Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Leicester

Blast from the past

23rd February 1980 – Kenny Rogers was number one with ‘Coward Of The County’, Star Trek: The Motion Picture was in UK cinemas and, in the week which saw the broadcast of the first ever episode of Yes Minister, the Hammers defeated the Foxes at Upton Park in front of 27,762 spectators.

Geoff Pike (pictured above) and Pat Holland both notched their fifth goals of the season, while 29-year-old David Cross bagged his 16th of the campaign as West Ham United beat Leicester 3-1 – ‘Psycho’ Cross would be the Irons’ top goalscorer with 18 goals in 53 matches in 1979/80. Scottish forward Alan Young scored the visitors’ consolation goal.

The win was the Hammers’ sixth consecutive triumph in all competitions but they would not win in the league again for another seven games, until 5th April. West Ham would go on to finish 7th in a 1979/80 campaign that saw them win the FA Cup with a 1-0 triumph over Arsenal at Wembley. 21-year-old centre-back Alvin Martin was voted the Hammer of the Year with 20-year-old right-back Ray Stewart runner-up. The Foxes finished eight points clear of the Hammers and won the Second Division title to ensure promotion to the top flight, alongside Sunderland and Birmingham.

West Ham United: Phil Parkes, Ray Stewart, Paul Brush, Alvin Martin, Frank Lampard, Pat Holland, Geoff Pike, Trevor Brooking, Paul Allen, Alan Devonshire, David Cross.

Leicester City: Mark Wallington, Tommy Williams, Geoff Scott, John O’Neill, Larry May, Bobby Smith, Andy Peake, Eddie Kelly, Mark Goodwin, Martin Henderson, Alan Young.

Club Connections

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

Goalkeepers: George Hebden, Colin Mackleworth.

Defenders: Gary Charles, Chris Powell, Rufus Brevett, Paul Konchesky, Dai Jones, Matthew Upson, Clive Clarke, 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 was brought to English football by West Ham United and ended his time on these shores with Leicester City. John Paintsil was born in Berekum in the Brong Ahafo region of south Ghana on the 15th June 1981 and started his career in his native Ghana at Berekum Arsenal and Liberty Professionals between 2000 and 2002 before moving to Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv where he won the title. He signed for Hapoel Tel Aviv in December 2004, helping them to win the Israeli State Cup and to runners-up spot in the league.

Israeli international and then-Hammer Yossi Benayoun recommended Paintsil to Alan Pardew after loan right-back Lionel Scaloni’s departure from the club. Pardew gave the 25-year-old Paintsil a trial during a pre-season tour of Sweden before completing the £1m signing in August 2006. He was given the number 14 shirt with ‘Pantsil’ on the back – the new signing insisted that the club had spelt his name wrong despite all the official documentation in his transfer referring to him as such. John’s family name is Paintsil but, at birth, it was registered as ‘Pantsil’. This then appeared on his passport and his subsequent registration with the Premier League. Pardew had brought in two other right-backs that summer in Tyrone Mears and Jonathan Spector and it was Mears who got the nod to start the opening game of the 2006/07 season against Charlton. However, Paintsil came off the bench at half-time to replace Mears with the Irons 1-0 down to the ten-man Addicks and the Hammers went on to win the match 3-1. Paintsil would start the next two games, at Watford and Liverpool, but appearances would be few and far between, the right-back only registering four starts and three substitute appearances in total in his first season in east London.

Having started two matches in two days at Tottenham and Chesterfield in October 2006 under Pardew, Paintsil would not make another start for the Hammers until a trip to Arsenal on New Year’s Day 2008. Alan Curbishley had been in charge for just over a year, with Lucas Neill establishing himself as Curbs’ first-choice right-back. Another start followed four days later in a goalless FA Cup third round draw at home to Manchester City but Paintsil’s stop-start Hammers career was put on hold again and he did not feature at all for another two months. A string of appearances from the bench in the early spring was followed by three consecutive starts at the tail-end of 2007/08, in a 2-1 home win over Derby, a 2-2 home draw with Newcastle and a 4-1 defeat at Manchester United. Paintsil’s final appearance for the Hammers was as a half-time substitute for George McCartney in a 2-2 home draw with Aston Villa on the 11th May 2008, the final day of the season.

After 24 appearances and no goals in his two seasons at West Ham United, Paintsil moved to Fulham along with Bobby Zamora for a combined fee of £6.3m on 15th July 2008. After three years at Craven Cottage, Paintsil was released and joined Championship side Leicester on a free transfer on 21st July 2011. The 30 year-old made seven appearances for the Foxes under Sven-Goran Eriksson but did not play a single match following the appointment of new boss Nigel Pearson just three months into the 2011/12 campaign. He was subsequently released in May 2012 and returned to Hapoel Tel Aviv.

After a year back in Israel, Paintsil moved to Cape Town side Santos in South Africa in October 2013 before joining Maritzburg United in the summer of 2014. He was released on disciplinary grounds in January last year following a bust-up with manager Ernst Middendorp and retired from playing in June 2016.

In 2013, it was claimed Paintsil hit his wife, Richlove, and allegedly stabbed her in the eye, although complaints were later withdrawn. In May 2016, after Richlove accused Paintsil of stealing her car, Paintsil reportedly assaulted the investigating officer and the District Commander inside the police station. Paintsil, now 35, is the assistant manager of Johannesburg-based Kaizer Chiefs.

Referee

Saturday’s referee will be Roger East; the Wiltshire-based official has been taking charge of Premier League fixtures since 2012 but has only taken charge of one previous West Ham match in the top flight, that being the 1-1 home draw with Stoke in April 2015.

Most of East’s matches this season have been in the Championship. The 51-year-old most recently refereed the Hammers in the FA Cup, for the fourth round replay win over Liverpool in February 2016 and for the 2-1 quarter-final defeat to Manchester United last April.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United have lost only two of their last 29 home matches against Leicester stretching back to 1967, with 21 victories and 6 draws against the Foxes in that time. Slaven Bilic must decide whether to hand a starting berth to Andre Ayew, who has two goals and one assist in his last three substitute appearances. Mark Noble has been carrying a knock for the last two matches against Chelsea and Bournemouth – this was aggravated further during the match on the south coast and the skipper will subsequently sit out this weekend’s match. Diafra Sakho will step up his rehabilitation by training with the Development Squad next week. Angelo Ogbonna, Domingos Quina and Gokhan Tore are out.

Leicester City manager Craig Shakespeare will be without loanee defender Molla Wague, who dislocated his shoulder at Millwall last week. Midfielder Papy Mendy is back in training and is rated as 50-50 to make a return to the Foxes’ squad. West Ham have only recorded home victories against reigning Premier League champions on three previous occasions – all three were 2-1 wins, over Manchester United in December 2007, Manchester City in October 2014 and Chelsea in October 2015.

Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Byram, Fonte, Reid, Cresswell; Kouyate, Obiang; Antonio, Lanzini, Ayew; Carroll.

Possible Leicester City XI: Schmeichel; Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs; Mahrez, Drinkwater, Ndidi, Albrighton; Okazaki, Vardy.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Bournemouth v West Ham

Blast from the past

In today’s preview, we travel back the very short distance to 12th January 2016: Justin Bieber’s ‘Love Yourself’ topped the charts; Star Wars: The Force Awakens was in UK cinemas; David Bowie had died two days previously with Alan Rickman to pass away two days later; and West Ham United beat Bournemouth away from home for the first time ever.

Super Slav’s Hammers picked up a 3-1 win in front of 11,071 spectators for a Tuesday night encounter at the Vitality Stadium. Andy Carroll was forced off through injury after just 15 minutes, with Nikica Jelavic entering the fray in his stead. Within two minutes of the switch, the Irons were behind when Cherries midfielder Harry Arter, former Hammer Scott Parker’s brother-in-law, fired home from 25 yards to give his side their first goal in four league games. The hosts’ new signing, striker Benik Afobe, squandered two glorious chances to extend Bournemouth’s lead, heading over from six yards and being denied by Adrian after hesitating when clean through on goal.

West Ham were much improved after the break and the equaliser arrived with 23 minutes left to play, a sublime free-kick from Frenchman Dimitri Payet, making his first start in over two months after recovering from an ankle injury. Just seven minutes later, the visitors were in front – substitute Carl Jenkinson’s quick throw-in found Payet who squirmed between two defenders before cutting back for Enner Valencia to slam the ball home. The Ecuadorian claimed his second in the 84th minute, cracking a stunning free-kick over the wall and beating Artur Boruc at his near post to claim his first Hammers brace.

The victory equalled a club-record eighth match unbeaten in the Premier League and took West Ham above Manchester United and into fifth, within a point of Tottenham in the final Champions League position. The Hammers would end the 2015/16 campaign in seventh place in the Premier League, while Bournemouth would finish 16th. Leicester won the Premier League, Manchester United won the FA Cup and Payet was named Hammer of the Year, with Michail Antonio runner-up.

Bournemouth: Artur Boruc, Adam Smith, Simon Francis, Steve Cook, Charlie Daniels, Dan Gosling, Andrew Surman, Harry Arter (Glenn Murray), Matt Ritchie (Juan Iturbe), Junior Stanislas, Benik Afobe (Lewis Grabban).

West Ham United: Adrian, James Tomkins (Carl Jenkinson), James Collins, Angelo Ogbonna, Aaron Cresswell, Pedro Obiang, Mark Noble, Michail Antonio, Dimitri Payet (Alex Song), Enner Valencia, Andy Carroll (Nikica Jelavic).

Club Connections

A decent number of players have turned out for both West Ham United and Bournemouth. Hammers Academy product Junior Stanislas is currently on Bournemouth’s books while Carl Fletcher played for both clubs and is currently youth team manager with the Cherries. Ex-Bournemouth midfielder Paul Mitchell, who made one league appearance for the Hammers in 1994, is back with the Cherries as a correspondent for Opta Sports. Other players to have appeared for both clubs include:

Goalkeepers: Stephen Henderson and Marek Stech.

Defenders: Everald La Ronde, Rio Ferdinand, Keith Rowland, Elliott Ward and Bobby Howe.

Midfielders: Ian Bishop, Trevor Hartley, Bobby Barnes, Tommy Southren, Jimmy Neighbour, Emmanuel Omoyinmi, Tony Scott, Anthony Edgar, Scott Mean, Matty Holmes, Dale Gordon, Jack Collison and Patsy Holland.

Strikers: Jermain Defoe, Nicky Morgan, Mark Watson, Zavon Hines, Steve Jones, Ted MacDougall.

Former Hammers player John Bond went on to manage Bournemouth, Jimmy Quinn played for both clubs and also managed the Cherries, while Harry Redknapp played for West Ham and Bournemouth and also went on to manage both clubs.

Today’s preview focuses on a former England goalkeeper who spent two and a half years with West Ham United before ending his career in the English game with Bournemouth. David James was born in Welwyn Garden City on 1st August 1970 and grew up as a Luton supporter. He signed for Watford though and, after helping the Hornets win the FA Youth Cup, made his full debut in August 1990 at the age of 20. He earned 10 caps for England Under-21s before moving to Liverpool in the summer of 1992. He won the League Cup in 1995 and received an FA Cup runners-up medal the following year before making his England debut in March 1997. He signed for Aston Villa in the summer of 1999 and was once again on the losing side in an FA Cup Final, this time in 2000, the last Final to be played at the old Wembley.

James signed for Glenn Roeder’s West Ham United in July 2001 for £3.5m but a serious knee injury picked up in a collision with Martin Keown whilst playing for England against the Netherlands at White Hart Lane would keep him out until late autumn. The 31-year-old finally made his Hammers debut in a 1-0 home defeat to Tottenham on 24th November 2001 – he went on to keep ten clean sheets in 29 appearances in his first season, a campaign which saw no other Premier League team win more matches at home than the Hammers. The club finished seventh but were to nosedive the following season, culminating in relegation. James was an ever-present in 2002/03, keeping nine clean sheets in 42 appearances during a season in which he became England’s first-choice goalkeeper, replacing David Seaman.

James remained with the club for the first half of the First Division campaign of 2003/04, seeing many of his team-mates depart in a fire sale and playing under three managers – Roeder, caretaker boss Trevor Brooking and Alan Pardew – as the Hammers adjusted to life in the second tier. ‘Jamo’ kept ten clean sheets in 31 games before returning to the Premier League with Manchester City in a £2m deal in January 2004. He had made 102 appearances for West Ham in all competitions, his final match being a 2-1 home defeat to Preston on 10th January 2004. James had retained his position as Sven-Goran Eriksson’s England number one but his return to the top flight all but secured his place as England’s goalkeeper at the upcoming Euro 2004 tournament in Portugal.

After two and a half years with City, James returned south to join Portsmouth in the summer of 2006. While with Pompey, he broke the Premier League record for clean sheets and consecutive appearances. He stands fourth in the all-time Premier League appearances list with 572 games played – only Ryan Giggs, Gareth Barry and ex-Hammer Frank Lampard have played more. James moved to Bristol City in the summer of 2010 having captained Portsmouth in the FA Cup Final, James again picking up a runners-up medal after defeat at Wembley to Chelsea. The goalkeeper also played three of England’s four matches at the 2010 World Cup, having lost his place to Paul Robinson during qualification for the 2006 World Cup – former Hammer James replaced then-Hammers custodian Rob Green in the tournament held in South Africa after Green’s unfortunate error against the USA.

The 42-year-old James was released by Bristol City in the summer of 2012 and signed for Bournemouth in September of that year. He made his debut in a 2-1 home defeat to Walsall on 29th September 2012 and made 19 appearances, keeping six clean sheets, for the Cherries in League One before departing in March 2013. His final appearance for Bournemouth, and in English football, was also against Walsall in a 3-1 defeat at the Bescot Stadium on 19th January 2013.

James went on to play in Iceland for IBV, teaming up with former team-mate Hermann Hreidarsson in order to gain coaching experience. James was also player-manager of Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters, owned by Sachin Tendulkar, in 2014, helping the side to runners-up position in the inaugural campaign of the ISL. James played 956 matches during his career and, now 46, he is a regular pundit on BT Sports.

Referee

The referee on Saturday will be Bobby Madley. The Yorkshire-based official will take charge of a West Ham game for the sixth time in the Premier League, having also refereed our 2-1 victory at Manchester City in September 2015 and our 2-0 home win over Liverpool in January 2016.

Madley’s most controversial appointment with the Irons saw him award Chelsea a last-minute penalty at Stamford Bridge last season which saw Chelsea salvage a 2-2 draw – replays showed that Michail Antonio’s foul on Reuben Loftus-Cheek had occurred outside the penalty area. The 31-year-old’s most recent Hammers matches have both been 1-0 home wins, against Sunderland in October and Burnley in December.

Possible line-ups

Bournemouth will be without the suspended Tyrone Mings and Andrew Surman, as well as the injured Adam Federici and Callum Wilson. Captain Simon Francis and former Hammer Junior Stanislas are both doubts. Hammers fan Jack Wilshere, on loan from Arsenal, could come into the side.

This weekend’s match will be only the third time Bournemouth and West Ham United have met on the south coast for a league fixture and the first time ever on a Saturday – the Hammers’ only win away to the Cherries, in 2016, is detailed above. Slaven Bilic continues to be without Angelo Ogbonna, Gokhan Tore and Diafra Sakho but is hopeful Jose Fonte, Winston Reid, Robert Snodgrass and Andy Carroll will all be available after picking up knocks in Monday’s defeat to Chelsea. Andre Ayew has one goal and one assist from his last two substitute appearances and is pushing the recently below-par Snodgrass for a starting spot. Michail Antonio returns from suspension. The Hammers are unbeaten in their last three away games.

Possible Bournemouth XI: Boruc; Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels; Wilshere, Arter; Ibe, King, Gradel; Afobe.

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

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Chelsea

Blast from the past

Monday 11th August 1969 – two days after the ‘Manson Family’ committed the Tate murders, with The Rolling Stones at number one with ‘Honky Tonk Women’ and The Italian Job in UK cinemas, West Ham United met Chelsea in the new season’s first London derby at a humid Boleyn Ground in front of 39,003.

23-year-old Peter Bennett, a member of the Hammers’ 1963 FA Youth Cup-winning team, made both the West Ham goals to make it two wins in two games for the hosts, this 2-0 win over the Blues coming just two days after a 1-0 opening day home win over Newcastle.

The Hammers were without centre-half Alan Stephenson, with Jimmy Lindsay coming into the side. Chelsea were strengthened by the return of Scottish international full-back Eddie McCreadie but it was the Hammers who created the better chances, England forward Geoff Hurst forcing a save from Peter Bonetti and John Sissons shooting just wide.

The deadlock was broken in the 68th minute when Bennett beat McCreadie and delivered a right-wing cross which caused confusion between Bonetti and Peter Osgood, Martin Peters nipping between them to score. Chelsea responded, Bobby Ferguson saving well twice in a minute from Blues forward Bobby Tambling.

The points were secured with six minutes to go, Bennett sending Hurst (pictured above) clear to squeeze the ball beyond Bonetti and send the Hammers top of the league. Chelsea, by contrast, had no points from their opening two matches, conceding six goals and scoring just one.

The Hammers would go on to finish 17th in 1969/70 while Chelsea would finish third and win the FA Cup. Everton won the league title and Bobby Moore was named Hammer of the Year, with Billy Bonds runner-up.

West Ham United: Bobby Ferguson, Billy Bonds, Bobby Moore, John Charles, Ronnie Boyce, Jimmy Lindsay, Martin Peters, Harry Redknapp, Peter Bennett, Geoff Hurst, John Sissons.

Chelsea: Peter Bonetti, Ron Harris, John Dempsey, Marvin Hinton, Eddie McCreadie, John Hollins, Peter Osgood, Charlie Cooke, Peter Houseman, Ian Hutchinson (Tommy Baldwin), Bobby Tambling.

Club Connections

A decent number of players have represented both West Ham United and Chelsea. Victor Moses spent last season on loan with the Hammers and is now proving a key player for Antonio Conte’s Blues. Others to have worn the colours of both clubs include:

Goalkeeper: Craig Forrest.

Defenders: Tal Ben Haim, Scott Minto, Ian Pearce, Joe Kirkup, Glen Johnson and Jon Harley.

Midfielders: Frank Lampard Junior, Peter Brabrook, Alan Dickens, Scott Parker, Yossi Benayoun, Joe Cole and John Sissons.

Strikers: David Speedie, Len Goulden, Demba Ba, Clive Allen, George Hilsdon, Carlton Cole, Jimmy Greaves, Pop Robson and Ron Tindall.

Ron Greenwood and Gianfranco Zola played for Chelsea and managed West Ham, while Sir Geoff Hurst and Dave Sexton both played for the Hammers and managed the Blues. Avram Grant has managed both clubs.

Today’s focus though falls on a player who played an ill-fated eighteen matches in all competitions for West Ham in 2011 – Wayne Bridge was born in Southampton on 5th August 1980 and started his professional career with his hometown club in 1998. He left the Saints to join Claudio Ranieri’s Chelsea in a deal worth just over £7m plus Graeme Le Saux in 2003. He scored the winning goal in the 88th minute of the Champions League quarter-final second leg at Arsenal; he also scored against Besiktas and Portsmouth in his debut season with the Blues.

Bridge was a regular starter under new manager Jose Mourinho before picking up a serious ankle injury in an FA Cup tie at Newcastle in February 2005, which also meant he missed the following week’s League Cup Final. Chelsea went on to win the Premier League, Bridge having played enough games to pick up a winner’s medal.

First team opportunities were limited for Bridge in 2005/06 after Mourinho’s signing of Asier del Horno and Bridge joined Fulham on loan for the second half of the campaign, a move which secured him a place in England’s 2006 World Cup squad. Competition for the left-back berth was tougher still the following season after Chelsea’s recruitment of England’s first-choice left-back Ashley Cole from Arsenal but Bridge still collected two winners’ medals as the Blues lifted both the FA Cup and League Cup.

With his future manager at West Ham, Avram Grant, now in charge, Bridge conceded a penalty in the 2-1 League Cup Final loss to Tottenham in February 2008 but would captain Chelsea for the first time in a League Cup fourth round tie against Burnley the following season under Luiz Felipe Scolari, which the Clarets won on penalties. After four goals in 142 appearances with Chelsea, Bridge moved on to Manchester City in the January transfer window of 2009 for a reported fee of £10m. He is perhaps most remembered for an episode which culminated in his much-publicised refusal of a handshake from John Terry, which was interlinked with Bridge’s self-imposed termination of his England career – he won 36 caps for his country, scoring one goal. Bridge’s first-team opportunities at City faded with the arrival of Aleksandar Kolarov and, later, Gael Clichy.

Bridge was offered an escape route in January 2011 by Grant’s relegation-haunted Hammers. He played in both the semi-final of the League Cup and the quarter-final of the FA Cup during his brief West Ham career but these Cup successes were not supplemented by points in the Premier League and the club was relegated as the division’s bottom side. Bridge would return to his parent club but was shipped out on loan again, this time to Sunderland.

Bridge would later have to drop a division for regular football, joining Brighton for a successful 2012/13 campaign. He turned down the chance of an extension to his time with the Seagulls, opting instead to join newly-relegated Reading. The ex-England left-back announced his retirement from the game in May 2014. Now 36, Bridge was most recently seen before Christmas on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here.

Referee

The referee on Monday will be Andre Marriner; the 45-year-old’s most recent Hammers appointment was Boxing Day’s 4-1 win at Swansea while his only visit to the Hammers’ new home was for our 1-1 draw with Stoke in November. Prior to that, in August’s trip to Manchester City, he had failed to send off Sergio Aguero for an elbow on Winston Reid with the Hammers trailing 2-1 with 14 minutes remaining. The Argentine was retrospectively charged with violent conduct and suspended for three matches, a decision which did nothing to benefit West Ham. Marriner did, however, show leniency that day towards the visitors by failing to issue Arthur Masuaku with a second yellow card on more than one occasion.

Marriner was the man in the middle for our 0-0 home draw with Stoke last season and the 3-0 home win over the same opposition in 2011. He also officiated our 1-0 win over Tottenham at Upton Park in March. Since we achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 the Birmingham-based official has been far from a good omen for West Ham – he has refereed thirteen of our league matches, officiating in only three wins for the Hammers, four draws and six defeats.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United are without the suspended Michail Antonio, who serves a one-match ban for his red card at Watford last weekend. Angelo Ogbonna, Gokhan Tore and Diafra Sakho are also unavailable, while Andy Carroll is a doubt and may only feature from the bench. Carroll has scored in two of his last three games against Chelsea – his next Premier League goal will be his 50th.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte will give a late fitness check to Eden Hazard but the Belgian is expected to start despite being kicked in training during the week. Chelsea’s three away defeats this season have all come at London clubs – a 3-0 loss at Arsenal in September, the 2-1 League Cup reverse at West Ham in October and the 2-0 defeat at Tottenham in January.

Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Kouyate, Fonte, Reid, Cresswell; Noble, Obiang; Feghouli, Snodgrass, Lanzini; Ayew.

Possible Chelsea XI: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Pedro, Costa, Hazard.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Watford v West Ham

Blast from the past

Billy Bonds’ West Ham United arrived at Vicarage Road, the home of this weekend’s opponents Watford, for a Second Division fixture on 13th March 1990 while en route to a seventh-place finish.

Beats International featuring Lindy Layton were number one with ‘Dub Be Good To Me’ and Matthew Broderick and Denzel Washington were in UK cinemas with Glory as the Hammers recorded a 1-0 victory in front of 15,682 thanks to a strike from centre-forward Trevor Morley (pictured above), his second goal of 70 for the club in 214 appearances. Watford would finish the 1989/90 campaign in 15th position, while Julian Dicks would end the season as Hammer of the Year and the Irons’ top goalscorer in all competitions.

West Ham United: Ludek Miklosko, George Parris, Colin Foster, Tony Gale, Julian Dicks, Kevin Keen, Martin Allen, Ian Bishop, Stuart Slater, Trevor Morley, Jimmy Quinn.

Club Connections

Former Hammers Valon Behrami and Mauro Zarate are both now on Watford’s books. Other players to have represented both clubs, divided by position, include:

Goalkeepers: Ted Hufton, David James, Perry Suckling, Manuel Almunia, Jack Rutherford, Joe Webster.

Defenders: Jon Harley, Calum Davenport, Lucas Neill, Chris Powell.

Midfielders: Henri Lansbury, Alan Devonshire, Alessandro Diamanti, Stuart Slater, Jobi McAnuff, Jimmy Lindsay, Joe Blythe, Jimmy Carr, Mark Robson, Carl Fletcher.

Strikers: David Connolly, Roger Hugo, Billy Jennings.

Len Goulden played for West Ham and managed Watford, while Malky Mackay played for both clubs and went on to manage the Vicarage Road club. Gianfranco Zola has managed both the Hammers and the Hornets.

This week’s focus though is on a midfielder who represented both clubs in the early years of this century. David Noble was born in Hitchin on the 2nd February 1982 and started his career as a trainee with Arsenal, with whom he won the FA Youth Cup in 2000 before joining Gianluca Vialli’s First Division Watford on loan in August 2001. He made his debut as a 72nd-minute substitute in a 3-0 home win over Wimbledon on 9th September 2001 and scored his only goal for the club in the 44th minute of a 3-0 win at Grimsby on 20th October 2001, lifting the ball over goalkeeper Danny Coyne before walking it into an empty net.

Noble played in a League Cup quarter-final while with the Hornets but was substituted at half-time as Sheffield Wednesday triumphed 4-0 at Hillsborough to reach the last four. After a promising start for the creative midfielder at Vicarage Road, his impact and appearances began to wane. His final appearance for the club came in a 2-1 defeat at Stockport on 1st April 2002 – after one goal in 18 appearances at Watford, Noble returned to parent club Arsenal.

After an appearance-less half-season back with the Gunners, Noble signed for Glenn Roeder’s West Ham United on a three-month permanent contract in February 2003. He was re-united with Joe Cole, with whom he had spent two years at Lilleshall. Noble, who played for England at youth level before making a single appearance for Scotland B in 2003, failed to force himself into the first-team reckoning as the Hammers eventually succumbed to relegation.

The 21-year-old extended his contract with the club in the summer of 2003 however and made his debut for the Hammers under Roeder in a 3-1 League Cup first round win over Rushden & Diamonds at the Boleyn Ground on 13th August 2003, his only start for the club. He made his first league appearance as a substitute in a 0-0 home draw against Sheffield United three days later. His only other appearances for the Irons came as a substitute under caretaker manager Trevor Brooking, in a 3-0 win at Crewe and 2-0 defeat at Gillingham. After four goalless appearances for West Ham United, Noble was released by Alan Pardew in early 2004, joining Third Division Boston United.

After two years at Boston, Noble joined Bristol City. He helped the Robins win promotion from League One and also scored in the Championship Play-Off semi-final against Crystal Palace the following season. After a loan spell with Yeovil in 2008/09, he was released and signed for League One Exeter. He moved to Rotherham in 2012 and, following a loan spell with Cheltenham, signed for Oldham in 2014. After only two appearances for Oldham, he re-joined Exeter on loan before making his return to Devon permanent in January 2015. After a year and a half back with the Grecians, Noble signed for St Albans City in the National League South last summer, taking his experience of over 300 Football League appearances to Clarence Park. Now 35, Noble has made 23 appearances for St Albans this season, with five assists to his name.

Referee

Saturday’s referee will be Craig Pawson; 2016/17 is Pawson’s fifth as a Premier League referee. In 2014/15 he refereed West Ham’s 3-1 home win over Liverpool and sent off Adrian in our 0-0 draw at Southampton, a decision that was later overturned. He was also the man in the middle for our 4-1 Capital One Cup home defeat to Wigan four seasons ago and our 3-1 loss at Stoke’s Britannia Stadium three seasons ago. His Hammers appointments last season were both at the Boleyn Ground, for our 2-2 draw with Manchester City in January 2016 and the 3-3 draw with Arsenal last April.

Pawson’s matches in charge of West Ham United so far this season saw him send off Harry Arter as the Hammers defeated Bournemouth 1-0 in August, while he also officiated in our 2-1 home win over Chelsea in the fourth round of the League Cup in October. His most recent Hammers appointment was our 5-1 home defeat to Arsenal in December.

Possible line-ups

Costel Pantilimon, Christian Kabasele, Nordin Amrabat and Roberto Pereyra are out for Watford, while Craig Cathcart, Sebastian Prodl and ex-Hammer Valon Behrami all face late fitness tests. Mauro Zarate is in line to start against the Hammers for the first time since leaving the club.

For West Ham United, Aaron Cresswell, Arthur Masuaku and Andre Ayew are all available, while Andy Carroll faces a late fitness test and may not be risked from the start. Angelo Ogbonna, Gokhan Tore and Diafra Sakho are the only definite absentees from Slaven Bilic’s squad. The Hammers have lost only one of their last 12 league matches at Watford, although this defeat came in our last visit, a 2-0 defeat in October 2015.

Possible Watford XI: Gomes; Janmaat, Cathcart, Kaboul, Britos; Capoue, Cleverley; Niang, Zarate, Holebas; Deeney.

Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Kouyate, Fonte, Reid, Cresswell; Noble, Obiang; Feghouli, Lanzini, Snodgrass; Antonio.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v West Brom

Blast from the past

15th March 1947 – Geraldo and his Orchestra featuring Joe Loss were number one with ‘The Old Lamplighter’, James Mason and Robert Newton were in UK cinemas with Odd Man Out and West Ham United striker Frank Neary (pictured) hit a hat-trick in the Hammers’ 3-2 victory over West Bromwich Albion in front of 23,928 at the Boleyn Ground.

This was Neary’s third appearance for the Hammers – he had made an impressive start, bagging braces in his first two matches during 3-0 wins over Newport and Swansea. He made it seven goals from his first three appearances by notching his hat-trick against the Baggies to claim maximum points for the hosts.

Noted for the power of his shooting, the 26-year-old Aldershot-born striker went on to score a total of 15 league goals in 14 appearances in the second half of 1946/47, becoming the Hammers’ top scorer for the campaign having only signed from QPR in January 1947 for £4,000. He appeared in three matches at the start of 1947/48 but, after reportedly hitting an opponent who had fouled him out of sight of the referee, Neary was eventually sold to Leyton Orient for £2,000 in November 1947. He went on to have a second spell at QPR, before playing for Millwall and Gravesend. He died in Cheam on 17th November 2004 at the age of 83.

Victory for the Hammers against the Baggies helped them end the 1946/47 season in 12th position in the Second Division, while West Brom would finish seventh. Manchester City topped the Second Division, Liverpool won the title and Charlton won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: George Taylor, Steve Forde, Ron Cater, Dick Walker, Norman Corbett, Sam Small, Almer Hall, Frank Neary, Ken Bainbridge, Jackie Wood, Terry Woodgate.

Club Connections

West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion have shared a decent number of players over the years; these include:

Defenders: Danny Gabbidon, David Burrows, Steve Walford, Gary Strodder.

Midfielders: Franz Carr, Morgan Amalfitano, Peter Butler, Nigel Quashie.

Strikers: Jeroen Boere, John Hartson, Sir Geoff Hurst, Frank Nouble, David Cross.

Archie Macauley played for West Ham and managed West Brom, while Bobby Gould played for the Hammers and the Baggies and also spent a period as manager at The Hawthorns.

Today’s focus falls on a player who came through the Hammers academy before spending a spell on loan at West Brom later in his career. Alan Dickens was born in Plaistow on 3rd September 1964 and was a member of West Ham United’s FA Youth Cup-winning side in 1981. He gained four England caps at youth level and played for the Under-21s. Dickens became a West Ham apprentice on the 14th July 1981 and signed pro forms on 2nd August 1982. He made his first competitive appearance under John Lyall on 18th December 1982 at the age of 18, scoring on his debut in a 2-1 win at Notts County. The central midfielder scored five more goals before the end of 1982/83 – in a 2-1 home win over Brighton on 5th March 1983, a 1-1 draw at Norwich on 26th March, a double in a 5-1 win at Swansea on 5th April and in a 2-1 home win over Sunderland four days later.

Goals and, indeed, appearances were harder to come by in 1983/84 but Dickens became more of a feature the following campaign, scoring four goals – two in the league, in a 3-2 win at Southampton in September 1984 and a 1-1 home draw with Tottenham in April 1985, and his first two goals in the FA Cup, in a 4-1 third round home win over Port Vale and a 5-1 fifth round replay home win over Wimbledon.

Dickens made 51 appearances in the glorious season of 1985/86, scoring in a 3-1 home win over QPR, a 4-2 win over Nottingham Forest, a 3-1 defeat at Liverpool and a 2-1 home win over Ipswich as the Hammers finished third in the First Division, their highest ever league placing.

The following season brought five goals, including strikes in successive games in a 2-2 draw at Watford and a 4-1 home League Cup second round second leg win over Preston. ‘Dicko’ also scored in the next round in a 3-2 win at Watford and followed that with the winner in a 1-0 victory over Everton at Upton Park. He also scored in a 4-1 win over Leicester on New Year’s Day 1987.

1986/87 saw four goals from the Hammers’ midfield maestro – he scored again at Vicarage Road as the Hammers won 2-1 at Watford before notching in a 2-1 home defeat to Millwall in the first round of the Full Members’ Cup. Further strikes followed in a 2-1 home win over Southampton in December 1987 and a 1-0 win at QPR in January 1988.

Dickens hit his highest goals total in 1988/89 but it was to be a nightmare season for the Irons as they were relegated in a season which culminated in the sacking of John Lyall. Dickens scored in a 4-1 home defeat to Arsenal in October 1988, a 2-1 League Cup second round second leg win over Sunderland, a 2-0 home win over Newcastle, a 2-2 home draw with Arsenal in the FA Cup third round, a 3-0 home win over Millwall in April 1989 and two strikes in May 1989, in a 1-0 home win over Luton and 2-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday as the Hammers tried desperately to save themselves from the dreaded drop.

Relegation saw Dickens leave the club – he signed for Chelsea for £600,000 in June 1989. He had scored 30 goals in 234 appearances for his local club. He had a three-match loan spell at West Brom in the 1992/93 season before another loan spell with Brentford. He went on to play for Colchester but his senior playing career was over at the age of 30. He went on to appear for Chesham, Hayes, Collier Row, Billericay and Purfleet before retiring in 1998. Now 52, Dickens worked as a black cab driver and was assistant manager at Barking from November 2008 until April 2012, when he was appointed manager before leaving the job in November that year.

Referee

The referee on Saturday 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. His only game in charge of the Irons this season was our 5-0 home defeat to Manchester City in the FA Cup third round last month.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United will be without Angelo Ogbonna, Arthur Masuaku, Gokhan Tore and Diafra Sakho, while Aaron Cresswell, Cheikhou Kouyate and Andy Carroll are doubts. Alvaro Arbeloa, Sam Byram and Havard Nordtveit are back in training.

West Bromwich Albion are without loanee left-back Brendan Galloway, while Jonny Evans and Claudio Yacob are doubts. The Baggies are unbeaten in their last three trips to West Ham.

Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Kouyate, Fonte, Reid, Cresswell; Noble, Obiang; Feghouli, Antonio, Snodgrass; Carroll.

Possible West Bromwich Albion XI: Foster; Nyom, Dawson, McAuley, Brunt; Fletcher, Livermore; Phillips, Morrison, Chadli; Rondon.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

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