Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Arsenal v West Ham

Blast from the past

2nd November 1991 – U2 were number one with ‘The Fly’, Homicide was in UK cinemas and, three days later, Robert Maxwell was found dead at the age of 68. Meanwhile, Billy Bonds’ West Ham United were sealing a 1-0 victory over Arsenal in front of 33,539 at Highbury.

George Graham’s First Division champions, including future Hammers Ian Wright and Nigel Winterburn, put their newly-promoted visitors under pressure in the first half but the Hammers started to have breakaway moments in the second period, in a match which was Michael Thomas’ last in the Gunners’ midfield before his switch to Liverpool. Anders Limpar saw a dipping volley from the edge of the penalty area tipped over by ‘Ludo’ Miklosko after the interval while Mike Small’s stinging effort from Kevin Keen’s pass was touched over by David Seaman at the other end. 29-year-old Small, a £400,000 summer signing from Brighton, went into this game having scored 12 goals in his first 18 matches as a Hammer.

As the game started to open up, the Irons went in front through their in-form striker Small (pictured). Fellow summer recruit, left-back Mitchell Thomas, emerged with the ball from a scramble on the edge of the Hammers’ box and carried forward beyond halfway before finding marauding right-back Tim Breacker. He played a one-two with captain Ian Bishop and passed inside to Small on the edge of the Gunners’ penalty area. Small turned away from his markers before firing a blistering left-foot drive beyond the dive of Seaman and into the Clock End net in front of the visiting Claret and Blue Army.

Arsenal pressed for an equaliser in the final ten minutes but the Hammers still had their moments on the counter attack with the pace of Stuart Slater a constant threat. Slater broke down the right late on and found Keen with a great chance to double the lead but his effort could only bobble wide. The action from this game, including Small’s winner and an interview with West Ham centre-half Tony Gale, can be viewed in my video below.

The Gunners would finish fourth in 1991/92, while the Hammers would end the campaign bottom and relegated. Leeds won the league and Liverpool won the FA Cup. Small would end the campaign as the Hammers’ top scorer with 18 goals from 51 matches. Julian Dicks, who didn’t return from a serious knee injury until December, was voted Hammer of the Year, with Steve Potts runner-up.

Arsenal: David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Colin Pates, Andy Linighan, Nigel Winterburn, Paul Merson, Michael Thomas (Perry Groves), David Rocastle, Anders Limpar, Ian Wright, Alan Smith.

West Ham United: Ludek Miklosko, Tim Breacker, Steve Potts, Tony Gale, Mitchell Thomas, Kevin Keen, George Parris, Ian Bishop, Stuart Slater, Mike Small, Frank McAvennie.

Club Connections

A large group of players have turned out for West Ham United and Arsenal. Carl Jenkinson is currently on loan at Birmingham from the Gunners having spent two of the previous three seasons on loan at the Hammers. Other players to have represented both clubs include:

Goalkeepers: Richard Wright, Manuel Almunia, Jim Standen.

Defenders: Matthew Upson, Nigel Winterburn, Steve Walford, Bob Stevenson.

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

Strikers: Harry Lewis, Bobby Gould, Jeremie Aliadiere, Dick Burgess, John Blackwood, Fergie Hunt, Dr Jimmy Marshall, Kaba Diawara, Jimmy Bloomfield, Charlie Satterthwaite, Marouane Chamakh, Billy Linward, Lee Chapman, Tommy Lee, Ian Wright, Peter Kyle, John Hartson, Stan Earle, John Radford, Davor Suker.

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

Today’s focus though falls on a former goalkeeper for both the Gunners and the Hammers. Charles James Ambler was born on the 13th August 1868 in Alverstoke, Hampshire and began his career at Bostall Rovers before signing for Royal Arsenal in 1891, shortly before they turned professional and were renamed Woolwich Arsenal. As an amateur, he also turned out for Clapton, Dartford and Luton.

After struggling to make it with the Gunners, Ambler became part of a select club to swap Arsenal for Tottenham in the summer of 1894 but he returned to Woolwich Arsenal in November 1895. He made his only league appearance for Arsenal in a 5-1 Second Division defeat to Newton Heath (the club who went on to be Manchester United) on 30th November 1895. He again left Arsenal for Tottenham in the summer of 1896, remaining with Spurs for four years before joining Gravesend United in 1900. He was shortly on the move again, this time to New Brompton (the club now known as Gillingham) before signing for West Ham United in 1901.

Ambler (pictured) was reserve team goalkeeper with the Hammers but won a place in the limelight almost by default when an administrative mistake meant the Irons were to host Tottenham in a Southern League match at the Memorial Grounds on the same day as welcoming Leyton for an FA Cup third qualifying match. With the prospect of larger gate receipts from the league game, West Ham ceded home advantage in the Cup and sent the reserves to Leyton – the league was taking priority over the cup even back at the start of the 20th century! 33-year-old Ambler kept a clean sheet in the match at Leyton on his competitive West Ham debut in a 1-0 win on 2nd November 1901 while the first team lost to Spurs by the same scoreline at the Memorial Grounds in the league.

As a consequence, the West Ham management decided to rest regular custodian Hughie Monteith for the next league match, with Ambler making his only Southern League appearance for the Hammers the following week against QPR, on 9th November 1901. The Irons lost 2-1 at Rangers’ Latimer Road home in North Kensington – incidentally, the West Ham side had to change in the Latimer Arms pub and run down the road to the pitch! It was to prove to be Ambler’s second and last competitive appearance for West Ham United. Monteith was back in goal the following week when the first team were dumped out of the FA Cup at home by Essex village side Grays.

Ambler joined Millwall at the end of the 1901/02 season, his only campaign with the Hammers. In later life he changed his name to Charles James Toby – Charles Ambler passed away in 1952 at the age of either 83 or 84.


Sunday’s referee will be Lee Mason from Greater Manchester. Mason’s three games officiating the Hammers this season have all ended in defeat. Most recently, he took charge of our 3-0 home defeat to Burnley last month, while the other two matches were both 3-2 defeats: at Southampton in August when he failed to send off Dusan Tadic but did give Marko Arnautovic a red card, before awarding the Saints a match-winning penalty in added time; and against Newcastle at home in December when he awarded the Hammers a penalty only for Andre Ayew’s effort to be saved. Mason refereed the Hammers once in 2016/17 – the 1-0 home win over Hull when he awarded the Hammers a match-winning penalty – but took charge of two West Ham matches the previous season, those being the 0-0 draw at Swansea in December 2015 and the 3-0 win at West Brom in April 2016.

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He refereed three Premier League matches involving the Hammers in 2014/15 – the 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa, the 1-0 home win over Sunderland and the 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford when he sent off Wayne Rooney, denied the Hammers a penalty when Morgan Amalfitano’s cross struck Radamel Falcao’s arm and disallowed Kevin Nolan’s last-minute strike for a marginal offside. Mason was also the man in the middle for our 1-0 FA Cup win at Bristol City in January 2015. He also officiated in four of our games in 2013/14, sending off two of our players (Mark Noble against Everton and James Tomkins at Cardiff) and disallowing a perfectly good Stewart Downing equaliser at Crystal Palace. He also sent off Mark Noble at Birmingham in December 2009.

Possible line-ups

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who announced yesterday that he will step down in the summer after 22 years as Gunners boss, will be without the injured Santi Cazorla and Henrikh Mkhitaryan while Jack Wilshere faces a late fitness test. Aaron Ramsey is available after a shin injury. Wenger may make changes with Thursday’s Europa League semi-final first leg at home against Atletico Madrid in mind – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is cup-tied for that match so is likely to face the Hammers instead, having scored six goals in his opening eight Premier League games for Arsenal.

West Ham United are without Sam Byram, Winston Reid, James Collins, Pedro Obiang and Michail Antonio. Italian centre-half Angelo Ogbonna faces a late fitness test on a knee injury. The Hammers have scored in each of their last nine away league games, their joint-longest run in a single Premier League season since 1999/00. David Moyes has never won a match in league or cup away to Arsenal, either at Highbury or The Emirates. West Ham’s tally of five Premier League victories at Arsenal is bettered only by Manchester United (eight) and Liverpool (seven).

Possible Arsenal XI: Cech; Chambers, Mustafi, Holding, Monreal; Xhaka, Elneny; Iwobi, Willock, Aubameyang; Lacazette.

Possible West Ham United XI: Hart; Zabaleta, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku; Kouyate, Noble, Mario; Lanzini, Arnautovic.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Stoke

Blast from the past

23rd October 1954 – the day West Germany joined NATO and four days after Britain agreed to end its military occupation of the Suez Canal, Don Cornell was number one with ‘Hold My Hand’, Robert Donat was in UK cinemas in Lease of Life and West Ham United met Stoke City at the Boleyn Ground for a Second Division encounter in front of 27,005.

The Hammers were to emerge victorious with a 3-0 victory with two goals coming courtesy of 24-year-old inside-forward John Dick (pictured) and another from fellow striker Dave Sexton. The win would take the Hammers into the second tier’s top eight. Govan-born Dick would end the campaign as the Irons’ top goalscorer with 26 goals from 41 appearances.

West Ham would indeed finish the 1954/55 Division Two season in eighth place, while Stoke would end the campaign in fifth position. Birmingham and Luton would win promotion, Chelsea won the First Division title and Newcastle won the FA Cup.

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

Club Connections

Marko Arnautovic welcomes the club he left in the summer, while Glen Johnson visits the club with whom he started his career. A reasonable number of players have also worn the shirts of both Stoke City and West Ham United. These include:

Goalkeepers: Tony Parks, Steve Banks, Lawrie Leslie, Pat McMahon, Bob Dixon.

Defenders: Clive Clarke, Abdoulaye Faye, Danny Collins, Billy Cope, Matthew Upson.

Midfielders: Luke Chadwick, Paul Allen, Kevin Keen, Victor Moses.

Strikers: Frank Richardson, Lee Chapman, Jack Farrell, Sir Geoff Hurst, John Carew, Wilf Phillips, Henri Camara, Nicky Morgan.

Lou Macari has also managed both clubs, with two spells in charge of the Potters.

Today’s focus falls on a man who enjoyed successful playing spells at both clubs. Matthew Etherington began his career at Peterborough, making his debut in May 1997 at 15 years and 262 days. He played 58 games for the Posh before joining Tottenham in December 1999. After three and a half years at White Hart Lane, which included a loan spell at Bradford, Etherington signed for Glenn Roeder’s West Ham in August 2003 – he was valued at £500,000 in the deal which took Frederic Kanoute to north London in the aftermath of the Hammers’ relegation. Peterborough made a formal complaint to the FA regarding the valuation placed on Etherington as they would have benefited from a sell-on clause had it been greater than the £500,000 they had sold Etherington to Tottenham for in 1999.

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Etherington made his debut in claret and blue in a 2-1 opening-day win at Preston in August 2003 and, after Trevor Brooking took caretaker control, he scored his first goal for the Hammers in a 3-0 win at Crewe the following month. With Alan Pardew now at the helm, he was sent off in a 1-1 draw at Norwich in February 2004 but scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 home win against Wimbledon the following month. The left-winger also scored in a 2-1 home victory against Gillingham and was voted the Hammer of the Year for the 2003/04 season. Etherington scored with a stunning strike in the 2-0 play-off semi-final second leg win against Ipswich at Upton Park, played out in front of a raucous midweek atmosphere under the lights – one of my favourite Boleyn Ground memories. The Hammers would be defeated in the Final by Crystal Palace and miss out on promotion.

The former England Under-21 man would score three goals the following season – against Derby in a 1-1 away draw, Nottingham Forest in a 3-2 Boxing Day home win and at Ipswich in a 2-0 triumph on New Year’s Day – Alan Pardew’s Irons achieved promotion at the second time of asking, with Etherington supplying the cross for Bobby Zamora’s winning goal in the Play-Off Final against Preston. Etherington would again score three goals in the following campaign, with Premier League strikes in the curtain-raising 3-1 home win against Blackburn and 3-2 victory at Highbury supplemented by an FA Cup goal as Blackburn were knocked out 4-2 in the fourth round at the Boleyn Ground – the Hammers would go on to make the Final against Liverpool, with Etherington recovering from injury to play a significant part in a memorable Irons performance.

A disappointing, and goalless, 2006/07 season followed as the Hammers narrowly avoided relegation in a turbulent campaign but Etherington returned to his three-goals-in-a-season routine in 2007/08, scoring twice in a 3-0 win at Reading in September 2007 before notching once in the 5-0 rout at Derby two months later. He made a promising start to life under Gianfranco Zola in 2008/09, scoring in successive September league wins against Newcastle (3-1) and at Fulham (2-1) but departed in January 2009 after personal problems necessitated a move away. He had made 195 appearances for the Hammers in all competitions, scoring 18 goals. My video below contains all 18 of Etherington’s goals for West Ham United, including his hat-trick against Wimbledon and double against Reading, as well as his Play-Off Semi-Final stunner against Ipswich.

The 27-year-old Etherington signed for Tony Pulis’ Stoke for £3m in January 2009. He made his debut in a 0-0 draw with Liverpool and was sent off in a 2-0 defeat to Sunderland for kicking Danny Collins, another player who played for both the Hammers and the Potters. He scored his first Stoke goal in a 4-3 League Cup win over Blackpool the following season and his first league goal in a 2-2 draw with Wolves. He was named Stoke’s Player of the Year for 2009/10, his first full campaign with the club. The following season saw him score a last-minute equaliser at Manchester City and the first goal in the 5-0 Wembley win over Bolton in the FA Cup semi-final – just as in 2006, Etherington would face a fitness race for the 2011 Final. He did play but would again receive a runners-up medal as Stoke lost 1-0 to Manchester City. Etherington also saw a penalty saved by Robert Green in the quarter-final as his Stoke side knocked out the Hammers on a controversial afternoon at the Britannia – Etherington’s own fall under Scott Parker’s ‘challenge’ to win the penalty was dubious in itself!

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Etherington’s form started to dip and starting appearances became more sporadic before he left the club at the end of his contract in the summer of 2014 – he had made 176 appearances for the Potters, scoring 16 goals. On 3rd December 2014, after turning down an offer from Millwall, Etherington admitted a back injury had got the better of him and announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 33. Speaking personally, I always looked forward to watching Matty’s pace and trickery down the left wing, regularly giving his full-back a hard time – Etherington, now 36, remains one of my favourite Hammers of the last 15 years.


The referee on Monday will be Michael Oliver. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Oliver has refereed 11 of our league matches, officiating in two wins for the Hammers, one draw and eight defeats.

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Oliver was the man in the middle for the Irons’ 2-0 reverse at Chelsea three seasons ago and also sent off Kevin Nolan at Anfield four seasons ago. His only Hammers appointments in 2015/16 were for the 2-1 home victory over Southampton in December and the 4-1 home defeat to Swansea in May. His only games in charge of the Irons last season were our 5-0 home defeat to Manchester City in the FA Cup third round and the 2-2 home draw with West Brom in February. He most recently refereed our 4-0 defeat at Everton in December 2017 and, prior to that, our 3-2 home defeat to Tottenham in September, sending off Spurs’ Serge Aurier but failing to award the Hammers a penalty in the dying minutes for a push on Andy Carroll.

Possible line-ups

For West Ham United, Sam Byram, Winston Reid, Pedro Obiang and Michail Antonio are unavailable through injury. James Collins, Aaron Cresswell, Manuel Lanzini and Andy Carroll should all be available. Former Stoke player Marko Arnautovic has been involved in 13 Premier League goals this season, five more than any other West Ham player.

Stoke, who have only recorded one clean sheet in their last eight games, will be without Lee Grant, Konstantinos Stafylidis and Eric Choupo-Moting, while Ibrahim Afellay and Jese have been internally suspended. Charlie Adam completes the final game of a three-match ban. Stoke are unbeaten in their last five league visits to face West Ham, although four of those matches were draws. However, the Potters have lost on their last seven Premier League visits to London, conceding 26 goals while scoring just five in reply. They have not won in the Premier League since 20th January, when they defeated Huddersfield.

Possible West Ham United XI: Hart; Zabaleta, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku; Fernandes, Kouyate, Noble, Mario; Arnautovic.

Possible Stoke City XI: Butland; Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters; Bauer, Allen, Ndiaye, Sobhi; Shaqiri; Diouf .

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

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Talking Point

Stan Collymore: 'High-press? Moyes is a high priest of tedium'

Stan Collymore suggests David Moyes’ stock has fallen, that he is not the man to bring high-pressing, high-octane football to West Ham and that the Scot is struggling to win over fans as the Hammers face a battle to find consistency in their Premier League performances:

The infrastructure is all in place at West Ham. They have a modern stadium with good facilities, a fan base which wants to buy into what they do, and a decent squad as well. If you cherry-picked at least four of their players, maybe even six or seven, you’d have the nucleus of a side well capable of looking at the top half of the table rather than the bottom next season.

So the major question for me now is whether or not David Moyes is the man to lead them again next season.

And, if so, can he, along with co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold, turn the Hammers into the sort of club West Brom and Stoke had become before this season?

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The sort of club which consistently finishes ninth, 10th, 11th or 12th over four or five seasons. A lot of Moyes’ admirers will say that’s exactly where he will be pitching them but I still don’t know if I’d keep him on. Fans want high-pressing, high-octane football these days because they see it from the top sides every week on Match Of The Day and when that happens it quickly becomes a trend.

The knock-on effect when styles change is that, all of a sudden, people like Tony Pulis, Sam Allardyce and Alan Pardew can begin to look like football dinosaurs.

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And at the moment I’m not ­convinced people see Moyes in a ­different light. Is he a really good organisational manager who can put out teams which create chances and score goals?

Or is he a grind-it-out merchant, a manager who guarantees fans 19 home games of little entertainment? At times at Everton he suggested he was the former but since then his stock has fallen. That’s something Sullivan and Gold have to seriously take into consideration. They are rather conservative, that pair – remember the way they stuck with Allardyce – and I’m ­sure they will be thinking, ‘We need ­stability here’.

They realise there is a lot of money to be lost and they like money, they like being in the Premier League, they like to wear the fur jackets.

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Their history ­suggests that, unless there is a candidate who springs out of ­nowhere, who is young, aggressive and passionate, who can get West Ham fans behind them, and who has a proven track record of ­signing quality ­players, they will stick with what they know. And that will mean a thumbs-up for Moyes.

The problem for West Ham is that the teams coming up from the Championship this season will all have a lot of dough, and not just Premier League dough, either.

Wolves and Cardiff have seriously wealthy backers, as have some of the clubs aiming for the play-offs, and all will be further competition for the Hammers.

That level of competition could ultimately be West Ham’s downfall. The arrival of three teams with huge financial clout could push them closer to the Premier League trapdoor in the next couple of seasons. I’m sure Sullivan and Gold will take all that into consideration. What I would like to see from them at the end of this season – this is ­assuming they stay up, which I’m certain they will – is a statement of intent, a clear signal of their hopes for the future. That would provide transparency for supporters, something that’s been missing, and it would be good for the fans to realise what the club’s ambitions are.

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They also need to address the stadium and get the crowd closer to the pitch, even if it means spending a few million quid to get it right.

On the pitch, survival will all boil down to their remaining six fixtures and, if I were at the training ground, I’d be banging the drum about the home games. They have four of them – the mantra will be, ‘Win the home games and try to nick points away if you can’. And if West Ham get it right, as they did against Southampton in their last home match, they’ll be safe sooner rather than later.

Originally published in the Sunday People.

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Chelsea v West Ham

Blast from the past

Stamford Bridge, 28th September 2002 – West Ham United’s last victory at the home of Chelsea. The Blues went into the match unbeaten from their first seven league games of the season. Atomic Kitten were number one with ‘The Tide Is High’ and Mel Gibson topped the UK box office in Signs as the Hammers arrived in west London rooted to the bottom of the Premier League having picked up just two points from their opening six league games.

The beleaguered Hammers were dealt a blow after just four minutes when striker Frederic Kanoute suffered a groin injury and had to be replaced by Jermain Defoe – Kanoute would not play again until Boxing Day, his absence playing a big part in the Hammers’ struggles in 2002/03. Despite this setback, the Hammers impressed in the opening 20 minutes in front of 38,929 before an irresponsible and unnecessary scissor challenge by Tomas Repka saw Claudio Ranieri’s Chelsea win a free-kick wide on the left and the Czech defender go into the book. Bolo Zenden’s delivery seemed innocuous enough until referee Mike Dean adjudged former Blues left-back Scott Minto to have held back Robert Huth and a penalty was awarded. Chelsea skipper Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink made no mistake, sending David James the wrong way from the spot with 21 minutes played.

Glenn Roeder’s Hammers equalised five minutes before half-time. Paolo Di Canio’s corner was knocked on by Trevor Sinclair into the path of Steve Lomas, the Ulsterman’s shot was parried by Carlo Cudicini but Defoe reacted quickest to turn the ball into the net.

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The second half saw Di Canio take centre stage – three minutes into the second half, the Italian picked the ball up wide on the right from Sebastian Schemmel’s throw-in, cut inside, flicked the ball up with his right foot before hammering an unstoppable left-foot volley beyond the despairing dive of his countryman Cudicini. Chelsea’s equaliser arrived on 74 minutes, future Hammers manager Gianfranco Zola coming off the bench to curl a trademark free-kick into the corner of James’ goal after, this time, a clear foul by Minto.

It was Di Canio who had the last word though, with six minutes remaining – James’ long free-kick was poorly defended by the Blues backline and the ball broke for Di Canio at a tight angle to the left of Cudicini’s goal, the Hammers captain finding the tiniest of gaps at the near post to restore the Irons’ lead and claim West Ham’s first win of the season. My video below contains all the goals from this London derby, as well as interviews with manager Roeder and midfielder Lomas.

The Hammers, of course, went on to be relegated in 18th place that season while Chelsea ended up in fourth. Joe Cole was voted Hammer of the Year, with Defoe runner-up. Defoe was also the Irons’ top scorer that season with 11 goals in 42 appearances. Manchester United won the league and Arsenal won the FA Cup.

Chelsea: Carlo Cudicini, Mario Melchiot, Robert Huth, William Gallas, Bolo Zenden (Gianfranco Zola), Jesper Gronkjaer, Jody Morris, Frank Lampard, Mario Stanic, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Eidur Gudjohnsen.

West Ham United: David James, Sebastian Schemmel, Tomas Repka, Gary Breen, Scott Minto, Trevor Sinclair, Steve Lomas, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Frederic Kanoute (Jermain Defoe), Paolo Di Canio (Edouard Cisse).

Club Connections

A decent number of players have represented both West Ham United and Chelsea. Victor Moses spent the 2015/16 season on loan with the Hammers and is now proving a key player for Antonio Conte’s Blues. Others to have worn the colours of both clubs include:

Goalkeepers: Craig Forrest and Harry Medhurst.

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

Midfielders: Bill Jackson, Frank Lampard Junior, Andy Malcolm, Syd Bishop, Peter Brabrook, Alan Dickens, George Horn, Eric Parsons, Robert Bush, Scott Parker, Yossi Benayoun, Jim Frost and John Sissons.

Strikers: David Speedie, Len Goulden, Billy Bridgeman, Demba Ba, Joe Payne, Clive Allen, George Hilsdon, Carlton Cole, Billy Brown, Jimmy Greaves, Pop Robson, Billy Williams, Ron Tindall and Bob Deacon.

Bobby Gould played for West Ham and went on to be assistant and caretaker manager of Chelsea. Ron Greenwood and Gianfranco Zola played for Chelsea and managed West Ham, while Sir Geoff Hurst and Dave Sexton both played for the Hammers and managed the Blues. Avram Grant has managed both clubs.

Today’s focus though is on an Academy graduate who had two spells at Upton Park and spent seven years at Stamford Bridge. Joe Cole was born in Paddington on the 8th November 1981 and was a prodigious young talent who was linked with a £10m move to Manchester United before he’d even made his professional debut. Likened to Paul Gascoigne, Cole made his debut at the age of 17 in January 1999 in a 1-1 FA Cup draw at home against Swansea; his league debut arrived eight days later in a 4-1 defeat at Old Trafford. Cole was a key figure in the Hammers’ FA Youth Cup winning team in 1999 and also played his part in the senior team’s InterToto Cup success later that summer. His first goal for the club came in a 3-2 League Cup win at Birmingham in November 1999 while his first league strike came in the 5-4 win over Bradford in February 2000.

Cole scored five goals in 2000/01, including one in the 3-0 win at Coventry and strikes in the 1-1 home draws with Bradford and Coventry. He also notched crucial goals in the 3-1 home win over Derby and 3-0 home victory over Southampton as the under-performing Hammers secured their survival in the top flight the weekend before Harry Redknapp’s departure.

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Cole made his England debut in May 2001 and scored his first goal under new Hammers manager Glenn Roeder in the 3-0 FA Cup third round win at Macclesfield in January 2002. The skilful midfielder was part of England’s 2002 World Cup squad and got his 2002/03 campaign off to a flyer, scoring from distance to give the Irons the lead against champions Arsenal only for the Gunners to eventually claim a 2-2 draw at Upton Park. The season was a turbulent one, with Cole one of the few players to emerge with credit from a campaign which would end in relegation. Joey also scored in the 2-1 home defeat to Birmingham, the 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough, the 3-2 FA Cup third round home win over Nottingham Forest and the 2-2 home draw with Newcastle. He was named captain by Roeder in January 2003 and was voted Hammer of the Year by the club’s supporters at the season’s end.

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The 21-year-old Cole left West Ham United in the summer of 2003 to sign for Chelsea in a £6.6m deal, having scored 13 goals in 150 appearances for the Hammers. He made his debut for the Blues as a substitute a week after signing for the club in a Champions League qualifier away to MSK Zilina and scored his first goal in October 2003 in a League Cup tie against Notts County. His first league strike in a Chelsea shirt came in a 2-1 defeat at Aston Villa in December 2003. Cole became a regular in Jose Mourinho’s 2004/05 Premier League title-winning team, scoring nine goals in all competitions.

2005/06 saw Cole score a career-high 11 goals in a season in all competitions, earning himself a place in the PFA Team of the Year as Chelsea retained their Premier League title. The following campaign was an injury-hit one for Cole but he was back to his best in 2007/08 – he reached double figures in the scoring charts again, won the Chelsea Player of the Year Award and played in the Champions League Final. Cole also scored home and away against West Ham that season, refusing to celebrate his strike in Chelsea’s 4-0 win at Upton Park in March 2008. A knee injury kept Cole out for the second half of the 2008/09 campaign and his final game for the Blues was the FA Cup Final against Portsmouth in May 2010, Chelsea winning the match 1-0. After seven years at Stamford Bridge in which he scored 40 goals in 281 appearances and won three Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups, two Community Shields and was a Champions League finalist, Cole joined Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool on a free transfer in the summer of 2010. Earlier that summer, Cole had won the last of his 56 England caps at his third World Cup – he had scored ten goals for his country.

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After a difficult start to life on Merseyside, Cole spent the 2011/12 season on loan at French side Lille but, after returning to Liverpool for the first half of the following season, 31-year-old Joey returned to the Boleyn Ground in early January 2013, signing for Sam Allardyce’s Hammers on a free transfer. He set up both goals on his second debut for the club as James Collins scored twice in a 2-2 FA Cup third round draw with Manchester United and scored himself in the 1-1 home draw with Q.P.R. and the 3-2 home defeat to Tottenham.

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Cole started the 2013/14 season with a bang, notching the Hammers’ first goal of the campaign in a 2-0 home win over Cardiff in August 2013 before scoring in the 3-0 win over Fulham in November. His final goal for the Hammers came in the 3-3 home draw with West Brom in late December 2013. Cole’s last appearance for West Ham came in the 2-0 defeat at Manchester City in May 2014 and he left the club later that summer after his contract expired, signing for Aston Villa. Cole had scored five goals in 37 appearances in his second spell in east London, taking his totals for the Hammers to 18 goals in 187 matches.

Following a spell with Coventry, Cole, now 36, is currently playing for Tampa Bay Rowdies in the USL, the second tier of the American soccer pyramid.


Sunday’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.

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Friend’s Hammers appointments this season were in September for our 2-0 home win over Huddersfield and, more recently, our 1-0 League Cup quarter-final defeat at Arsenal in December. He also refereed our 1-0 home win over Swansea last April. 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

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is without David Luiz and Ethan Ampadu but Thibaut Courtois, Davide Zappacosta, Ross Barkley and Pedro could all return. The Blues could suffer back-to-back league defeats at Stamford Bridge for the first time since November 2011.

David Moyes has yet to win a Premier League game away to Chelsea, drawing six and losing eight of 14 top-flight matches at Stamford Bridge. The Scot is without Sam Byram, Winston Reid, James Collins, Pedro Obiang, Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll. Argentine midfielder Manuel Lanzini is a major doubt but Chicharito should be available. A win would not just see West Ham’s first at Stamford Bridge since this preview’s featured match in September 2002 but would also complete the club’s first league double over Chelsea since that 2002/03 season.

Looking ahead to our next match against Stoke, Potters midfielder Joe Allen is one yellow card away from missing the match in east London – Stoke host Tottenham today.

Possible Chelsea XI: Courtois; Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Christensen; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Hazard; Morata.

Possible West Ham United XI: Hart; Zabaleta, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku; Fernandes, Kouyate, Noble, Mario; Arnautovic.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Southampton

Blast from the past

Allow me to take you back 45 years, to another Good Friday, 20th April 1973. Edward Heath was Prime Minister, Tony Orlando and Dawn were number one with ‘Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree’ and the Ringo Starr-directed Born To Boogie starring T-Rex and Elton John was in UK cinemas.

An 11am kick-off saw West Ham United take on Southampton in front of 33,039 at The Boleyn Ground – it was to be a particularly good Friday for the Hammers and a great one for Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson as the Sunderland-born striker netted a hat-trick to lead West Ham to a 4-3 win over the Saints in the old First Division. Two goals in four minutes early on from Robson put the Hammers in a commanding position but, rather typically, the lead had been thrown away by half-time as Paul Gilchrist scored a brace of his own to level the match.

Robson completed his hat-trick in the 66th minute, leaping high to head in a Trevor Brooking cross and restore the hosts’ lead. Brooking turned from goal-maker to goal-taker to effectively clinch the game for the Irons in the 83rd minute, but there was still time for Mick Channon to net a further consolation for the visitors in this seven-goal thriller.

The win put West Ham level with Ipswich in joint-fourth place, with three matches to play. It was to prove the Hammers’ final victory of 1972/73 however, as we closed the campaign with two draws and a defeat. In doing so, West Ham equalled their (at the time) highest-ever position of sixth in a campaign that saw Bobby Moore overtake Jimmy Ruffell’s record number of league appearances for the club, a record that had stood unbeaten since 1936. Southampton finished 13th, Liverpool won the league and Sunderland won the FA Cup.

‘Pop’ Robson, the hat-trick hero against the Saints (pictured with the matchball from the game), finished 1972/73 as the leading goal-scorer in England’s top four divisions, with twenty-eight goals from forty-two appearances, winning him the Adidas-sponsored Golden Boot award. Twenty-six of these goals were from open play, with only two from the penalty spot. He was also, unsurprisingly, that season’s recipient of the Hammer of the Year award, with Brooking runner-up.

West Ham United: Peter Grotier, John McDowell (Bertie Lutton), Kevin Lock, Bobby Moore, Frank Lampard, Billy Bonds, Pat Holland, Trevor Brooking, Clyde Best, Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson, Ted McDougall.

Southampton: Eric Martin, Jim Steele (Billy Beaney), Dave Walker, Paul Bennett, Joe Kirkup, Brian O’Neil, Wayne Talkes, Hugh Fisher, Terry Paine, Mick Channon, Paul Gilchrist.

Club Connections

Michail Antonio welcomes his 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, Christian Dailly, Joe Kirkup, Wayne Bridge, Neil Ruddock, Jose Fonte, Bill Adams, Darren Powell, Albie Roles, Horace Glover, Calum Davenport.

Midfielders: Jimmy Carr, Bobby Weale, Luis Boa Morte, Nigel Quashie, Eyal Berkovic, Robbie Slater, Peter Cowper, Paul Allen.

Strikers: Vic Watson, Justin Fashanu, David Speedie, David Connolly, Iain Dowie, 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 is on a defender who enjoyed six and a half years with West Ham before later spending a brief loan spell at Southampton. Ian Pearce was born in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk on 7th May 1974. He started his career at Oxted & District before signing for Chelsea during the 1991/92 season. Pearce was part of the England Under-20 team that came third in the 1993 FIFA World Youth Championship in Australia, playing in all six matches and scoring one goal. He was capped three times for England at Under-21 level in the mid-1990s but would never make the senior side. Pearce moved to Blackburn in October 1993, scoring the winning goal for Rovers in a 2-1 win at West Ham in April 1994 before winning the Premier League title the following season.

The 23-year-old Pearce joined Harry Redknapp’s upwardly-mobile West Ham United for a fee of £2.3m in September 1997. He made his Hammers debut in a 1-0 home defeat to Newcastle on 20th September 1997 and quickly forged a young, promising central defensive trio alongside Rio Ferdinand and fellow new boy David Unsworth. Pearce scored his first goal for his boyhood club in a 1-1 FA Cup quarter-final draw at eventual Double winners Arsenal on 8th March 1998. He scored his first league goal in claret and blue, and his first at Upton Park, in a 3-0 win over Leeds twenty years ago today, on 30th March 1998, a match which saw Pearce playing at right wing-back. Pearce made 39 appearances in 1997/98 as the Hammers finished eighth (their highest position for 12 years) and reached the quarter-finals in both cup competitions.

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Pearce made 36 appearances and was runner-up to Shaka Hislop in the Hammer of the Year voting in 1998/99 as the Irons finished fifth and qualified for the InterToto Cup. He scored in a 2-1 home win over Nottingham Forest on 13th February 1999 and bagged his second of the campaign in his next home game, a 2-0 win over former club Blackburn two weeks later. Pearce played in both legs of the InterToto Cup semi-final against Heerenveen in the summer of 1999 before injuring knee ligaments 37 minutes into the opening day of the Premier League season in a 1-0 win over Tottenham – he was to be ruled out for 14 months.

Making his comeback in October 2000 in a 1-0 home win over Newcastle, Pearce made 17 appearances in 2000/01, scoring his only goal of the season in a 4-1 home win over Manchester City on 11th November 2000. He was injured again in April 2001 and would be out for ten months, making only nine appearances under new manager Glenn Roeder in 2001/02 – he did, however, score a stunning and dramatic last-minute equaliser at White Hart Lane on 13th April 2002, lashing home a left-footed piledriver from distance. His second goal of the campaign was the final act of the campaign, a late winner in a 2-1 home triumph against Bolton on the final day of the season.

Pearce made 33 appearances in 2002/03 as the Hammers were ultimately relegated from the top flight. He was sent off in a 3-2 defeat at Tottenham on 15th September 2002 for a professional foul on future Hammer Robbie Keane and was forced to play as an emergency striker in a winter which saw the Hammers deprived of Paolo Di Canio and Frederic Kanoute. He scored two goals during his stint up front, in a 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough on 7th December 2002 and in a 1-1 home draw with Bolton two weeks later. Pearce was red carded for the second time in a crucial and infamous 1-0 defeat at Bolton on 19th April 2003 – his late tackle on Pierre-Yves Andre led to a melee and, minutes later when the match had ended, a subsequent fracas in the tunnel.

The first half of the 2003/04 First Division campaign saw Pearce make 26 appearances under three different managers – Roeder, caretaker Trevor Brooking and Alan Pardew. His final goal for the club was the winner in a 3-2 home win over Sunderland on 13th December 2003, completing a Hammers comeback from 2-0 down. He made his last appearance in claret and blue in a 2-1 home defeat to Preston on 10th January 2004 – after scoring ten goals in 163 appearances for West Ham United, the 29-year-old Pearce returned to the Premier League, signing for Fulham with £1m and Andy Melville heading the other way to east London. All of Pearce’s ten goals in claret and blue can be viewed in my video below:

After just over four years with the Cottagers, the 33-year-old Pearce joined Championship side Southampton on a month’s loan in February 2008. His time at St Mary’s was disrupted by injury and his sole appearance for the club under new manager Nigel Pearson came in a 1-1 draw at Scunthorpe on 22nd February 2008 – Pearce conceded the penalty from which Scunthorpe scored.

Pearce returned to the club where it all began for him, Oxted & District, in the Surrey South Eastern Combination League in August 2008. He signed for Isthmian League Premier Division outfit Kingstonian in August 2009 but joined Lincoln as player-assistant manager to former Blackburn team-mate Chris Sutton two months later. He left when Sutton resigned in September 2010 and returned to Kingstonian in March 2011; he also played for Surrey-based Lingfield later that year. Pearce, now 43, joined Brighton as a scout in 2014.


The referee on Saturday will be Jonathan Moss. The Yorkshire-based official has sent off a player in six of his last ten appointments involving the Hammers – the 4-3 defeat to Bournemouth in August 2015 saw Carl Jenkinson sent off, while the 2-1 win over Chelsea last October saw Nemanja Matic dismissed (then-Blues manager Jose Mourinho was also sent to the stands). Moss issued a red card to Jordan Ayew of Aston Villa in February with the Hammers going on to win 2-0 while, going further back, Burnley’s Michael Duff was also sent off by Moss in our 1-0 home win over the Clarets in May 2015.

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Moss also issued a red card to Cheikhou Kouyate in the 5-1 FA Cup fifth round win at Blackburn in February, although this was later rescinded. Arguably the 47-year-old’s most controversial Hammers appointment was the 2-2 draw at Leicester in April 2016 when he sent off Jamie Vardy and awarded two penalties, the second arriving deep into stoppage time as the Foxes rescued a precious point. Moss took charge of the corresponding fixture last season when Southampton won 3-0 in east London. Moss’ most recent matches in charge of the Hammers were December’s goalless draw with Arsenal at London Stadium and our 4-1 win at Huddersfield in January.

Possible line-ups

David Moyes is without Sam Byram, James Collins, Winston Reid, Pedro Obiang and Andy Carroll, while Manuel Lanzini is a doubt. Arthur Masuaku returns from his six-match suspension for spitting at an opponent, while Cheikhou Kouyate is expected to recover from illness.

New Southampton manager Mark Hughes is likely to have Ryan Bertand, Steven Davis and Charlie Austin available, with no expected injury concerns.

Possible West Ham United XI: Hart; Zabaleta, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku; Kouyate, Noble, Mario; Antonio, Arnautovic.

Possible Southampton XI: McCarthy; Soares, Hoedt, Stephens, Bertrand; Redmond, Lemina, Davis, Boufal; Carrillo, Gabbiadini.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

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