (Quarter-Final)
2008 – West Ham 0-0 Man City (3rd round)
2008 – Man City 1-0 West Ham (3rd round replay)

Club Connections

A large group of players have turned out for West Ham United and Manchester City. Divided by playing position, they include:

Goalkeepers – David James, Perry Suckling.

Defenders – Wayne Bridge, Stuart Pearce, Tal Ben Haim, Tyrone Mears.

Midfielders – Marc-Vivien Foe, Kevin Horlock, Mark Ward, Eyal Berkovic, Steve Lomas, Frank Lampard Junior, Michael Hughes, Ian Bishop, Trevor Sinclair.

Strikers – Carlos Tevez, Craig Bellamy, Phil Woosnam, Justin Fashanu, Trevor Morley, Paulo Wanchope, Clive Allen, David Cross, George Webb.

Malcolm Allison and John Bond join Stuart Pearce as West Ham players who have gone on to manage City.

Today’s focus though is on an Israeli international who excelled with the Hammers for two seasons in the late ‘90s before later joining City in 2001. Eyal Berkovic began his career with Maccabi Haifa in 1989, winning a league and cup double in 1991 before moving to Southampton on a season-long loan in 1996. He announced himself on the Premier League stage by scoring twice and providing three assists in a 6-3 win over Manchester United at The Dell.

Harry Redknapp swooped to sign Berkovic for West Ham United for £1.75m in the summer of 1997, beating Tottenham in securing the deal. Berkovic’s Upton Park career got off to a flying start, scoring what proved to be the winning goal ironically against Tottenham in a 2-1 home victory for the Hammers on 13th August 1997 and finishing the month with a goal in the 3-1 home win over Wimbledon. Berkovic also scored the winning goal as the Hammers beat Liverpool 2-1 at the Boleyn Ground the following month and struck again in the 3-0 win over Bolton. His first away goal came in a 2-1 defeat at Leicester before he netted in a 4-1 triumph over Crystal Palace. Only one league goal was to follow after Christmas, in a 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday, but the classy playmaker made his mark on the Hammers’ run to the FA Cup quarter-finals, scoring in the 2-1 fourth round win at Manchester City and in the 2-2 home draw with Blackburn in the next round. Berkovic saw his penalty saved by Arsenal’s Alex Manninger as the Gunners won through to the semi-finals via a dramatic sudden-death penalty shoot-out, which also saw John Hartson and Samassi Abou hit the post with their spot-kicks.

1998/99 saw Berkovic notch three goals – another winner against Liverpool at Upton Park as the Hammers triumphed 2-1, a strike at The Valley as Charlton defeated the Hammers 4-2 and a sweeping finish from a Paolo Di Canio cutback against Derby in a 5-1 home win. The season was marred by a training ground incident which saw Berkovic kicked in the head by Hartson. His final game in claret and blue saw him have a hand in all four goals as the Hammers beat Middlesbrough 4-0 to secure fifth place in the Premier League and InterToto Cup qualification. Berkovic had joined the club soon after a relegation fight but his two seasons in east London saw the club record two top-eight finishes, the latter remaining our second highest-ever league finish of fifth. Having played a crucial creative role, providing numerous assists from his attacking midfield position, Berkovic signed for John Barnes’ Celtic in the summer of 1999 for £5.75m. He had scored 12 goals in 79 appearances in all competitions for West Ham United.

After two years in Glasgow, which included a loan spell at Blackburn, Berkovic signed for newly-relegated Manchester City in the summer of 2001 for £1.5m. Part of an attacking formation under Kevin Keegan, Berkovic scored in his first game at Maine Road in a 3-0 win against Watford. The Sky Blues went on to win the First Division (now Championship) title, recording 99 points and registering 108 goals. Berkovic was instrumental in a 3-1 Manchester derby triumph the following season as City established themselves back in the Premier League and was voted the 2002/03 player of the season by the club’s magazine.

After a fallout with Keegan and having scored 7 goals in 56 league appearances for City, Berkovic rejoined his former manager Redknapp at Portsmouth in January 2004. He helped his new employers to beat City 4-2 on his debut but, a year later, decided to return to his home country, signing for Maccabi Tel-Aviv. Berkovic announced his retirement from playing in May 2006 at the age of 34. Now 44, Berkovic has managed Maccabi Netanya and Hapoel Tel-Aviv and is currently the owner of Hapoel Rishon LeZion.


The referee on Friday will be Michael Oliver. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Oliver has refereed eight of our league matches, officiating in two wins for the Hammers and six defeats.

Oliver was the man in the middle for the Irons’ 2-0 reverse at Chelsea two seasons ago and also sent off Kevin Nolan at Anfield three seasons ago. His only Hammers appointments last season were for the 2-1 home victory over Southampton in December and the 4-1 home defeat to Swansea in May.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United have Alvaro Arbeloa, Arthur Masuaku, Gokhan Tore and Diafra Sakho on the injury list. Sam Byram, Reece Oxford and James Collins are back in training. Slaven Bilic is boosted by the availability of Sofiane Feghouli but is without Cheikhou Kouyate and Andre Ayew.

Manchester City are expected to be without the injured Vincent Kompany, Fabian Delph, Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane. Pep Guardiola, who has stated he will not rotate with the tie away to a Premier League side, is also without the suspended Fernandinho.

Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Nordtveit, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Noble, Obiang; Antonio, Lanzini, Payet; Carroll.

Possible Manchester City XI: Bravo; Sagna, Otamendi, Stones, Clichy; Toure; Navas, De Bruyne, Silva, Sterling; Aguero.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Man Utd

Firstly, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all West Ham Till I Die readers a very Happy New Year!

Blast from the past

Three months to the day before English football’s greatest day in 1966, Liverpool were on their way to Bill Shankly’s second league title, Everton were to go on to win their third FA Cup trophy and West Ham United were in the midst of a season that would see them finish in 12th place in the First Division. As the Hammers hosted Manchester United on the 30th April 1966, Manfred Mann were number one with ‘Pretty Flamingo’ and Doctor Zhivago was in UK cinemas.

In front of 36,423, the Hammers were 2-0 up at the interval thanks to their two England strikers – Geoff Hurst (pictured below) put the hosts ahead after 28 minutes and strike partner Johnny Byrne doubled the advantage with a penalty three minutes before half-time.

The Red Devils pulled one back after 63 minutes through a rare goal from former West Ham full-back Noel Cantwell but Hurst doubled his tally ten minutes later to restore the Hammers’ two-goal cushion. John Aston Junior struck what turned out to be a further consolation for the Red Devils with 12 minutes left to play, the Irons holding out to secure the points in their final home match of the season, a fitting send-off for World Cup heroes-in-waiting Hurst, Bobby Moore and Martin Peters. Indeed, with Nobby Stiles and Bobby Charlton, this match featured half of the outfield players England used in the World Cup Final against West Germany exactly three months later.

Scottish forward David Herd, who sadly passed away three months ago on 1st October 2016 at the age of 82, became Manchester United’s first ever used substitute in this match.

The victory pushed West Ham into 11th place in the First Division going into their final two games but away defeats at Stoke and Leicester resulted in a 12th placed finish. Manchester United would end the 1965/66 campaign in fourth position. Two-goal hero of the day Hurst ended the season with 40 goals from 59 games in all competitions and would be voted Hammer of the Year, with Peters runner-up.

West Ham United: Jim Standen, Dennis Burnett, Dave Bickles, Bobby Moore, John Charles, Ronnie Boyce, Martin Peters, Peter Brabrook, Johnny Byrne, Geoff Hurst, Johnny Sissons.

Manchester United: Harry Gregg, Shay Brennan, Noel Cantwell, Tony Dunne (David Herd), Paddy Crerand, Nobby Stiles, John Connelly, David Sadler, Bobby Charlton, Denis Law, John Aston Junior.

Club Connections

Michael Carrick could face his former club. A largely impressive list of players join the Geordie midfielder in having turned out for both West Ham United and Manchester United over the years. These include:

Goalkeepers: Roy Carroll, Les Sealey.

Defenders: Noel Cantwell, Jonathan Spector, Rio Ferdinand.

Midfielders: Paul Ince, Ralph Milne, Luke Chadwick.

Strikers: Billy Grassam, Stuart Pearson, David Bellion, Carlos Tevez, Teddy Sheringham.

In addition, Dave Sexton and Frank O’Farrell both played for the Hammers before going on to manage the Red Devils. Lou Macari played for Man Utd before managing West Ham.

Today’s focus though is on one of the most talented players to come through Manchester United’s academy during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign, by the Scot’s own admission – Ravel Morrison was born in Wythenshawe, Manchester on 2nd February 1993. He signed on as a first-year scholar at Manchester United in 2009 and turned professional on his 17th birthday the following year.

Morrison made his first team debut as a substitute in a 3-2 League Cup win over Wolves on 26th October 2010 and was part of the Red Devils’ FA Youth Cup-winning side later that season, scoring against Chelsea in the semi-final and bagging a brace in the second leg of the Final against Sheffield United. He made two more League Cup substitute appearances for Manchester United in the first half of 2011/12, against Aldershot and Crystal Palace, before signing for Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United for an undisclosed fee on 31st January 2012.

The 19-year-old Ravel made his Hammers debut as a substitute in a 1-1 Championship draw at Leeds on 17th March 2012 but would not play for the club again for another 17 months. The tricky midfielder spent the 2012/13 season on loan at Birmingham in the Championship before returning to West Ham intent on making his mark on the Premier League.

Morrison scored his first goal for the Irons in his first start, in a 2-1 League Cup second round win over Cheltenham on 27th August 2013, before bagging his first Premier League goal in a 3-2 home defeat to Everton the following month. Another goal followed just three days later, just 20 seconds into a 3-2 League Cup win over Cardiff. Morrison’s finest moment in claret and blue came on the 6th October 2013, applying the gloss to a fine 3-0 victory at Tottenham, the Hammers’ first win at White Hart Lane in 14 years – he picked the ball up in his own half before maximising every shred of his pace, skill and impudence to bamboozle the Tottenham defence and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Morrison’s final goal for West Ham came the following month, giving the Hammers the lead from close range at Norwich before the Canaries fought back in the second half to claim a 3-1 win. This, impressively, was Morrison’s fifth goal in 11 matches.

Morrison joined Queens Park Rangers on loan for the rest of the season in February 2014. He returned to West Ham for the 2014/15 season and made his final appearance for the Hammers on 30th August 2014 in a 3-1 defeat to Southampton. He was shipped out on loan for a third spell, this time to Cardiff and joined Italian side Lazio on a free transfer at the end of the season. Morrison had scored five goals in 24 appearances for West Ham United. Now 23, he has failed to make an impression at the Rome-based club.


Monday’s referee will be Mike Dean; 2016/17 is Dean’s 17th as a Premier League referee. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Dean has refereed 18 of our league matches, officiating in nine wins for the Hammers, five draws and four defeats.

Dean was the man in the middle last season for our 2-2 home draw with Norwich in September, the 1-1 draw at Aston Villa on Boxing Day, our 1-0 win over Sunderland in February and our 3-1 win over Watford in April when he awarded the Hammers two penalties. He also refereed our final match at the Boleyn when we famously triumphed 3-2 over Manchester United – in fact, Dean has been the referee for our last two Premier League victories over Man Utd as he also took charge of our 2-1 win in December 2007. Dean’s most recent Hammers appointment saw him award a penalty to both sides and send off Winston Reid in our 3-2 defeat at Tottenham in November.

Possible line-ups

Slaven Bilic has Sam Byram available and is boosted by Sofiane Feghouli’s exclusion from Algeria’s AFCON squad. Mark Noble may miss out with the knee injury suffered at Leicester. Alvaro Arbeloa is out for a few more weeks with a badly bruised leg which has put him on crutches since the Arsenal match while fellow full-back Arthur Masuaku is several weeks away from a return after suffering a knee injury in training. James Collins returns to training this week after a calf strain but Gokhan Tore and Diafra Sakho are out for months after knee and back surgery respectively. My understanding is that Cheikhou Kouyate and Andre Ayew are available for this match (despite FIFA rules stating clubs must release players 14 days before an international tournament) before departing for Gabon to represent Senegal and Ghana respectively over the coming weeks. West Ham are unbeaten in their last four league meetings with Manchester United and have never before gone five league games unbeaten against the Red Devils. Slaven Bilic could become only the second manager (after Ruud Gullit) to remain unbeaten in his first four Premier League matches against Man Utd

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is without Luke Shaw and Daley Blind so Matteo Darmian could return, while Juan Mata could also start. Mourinho must make a decision on whether to play Zlatan Ibrahimovic who, at 35, may not be able to start two games in just over 48 hours – Wayne Rooney has apparently not travelled but Marcus Rashford could come in. Eric Bailly has been denied permission to play by the Ivory Coast. Marouane Fellaini, so often influential against the Hammers, could retain his place. Manchester United have only failed to score in two of their past 17 trips to West Ham. Ibrahimovic has scored three goals in two matches against the Hammers, while Anthony Martial has five in four against the Irons.

Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Nordtveit, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Kouyate, Obiang; Antonio, Lanzini, Payet; Carroll.

Possible Manchester United XI: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Rojo, Darmian; Mata, Fellaini, Pogba; Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Martial.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Leicester v West Ham

Blast from the past

Back in 1999/2000, West Ham United were in the midst of a season which had seen them earn UEFA Cup football, by virtue of winning the InterToto Cup, and been third in the league after five games but the campaign had started to unravel. Without a win since the end of November and out of the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup, the Hammers finally registered their first win of the new millennium on the 22nd January 2000 by beating Leicester City 3-1 at Filbert Street in front of 19,019. Manic Street Preachers were number one with ‘The Masses Against The Classes’ and Sleepy Hollow was in UK cinemas as Paulo and Paolo secured the three points.

The Hammers took the lead on 13 minutes when Frank Lampard played a pass into the penalty area for Paulo Wanchope to steer home his first goal in ten games. The Foxes were depleted by injuries (defender Tommy Goodwin made his only appearance for the club in this game) but were level just 11 minutes later when Emile Heskey was allowed to run at the Hammers’ defence before rifling a shot beyond the injured Shaka Hislop, who was replaced two minutes later by Craig Forrest.

The Irons would be forced into a second change before half-time when a challenge from Greek midfielder Theo Zagorakis left Steve Lomas grounded with a leg injury, which saw him replaced by Michael Carrick after 38 minutes. Carrick’s shot four minutes into first-half stoppage time was intercepted by Wanchope who drove through the legs of Pegguy Arphexad from a tight angle to give West Ham the lead at the interval.

Wanchope (pictured above) turned provider in the second half, sending the ball out to Paolo Di Canio on the left of the penalty area – the Italian jinked his way beyond two defenders before dispatching the ball into the bottom corner with 60 minutes played. Di Canio was later denied by Arphexad and, after beating three defenders, also saw an effort headed off the line by Phil Gilchrist. The 3-1 scoreline was enough to see the Hammers record their first away league win since late August and overtake the Foxes into eighth place in the Premier League table.

Alongside Goodwin, Jordan Stewart also made his Leicester debut that day and went on to make 127 appearances for the Foxes until his departure for Watford in 2005. Stuart Campbell and Joe Cole were midfield opponents in this match – Campbell is now Cole’s manager at Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Harry Redknapp’s West Ham would end the season in ninth position, while Martin O’Neill’s Leicester would finish eighth and win the League Cup. Manchester United won the league title, Chelsea won the FA Cup and Di Canio was voted Hammer of the Year, with Trevor Sinclair runner-up.

Leicester City: Pegguy Arphexad, Frank Sinclair, Phil Gilchrist, Matt Elliott, Tommy Goodwin, Darren Eadie, Theo Zagorakis (Jordan Stewart), Stuart Campbell, Arnar Gunnlaugsson (Danny Thomas), Emile Heskey, Graham Fenton.

West Ham United: Shaka Hislop (Craig Forrest), Rio Ferdinand, Neil Ruddock, Javier Margas, Trevor Sinclair, Frank Lampard, Steve Lomas (Michael Carrick), Joe Cole, Marc Keller (Scott Minto), Paulo Wanchope, Paolo Di Canio.

Club Connections

Players who have represented both the Hammers and the Foxes include:

Goalkeepers: George Hebden, Colin Mackleworth.

Defenders: John Pantsil, Gary Charles, Chris Powell, Rufus Brevett, Paul Konchesky, Dai Jones, Matthew Upson, Billy Oakes.

Midfielders: Andy Impey, Shaun Newton, Nolberto Solano, Franz Carr, Sid Bishop.

Strikers: David Connolly, Mike Newell, Brian Deane, Paul Kitson, Norman Proctor, Les Ferdinand, David Kelly, Tony Cottee, Jimmy Quinn.

Frank O’Farrell, Martin Allen and Jimmy Bloomfield have played for the Hammers and managed the Foxes.

Today’s focus though is on a player who only played a total of five matches for West Ham United and Leicester City. Clive Clarke was born in Dublin on the 14th January 1980 and started his career at Stoke, where he played 264 matches and won two full caps for Ireland before joining Alan Pardew’s West Ham United in July 2005 for a fee of £275,000.

Although primarily a left-back and signed as cover for fellow new signing and future Fox Paul Konchesky, none of Clarke’s appearances for the Hammers were in his favoured position. The 25-year-old made his debut on the left side of midfield in a 1-0 defeat at Bolton in the third round of the League Cup on 26th October 2005 but had to wait until 1st February 2006 for his first Premier League appearance, at right-back in the famous 3-2 win at Arsenal in which he came up against Thierry Henry in the Gunners’ final defeat at their old Highbury home. Clarke’s final game in claret and blue was his home debut, again playing on the left side of midfield in a 4-2 defeat to Portsmouth at Upton Park on the 18th March 2006. After just three appearances for West Ham, he moved to Sunderland in August 2006 in a deal that saw George McCartney move to East London.

After four appearances for the Wearsiders, Clarke moved to Coventry for a three-month loan spell. He joined Leicester at the age of 27, then managed by another former Hammer in Martin Allen, in another three-month loan deal in August 2007 but in a League Cup second round tie at Nottingham Forest, just twelve days and two matches into his loan spell, Clarke collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest in the changing rooms at the City Ground causing the match to be abandoned at half-time. Five days after the incident, Clarke told the BBC:

“I remember feeling a bit lethargic on the field in the first half, and I was involved in a collision with our goalkeeper Paul Henderson, which led to their goal. I sat quietly in a corner of the dressing room and felt a bit queasy. I can recall [team-mate and centre-half] Patrick Kisnorbo talking to me, but it wasn’t really registering. Then I just passed out. When I was told what had happened, the blood drained from my body. I just thought I could have been dead and that I might never have seen my family again”.

Clarke never played professional football again, returning to Sunderland as scheduled in November 2007 and leaving the Black Cats by mutual consent in February 2008 on medical advice. Now 36, Clarke is a managing director of JPA Worldwide, a management and marketing service in the professional sports industry.


The referee on New Year’s Eve 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. Most recently, 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.

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 and awarded the Toffees a penalty which Romelu Lukaku saw saved by Adrian.

Possible line-ups

Leicester City have no injury concerns but Claudio Ranieri will be without suspended England striker Jamie Vardy. Ranieri rested Danny Drinkwater and Riyad Mahrez against Everton on Boxing Day and changes could be in store for the Foxes. Leicester are unbeaten in their last four matches against the Hammers in all competitions, while West Ham have not recorded a Premier League win away at Leicester since this preview’s featured match, in January 2000.

For West Ham United, Sam Byram, Reece Oxford, Manuel Lanzini and Simone Zaza are back in training and Pedro Obiang returns from suspension. Alvaro Arbeloa is out for a few more weeks with a badly bruised leg which has put him on crutches since the Arsenal match while fellow full-back Arthur Masuaku is several weeks away from a return after suffering a knee injury in training. James Collins returns to training next week after a calf strain but Gokhan Tore and Diafra Sakho are out for months after knee and back surgery respectively. Michail Antonio will miss the home match against Manchester United on Monday if he is booked at Leicester – New Year’s Eve is the cut-off point for receiving a ban though so Antonio will not receive a suspension for five bookings after that date. West Ham have only won two of their last ten Premier League away games. The Hammers have only won once at the home of a reigning Premier League champion, when Jermain Defoe scored the only goal of the game at Manchester United in December 2001. The Irons have drawn one (at Chelsea in March) and lost 18 of their other matches away to reigning title-holders.

Possible Leicester City XI: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Schlupp; Mahrez, Mendy, Drinkwater, Albrighton; Slimani, Musa.

Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Kouyate, Reid, Ogbonna; Antonio, Obiang, Noble, Cresswell; Ayew, Carroll, Payet.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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