Dan Coker's Match Preview
Blast from the past
New Year’s Eve 1977 – Wings were number one with their double A-side Christmas number one ‘Mull of Kintyre/Girls’ School’, Star Wars was in UK cinemas and, on the day which saw Bruce Forsyth step down as presenter of The Generation Game after six years, the Hammers defeated the Foxes at Upton Park in front of 25,355 spectators.
John McDowell (pictured) fired in a rasping drive for his only goal of the season to give the Irons the lead. Derek Hales, sent clear by a Trevor Brooking pass, made it two with his fifth goal in ten games to give the hosts a 2-0 half-time lead.
David ‘Psycho’ Cross then scored his first ever goal in claret and blue, getting on the end of Brooking’s cross to score the first of his 97 goals for West Ham United. The Hammers were 3-0 up but, typically for West Ham, the game was not over – Steve Kember scored a freak goal from a cross which looped over Bobby Ferguson to pull one back for the visitors. Scottish goalkeeper Ferguson, playing in his first league game for 20 months, then made a super save from a dipping shot by Roger Davies. Steve Sims added another for Leicester with a looping header from a corner but the Hammers held out to claim a 3-2 win and end 1977 on a happy note.
My video below shows all the goals from this game as well as Ferguson’s save and an interview with the former Hammers goalkeeper.
West Ham would go on to be relegated in a 1977/78 campaign that saw them finish third from bottom, in 20th place, just one point behind QPR. Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson would be the Irons’ top goalscorer with 11 goals in 41 matches in 1977/78. Brooking was voted the Hammer of the Year and, for the only time since 1961, there was no runner-up. The Foxes finished ten points behind the Hammers, rooted to the bottom of the First Division table. Nottingham Forest won the league and Ipswich won the FA Cup.
West Ham United: Bobby Ferguson, John McDowell, Billy Bonds, Tommy Taylor, Frank Lampard, Alan Devonshire, Alan Curbishley, Trevor Brooking, Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson, Derek Hales, David Cross.
Leicester City: Mark Wallington, Tommy Williams (Steve Earle), Dave Webb, Steve Sims, Dennis Rofe, Steve Kember, Jon Sammels, Eddie Kelly, George Armstrong, Roger Davies, Billy Hughes.
Players who have represented both the Hammers and the Foxes include:
Goalkeepers: George Hebden, Colin Mackleworth.
Defenders: Gary Charles, Chris Powell, Dickie Pudan, Rufus Brevett, Paul Konchesky, Dai Jones, Matthew Upson, Clive Clarke, Billy Oakes, Fred Milnes, John Paintsil.
Midfielders: Andy Impey, Shaun Newton, Nolberto Solano, Franz Carr, Sid Bishop.
Strikers: David Connolly, Albert Carnelly, Mike Newell, Brian Deane, Keith Robson, David Speedie, Bertie Lyon, Paul Kitson, Norman Proctor, Les Ferdinand, David Kelly, Tony Cottee, Jimmy Quinn.
Frank O’Farrell and Jimmy Bloomfield have played for the Hammers and managed the Foxes.
Today’s focus is on another who played for West Ham United and managed Leicester City. Martin Allen was born in Reading on the 14th August 1965 and started his professional career at QPR in 1984. Martin was born into the famous footballing Allen family – the son of Dennis Allen (who played for Reading, Charlton and Bournemouth), the nephew of Les and cousin of Paul, Bradley and Clive. He played in the 1986 League Cup Final during his time at Loftus Road before joining Lou Macari’s West Ham United in the summer of 1989 for a fee of £670,000. He scored on his Hammers debut in a 3-2 home win over Plymouth on 26th August 1989 and bagged another in his next appearance at Upton Park in a 1-1 draw against Swindon. Allen scored an impressive 11 goals in 48 appearances in his first season with the club and also picked up a red card in a League Cup quarter-final against Derby – it was Allen’s strike against Wimbledon that had booked the Hammers’ place in the last eight. He had gained a reputation as a midfielder with an eye for goal – his combative nature in the middle of the park also lived up to his nickname, ‘Mad Dog’.
Billy Bonds had taken over from Lou Macari midway through the 1989/90 campaign – Allen’s goal at Middlesbrough had given Bonzo his first win as Hammer manager. 1990/91 would see Allen spend more time as a substitute than the previous season – he made 46 appearances but 12 of these were from the bench. He scored five goals in this promotion-winning campaign – four came in October 1990 with two in a League Cup second round second leg 2-2 draw at Stoke and another double in a 2-1 home win over Charlton. His final goal of the season was in the reverse match at Selhurst Park, Charlton’s temporary home, in a 1-1 draw.
The fateful First Division campaign of 1991/92 saw Allen spend a considerable amount of time on the sidelines with an Achilles injury – he scored two goals from 24 matches, both against Sunderland in a 3-2 FA Cup fifth round replay defeat at Upton Park on 26th February 1992. Allen was a key member of the 1992/93 promotion-winning side though, playing 44 matches as he teamed up with new signing Peter Butler in midfield – the pair provided a tough-tackling, no-nonsense approach which allowed wingers Kevin Keen and Mark Robson to create for free-scoring Trevor Morley and Clive Allen, Martin’s cousin who had joined from Chelsea towards the end of the previous campaign. ‘Mad Dog’ scored four goals – September strikes in a 2-1 home win over Watford and 3-1 triumph at Peterborough were followed by a goal in a 6-0 smashing of Sunderland at Upton Park and another in a 4-0 home victory over Brentford.
1993/94 saw ‘Mad Dog’ stamp his paws on the Premier League – he scored ten goals in 34 matches. Most of his game time in the early months of the season came from the bench and he only registered one goal before Christmas, in a 2-0 League Cup second round second leg win at Chesterfield. He won his place back in January 1994 and scored three goals in as many matches – against Watford in a 2-1 home win in the FA Cup third round, at Aston Villa in a 3-1 defeat and in a 3-3 home draw with Norwich – he kept his place in midfield for the rest of the season as the Hammers consolidated their top-flight status. A flurry of goals between March and May saw Allen bag six goals in nine matches, including a delightful lofted effort over David James in a 2-1 home defeat to Liverpool and typical long-range efforts in a 2-1 home defeat to Blackburn and 2-0 win at Arsenal. Although Ken Monkou did score an own goal later in the 3-3 draw with Southampton on 7th May 1994, ‘Mad Dog’ holds the distinction of being the last West Ham player to score in front of the terraced North Bank having struck earlier in the second half of the game.
1994/95 saw Harry Redknapp take up the managerial reigns – Allen scored twice in 33 appearances that season, in a 2-1 win at Chelsea and 2-0 home win over Southampton, both in October 1994. Allen’s final goal in claret and blue came in a 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest on 26th August 1995. His last appearance for the club was four days later in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham at Upton Park. After the death of his father Dennis, who used to watch Martin from the West Stand at Upton Park, Allen decided it was too emotional to play at Upton Park and left the club for Portsmouth in August 1995. He had made 232 appearances for the club, scoring 35 goals. 33 of Mad Dog’s 35 goals can be seen in my video below.
After two years at Fratton Park, Allen moved to Southend where he ended his playing career in 1998. He began his managerial career as assistant to Alan Pardew at his hometown club Readingand managed Barnet, Brentford and MK Dons before getting the Leicester job in May 2007. Due to a strained relationship with chairman Milan Mandaric, mainly revolving around player transfers, Allen was only in charge for four games before leaving the club on 29th August 2007. He won two, drew one and lost one of his matches with the Foxes.
Now 52, Allen has since managed Cheltenham, Barnet (on three further occasions), Notts County, Gillingham and Eastleigh.
The referee on Friday will be Martin Atkinson, who most recently refereed our last Friday night match – the 3-0 home defeat to Brighton. He was also in charge of our 4-0 opening weekend defeat at Manchester United on 13th August. 2017/18 is Atkinson’s 13th as a Premier League referee. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Atkinson has refereed 19 of our league matches, officiating in nine wins for the Hammers, two draws and eight defeats.
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 last 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 previous Hammers appointments this calendar year were our 3-1 win at Middlesbrough in January and our 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in April.
West Ham United have lost only three of their last 30 home matches against Leicester stretching back to 1967, with 21 victories and 6 draws against the Foxes in that time. David Moyes will be without Chicharito, Sam Byram, James Collins, Jose Fonte and Michail Antonio. Marko Arnautovoic and Andre Ayew are both available. Andy Carroll has gone 12 hours and 49 minutes without a goal – spanning 10 games – since scoring against Hull on 1st April.
Leicester City manager Claude Puel will be without Robert Huth and Matty James. Leicester failed to register an attempt on target in a Premier League game for the first time in 13 months against Manchester City last weekend. The Foxes could record three successive away victories in this fixture for the first time. They had only won one of their 28 league visits to east London prior to back-to-back victories in the past two seasons.
Possible West Ham United XI: Hart; Zabaleta, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Kouyate, Noble, Obiang; Ayew, Lanzini; Carroll.
Possible Leicester City XI: Schmeichel; Simpson, Maguire, Morgan, Fuchs; Iborra, Ndidi; Mahrez, Albrighton, Gray; Vardy.
Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!