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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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Southampton v West Ham

Blast from the past

1st September 1984 – the late George Michael was number one with ‘Careless Whisper’, Michael Douglas was in UK cinemas in Romancing The Stone and West Ham United were defeating Southampton 3-2 in front of 18,442 at The Dell.

The Hammers recorded their first win of the season at the third attempt with victory on the South Coast with Paul Goddard (pictured below) scoring twice and Alan Dickens once. Joe Jordan and David Armstrong replied for the Saints but it was the Hammers who took maximum points back to London.

West Ham United would finish the 1984/85 First Division season in 16th position, while Southampton would end up fifth in a campaign which saw Everton win the title and Manchester United win the FA Cup. Tony Cottee would finish as the Hammers’ top scorer with 24 goals in 50 matches; the young striker would finish runner-up to future Saint Paul Allen in the Hammer of the Year voting.

Southampton: Peter Shilton, Ivan Golac (Alan Curtis), Mark Wright, Mark Whitlock, Mick Mills, Reuben Agboola, Steve Williams, David Armstrong, Danny Wallace, Joe Jordan, Steve Moran.

West Ham United: Tom McAlister, Ray Stewart, Alvin Martin, Tony Gale, Steve Walford, Geoff Pike, Paul Allen, Alan Dickens, Paul Goddard (Paul Hilton), Bobby Barnes, Tony Cottee.

Club Connections

Jose Fonte and Michail Antonio are likely starters at the home of their former club. An array of West Ham United’s good, bad and ugly have also turned out for Southampton:

Goalkeepers: Richard Wright, George Kitchen.

Defenders: Richard Hall, Joe Kirkup, Wayne Bridge, Neil Ruddock, Bill Adams, Ian Pearce, Darren Powell, Albie Roles, Horace Glover, Calum Davenport.

Midfielders: Luis Boa Morte, Nigel Quashie, Eyal Berkovic, Robbie Slater, Paul Allen.

Strikers: Vic Watson, Justin Fashanu, David Speedie, Iain Dowie, David Connolly, Ted MacDougall, Henri Camara, Alex McDonald, Frank Costello, Fred Harrison, Walter Pollard, Arthur Wilson, Jimmy Harris, Jack Foster.

In addition, George Kay played for the Hammers and managed the Saints while Harry Redknapp and Alan Pardew have managed both clubs.

Today’s focus though falls on a Scottish player who had a loan spell with Southampton from West Ham. Christian Dailly was born on the 23rd October 1973 in Dundee and started his professional career at Dundee United. He moved south of the border to sign for Derby in 1996 before joining Blackburn. The 27-year-old signed for Harry Redknapp’s West Ham United in January 2001 for a fee of £1.75m and made his debut in a 1-1 draw at Charlton on the 22nd January 2001. His next game saw him play the full 90 minutes of the famous 1-0 FA Cup fourth round win at Manchester United and he recorded 15 appearances in total before the season’s end. The summer of 2001 saw Redknapp replaced by Glenn Roeder, with Dailly playing every minute of every game in every competition at centre-half as the Hammers finished seventh. 2002/03 was a total disaster though, the Hammers relegated with a Premier League record 42 points.

Dailly scored his first goal for the Hammers in a 1-0 home win over Reading on 13th September 2003, the third match of Sir Trevor Brooking’s second spell as caretaker manager. His second goal of the campaign was the winner in a 2-1 home victory over Rotherham on 31st January 2004, by which time Alan Pardew had taken over as manager. The most famous of his four Hammers goals was undoubtedly the tie-clinching strike over Ipswich in the play-off semi-final second leg, played in front of a raucous Upton Park. Dailly was winded as the ball struck him in the penalty area following a Matthew Etherington corner, but he regained sufficient composure to steer the ball in via a deflection before sinking to the ground, doubled over in pain, as Upton Park erupted around him. The Hammers would go on to lose the Final against Crystal Palace and miss out on an immediate Premier League return.

The Hammers captain would pick up a serious injury just two matches into 2004/05 and missed almost the entirety of the campaign. He returned as a substitute on the final day of the regular season at Watford after nine months out before appearing from the bench in the second lef of the play-off semi-final at Ipswich and in the Final itself, against Preston in Cardiff. The Irons would emerge victorious, club captain Dailly lifting the Championship Play-Off trophy alongside team skipper Nigel Reo-Coker.

Dailly started the 2005/06 Premier League campaign at right-back against Blackburn but most of his appearances that season were as a substitute in a holding midfield role. He scored his fourth and final goal for the club in a 4-2 League Cup second round win at Sheffield Wednesday on 20th September 2005. Dailly came off the bench in the 2006 FA Cup Final but could not prevent the Hammers agonisingly losing out to Liverpool in one of the greatest modern day Finals the competition has seen. The Scot would see more game time under Pardew’s replacement, Alan Curbishley, starting nine games in two months between the new manager’s appointment in late December 2006 and late February 2007. The 4-0 defeat at Charlton on 24th February 2007 would transpire to be the 33-year-old’s final appearance in a Hammers shirt. Dailly had scored four goals in 191 appearances for West Ham United, become the love of most fans’ lives and ensured everyone of a claret and blue persuasion wanted curly hair too-oo..!

After six and a half seasons in east London, Dailly joined Southampton on loan for two months in September 2007. He made his Saints debut in a 3-2 defeat to Barnsley on 22nd September 2007. Despite only making 11 appearances for the club, some impressive displays helped Dailly became a cult favourite at St Mary’s.

Dailly left the Hammers permanently in the winter of 2008, signing for Glasgow Rangers. After 18 months with the Ibrox club, he returned to London to spend two seasons at Charlton. Brief spells at Portsmouth and Southend followed before Dailly retired from the game in July 2012 at the age of 38. Now 43, Dailly also won 67 caps for Scotland, scoring six goals and captaining his country on 12 occasions. His son, 17-year-old Harvey Dailly, is currently on the books of Christian’s first club, Dundee United.

Referee

This Saturday’s referee is 48-year-old Graham Scott. The Oxfordshire-based official will be taking charge of only his tenth Premier League match. He was, however, the man in the middle for our 2-1 League Cup victory over Cheltenham in August 2013 but also sent off Callum McNaughton in the defender’s only Hammers appearance as the club were knocked out of the same competition by Aldershot in August 2011.

Possible line-ups

Southampton have James Ward-Prowse and Jay Rodriguez rated as doubts. Alex McCarthy, Virgil van Dijk, Matt Targett, Jeremy Pied and Charlie Austin remain sidelined. New signing Manolo Gabbiadini could make his Saints debut up front.

West Ham United could welcome back Cheikhou Kouyate from international duty, while Robert Snodgrass could claim a starting berth. Alvaro Arbeloa, Angelo Ogbonna, Arthur Masuaku, Havard Nordtveit, Gokhan Tore and Diafra Sakho remain out.

Possible Southampton XI: Forster; Soares, Stephens, Yoshida, Bertrand; Romeu, Clasie; Redmond, Davis, Tadic; Gabbiadini.

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

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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Match Preview: West Ham v Man City

Blast from the past

31st October 1925 – at the end of a month which had seen John Logie Baird successfully transmit the first television pictures with a greyscale image, the introduction of covered top decks to London’s double-decker buses and Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra’s ‘Charleston’ dominate the music scene, West Ham United emerged victorious from a First Division encounter against Manchester City with a 3-1 win in front of 16,172.

The Hammers’ goals came courtesy of legendary outside-left Jimmy Ruffell, wing-half Syd Bishop (his only goal of the season) and inside-right Stan Earle. The victory moved the Irons into seventh position in the table.

Ruffell, 5’9 with low-slung hips and blessed with a wonderful touch and searing pace, was a goalscoring winger who bagged 12 goals that season to go towards his total of 166 goals from 548 appearances for West Ham United between 1921 and 1937. Born in Yorkshire, Ruffell won six England caps and laid on countless goals for Vic Watson. He topped the club’s appearance charts for 36 years until the great Bobby Moore surpassed him in 1973 – the pair are pictured together below. Ruffell worked as a brewery representative after retiring from football and died on the 6th September 1989, at the age of 89.

The Hammers, who had topped the table in mid-September, went on to finish in 18th place in the 1925/26 Division One season while City ended up 21st and were relegated. Vic Watson was the Irons’ top scorer with 20 goals from 39 games, Huddersfield won the league title and Bolton won the FA Cup, beating the relegated Manchester City in the Final.

West Ham United: Ted Hufton, Jack Hebden, Tommy Hodgson, Syd Bishop, George Carter, Jim Barrett, Albert Cadwell, Tommy Yews, Stan Earle, Billy Moore, Jimmy Ruffell.

Club Connections

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

Goalkeepers – David James, Perry Suckling.

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

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

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

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

Today’s focus though is on a Welsh international who had an injury-hit 18 months with the Hammers before joining City in 2009. Craig Bellamy was born on 13th July 1979 and started his football career as a nine-year-old with Bristol Rovers before joining Norwich two years later. He made his debut for the Canaries in March 1997 and moved to Premier League Coventry in the summer of 2000. After one season at Highfield Road, Bellamy signed for Newcastle where he would go on to experience Champions League football. Following personal issues at the club, Bellamy moved to Celtic on loan in January 2005 before signing for Blackburn the following summer. After a single season at Ewood Park, Bellamy was on the move again, this time to Liverpool.

After just one season at Anfield, Alan Curbishley brought Bellamy to West Ham United for a club record fee of £7.5m in July 2007. The 28-year-old made his debut against Manchester City in a 2-0 home defeat on the opening day of the 2007/08 campaign and scored his first goals for the club when bagging a brace in a 2-1 League Cup second round win at Bristol Rovers on 28th August 2007. He followed that up with his first league strike for the club four days later, in a 3-0 win at Reading. His first goal at Upton Park in claret and blue came on 21st October 2007, to clinch the points in a 3-1 home win over Sunderland. Curbishley’s plans for Dean Ashton to lead the line surrounded by the pace of Bellamy, fellow new signing Julien Faubert and Matthew Etherington were hit by injuries and, from the end of October, Bellamy himself would only make one substitute appearance for the remainder of the season.

‘Bellars’ made his return on 30th August 2008, joining the action from the bench to score in a 4-1 home win over former club Blackburn in Curbishley’s last match in charge before Gianfranco Zola took over. Niggly injuries followed but the Welsh striker was well into his stride around the Christmas period, scoring at Chelsea in a 1-1 draw on 14th December before bagging a clinical brace in a 4-1 win at Portsmouth on Boxing Day. Bellamy’s final game in claret and blue also saw his final goal, in a 2-2 draw at former club Newcastle on 10th January 2009. Having started to show why the club broke their transfer record when signing him, the club’s Icelandic owners could not resist the opportunity to cash in on their star striker and sold the 29-year-old Bellamy to Manchester City for £14m. He had scored nine goals in 26 appearances in all competitions for West Ham United.

Bellamy, who in signing for City had teamed up with his former Wales manager Mark Hughes, marked his debut for City on 28th January 2009 with the winning goal in a 2-1 win against his former club Newcastle at the City of Manchester Stadium, making him only the fifth player in Premier League history to have scored for six different top-flight clubs. Bellamy’s next goal came against Middlesbrough, sealing the points in a 1-0 win. He also scored against former club Liverpool at Anfield in a 1-1 draw on 22nd February 2009.

Bellamy opened his account for the 2009/10 season with a goal in City’s 4-2 win over Arsenal on 12th September 2009 and followed that up a week later with two goals against Manchester United in a 4-3 derby defeat. As his popularity with Manchester City fans rose, his next goal earned a point in a 1-1 draw at Villa Park on 5th October, while he also scored in a 3-3 home draw with Burnley on 7th November 2009. He scored again on 19th December against Sunderland in a 4-3 victory, a match which turned out to be Hughes’ last game in charge of the club. Under new boss Roberto Mancini, Bellamy scored an equaliser against Stoke in an FA Cup fifth round replay, but City would go on to lose 3-1. Bellamy then scored two goals at Stamford Bridge in a 4-2 win against Chelsea.

Bellamy joined hometown club Cardiff on a season-long loan in August 2010 before re-joining former club Liverpool on a free transfer in August 2011. He had scored 15 goals in 51 appearances in all competitions for Manchester City. After one season at Anfield, Bellamy re-joined Cardiff, where he stayed for two years and became the first player to score for seven different clubs in the Premier League, before announcing his retirement in May 2014 at the age of 34. He had won 78 caps for Wales, scoring 19 goals, and also scored for and captained Great Britain during the 2012 Olympics. Now 37, Bellamy is an academy coach at Cardiff and runs the Craig Bellamy Foundation in Sierra Leone.

Referee

Wednesday’s referee is Kevin Friend. The Leicester-based official has been involved in top-flight matches since 2009 and last 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 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

West Ham United have Alvaro Arbeloa, Angelo Ogbonna, Arthur Masuaku, Havard Nordtveit, Gokhan Tore and Diafra Sakho on the injury list. Mark Noble and Andy Carroll are expected to be in Slaven Bilic’s squad, while Jose Fonte and Robert Snodgrass could make home debuts.

Manchester City will be without Ilkay Gundogan, while Sergio Aguero is a doubt. Pep Guardiola has Fernandinho available again after a four-match suspension.

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

Possible Manchester City XI: Bravo; Zabaleta, Kompany, Kolarov, Clichy; Fernandinho; Sterling, De Bruyne, Silva, Sane; Aguero.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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Match Preview: Middlesbrough v West Ham

Blast from the past

Today’s blast from the past features a 1-0 victory at Ayresome Park against this weekend’s opponents, Middlesbrough. It arrived nearly 27 years ago, on the 3rd of March 1990 in front of 23,617 spectators.

Beats International featuring Lindy Layton were number one with ‘Dub Be Good To Me’ and Honey, I Shrunk The Kids was in UK cinemas as the Hammers left it late to take all three points on Teesside. George Parris’ ball in was cleared only as far as Julian Dicks, who fired in a drive which Stephen Pears could only parry. ‘Mad Dog’ Martin Allen reacted quickest to tap home the loose ball with just four minutes remaining. The goal can be seen at the 1:32:16 mark of the video below.

The match marked Billy Bonds’ first win as Hammers manager having taken over from Lou Macari the previous month. Bonzo would win nine of the remaining 15 league matches, taking the club from mid-table to the brink of the play-offs.

Bonds’ Hammers ended the 1989/90 season 7th in the Second Division, two points short of a play-off place. Dicks finished the season as the club’s top scorer with 14 goals in all competitions. The left-back also won his first of four Hammer of the Year trophies, with Stuart Slater runner-up. Middlesbrough were to finish 21st, one place and two points clear of relegation.

Middlesbrough: Stephen Pears, Gary Parkinson, Alan Kernaghan, Simon Coleman, Owen McGee, Stuart Ripley, Mark Proctor, Mark Brennan, Paul Kerr (Peter Davenport), Bernie Slaven, Ian Baird.

West Ham United: Ludek Miklosko, George Parris, Alvin Martin, Tony Gale, Julian Dicks, Kevin Keen, Stewart Robson, Martin Allen, Liam Brady (Ian Bishop), Stuart Slater, Jimmy Quinn (Trevor Morley).

Club Connections

Stewart Downing welcomes his former club to the Riverside Stadium. Other players who have appeared for both clubs include:

Defenders: Emanuel Pogatetz, Frank Piercy, Robbie Stockdale.

Midfielders: Kieron Dyer, Gary O’Neil.

Strikers: Brian Deane, Jeremie Aliadiere, Mido.

In addition, ex-Hammers defender Malcolm Allison managed Middlesbrough from 1982 to 1984.

Today’s focus is on a former England international who started his career with the Hammers before later captaining Middlesbrough. Paul Ince made his West Ham United debut at the age of 19 in a Full Members Cup match at the Boleyn Ground on 25th November 1986 as the Hammers fell to a 2-1 defeat against Chelsea. He made his league debut five days later as a substitute in a 4-0 loss at Newcastle and scored his first Hammers goal just six days after that, in a 3-1 home win over Southampton which took the Irons into the First Division’s top five.

Ince’s next goal arrived ten months later, in a 1-1 home draw with Charlton in October 1987 as West Ham’s lack of investment following the success of 1985/86 started to take its eventually destructive toll – the Hammers were now entrenched in the bottom half of the table. Ince was establishing himself in the first team, displaying qualities of stamina, good passing ability, pace and uncompromising tackling. He scored again in a 2-1 home win over Newcastle just before Christmas 1987 and came off the bench to score in a 1-1 home draw with Luton in early January 1988.

1988/89 was a dark season in the history of West Ham but, despite the club’s relegation at the end of the campaign, the season had been a personal success for Ince. He scored four goals in as many games in November/December 1988 – the first in a 1-1 draw in the Full Members Cup at Watford, two more in a 4-1 League Cup fourth round triumph over Liverpool at Upton Park (video above) and the winner in a 1-0 victory at Millwall. Ince went on to score in the 2-1 League Cup quarter-final home win over Aston Villa which set up a disastrous semi-final against Luton, with the Hammers losing 5-0 on aggregate. With the Hammers locked in an ultimately vain fight for top-flight survival, Ince went on another mini scoring run in March 1989, notching three goals in four games – these came in a 1-1 home draw with Coventry, a 3-1 defeat at Norwich in an FA Cup quarter-final replay and a stunning strike to clinch the points in a 1-0 win at Aston Villa after he had carried the ball from his own half. Ince was voted the Hammer of the Year for 1988/89.

With the Hammers relegated and Ince’s mentor, John Lyall, sacked, Ince’s agent began angling for a move. Lyall had helped Ince through troubled school times, eventually signing him as a YTS trainee on leaving school in 1984 and Ince struggled to see a future for himself at the club without such an influential figure in his life. Manchester United agreed a fee of around £1m for the 21-year-old midfielder before controversy hit the deal. Ince takes up the story, in an interview with Four Four Two:

“I spoke to Alex Ferguson and the deal was close to being done. I then went on holiday, and my agent at the time, Ambrose Mendy, said it wasn’t worth me coming back to do a picture in a United shirt when the deal was completed, so I should do one before I left, and it would be released when the deal was announced. Lawrence Luster of the Daily Star took the picture and put it in their library. Soon after, their sister paper, the Daily Express, were looking for a picture of me playing for West Ham and found the one of me in the United shirt in the pile. They published it and all hell broke loose. I came back from holiday to discover West Ham fans were going mad. It wasn’t really my fault. I was only a kid, I did what my agent told me to do, then took all the stick for it."

Ince’s final appearance came under Lou Macari in a 1-1 Second Division draw at Stoke in August 1989. After 95 appearances and 12 goals in claret and blue, he completed his move to Old Trafford where he won the Premier League twice, the FA Cup twice, the League Cup once and the Charity Shield three times. He also won the European Cup Winners’ Cup and European Super Cup whilst with the Red Devils. Ince first returned to the Boleyn Ground in February 1994, scoring a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw after being on the receiving end of a hostile reception. West Ham fans would have the last laugh though as Ince and his Manchester United side were denied the Premier League title at Upton Park on the last day of the 1994/95 season, with thousands of fans holding aloft mini-banners emblazoned with the word ‘Judas’. Ince moved on to play for Inter Milan and Liverpool as well as becoming the first black player to captain England, for whom he was capped 53 times, scoring two goals.

In the summer of 1999 Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier put Ince on the transfer list and the 31-year-old signed for Middlesbrough for £1m. He linked up with his former team-mate Bryan Robson, who had by then been the Teessiders manager for five years. As club captain, Ince made 106 appearances over three seasons at Middlesbrough, scoring nine goals, before he was given a free transfer in 2002 at the end of his contract by Robson’s successor, Steve McClaren.

Ince joined Wolverhampton Wanderers in the summer of 2002, where he would be playing outside a national top division for the first time since his one appearance there for West Ham in 1989. After four years at Molineux, he was named player-coach at Swindon. Ince went on to become player-manager of Macclesfield and has since had two spells as manager at MK Dons. He has also managed Blackburn, Notts County and Blackpool. He returned to the Boleyn Ground as a manager in August 2008, only to see his Blackburn side defeated 4-1 by Alan Curbishley’s Hammers. Now 49, Ince is currently without a club but his son Tom, who scored in the 2012 Play-Off Final against the Hammers, is currently playing for Derby.

Referee

Saturday’s referee is Martin Atkinson who, ironically, took charge of our last Premier League win at Middlesbrough on 22nd December 2007. 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 15 of our league matches, officiating in eight 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, our 2-0 win at Arsenal last August and the 1-1 home draw with West Brom in November.

Atkinson also refereed the Hammers’ FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford in March, 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 his most recent Hammers appointment was our 1-0 win at Crystal Palace in October, when he controversially sent off Aaron Cresswell for two very harsh yellow cards in quick succession.

Possible line-ups

Middlesbrough could hand a start to January signing Rudy Gestede up front. Right-back Antonio Barragan and midfielder Gaston Ramirez are doubts. New signing Patrick Bamford comes into contention.

West Ham United are without Alvaro Arbeloa, Arthur Masuaku, Gokhan Tore and Diafra Sakho. Sam Byram, Winston Reid, Sofiane Feghouli and Andy Carroll are doubts.

Possible Middlesbrough XI: Valdes; Chambers, Gibson, Bernardo; Fabio, Leadbitter, de Roon, Forshaw, Friend; Negredo, Gestede.

Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Byram, Collins, Reid, Cresswell; Obiang, Noble; Feghouli, Lanzini, Fernandes; Antonio.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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