Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Everton

Blast from the past

22nd January 1927: Peter Warlock’s string serenade was recorded for the National Gramophonic Society, Fritz Lang’s science-fiction fantasy Metropolis had recently premiered in Germany and General Sir Charles Warren – officer in the British Royal Engineers, one of the earliest European archaeologists of the Biblical Holy Land, head of the Metropolitan Police during the Jack the Ripper murders and commander in combat during the Second Boer War – had died the day before aged 86. In east London, West Ham United defeated visitors Everton by two goals to one.

32-year-old inside-left Billy Moore (pictured) scored for the Hammers that day in front of 11,235 at the Boleyn Ground – Newcastle-born Moore signed from Sunderland in 1922 and played in the 1923 FA Cup Final for the club. He made one international appearance for England, scoring twice in a 3-1 win over Sweden in May 1923. He retired from playing in 1929 but stayed at West Ham to become assistant trainer and was promoted in 1932, staying at the club as trainer-in-chief until his retirement in 1960. He died in 1968 at the age of 73.

Legendary centre-forward and all-time leading Hammers goalscorer Vic Watson notched the other Hammers’ goal, with Irish inside-right Bobby Irvine grabbing the Toffees’ consolation. Moore would end the season with two goals from 13 appearances, while Watson would be the Irons’ top goalscorer of the campaign with 37 goals in 45 matches.

Syd King’s Irons went on to finish in sixth place in the top flight that season, the highest League position up to that point in their history, while Everton in contrast suffered one of their worst campaigns as they finished 20th, one place and four points above the relegation places, with only 34 points won from 42 matches. Newcastle won the league title in 1926/27, finishing ten points clear of the Hammers, and Cardiff won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Ted Hufton, Jack Hebden, George Horler, George Carter, Jim Barrett, Jimmy Collins, Tommy Yews, Stan Earle, Vic Watson, Billy Moore, Jimmy Ruffell.

Everton: Henry Hardy, John McDonald, Jasper Kerr, Joe Peacock, Albert Virr, Hunter Hart, Ted Critchley, Bobby Irvine, Dixie Dean, Arthur Dominy, Alec Troup.

Club Connections

Considering they have spent the majority of their respective histories at a reasonably similar level, West Ham United and Everton have shared relatively few players. Slaven Bilic welcomes his former club having played for Everton after leaving West Ham in 1997. Enner Valencia is currently on loan from West Ham at Everton but Premier League rules mean he cannot face the Hammers. Others who have appeared for both clubs include:

Goalkeepers: George Kitchen, Richard Wright.

Defenders: David Burrows, William Wildman, William Kelly, George Eccles, Alex McCartney, David Unsworth, Lars Jacobsen, Lucas Neill.

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

Strikers: Nikica Jelavic, Tony Cottee, Charlie Crossley, Mike Newell.

Today’s focus falls on a player who spent one season with the Hammers after joining from the Toffees. John Russell was born in Liverpool in 1880 and made his Everton debut in a 3-1 win at Bolton on 1st November 1902. He had to wait exactly five months for his next appearance, a 3-0 defeat at Newcastle on 1st April 1903 and followed that up with his only home appearance for the club three days later, in a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday at Goodison Park. Research suggests that Russell played each of his Everton matches as an inside-forward.

After just three goalless appearances for Everton, and none in the 1903/04 season, the 24-year-old Russell left the First Division club to move to Southern League West Ham United. He would be followed a year later by goalkeeper George Kitchen, who had played alongside Russell in each of his three Everton appearances and who made the same move from the Toffees to the Hammers. Incidentally, at West Ham, Kitchen became the club’s penalty taker and became the first-ever goalkeeper to score on his debut with a penalty against Swindon on 2nd September 1905.

Russell, meanwhile, has his own place in Hammers history. He made his debut in the official opening of the Boleyn Ground in the opening fixture of the 1904/05 campaign, a 3-0 victory against Millwall in front of 10,000 on 1st September 1904 – he is pictured with his team-mates and management staff, fourth from the right in the middle row. He kept his place in the side at wing-half for the next 15 games in league and FA Cup before being replaced by Len Jarvis. Russell made just one more appearance for West Ham United, on the final day of the 1904/05 season in a 3-0 win at Watford on 25th April 1905. In total he made 17 appearances for the club, without scoring – he left in the summer of 1905.


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 two previous West Ham matches in the top flight, those being the 1-1 home draw with Stoke in April 2015 and, more recently, the 3-2 home defeat to Leicester last month.

Most of East’s matches this season have been in the Championship. The 51-year-old has also 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. He also sent off Portsmouth’s Liam Lawrence and West Ham’s Frederic Piquionne in the Irons’ 4-3 home win over Pompey in September 2011.

Possible line-ups

For West Ham United, Angelo Ogbonna, Pedro Obiang, Michail Antonio, Gokhan Tore and Andy Carroll are all on the sidelines through injury. Havard Nordtveit could come into the starting line-up in place of the suspended Sam Byram, while Mark Noble sits out the final match of his own ban. Winston Reid could be available but has not played for over a month, while either Andre Ayew or Jonathan Calleri could start up front. Everton have certainly been the Hammers’ bogey side in recent seasons – we have only beaten the Toffees once in the league, home or away, since April 2007, drawing four and losing ten in all competitions since then. In addition, West Ham haven’t recorded a win over Everton by more than a single-goal margin since 1982.

Everton will be without the injured Seamus Coleman, Ramiro Funes Mori, Muhamed Besic, James McCarthy, Aaron Lennon and Yannick Bolasie, while Premier League regulations prevent on-loan Enner Valencia from featuring against his parent club. Romelu Lukaku has scored in each of his last nine matches against West Ham.

Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Nordtveit, Fonte, Collins, Masuaku; Kouyate, Fernandes; Feghouli, Lanzini, Snodgrass; Ayew.

Possible Everton XI: Robles; Holgate, Williams, Jagielka, Baines; Gueye, Schneiderlin, Davies; Mirallas, Barkley; Lukaku.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Sunderland v West Ham

Blast from the past

Monday 31st March 2014 – 5 Seconds of Summer were number one with ‘She Looks So Perfect’, a jury was selected to hear a fresh inquest into the 96 deaths caused by the 1989 Hillsborough disaster and Captain America: The Winter Soldier was in UK cinemas as West Ham United completed a 2-1 win at Sunderland.

Andy Carroll opened the scoring in the ninth minute, rising above the Sunderland defence to power home a header from a left-wing corner. The visitors doubled their lead five minutes into the second half, Carroll chesting down a high, hanging free-kick from halfway by James Tomkins into the path of Mo Diame, whose shot skidded into the corner beyond the helpless Vito Mannone via a slight deflection.

Gus Poyet introduced winger Adam Johnson and the substitute swept in a precise finish with 25 minutes remaining to set up a tense finale but the Hammers held out to leave the Black Cats second bottom and four points adrift of safety with eight games to play.

Sam Allardyce’s Hammers would go on to finish the 2013/14 Premier League season in 13th place, with the Mackems ending up one below in 14th position. Manchester City won the title, Arsenal won the FA Cup and Mark Noble was voted Hammer of the Year for the second time.

Sunderland: Vito Mannone, Phil Bardsley, Santiago Vergini, Wes Brown, John O’Shea (Craig Gardner), Marcos Alonso, Liam Bridcutt, Ki Sung-Yueng (Ignacio Scocco), Lee Cattermole (Adam Johnson), Connor Wickham, Fabio Borini.

West Ham United: Adrian, Guy Demel, James Tomkins, Winston Reid, George McCartney (Pablo Armero), Mark Noble, Matt Taylor, Stewart Downing, Kevin Nolan (Antonio Nocerino), Mo Diame (Roger Johnson), Andy Carroll.

Club Connections

A large number of players have worn the shirts of both Sunderland and West Ham United. Of the current crop, Jermain Defoe will be facing the team he began his professional career with back in 2000. A brief run-through of others who have represented both clubs is best served by dividing them by playing position:

Defenders: Danny Collins, Matt Kilgallon, Keith Coleman, Wayne Bridge, Mick McGiven, Harry Forster, Ernie England, Tal Ben Haim, George McCartney, Calum Davenport, Andy Melville, Anton Ferdinand, Clive Clarke.

Midfielders: Stewart Downing, Christian Bassila, Harry Hooper, John Foreman, Don Hutchison.

Strikers: Billy Moore, David Bellion, Lee Chapman, Brian Deane, ‘Pop’ Robson, Charlie Crossley, Jack Dowsey, Bill Robinson, David Kelly, Dave Swindlehurst, David Connolly, Jack Foster, Dick Bell.

Paolo Di Canio also played for the Hammers and managed the Black Cats, while Sam Allardyce managed both clubs and also played for Sunderland.

Today’s focus though falls on a player who played an ill-fated eighteen matches in all competitions for West Ham before experiencing better times at Sunderland – Gary Breen was born in Hendon on 12th December 1973 and started his career as a youth player with Charlton. He moved to Maidstone United where he made his first professional appearances at the age of 17 before joining Gillingham in 1992, where he worked with Glenn Roeder. Breen moved on to Peterborough in 1994 for £70,000 before signing for David Sullivan and David Gold’s Birmingham in February 1996 for £250,000. He was on the move again less than a year later, signing for Premier League Coventry in a £2.5m deal.

Breen stayed at Coventry for five years before an impressive 2002 World Cup with the Republic of Ireland, coupled with being out of contract, saw him receive an abundance of offers for pastures new. Barcelona were reportedly interested and a move was actually agreed to move to the San Siro with Inter Milan but the central defender failed a medical. Roeder, Breen’s former manager at Gillingham, subsequently brought the 28-year-old to West Ham United in the summer of 2002 on a free transfer. He made his debut in a 2-2 home draw with Arsenal on 24th August 2002 and made 13 starts in all competitions, with an extra five appearances as a substitute. Only two of these 18 appearances ended in a clean sheet and only four in wins. Perhaps his finest hour in claret and blue was playing the full 90 minutes of a 3-2 win at Chelsea on 28th September 2002 which, to this day, stands as our last win at Stamford Bridge.

Breen never really recovered from his penultimate appearance as a Hammer, a 6-0 defeat at Manchester United in the fourth round of the FA Cup on 26th January 2003. After attributing an exemplary performance and a clean sheet for the Republic of Ireland against Scotland down to “organisation”, Breen and an angry Roeder had an “expletive-ridden confrontation” when the defender returned to Chadwell Heath from international duty, with Roeder reportedly “on the receiving end”. Breen had been unhappy at being made the scapegoat for the defeat at Old Trafford and his subsequent exclusion from the team. A source close to the club was reported as saying: “Everyone knew what was going on and it got quite angry, with swear words all over the place. There was a group of young players standing outside and they heard every word. After Breen came out of the office, Roeder was very different at training. It was all ‘nice one Breeny’ and well done Gary’."

Breen would only make one more appearance for the Hammers, as a substitute in a 2-1 win at West Brom on 23rd February 2003. He would play no further part in the Hammers’ ultimately doomed attempt to remain in the top flight. He signed for his former Ireland manager Mick McCarthy at Sunderland, also newly-relegated from the Premier League. The 6’1 centre-half would return to Upton Park to secure the Championship title with the Wearsiders in late April 2005, Breen’s Black Cats recording a 2-1 win. A third relegation, having experienced the same fate previously with Coventry and the Hammers, would follow in 2006 however and Breen would again be released after 107 appearances and seven goals for Sunderland.

McCarthy, who had left Sunderland in March 2006, would sign the 32-year-old Breen for his new club Wolves later that summer. Breen would go on to captain the Molineux club before departing for Barnet in December 2008, where he was appointed player-coach – he would be named player/assistant manager the following summer. Breen, who won 63 caps and scored 7 international goals for the Republic of Ireland, left Barnet in the summer of 2010 and retired as a player. He had a spell at former club Peterborough as first-team coach under Darren Ferguson between 2013 and 2015 and now, aged 43, features on Setanta Sports and Abu Dhabi’s coverage of the Premier League. Breen also worked on BBC Radio’s Euro 2016 coverage in France last summer.


The referee on Easter Saturday will be Andre Marriner; the 46-year-old’s most recent Hammers appointment was the 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea last month, while he also took charge of Boxing Day’s 4-1 win at Swansea and the 1-1 home 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 has been the man in the middle for two of the Hammers’ previous visits to the Stadium of Light, those being the 2-1 defeat in March 2008 and the 2-2 draw in October 2009 – Sunderland scored a winner deep into stoppage time in the former, while Marriner sent off a player for each side in the latter (the Mackems’ Kenwyne Jones and the Irons’ Radoslav Kovac). 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 fourteen of our league matches, officiating in only three wins for the Hammers, four draws and seven defeats.

Possible line-ups

Sunderland manager David Moyes could be without injured left-back Bryan Oviedo, who is likely to join Paddy McNair, Jan Kirchhoff and Duncan Watmore on the sidelines. Sebastian Larsson starts a three-match suspension. The Mackems have failed to score in their last seven games, a run stretching back to their 4-0 win at Crystal Palace on 4th February.

Slaven Bilic will be without Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna, Pedro Obiang, Michail Antonio and Gokhan Tore. Sam Byram is likely to start having shaken off a knock while Aaron Cresswell may be held back for the Everton game having only returned to training yesterday. Mark Noble starts a two-match suspension after picking up ten yellow cards. Andy Carroll and Jonathan Calleri will, according to Super Slav, share the minutes up front, while Diafra Sakho is pushing for an appearance too.

Possible Sunderland XI: Pickford; Jones, Denayer, Kone, Manquillo; Rodwell, Cattermole, Ndong; Defoe, Anichebe, Borini.

Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Byram, Fonte, Collins, Masuaku; Kouyate, Lanzini; Feghouli, Ayew, Snodgrass; Carroll.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Swansea

Blast from the past

Monday 30th August 1937 – King George VI was on the throne, Neville Chamberlain had just entered his third month as Prime Minister, Paul Muni was in UK cinemas in The Life of Emile Zola and Benjamin Britten’s string orchestral work ‘Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10’ received its concert premiere at the Salzburg Festival, bringing the English composer to international attention. West Ham United, meanwhile, were recording a 2-1 victory over Swansea Town (as they were then known) in front of 15,473 at the Boleyn Ground’s first home game of the 1937/38 campaign.

Wing-half Ted Fenton (pictured above during his 11 years as West Ham manager) and outside-right Stan Foxall bagged the Hammers’ goals in this encounter – Fenton would score three goals from 33 appearances in 1937/38, with Foxall notching ten goals in 36 matches to finish level with Scottish forward Archie Macaulay as the club’s top goalscorer that season.

Charlie Paynter’s Hammers would finish ninth in the Second Division in 1937/38, while Swansea would end the campaign in 18th, two points and three places clear of relegation. Aston Villa won the Second Division, Arsenal won the league title and Preston won the FA Cup. Bizarrely, Manchester City (the reigning league champions that season) were the First Division’s highest goalscorers with 80 goals from 42 matches and finished with a +3 goal difference but were still relegated in 21st place!

West Ham United: Jack Weare, Charlie Bicknell, Charlie Walker, Joe Cockroft, Dick Walker, Ted Fenton, Stan Foxall, Tommy Green, Archie Macaulay, Sam Small, John Morton.

Club Connections

West Ham United’s record signing Andre Ayew could face the club he departed last summer. A small number of players join him in having worn the shirts of both West Ham United and Swansea City. These include:

Goalkeeper: Noel Dwyer.

Defenders: Andy Melville and Shaun Byrne.

Midfielders: Frank Lampard Junior.

Strikers: Frank Nouble and Lee Chapman.

John Bond also represented both clubs, playing for the Hammers and managing the Swans.

Today’s focus though is on a homegrown Hammers product who returned from a short stint at Swansea to kickstart his Upton Park career. Matthew Rush was born in Dalston on 6th August 1971 and was a right-winger who came through the Academy at West Ham United. He made his debut as a 19-year-old under Billy Bonds in a 7-1 victory over Hull on 6th October 1990, a game famous for Steve Potts’ solitary Hammers’ strike. Bonzo’s boys achieved promotion at the end of that season, a campaign which also saw Rush pick up Under-21 international honours for the Republic of Ireland, for whom he qualified through his Irish mother. He scored his first goals for the Hammers on 11th April 1992, a double in a 4-0 win over Norwich, but the Hammers would ultimately yo-yo back to the second tier. Rush endured a testing two-year period when it appeared his Hammers career was fading and dying. His only appearances in the promotion campaign of 1992/93 came in the now-defunct Anglo-Italian Cup, in which he was sent off in a 0-0 home draw with Pisa, and he had a spell on loan at Cambridge United towards the end of that season.

Rush remained out in the cold as the Hammers set about establishing themselves in their first season in the Premier League. He joined Swansea City for a two-month loan spell in January 1994, playing 13 league matches and starting both legs of the Football League Trophy Area Final against Wycombe Wanderers that would see the Swans progress to Wembley. The Swans only lost two league matches while Rush was at the club and, although he was back at West Ham by the time of the Trophy National Final, Swansea invited him to attend the game at Wembley.

Rush was handed a surprise start by Bonds on Easter Saturday 1994 against Ipswich at Upton Park and scored a stunning, dipping volley from distance to put the Irons on their way to a 2-1 victory, their first win since New Year’s Day.

Rush signed a three-year contract that summer, rejecting overtures from Kevin Keegan’s upwardly-mobile Newcastle United. He found opportunities increasingly sparse under Harry Redknapp in 1994/95 but did score in successive league matches in late October 1994, a 2-0 win over Southampton and a 3-1 defeat at Tottenham. His searing pace also played a major part in a barnstorming 2-0 victory over champions-in-waiting Blackburn Rovers, Rush streaking away from Colin Hendry late on to lay on a cross which led to Don Hutchison sealing the points in the Hammers’ ultimately successful quest for survival. This was to prove to be Rush’s final appearance in a claret and blue shirt. Three of Rush’s five goals for the Hammers can be viewed in my video below.

Having scored five goals in 55 appearances for West Ham, the 24-year-old Rush was sold to Norwich in the summer of 1995 for £350,000. Three days after signing, on his debut for the Canaries against Sunderland, he badly ruptured his knee. He sought to gain fitness in a loan spell at Northampton and eventually joined Oldham in March 1997 having made just three appearances for the Canaries in his 18 months at Carrow Road. Rush sustained cruciate ligament damage in a match against Carlisle in April 1998 and was forced to retire from the game at the age of just 27.

Upon retiring, Rush went to university for four years to study for a degree in Applied Sports Science and then went on to do a post-graduate course. He studied for a further year to gain teacher qualifications and taught in a sports academy in Manchester for a year before teaching PE at a school in Cheshire for five years. His daughter Lana won a national tennis tournament at the age of ten and Rush moved to Barcelona with his daughter so she could attend a tennis academy while his wife Caroline continued working in the UK. The Rush family later moved together to London with Matthew accompanying his daughter to tennis events around the world. Lana is now 19 and has a tennis scholarship at Florida State University. She competed in Junior Wimbledon in 2012 and 2013.

Rush’s wife Caroline is Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council and was awarded a CBE in 2015 for services to the British fashion industry. Matthew, now 45, has recently completed a UEFA ‘B’ coaching licence with a view to getting involved in academy coaching in the future.


Saturday’s referee is Kevin Friend. The Leicester-based official has been involved in top-flight matches since 2009 and took charge of the Hammers in our historic 3-0 victory at Liverpool in August 2015. He sent off Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and West Ham’s Mark Noble in that match at Anfield, with the latter’s dismissal rescinded on appeal.

Friend last took charge of the Hammers in February for our 4-0 home defeat to Manchester City. He is also remembered for the soft penalty he gifted Hull in our 1-0 defeat at the KC Stadium in September 2013 when Joey O’Brien was adjudged to have shoved Robbie Brady. Friend compounded the error by later denying the Irons a clear penalty when Jake Livermore handled in the area. Don’t expect much from Friend in the way of handball decisions – he also denied the Hammers a penalty in a match at Everton when Aaron Cresswell’s cross was handled by Seamus Coleman.

Possible line-ups

Slaven Bilic is without Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna, Aaron Cresswell, Pedro Obiang and Gokhan Tore. Andy Carroll is unlikely to play the 90 minutes after feeling a groin injury at the Emirates so Diafra Sakho, another who is unlikely to be able to last the full game, could start. Andre Ayew could line up against his former club, with Robert Snodgrass still struggling for form. Mark Noble is one yellow card away from receiving a two-match ban – he has to get through Saturday’s game to reach the cut-off point and thereby avoid a suspension.

Swansea City right-back Angel Rangel, midfielder Leon Britton and winger Nathan Dyer are all out while striker Fernando Llorente is a doubt. Jordan Ayew, signed from Aston Villa in January, could face his brother Andre.

Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Byram, Fonte, Collins, Masuaku; Kouyate, Noble; Ayew, Lanzini, Antonio; Sakho.

Possible Swansea City XI: Fabianski; Naughton, Mawson, Fernandez, Olsson; Carroll, Cork, Fer; Routledge, Ayew, Sigurdsson.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Arsenal v West Ham

Blast from the past

19th February 1977 – Leo Sayer was number one with ‘When I Need You’, Rocky was in UK cinemas and Foreign Secretary Anthony Crosland died six days after suffering a massive stroke at the age of 58. Meanwhile, at Highbury, John Lyall’s West Ham United were sealing a 3-2 victory over Arsenal in front of 38,221 at Highbury.

Terry Neill’s side went in front when Mervyn Day couldn’t claim a corner from the right and future Hammer Liam Brady turned home Alan Hudson’s shot. The Irons levelled after 23 minutes when a sublime Trevor Brooking pass bisected the home defence to find Alan Taylor, a Hammers Highbury hero in an FA Cup quarter-final two years previously, who skipped past goalkeeper Jimmy Rimmer and found the empty net. The visitors’ turnaround was complete before half-time when Brooking’s high, hanging free-kick was nodded back across goal by former Gunner John Radford for Billy Jennings to head past Rimmer.

Brady turned from goalscorer to goalmaker when he prodded a pass into the path of his fellow Dubliner Frank Stapleton, who fired beyond Day to level the game at two apiece. The Hammers were not to be denied though – Brooking was again involved in the build-up for the winning goal, finding Anton Otulakowski who played the ball on for the marauding Frank Lampard. The left-back’s cross from the byline was met by a bullet header from the diving Taylor to ensure another Highbury double for him and maximum points for the men from east London.

The Gunners would finish 8th in 1976/77, while the Hammers would end the campaign in 17th, two points and three places clear of relegation. Tottenham finished bottom and were relegated to the Second Division, while Liverpool won the league and European Cup. Manchester United won the FA Cup, with future Hammer Stuart Pearson scoring in the Final against Liverpool.

Arsenal: Jimmy Rimmer, Pat Rice, Richie Powling, Peter Simpson, Sammy Nelson, George Armstrong, Alan Hudson, Liam Brady, Trevor Ross, Malcolm MacDonald, Frank Stapleton.

West Ham United: Mervyn Day, Billy Bonds, Bill Green, Kevin Lock, Frank Lampard, Alan Devonshire, Trevor Brooking, Anton Otulakowski, John Radford, Billy Jennings, Alan Taylor.

Club Connections

A large group of players have turned out for Arsenal and West Ham United. Carl Jenkinson is back with the Gunners this year after spending the previous two campaigns on loan with the Hammers. Other players to have represented both clubs include:

Goalkeepers: Richard Wright, Manuel Almunia, Jim Standen.

Defenders: Eddie Hapgood, Matthew Upson, Nigel Winterburn, Bernard Joy, Bob Stevenson.

Midfielders: Liam Brady, Stewart Robson, Yossi Benayoun, Archie Macauley, Alex Song, David Bentley, Les Henley, James Bigden, Luis Boa Morte, Roddy McEachrane, Jimmy Jackson, Henri Lansbury, Fred Kemp, Fredrik Ljungberg.

Strikers: Bobby Gould, Jeremie Aliadiere, Jimmy Marshall, Kaba Diawara, Jimmy Bloomfield, Charlie Satterthwaite, Marouane Chamakh, Lee Chapman, Tom Lee, John Hartson, Ted Drake, John Radford, Ian Wright, Davor Suker, Stan Earle.

Ron Greenwood was also assistant manager at Arsenal before becoming manager of West Ham.

Today’s focus though falls on a former defender for both the Gunners and the Hammers. Steve Walford was born on the 5th January 1958 in Highgate and began his career as a centre-back at Tottenham in 1975.

After struggling to make it at White Hart Lane, Walford became part of a select club to swap Tottenham white for Arsenal red when Terry Neill signed the 19-year-old for £25,000 in 1977. He amassed 98 appearances in his four years under former Tottenham boss Neill, scoring four goals, and also featured as a late substitute in the 1979 FA Cup Final, when the Gunners beat Manchester United 3-2. Walford signed for former Hammer Ken Brown’s Norwich for £125,000 in March 1981 and experienced relegation and promotion with the Canaries.

After just over two seasons at Carrow Road, the 25-year-old Walford signed for John Lyall’s West Ham United in the summer of 1983 for £160,000. He made his debut at left-back in a 4-0 home win over Birmingham on 27th August 1983 and scored his first goal for the club in his next appearance two days later, the winner in a 1-0 victory at Everton. Walford made it two goals in his opening four appearances in claret and blue when he netted in a 3-1 home win over Leicester on 6th September 1983 but this would prove to be his final league goal for the club, despite this early flourish. The Hammers’ early season form in 1983/84 saw them top the First Division table throughout September but the club would fall away to finish ninth.

Walford would only score two more goals for the club, both in the League Cup second round tie against Bristol City in 1984/85 – he scored in the 2-2 first leg draw at Ashton Gate before netting again in the 6-1 second leg win at the Boleyn Ground. Walford would make 33 appearances in the famous 1985/86 campaign, with 27 of these games coming in the league as the Hammers claimed their highest ever league finish of third. The emergence of George Parris put Walford’s position under threat however and he only made 13 league appearances in 1986/87. Walford’s final appearance for the Hammers was on 7th March 1987 in a 2-1 First Division defeat at Charlton but he would remain at the club until 1989, by which time Julian Dicks had arrived from Birmingham and made the left-back berth his own – first-team football did arrive for Walford though through loan spells at Huddersfield (1987), Gillingham (1988) and West Brom (1989). After registering 147 appearances for West Ham United, and scoring four goals, the 31-year-old Walford moved to Lai Sun in Hong Kong.

Walford returned to England to play for Wycombe under Martin O’Neill the following year and, after a brief spell at Wealdstone, returned to Wycombe as O’Neill’s assistant. He has since worked with the Northern Irishman at Norwich, Leicester, Celtic, Aston Villa and Sunderland and has won the English League Cup twice, the Scottish Premier League three times, the Scottish Cup three times and the Scottish League Cup once. Walford, now 59, is currently assistant manager of the Republic of Ireland (he is pictured above at Euro 2016) and also had a brief spell doubling up as Neil Lennon’s assistant at Bolton.


Tonight’s referee is Martin Atkinson who, ironically, took charge of last season’s Premier League win at Arsenal on 9th August 2015. 2016/17 is Atkinson’s twelfth as a Premier League referee. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Atkinson has refereed 16 of our league matches, officiating in nine wins for the Hammers, two draws and five defeats. Last season Atkinson took charge of the Hammers in our 0-0 draw at Anfield in the fourth round of the FA Cup and refereed our 3-1 win at Bournemouth in January 2016, our 2-0 win at Arsenal in August 2015 and the 1-1 home draw with West Brom in November 2015.

Atkinson also refereed the Hammers’ FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford in March 2016, when he turned down appeals for a penalty after Marcos Rojo appeared to have tripped Dimitri Payet and failed to spot Bastian Schweinstieger’s block on Darren Randolph as Man Utd equalised late on. He refereed September’s 4-2 home defeat to Watford and October’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace, when he controversially sent off Aaron Cresswell for two very harsh yellow cards in quick succession. His most recent Hammers appointment was our 3-1 win at Middlesbrough in January. Atkinson is pictured above, issuing a red card to Thomas Vermaelen and awarding the Hammers a penalty in another previous encounter he refereed between the London rivals at the Emirates – with a minute to go to half-time and the Hammers a goal down, the spot-kick was subsequently missed by Alessandro Diamanti and the Irons went on to lose 2-0 to Arsenal’s ten men.

Possible line-ups

Arsenal are without the injured Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Santi Cazorla and Lucas Perez while reserve goalkeeper David Ospina, who conceded a hat-trick to Andy Carroll last April, faces a late fitness test. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey are also both doubts.

West Ham United are without Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna, Aaron Cresswell, Pedro Obiang and Gokhan Tore. Michail Antonio should return to the starting line-up, while Diafra Sakho may make the bench. Slaven Bilic can become only the third manager to win on his first two Premier League trips to Arsenal. Mark Noble is one yellow card away from receiving a two-match ban – he has to get through the Arsenal and Swansea games to reach the cut-off point and thereby avoid a suspension.

Looking ahead to our next match against Swansea, Leroy Fer is one yellow card away from missing the game – the Swans face Tottenham at the Liberty Stadium tonight.

Possible Arsenal XI: Ospina; Bellerin, Gabriel, Mustafi, Monreal; Coquelin, Xhaka; Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi; Sanchez.

Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Byram, Fonte, Collins, Masuaku; Kouyate, Noble; Antonio, Lanzini, Ayew; Carroll.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Hull v West Ham

Blast from the past

In today’s preview, we travel back to Monday 13th September 1954, when Winston Churchill was Prime Minister, Frank Sinatra was number one with ‘Three Coins in the Fountain’ and Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden were in UK cinemas in Sabrina.

The Hammers ran out 1-0 winners in front of 25,851 spectators at Boothferry Park that evening, thanks to a goal from the 21-year-old right-back John Bond (pictured). The victory sent the visitors seventh in the Second Division table.

Ted Fenton’s Irons would end the 1954/55 season in eighth position while the Tigers would finish six points and two places clear of relegation in 19th place. Birmingham topped the Second Division, Chelsea win the league title and Newcastle beat Man City to be crowned FA Cup winners, with Jackie Milburn opening the scoring after just 45 seconds – a Wembley Cup Final record which stood for the next 42 years.

West Ham United: George Taylor, John Bond, Ken Brown, Harry Kinsell, Andy Malcolm, Frank O’Farrell, Harry Hooper, John Dick, Dave Sexton, Albert Foan, Jimmy Andrews.

Club Connections

A small collection of players have turned out for both West Ham United and Hull City. Winter window recruit Robert Snodgrass returns to Hull for the first time since signing for the Irons, while Hammers captain Mark Noble had a loan spell with the Tigers early on in his career. The following have also appeared for both clubs:

Goalkeepers: Roy Carroll and Stephen Bywater.

Defenders: Dennis Burnett, Robbie Stockdale, Tommy Brandon and Abdoulaye Faye.

Midfielders: Nolberto Solano, Richard Garcia and Alf Fenwick.

Strikers: Alan Taylor, Cliff Hubbard, Nikica Jelavic, Stuart Pearson, Ricardo Vaz Te and Tony Weldon.

Iain Dowie played for the Hammers and managed the Tigers.

Today’s focus is on a midfielder who had just over two years with West Ham before signing for Hull. Mohamed Diame was born in the Paris suburb of Creteil, France on 14th June 1987 and was selected to attend the Clairefontaine academy between 2000 and 2003. On completion, he began his professional career with Lens but left four years later after facing health problems. He signed for lowly Spanish side Linares before moving to Rayo Vallecano the following year. While playing for the Madrid-based team, Diame was reportedly targeted by Real Madrid, Barcelona and Arsenal but he ended up signing for Wigan in the summer of 2009.

On 20th June 2012, with West Ham United newly-promoted back to the Premier League, the out-of-contract Diame signed for the Hammers on a free transfer. By now an international player for Senegal, the 25-year-old underwent a stringent medical after heart problems had been detected when he had signed for Wigan. Diame – an agile, powerful, pacey midfielder – made his Hammers debut in a 1-0 home win over Aston Villa on 18th August 2012. He scored his first goal on 6th October 2012, giving the Irons the lead against Arsenal at Upton Park when curling a sumptuous strike into the far corner from a tight angle after cutting into the penalty area down the left – the Gunners hit back to win 3-1 though. His second strike for the club was in much happier circumstances as his low strike from the edge of the penalty area, from a Carlton Cole lay-off, put the Hammers 2-1 up against Chelsea on 1st December 2012 – the match, which ended 3-1, gave the club their first win over the Blues for over nine and a half years. Diame scored his third and final goal of 2012/13 on 17th April 2013 against another ‘top club’, Manchester United, spinning away from Wayne Rooney on the right corner of the penalty area to make space before firing a curling, left-footed rocket into the far corner beyond David de Gea after fine work by Ricardo Vaz Te and Guy Demel.

Diame, the subject of much speculation throughout his time at the club due to a well-known £3.5m release clause in his contract, scored his first goal of the 2013/14 campaign at the Boleyn in a 3-0 win over Fulham on 30th November 2013, opening the scoring via a deflected shot. He bagged the Hammers’ first goal of 2014 in a 2-1 New Year’s Day defeat against the same opposition in the reverse fixture at Craven Cottage, giving the Hammers the lead early on after turning home a loose ball in the box. Diame produced a lung-busting run from his own half on a counter attack to seal the points with a deflected finish late on a 2-0 home win over Norwich on 11th February 2014 before scoring his final goal for the club three years ago today, on 31st March 2014 in a 2-1 win at Sunderland, a bobbling effort into the far corner which ultimately proved to be the winner.

Diame’s final game for the club came as a substitute on 30th August 2014 in a 3-1 home defeat to Southampton. Having scored seven goals in 79 appearances for West Ham United, the 27-year-old Diame joined Hull City on 1st September 2014. He scored on his Tigers debut against the Hammers in a 2-2 draw two weeks after signing. He scored four goals in his first five matches for his new club, the others coming in a 2-2 draw at Newcastle, a 2-0 home win over Crystal Palace and a 2-2 draw at Arsenal. A knee injury suffered in December 2014 virtually ended Diame’s season and he only made two further substitute appearances as the Tigers were relegated.

Diame made his return to the starting eleven in August 2015, with Hull in the Championship. He scored nine goals in 38 matches during the regulation Championship season before scoring the only goal of last May’s Play-Off Final for the Tigers against Sheffield Wednesday to return the club to the Premier League. Diame was not to join them in the top flight however, the 31-cap Senegalese midfielder signing for newly-relegated Newcastle instead. Now 29, Diame has scored six goals in 34 appearances for Newcastle so far this season.


Saturday’s referee will be Chester-based Mike Jones, who will take on his first Premier League Hammers appointment of the season – his most recent league match involving West Ham was the 2-1 final-day defeat at Stoke last May, although he did referee our 4-1 League Cup quarter-final defeat at Man Utd in November.

Jones is perhaps more infamous for a shocking display during our FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Stoke in 2011, when he allowed both goals for the home side to stand despite blatant infringements on Matthew Upson and Thomas Hitzlsperger respectively. He also awarded the Potters a penalty for a Matthew Etherington dive (which was saved by Rob Green) and astonishingly gave Stoke a free-kick for a tangle which should have seen James Tomkins awarded a penalty.

Possible line-ups

Hull City are without right-back Moses Odubajo, midfielder Ryan Mason and strikers Dieumerci Mbokani and Will Keane through injury while Tom Huddlestone is suspended. Goalkeeper David Marshall is a doubt but Michael Dawson could return. Oumar Niasse could come into contention for a starting position having scored both goals in the 2-1 win over Swansea before being ineligible to play against parent club Everton in Hull’s last match, a 4-0 defeat at Goodison Park. Hull are unbeaten at home against West Ham United in the Premier League, winning two and drawing two.

West Ham are without Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna, Pedro Obiang, Gokhan Tore, Michail Antonio and Diafra Sakho. Captain Mark Noble should return in midfield. Slaven Bilic has decisions to make in central defence and central midfield with James Collins, Havard Nordtveit and Edimilson Fernandes all coming into contention depending on which position Cheikhou Kouyate starts in. The Hammers have picked up 10 points out of a possible 15 from away games against teams currently below them in the table (won three, drawn one, lost one).

Possible Hull City XI: Jakupovic; Elabdellaoui, Ranocchia, Maguire, Robertson; Markovic, N’Diaye, Henriksen, Clucas, Grosicki; Niasse.

Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Byram, Fonte, Kouyate, Cresswell; Noble, Fernandes; Snodgrass, Lanzini, Ayew; Carroll.

Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish my sister, a Season Ticket Holder and lifelong Hammer, a very Happy 30th Birthday for today – have a great one Nat!

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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