Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Southampton v West Ham

Blast from the past

4th February 2017 – Ed Sheeran was number one with ‘Shape Of You’, Sing topped the UK box office and Coleen Nolan had just won the 19th series of Celebrity Big Brother. West Ham United, meanwhile, were defeating Southampton 3-1 in front of 31,891 at St Mary’s.

The Hammers fell behind after 12 minutes on the South Coast when Manolo Gabbiadini blasted in at the near post from a tight angle beyond a statuesque Darren Randolph – it was the Italian’s Saints debut after a £14m move from Napoli on transfer deadline day. The Irons were level within two minutes after Pedro Obiang’s through ball found Andy Carroll who slotted home a right-footed equaliser – Carroll (pictured below) has scored in both of his Hammers starts at St Mary’s.

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West Ham took the lead a minute before the break when Obiang scored his first goal in claret and blue to add to his earlier expert assist. Following a half-cleared corner, the Spanish-born midfielder was given time and space to drill in a low shot from 30 yards out, which went through a crowded penalty area and crept beyond Fraser Forster. The Hammers clinched the points seven minutes into the second half when Mark Noble’s free-kick found the net via a deflection from Steven Davis.

West Ham United would finish the 2016/17 Premier League season in 11th position, while Southampton would end up eighth in a campaign which saw Chelsea win the title and Arsenal win the FA Cup. Michail Antonio would finish as the Hammers’ top scorer with nine goals in 37 matches; he would also be voted Hammer of the Year, with Manuel Lanzini runner-up.

Southampton: Fraser Forster, Cedric Soares, Jack Stephens, Maya Yoshida, Ryan Bertrand, Oriol Romeu, Steven Davis, James Ward-Prowse, Sofiane Boufal (Shane Long), Manolo Gabbiadini, Jay Rodriguez (Nathan Redmond).

West Ham United: Darren Randolph, Cheikhou Kouyate (James Collins), Jose Fonte, Winston Reid, Aaron Cresswell, Sofiane Feghouli (Jonathan Calleri), Mark Noble, Pedro Obiang, Robert Snodgrass, Michail Antonio, Andy Carroll (Manuel Lanzini).

Club Connections

Michail Antonio travels to the home of 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, Bill Adams, Ian Pearce, Darren Powell, Albie Roles, Jose Fonte, 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, Viv Gibbins, Iain Dowie, Ted MacDougall, Henri Camara, Alex McDonald, Frank Costello, Fred Harrison, Walter Pollard, Arthur Wilson, Jimmy Harris, Jack Foster, Jack Farrell.

In addition, Harry Redknapp and Alan Pardew have managed both clubs.

Today’s focus is on a famous West Ham captain who went on to manage Southampton. George Kay was born in Manchester on 21st September 1891. He started his career with Bolton in 1911 and joined Belfast club Distillery later that year. Kay served on the Western Front as a Sergeant with the Royal Garrison Artillery during World War One before being sent home suffering from shellshock and the effects of gas. Kay played for the Hammers while on leave, making his debut in a 2-1 home win over Arsenal in the London Combination on 2nd September 1916. He scored his first goal in a 2-1 win at Tottenham on 28th September 1916 and bagged a hat-trick in the reverse fixture on 4th November 1916. He also scored in a 2-0 home win over Luton on 2nd December 1916 – the Hammers would go on to win the 1916/17 London Combination.

Kay joined West Ham United officially at the end of the war for a fee of £100. Kenny Davenport, the man who had discovered Kay at Bolton, declared Kay to be as “strong as I’ve seen of a lad of his years. Nothing passed him. He’s a big chap, but fast and bright.” The 27-year-old Kay made his Second Division debut for the Hammers in a 2-0 home defeat to Barnsley on 8th September 1919, the opening day of the 1919/20 season. He scored his first league goal in a 1-0 win at Birmingham the following month and also bagged the only goal of the game against Bury at the Boleyn Ground on 24th January 1920. He was sent off in the reverse fixture at Bury the following month but rounded off the campaign with a goal in a 3-0 home win over Stockport on 1st May 1920. The Irons ended their first Football League season with a seventh-placed finish in the Second Division. Kay scored one goal in 1920/21, in a 2-0 home win over Fulham on 18th September 1920, as the Hammers finished fifth. The Irons continued to progress, finishing fourth in 1921/22 – Kay scored five goals in this campaign, in a 2-0 home win over Wolves on 5th November 1921, a 3-1 defeat at Derby on Christmas Eve, a 1-1 home draw with Hull on 11th February 1922, a 2-1 home defeat to Rotherham the following month and in a 2-0 home win over Sheffield Wednesday on 1st April 1922.

Impressing manager Syd King with his committed performances and natural leadership, centre-half Kay replaced Billy Cope as skipper in 1922 and, under the Mancunian’s captaincy, the Hammers entered an exciting period – promotion to the top flight for the first time ever was secured at the end of 1922/23 and the Irons also appeared in Wembley’s first ever FA Cup Final at the end of the same season (Kay is pictured below with his Bolton counterpart Joe Smith). Kay scored four goals in the Hammers’ first top-flight campaign on the way to a 13th-placed finish in 1923/24 – he scored in successive autumn home wins against Chelsea (2-0) and Birmingham (4-1), as well as a 3-2 home win over Nottingham Forest on 22nd December 1923 and in a 1-1 home draw with Leeds in the FA Cup second round two months later.

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In 1924/25, Kay became the first West Ham player to reach 200 league and cup games. He scored three goals during the campaign as the Hammers again finished 13th – his first came in a Christmas Day 3-2 home win over Cardiff, his second in a 1-0 FA Cup first round replay win over Arsenal (a match played at Stamford Bridge) and the third in a 2-1 home win over West Brom on 21st March 1925.

Having played over 40 matches in each of his previous four seasons, Kay’s final year at West Ham saw him make just 18 appearances. The club struggled to cope with the loss of their leader, finishing 18th. Kay’s final goal in claret and blue was scored in a 3-1 home win over Tottenham on 20th March 1926, with his last appearance for the club coming at the age of 34 in a 2-0 home defeat to Bury on 1st May 1926. Kay had made 282 appearances for West Ham United, scoring 22 goals. He had played alongside the likes of Jack Tresadern, Jimmy Ruffell, Syd Puddefoot and Vic Watson, captaining the club with inspirational leadership during their best period in the first half of the 20th century – he was widely regarded as being the best Hammer to never play for England, until Billy Bonds half a century later.

Kay ended his playing career with a couple of matches for Stockport in 1927 before becoming coach, and eventually manager, at Luton in the Third Division South. He joined Southampton in May 1931 at the age of 39 following the resignation of Arthur Chadwick, who had stood down after Saints had embarked on a policy of selling their best players to survive financially. Kay nurtured a younger generation of players at Saints, including Ted Drake (who later joined Arsenal and played for England) and Charlie Sillett (father of John and Peter).

Kay “was tremendously enthusiastic and he worked hard throughout his stay at The Dell, using up a considerable amount of nervous energy at every match. He ‘played’ every kick and his body would visibly vibrate to the stresses and strains on the playing field”. He started his Southampton career with an opening day victory over Burnley on 29th August 1931 but injuries resulted in the club sliding down the table to finish 14th. Despite the financial difficulties faced by the club and several players leaving in the summer of 1932 in order to balance the books, Kay’s team improved slightly on the previous season and ended 1932/33 in 12th place. The Saints won a club record 15 out of 21 home matches, but only registered three away victories. Supporters became disillusioned with further player sales though and attendances dropped to record lows. Kay is pictured (suited) below with his 1933 side, on the far left at the end of the middle row.

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Southampton equalled the record of 15 home victories in the 1933/34 season but their away record worsened, yielding no wins and only six draws on the road, resulting in a 14th-placed finish. Drake, the jewel in the crown, was sold for a record fee of £6,000 to Arsenal in March 1934. Kay struggled to fill the gap left by Drake and the 1934/35 season started badly although the team did end their run of 33 away games without a win and finished the season in 19th place. The club’s finances were now so dire that the supporters’ club had to make a loan of £200 to help finance the summer wage bill.

1935/36 was Southampton’s 50th season since their original formation in 1885; Kay returned to his former club to sign legendary Hammers centre-forward Vic Watson. The Saints made a superb start to the season but this form could not be sustained and the slump was only partially relieved by a 7-2 victory over Nottingham Forest on 15th February 1936. Saints suffered their heaviest-ever league defeat the following month, losing 8-0 at Tottenham and recorded their lowest ever home attendance for a league match two days later, when only 1,875 turned out to witness a 1-0 defeat against Port Vale. The directors again responded by selling their better players and Saints finished the season in a disappointing 17th position, with Watson top-scorer on 14 goals.

The entire board of directors resigned in June 1936, with a new board asking Kay to resign in order to reduce the company’s wage bill. In August 1936, Kay accepted an offer from First Division Liverpool, with whom he went on to win the league title in 1947 and reach the 1950 FA Cup Final. He brought Bob Paisley to the club as a player and also managed Sir Matt Busby, who would go on to say that Kay had a huge influence on his management style.

A chain-smoker who was always immaculately dressed, Kay suffered from ill health and felt the pressures and stresses of football management deeply. He was particularly sick in the run-up to the 1950 FA Cup Final against Arsenal and was confined to his bed until the day of the game when he proudly led his players out at Wembley for presentation to King George VI. He retired from football in February 1951 on medical advice and sadly passed away in April 1954, aged 62. Kay’s 1923 FA Cup medal was sold at auction in 2005 for £4,560. He was an inspirational captain and manager who represented his clubs with class and distinction and is fondly remembered in the record books.


Thursday’s referee will be Craig Pawson; 2018/19 is Pawson’s seventh 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. His Hammers appointments in 2015/16 were both at the Boleyn Ground, for our 2-2 draw with Manchester City in January 2016 and the 3-3 draw with Arsenal three months later.

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Pawson did not referee the Hammers at all last season; his most recent Irons game was our 8-0 win over Macclesfield in September. His matches in charge of West Ham United in 2016/17 saw him send off Harry Arter as the Hammers defeated Bournemouth 1-0 in August 2016, while he also officiated in our 2-1 home win over Chelsea in the fourth round of the League Cup in two months later. He also refereed our 5-1 home defeat to Arsenal in December 2016. He awarded Watford a penalty and sent off Michail Antonio as the Irons drew 1-1 at Watford in February 2017.

Possible line-ups

Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand is likely to miss out, while Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is suspended. New manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has won two of his first three Premier League matches in charge of Southampton.

West Ham United travel to Southampton having lost just two of their last nine league matches and could welcome back Lucas Perez from injury, while Aaron Cresswell could claim a starting berth. Fabian Balbuena, Marko Arnautovic and Chicharito are doubts. The Hammers are without Ryan Fredericks, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko. Pablo Zabaleta and Mark Noble are both one yellow card away from a one-match ban.

Possible Southampton XI: McCarthy; Yoshida, Bednarek, Vestergaard; Valery, Romeu, Lemina, Targett; Armstrong, Redmond; Ings.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Antonio, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Snodgrass, Rice, Noble, Anderson; Carroll, Perez.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

Follow @dan_coker on twitter.

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Watford

Firstly, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all West Ham Till I Die readers a very Merry Christmas!

Blast from the past

With Edward Elgar’s choral work The Dream of Gerontius having just received its first performance in Birmingham Town Hall and actor Alastair Sim being born four days previously, West Ham United took on Watford in a Southern League First Division fixture on the 13th October 1900. A 2-0 victory in front of 4,000 was recorded to give the Hammers their fourth win in six league games at the start of the 1900/01 campaign, their first as West Ham United having just turned professional and changed their name from Thames Ironworks.

Wing-half George Neil made his 19th and final appearance for the Hammers as goals from inside-forward Fred Corbett (pictured) and outside-left Freddie Fenton were enough to give the Hammers victory at the Memorial Grounds. Corbett was a “strong and determined” Stepney-born forward who scored nine goals in 23 matches in 1900/01 and would, in total, score 15 goals in 38 matches in a Hammers career which ended with a move to Bristol Rovers in 1902. Fenton was a product of Midlands football and was an extremely modest man who played with verve and flair on the left flank – he scored three goals in 19 matches in 1900/01, his only season as a Hammer. Fenton is in the history books thanks to scoring the club’s first FA Cup goal under the banner of West Ham United, against Olympic on 3rd November 1900.

West Ham United would finish the 1900/01 Southern League First Division season in sixth position, eight points behind champions Southampton, while Watford would end up in 14th. Liverpool won the First Division title and Tottenham won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Tommy Moore, Syd King, Charlie Craig, George Neil, Charlie Dove, Roddy McEachrane, Fergie Hunt, Fred Corbett, Jimmy Reid, Bert Kaye, Freddie Fenton.

Club Connections

Former Hammer Domingos Quina is now on Watford’s books. Other players to have represented both clubs, divided by position, include:

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

Defenders: Jon Harley, Calum Davenport, Chris Powell, Lucas Neill, James McCrae, Colin Foster.

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

Strikers: James Reid, David Connolly, Jack Foster, Roger Hugo, Billy Jennings, Peter Kyle, Bertie Lyon.

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. Glenn Roeder played for the Hornets and managed both clubs; Gianfranco Zola has managed both the Hammers and the Hornets.

Today’s focus is on a former Hammers forward who went on to play for the Hornets. Mauro Zarate was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on the 13th March 1987; he was the son of Sergio, a Chilean-born former footballer, and Catalina, who had an Italian background. Zarate, whose grandfather Juvenal and brothers Sergio, Rolando and Ariel were also all footballers, started his career with Velez Sarsfield in 2004 before moving on to Al-Sadd in the Qatari league in 2007. He moved on loan to David Sullivan and David Gold’s Birmingham for the second half of the 2007/08 season before moving to Italian club Lazio in the summer of 2008, initially on loan before making the move permanent. He spent the 2011/12 campaign on loan at Inter Milan before returning to Velez Sarsfield in the summer of 2013.

After a season back in Argentina, the 27-year-old Zarate signed for Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United in the summer of 2014 on a free transfer. He scored on his Hammers debut on the 23rd August 2014 in a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace. He would make only eight appearances in 2014/15, scoring his second and final goal of the season in a 2-1 defeat at Everton on 22nd November 2014. After falling out of favour with Allardyce, and with Andy Carroll, Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho in good form, Zarate spent the second half of the season on loan at QPR.

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Zarate returned to Upton Park with the Hammers under new management in the shape of Slaven Bilic – the Argentinian scored his first goal of the 2015/16 campaign in a 2-2 Europa League third qualifying round first leg home draw with Astra Giurgiu on 30th July 2015 before bagging the match-clinching second goal in a famous 2-0 win at Arsenal in the season’s opening Premier League match. Zarate scored again in a 2-1 League Cup third round defeat at eventual title winners Leicester on 22nd September 2015 and struck the opening goal in a 2-1 home win over Chelsea on 24th October, our last ever match against our west London rivals at the Boleyn Ground. Zarate’s final goal in claret and blue was a sumptuous, curling free-kick into the top corner in a 1-1 home draw against West Brom on 29th November 2015. His final match for the club was our 1-0 FA Cup third round win over Wolves on 9th January 2016. Zarate had made 29 appearances for West Ham United, scoring seven goals (all seven can be viewed on the WHTID Twitter and Facebook pages). He returned to Italy in January 2016, joining Fiorentina in a £1.6m deal.

After a year in Florence, the 29-year-old Zarate returned to the Premier League with Watford in the January 2017 transfer window; he made his Hornets debut in a 2-1 home win over Burnley on 4th February 2017. His third appearance for the Hornets was also his last – playing against the Hammers at Vicarage Road in a game which would end 1-1 on 25th February 2017, Zarate injured his cruciate knee ligament and was ruled out for the rest of the season.

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Zarate spent a brief two-month loan stint with United Arab Emirates-based club Al-Nasr between October 2017 and January 2018 before joining Velez Sarsfield for a third spell. Now 31, Zarate is currently with Boca Juniors, having joined the Buenos Aires-based club in the summer of this year.


Saturday’s referee will be Lee Mason from Greater Manchester. Mason’s four games officiating the Hammers last season all ended in defeat. Most recently, he took charge of our 4-1 defeat at Arsenal in April; prior to that, he refereed our 3-0 home defeat to Burnley in March, while the other two matches were both 3-2 defeats: at Southampton in August 2017 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 2017 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

For West Ham United, Ryan Fredericks, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko and Marko Arnautovic miss out through injury. Lucas Perez could return to the squad.

For Watford, right-back Daryl Janmaat, centre-back Sebastian Prodl, midfielder Will Hughes and centre-forwards Andre Gray and Adalberto Penaranda could all be out injured.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku; Snodgrass, Rice, Noble, Anderson; Antonio, Chicharito.

Possible Watford XI: Foster; Femenia, Kabasele, Cathcart, Holebas; Sema, Quina, Doucoure, Pereyra; Deulofeu, Deeney.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Fulham v West Ham

Blast from the past

Easter Monday, 6th April 1953 – Winston Churchill was Prime Minister, The Stargazers were number one with ‘Broken Wings’, the BBC introduced its iconic Watch with Mother brand for children’s programming and West Ham United secured a 3-2 Second Division victory over Fulham in front of 19,270 at Craven Cottage.

Legendary Hammers left-back Noel Cantwell made his league debut in this match, the Irons’ third over the Easter period – the Hammers had been defeated 2-1 by the Cottagers at Upton Park on Good Friday and lost 4-1 away to Swansea on Easter Saturday. The match was also 33-year-old Geordie right-back Ernie Devlin’s 70th and final league appearance for the club – he had made his debut in May 1947. Indeed, of the Hammers side that day, four hailed from the North East (Devlin, Southren, Dixon and Hooper) and three from Ireland (Cantwell, McGowan and O’Farrell).

This win in West London came courtesy of first goals in claret and blue for Dave Sexton, who scored once on what was the day of his 23rd birthday, and 23-year-old Tommy Dixon (pictured), who bagged a brace. Geordie centre-forward Dixon had only made his league debut two days previously in the defeat at Swansea and would go on to be the Hammers’ top scorer the following season, 1953/54, with 19 goals in 32 matches. He was also the first player to score for West Ham in a floodlit first team match at Upton Park, ten days after his double against Fulham, in a friendly match against First Division Tottenham. An Aircraftman in the RAF, Dixon had never played football before when an officer asked him to play left-back for the unit team while in Singapore in 1951. He passed away on 6th February 2014 at the age of 84.

Irish centre-forward Freddie Kearns would be the Hammers’ top scorer for the season with 12 goals from 23 appearances. Ted Fenton’s Hammers went on to finish the 1952/53 Second Division season in 14th place, while Bill Dodgin’s Fulham ended up eighth. Sheffield United topped the Second Division, Arsenal won the First Division title and Blackpool won the FA Cup in the ‘Matthews Final’.

West Ham United: Ernie Gregory, Ernie Devlin, Noel Cantwell, Danny McGowan, Malcolm Allison, Frank O’Farrell, Tommy Southren, Dave Sexton, Tommy Dixon, Jimmy Andrews, Harry Hooper.

Club Connections

Ryan Fredericks is unavailable for the trip to his former club. Scott Parker played for both clubs and is currently assistant manager at Craven Cottage. A decent number of players join the pair in representing West Ham United and Fulham over the years. These include:

Goalkeepers: Bill Biggar, Jan Lastuvka, Tony Parks.

Defenders: Paul Kelly, Bobby Moore, George Horler, Tony Gale, George Redwood, Kevin Lock, Jack Hebden, Rufus Brevett, John Paintsil, Paul Konchesky, Ian Pearce, Wayne Bridge, Jon Harley, Alan Stephenson, Andy Melville.

Midfielders: Luis Boa Morte, Dick Richards, George Carter, Papa Bouba Diop, Ray Houghton, Fergus Hunt.

Strikers: Johnny ‘Budgie’ Byrne, Brian Dear, Alf Harwood, Jack Fletcher, Roger Cross, Iain Dowie, Fred Harrison, Billy Brown, Archie Macaulay, Danny Shea, Kenny McKay, Leroy Rosenior, Bobby Zamora, Mladen Petric.

This week’s focus though is on a player who spent a couple of months with West Ham before later playing for Fulham. Alexander Davidson (known as Bill) was born in West Lothian, Scotland on 22nd September 1878. He started his career with Scottish side Third Lanark before attracting the attention of English clubs. Bill moved to Glossop North End in November 1899, with a low point arriving when he was suspended for one month for striking two Nottingham Forest players after a match at the City Ground on 13th January 1900. He joined Manchester City, then Reading and it was from the Elm Park club that he joined the Hammers in December 1902.

Described as “a fearless player but rather erratic”, centre-forward Davidson (pictured) made his Hammers debut in a 2-1 home defeat to Southampton on Christmas Day 1902 at the Memorial Grounds. He scored his first goal for the Irons in his fourth match, a 3-0 home win over Wellingborough in the Southern League First Division on 10th January 1903, and scored again in a 3-2 home win over Northampton two weeks later. He made his final appearance for the club in a 1-0 home win over Tottenham on 14th February 1903. After two goals in nine appearances for West Ham United, Davidson moved to Luton in February 1903 after just two months in East London.

Davidson moved on again, signing for Fulham for the 1903/04 season, making two appearances without scoring. He went on to represent New Brompton (now known as Gillingham), Kilmarnock, Aberdeen, Stockport, Atherton Church House, Bolton, Wigan Town, Nelson and finally Macclesfield. Bill Davidson passed away between October and December 1929 at the age of 51.


Saturday’s referee will be Mike Dean; 2018/19 is Dean’s 19th as a Premier League referee. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Dean has refereed 22 of our league matches, officiating in nine wins for the Hammers, seven draws and six defeats.

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Dean refereed our final match at the Boleyn when we famously triumphed 3-2 over Manchester United. His decision to send off Sofiane Feghouli just 15 minutes into our 2-0 defeat to the Red Devils in January 2017 was later rescinded. Dean’s three Hammers appointments last season were the 3-2 win over Tottenham in the League Cup fourth round at Wembley in October, the 2-1 defeat at Manchester City in December, our 1-1 Premier League draw with Tottenham in January. He most recently refereed our goalless home draw with Chelsea in September.

Possible line-ups

Fulham are without the suspended Andre Zambo Anguissa, while Calum Chambers, Kevin McDonald and Floyd Ayite are injury doubts.

West Ham United will be without Ryan Fredericks, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko and Marko Arnautovic, while Lucas Perez is a doubt. Pablo Zabaleta is one yellow card away from a one-match suspension.

Possible Fulham XI: Rico; Fosu-Mensah, Ream, Mawson, Bryan; Chambers, Seri, Cairney; Schurrle, Sessegnon; Mitrovic.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku; Snodgrass, Rice, Noble, Anderson; Chicharito, Carroll.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Crystal Palace

Blast from the past

Today’s blast from the past features a 4-0 victory at Upton Park against this weekend’s opponents, Crystal Palace; it arrived just over 46 years ago, on the 28th of October 1972 in front of 28,894 spectators. Lieutenant Pigeon’s ‘Mouldy Old Dough’ was number one and Barry Crocker, Barry Humphries, Peter Cook and Spike Milligan were in UK cinemas in The Adventures of Barry McKenzie while, six days previously, England goalkeeper Gordon Banks was involved in the car accident that led to his retirement. In East London, legendary Hammer Trevor Brooking (pictured below) scored twice against our south London neighbours, while ‘Pop’ Robson and John McDowell completed the Irons’ goalscoring.

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Ron Greenwood’s Hammers ended the 1972/73 season in sixth place in the First Division while Crystal Palace ended up relegated in 21st. Liverpool won the league title and Sunderland won the FA Cup. Robson finished the season as the club’s top scorer with 28 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions – he would also be voted Hammer of the Year, with Billy Bonds runner-up.

West Ham United: Bobby Ferguson, John McDowell, Tommy Taylor, Bobby Moore, Frank Lampard, Johnny Ayris, Pat Holland, Trevor Brooking, Clive Charles, Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson, Clyde Best.

Club Connections

West Ham United Academy product and 2012 Hammer of the Year runner-up James Tomkins could feature for Crystal Palace, as could fellow former Hammer Cheikhou Kouyate. A large group of players have turned out for the Hammers and the Eagles. Divided here by position, they include:

Goalkeepers: Perry Suckling, Steve Mautone, Vincent Blore.

Defenders: Eddie Presland, Kenny Brown, Malcolm Pyke, Alf Noakes, Bill Roberts, Neil Ruddock, Paul Brush, Danny Gabbidon, Jose Fonte, Chris Powell, Alan Stephenson, Tony Gale, Darren Powell.

Midfielders: Victor Moses, Jimmy Wood, Anton Otulakowski, Hayden Mullins, Derek Jackman, Carl Fletcher, Harry Gunning, Jobi McAnuff, Fred Norris, Trevor Dawkins, Kyel Reid, Ray Houghton, Michael Hughes.

Strikers: Joe Johnson, Ron Williams, Freddie Sears, Ian Wright, Andy Smillie, Jeroen Boere, Johnny Cartwright, Johnny Byrne, Peter Simpson, Clive Allen, Dave Swindlehurst, Paul Kitson, Ron Brett, Dave Sexton, Marouane Chamakh, George Petchey.

Malcolm Allison and Jack Tresadern played for the Hammers and managed the Eagles, while Iain Dowie played for both clubs and also managed Palace. Alan Pardew played for the Eagles and managed both clubs. Sam Allardyce has also managed both clubs.

Today’s focus though is on a former Hammers defender and captain who had a loan spell with the Eagles. Matthew Upson was born in Suffolk on 18th April 1979. Originally at Ipswich’s School of Excellence, Upson joined Luton as a trainee after Ipswich youth coach, and current West Ham United Academy Director, Terry Westley moved to the Hatters. Upson joined Arsenal in 1997 after just one league appearance for Luton. After a year out with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, the centre-half spent a short loan spell with Nottingham Forest.

Upson moved to Alan Smith’s Crystal Palace on loan in the spring of 2001, making his debut in a 2-0 home defeat to Preston on 3rd March 2001. He was on the losing side in each of his first four appearances for the Eagles as the First Division outfit battled against relegation but he tasted success in his fifth match, a 1-0 win over Crewe at Selhurst Park. He helped the Eagles to another clean sheet in his next match, a goalless draw with Huddersfield which ultimately relegated the Terriers, with Palace surviving at their expense by a single point. His seventh and final appearance for Crystal Palace came in a 2-2 draw at Watford on 7th April 2001.

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Upson spent the 2001/02 season back at Highbury, making 14 Premier League appearances which earnt him a title winners’ medal at the end of the campaign. He broke his leg in February 2002 and joined Reading on loan in September 2002 to aid his recovery and return to action. He signed permanently for David Sullivan and David Gold’s Birmingham in January 2003 and spent four years with the Blues, winning seven England caps during his time at St Andrew’s.

The 27-year-old Upson signed for Alan Curbishley’s West Ham United in January 2007 for an initial fee of £6m, rising to £7.5m depending on appearances. Birmingham boss Steve Bruce later claimed that he was forced to sell Upson by Karren Brady, Birmingham’s managing director at the time. Upson made his debut for the relegation-threatened Hammers at Aston Villa on 3rd February 2007, but had to be withdrawn with a calf injury 30 minutes into the 1-0 defeat. He lasted just 11 minutes of his comeback match a month later against Tottenham before again succumbing to injury in a match the Irons would eventually lose 4-3.

West Ham eventually pulled off the Great Escape without Upson but he was to have a much bigger impact throughout the rest of his career in claret and blue. He made 33 appearances in a 2007/08 season which saw West Ham finish tenth in Curbishley’s only full campaign in charge – his first goal for the Hammers was the winner in a 2-1 triumph over Manchester United at Upton Park on 29th December 2007. Upson also made a return to the England side under Fabio Capello in a 2-1 win over Switzerland in February 2008, becoming the first Hammers centre-half to wear the Three Lions since Rio Ferdinand eight years earlier.

In July 2008, Upson’s squad number of 6 was retired by the club in memory of Bobby Moore, after which he took the number 15 shirt. Gianfranco Zola took over early on in a 2008/09 campaign which saw Upson make 41 appearances in all competitions as the Irons finished ninth – he also won a further seven England caps, becoming a mainstay of Capello’s defence and making five starts. He was named Man of the Match and scored his first goal for his country in a 2-1 win in Germany in November 2008. Upson was linked with a £10m move to Manchester City and Tottenham in the January window of 2009, but Zola and the board opted to cash in on Craig Bellamy instead.

The 2009/10 season began with Upson being appointed captain after the departure of Lucas Neill. Upson scored in the season’s opening match, a 2-0 win at Wolves, but bigger clubs had again been sniffing around, with a £15m bid from Liverpool reportedly rejected, while interest from Fiorentina, Arsenal and Aston Villa was also rebuffed. The club opted to sell James Collins instead. Upson made 35 appearances during the campaign, scoring a further two goals – in a 2-1 defeat at Stoke on 17th October 2009 and in a 1-1 draw at Avram Grant’s Portsmouth on 26th January 2010, which was to prove to be his final goal for the Hammers. The cash-strapped Irons avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth but Upson had still impressed sufficiently to travel to South Africa as part of England’s 2010 World Cup squad – he would end the tournament as the Three Lions’ joint-top goalscorer, thanks to his header in the 4-1 second round defeat to Germany (that one is for our visiting German friends this weekend, Hamburg Hammer and ebiwhu!). It was to be Upson’s second goal in his 21st and final cap for his country.

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The 2010/11 season would be an unmitigated disaster for West Ham United. Grant joined the club as manager from Portsmouth, the first appointment by Upson’s former Birmingham employers Sullivan and Gold. He made 35 appearances as the Hammers were relegated in bottom position – his final match in claret and blue came in a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City on 1st May 2011. The 32-year-old Upson left the club on a free transfer later that summer, opting to remain in the Premier League with Stoke. Upson had made 145 appearances for West Ham United, scoring four goals – each of these four goals can be viewed in my video below.

After a year and a half with Stoke, Upson dropped down to the Championship to sign for Brighton, initially on loan before making the move permanent in the summer of 2013. He returned to the top flight with Leicester a year later before signing for Championship side MK Dons in the summer of 2015. He retired from playing in 2016. Now 39, Upson is currently working as a pundit for the BBC – he has a son, Elijah, with his wife Ellie, a British runner.


The referee on Saturday will be Anthony Taylor – his most recent Irons appointment was for our 4-0 opening-day defeat at Liverpool. The Hammers were only allocated the 40-year-old once last season, for our 1-0 home win over Chelsea in December 2017. In 2016/17, Taylor took charge of our 2-0 defeat at Everton in October 2016 and our 2-1 opening-day defeat at Chelsea in August 2016, awarding the home side a penalty and later controversially failing to issue a second yellow card to Diego Costa for an awful lunge at Adrian – Costa remained on the pitch to score the 89th-minute winner. He also refereed our 1-0 defeat at Leicester on New Year’s Eve 2016 and our 1-0 win over Tottenham in May 2017. Taylor officiated the Irons on five occasions in 2015/16 as he took charge of our defeat at Tottenham, as well as our home win over Newcastle which came just three games after he had controversially sent off Adrian against Leicester. He was also the man in the middle for our FA Cup third round win over Wolves and our 3-2 win at Everton in March 2016.

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Indeed, controversy and incident are never far away when the Cheshire-based official is the referee for a West Ham United match. Taylor was in charge when the Hammers took on Liverpool at Upton Park in April 2014, awarding a controversial and ultimately match-winning penalty to the Reds. There was also controversy surrounding Guy Demel’s equaliser for West Ham in that game. Taylor is also the referee who had not one, but two red cards rescinded from the same game after he had sent off Carlton Cole and Darron Gibson in the Hammers’ 2-1 home defeat to Everton in December 2012. He sent off the home side’s Kevin Mirallas against the Hammers at Goodison Park in March 2016 and awarded the Toffees a penalty which Romelu Lukaku saw saved by Adrian.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United are without Ryan Fredericks, Winston Reid, Aaron Cresswell, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko and Marko Arnautovic. Pablo Zabaleta is one yellow card away from a one-match suspension. West Ham are unbeaten in their last six Premier League matches against Crystal Palace, winning three and drawing three.

Crystal Palace will be without Scott Dann, Connor Wickham and Christian Benteke.

Looking ahead to our next match against Fulham, Aleksandar Mitrovic is one yellow card away from missing our trip to Craven Cottage – Fulham face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku; Snodgrass, Rice, Noble, Anderson; Perez, Chicharito.

Possible Crystal Palace XI: Hennessey; Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, van Aanholt; McArthur, Milivojevic, Kouyate, Meyer; Zaha, Townsend.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Cardiff

Blast from the past

17th August 2013 – Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa topped the UK box office and Miley Cyrus was number one with ‘We Can’t Stop’ as West Ham United recorded a 2-0 victory over tonight’s opponents Cardiff City in front of 34,977 at Upton Park.

Joe Cole (pictured below) scored the Hammers’ first goal of the 2013/14 season 13 minutes into this opening day encounter, meeting Matt Jarvis’ low cross from the left before swivelling and squeezing an effort into the corner of the net. Shortly afterwards, Mo Diame’s deflected effort spun inches wide of the post as the Irons sought to double their advantage against the newly-promoted Bluebirds, managed by former Hammers centre-half Malky Mackay.

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Stewart Downing came on for his West Ham debut before skipper Kevin Nolan secured the points for West Ham in the 76th minute, sweeping home a first-time curling shot after good work by Mark Noble. Nolan would go on to be the Hammers’ top scorer of 2013/14, with seven goals in 35 matches. Ex-Hammers strikers Craig Bellamy and Nicky Maynard featured in the match, with substitute Maynard coming closest for the visitors, scooping over under pressure from former Bluebird James Collins.

Sam Allardyce’s Hammers would finish 13th in the Premier League in 2013/14, while Cardiff would end the campaign relegated in bottom place. Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City won the title and Arsenal won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Guy Demel, James Collins, Winston Reid, Joey O’Brien, Mark Noble, Mo Diame (Alou Diarra), Joe Cole (Ricardo Vaz Te), Kevin Nolan, Matt Jarvis (Stewart Downing), Modibo Maiga.

Cardiff City: David Marshall, Matthew Connolly, Ben Turner, Steven Caulker, Declan John, Gary Medel, Aron Gunnarsson, Craig Bellamy (Rudy Gestede), Peter Whittingham, Kim Bo-Kyung (Nicky Maynard), Fraizer Campbell (Jordon Mutch).

Club Connections

A decent number of players have worn the shirts of both West Ham United and Cardiff City. These include:

Goalkeepers: Tommy Hampson, Stephen Bywater and Peter Grotier.

Defenders: Clive Charles, Danny Gabbidon, Phil Brignull, Roger Johnson and James Collins.

Midfielders: Gary O’Neil, Matt Holmes, Trevor Sinclair, Ravel Morrison, Bobby Weale, Billy Thirlaway and Jobi McAnuff.

Strikers: John Burton, Craig Bellamy, Marouane Chamakh, Billy Charlton, Nicky Maynard and Keith Robson.

Bobby Gould, Malky Mackay and Frank O’Farrell all played for the Hammers and managed the Bluebirds.

Today’s focus though is on a player who turned out for West Ham before representing Cardiff later in his career. Joe Durrell was a winger who was born on 15th March 1953 in Stepney. He started his career with the Hammers, signing schoolboy forms in 1968, and made his debut at the age of 18 in a 2-1 home win over Stoke on 25th September 1971. A diminutive, speedy winger competing for places with Johnny Ayris and Harry Redknapp, West Ham supporter Durrell made six appearances for the Irons during the 1971/72 season, with his final appearance for the club coming in a 1-0 home win over Southampton on 1st May 1972.

Competition for places led to Durrell moving to Bristol City in 1973 – game time was again hard to come by and he had a two-match loan spell at Cardiff in 1975. The most successful spell of his career came at Gillingham, for whom he played from 1975 to 1977, scoring nine goals in 49 league matches.

A bubbly character, Durrell returned to the East End with wife Denise and worked as a primary school teacher. He suffered a stroke in 2016 but, now aged 65, is said to be “fine” and, pleasingly, attended a pre-Christmas drink with a few fellow ex-Hammers last Friday.


Tonight’s referee is 50-year-old Graham Scott. The Oxfordshire-based official will be taking charge of only his sixth Premier League match involving West Ham United – the Hammers have won four of the previous five league matches he has officiated. His first Premier League appointment with the Irons was our 3-1 win at Southampton in February last year. He also took charge of the Hammers for our 3-0 win at Stoke in December – Scott’s decision to award Manuel Lanzini a first-half penalty saw the Argentine retrospectively banned for two matches. He also refereed our 2-0 home win over Watford in February, our 3-1 home win over Everton on the final day of last season and, most recently, our 3-1 defeat at Arsenal in August.

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Scott was also the man in the middle for our 2-1 League Cup victory over Cheltenham in August 2013 and 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

Manuel Pellegrini should have Fabian Balbuena available but Aaron Cresswell is a doubt. The manager has previously hinted that Michail Antonio could come in for Pablo Zabaleta, who is likely to be rested. Zabaleta is also one yellow card away from a one-match suspension. Ryan Fredericks, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Manuel Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko are still sidelined. West Ham are on a six-match winning streak against Cardiff, keeping clean sheets in five of those games. Andy Carroll hasn’t played since May but could make his 200th Premier League appearance.

Cardiff City will be without the injured Jazz Richards, Greg Cunningham and Kenneth Zohore. The Bluebirds have picked up nine of their 11 points this season from trailing positions, second only to Arsenal. They are also the only two sides yet to lead a Premier League game at half-time this season.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Antonio, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku; Snodgrass, Rice, Noble, Anderson; Arnautovic, Chicharito.

Possible Cardiff City XI: Etheridge; Morrison, Bamba, Ecuele Manga; Camarasa, Ralls, Arter, Gunnarsson, Hoilett; Paterson, Murphy.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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