Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Newport v West Ham

Blast from the past

West Ham United have never met Newport County in the League Cup before, so today’s focus falls on the only previous cup encounter between the two clubs. West Ham have previously met Newport twice in league action, the Hammers recording a 3-0 win at Upton Park in February 1947 and sharing the spoils in a 1-1 draw two months later in south east Wales.

Currently the only cup encounter featuring the two sides, however, came in front of 14,124 on 9th January 1979 in the FA Cup third round – The Village People were number one with ‘YMCA’, Jaws 2 topped the UK box office and Michael Aspel had just presented the first episode of ITV’s Give Us A Clue. Fourth Division Newport were welcoming Second Division West Ham on this Tuesday night due to the previously-scheduled Saturday game being postponed because of snow – indeed, the Hammers were to only play two matches in January 1979 as a result of the inclement weather.

This ‘welcome’ at Somerton Park included Newport removing all lightbulbs and toilet rolls from the West Ham dressing-room and giving the visitors deflated footballs to warm up with. The hosts took an early lead when former Bournemouth and Swindon forward Howard Goddard headed them in front after 14 minutes but the Hammers were level just seven minutes later when ‘Pop’ Robson struck a beauty from distance – if you skip to 14:54, you can see this goal by clicking here. Robson would be West Ham’s top scorer in 1978/79 with 26 goals from 42 appearances – it would be his final campaign with the Hammers before returning to Sunderland. He would also be voted runner-up to Alan Devonshire in the Hammer of the Year voting at the end of the season.

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The winning goal came in the 81st minute, and went to the Fourth Division hosts – Mervyn Day, who would make only two more appearances for West Ham before leaving for Leyton Orient, failed to deal with a cross and striker Eddie Woods converted scrappily at the far post to secure a home fourth round tie against Third Division Colchester.

Len Ashurst’s side secured a 0-0 draw against their Essex-based visitors but lost 1-0 in the replay. Arsenal would win the 1979 FA Cup Final, beating Manchester United 3-2 at Wembley. Newport, meanwhile, would go on to finish eighth in the Fourth Division while the Hammers would end the 1978/79 season in fifth place in the second tier. The following season would bring greater joy for both clubs, with Newport winning promotion to the Third Division and the Hammers winning the FA Cup.

Sadly, the Newport full-backs who played that night are no longer with us – former Aldershot and Sheffield Wednesday right-back Richard Walden died in November 2009 at the age of 61, while Irish international and ex-Southampton and Hereford left-back Tony Byrne passed away aged 70 in June 2016.

Newport County: Gary Plumley, Richard Walden, Trevor Thompson, Grant Davies, Tony Byrne, Dave Bruton, Keith Oakes, Nigel Vaughan, Steve Lowndes, Eddie Woods, Howard Goddard.

West Ham United: Mervyn Day, Frank Lampard, Alvin Martin, Billy Bonds, Paul Brush, John McDowell, Trevor Brooking, Alan Devonshire, ‘Pop’ Robson, Alan Taylor, David Cross.

Club Connections

Players who have represented Newport County and West Ham United include:

Defenders: Alf Lee, Phil Brignull.

Midfielders: Bobby Weale, Bill Edwards.

Strikers: Tudor Martin, Wilf James, Frank Nouble.

Today’s focus though is on a winger who spent half a season with West Ham United before moving to Newport County. Bill Charlton was born in Sunderland on the 10th October 1900 and began his career with South Shields (later Gateshead) shortly after the end of World War One. The brother of former Fulham and Carlisle full-back Edward Charlton, Bill signed for Syd King’s West Ham United on the strength of several impressive displays against the Hammers.

The 21-year-old outside-right made his Hammers debut in a 2-1 Second Division defeat to Bradford at Upton Park on 26th August 1922, the opening day of the 1922/23 season. Charlton (pictured) played the first eight matches of the campaign, helping the Irons to two wins and two draws from those eight fixtures. He was eventually replaced by Welsh international Dick Richards who went on to play 43 matches in what would prove to be a promotion-winning campaign for West Ham as they earnt the right to play top flight football for the first time in the club’s history and also reached the first Wembley FA Cup Final.

Charlton’s time at the Hammers, however, came to an end before that promotion was sealed. His final appearance in claret and blue came in a 2-1 defeat at Stockport on 30th September 1922 and by the end of that year, after failing to score in his eight West Ham appearances, he had moved to Newport in exchange for another outside-right, Bill Edwards. Charlton scored 19 goals for Newport in 89 league matches between 1922 and 1924. A brief spell at Cardiff followed before Charlton enjoyed the most successful spell of his career, scoring 72 goals in 130 matches for Tranmere from 1925 to 1930. He brought the curtain down on his career with a spell at Workington. Bill Charlton died at the age of 80 in his hometown of Sunderland on the 20th June 1981.


Tuesday’s referee will be Stephen Martin, who will be taking charge of his second match involving West Ham United. The Staffordshire-based official was the man in the middle for the Hammers’ 1-0 League Cup third round home win over Accrington in September 2016.

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Martin has refereed three Championship games this season, issuing nine yellow cards and no red cards, and awarding no penalties. His first refereeing appointment was in November 2010.

Possible line-ups

Newport came from behind twice in the last round before winning a penalty shoot-out against League One Gillingham. 24-year-old goalkeeper Nick Townsend has been second-choice behind Tom King this season but he was County’s hero in that shoot-out at Priestfield and is expected to retain his cup place. 38-year-old manager Michael Flynn, a former midfielder with Gillingham and Bradford, had three spells at hometown club Newport as a player and has managed County since 2017. The club missed out on promotion to League One last season, beaten in the last minute of extra-time in the Play-Off Final against Tranmere. Newport, who beat Crewe 1-0 on Saturday, are currently fifth in League Two and are unbeaten this season. 28-year-old Scot Bennett is back in contention and 26-year-old midfielder Matthew Dolan is available after coming off with fatigue during the weekend win over Crewe. 29-year-old striker Jamille Matt, who led the line and scored when Newport knocked Leicester out of the FA Cup last season, and 28-year-old midfielder Joss Labadie are both struggling to be fit in time to take on their Premier League visitors. The goalkeeper for last season’s cup heroics, Joe Day, was also named in the 2019 PFA League Two Team of the Year but has since signed for Cardiff.

West Ham United are likely to hand a debut to new striker Albian Ajeti. Winston Reid and Javier Hernandez are unavailable, while Manuel Pellegrini is expected to make some changes for the Hammers’ first ever trip to Rodney Parade. Spanish goalkeeper Roberto could make his debut in goal. West Ham’s Development Squad travel to Newport on 4th September for a group match in the Leasing.com Trophy.

Possible Newport County XI: Townsend; McNamara, O’Brien, Howkins, Haynes; Dolan, Sheehan; Willmott, Amond, Whitely; Abrahams.

Possible West Ham United XI: Roberto; Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Cresswell; Sanchez, Noble; Antonio, Fornals, Anderson; Ajeti.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Watford v West Ham

Blast from the past

West Ham United arrived at Cassio Road, the former home of this weekend’s opponents Watford, for a Southern League First Division fixture on 28th November 1914 while en route to a fourth-place finish. H.H. Asquith was Prime Minister, Carry On actor Charles Hawtrey was born two days later and, two days before the match, HMS Bulwark was blown apart by an internal explosion at her moorings on the Medway off Kingsnorth, Kent, killing all but nine of her 805 crew. A 1-0 victory in front of a crowd of 2,000 was recorded thanks to a strike from 21-year-old centre-forward Dan Bailey, his fourth goal in five matches. Goalkeeper Joe Webster and outside-left Jimmy Carr featured for the visitors at the home of their former club.

Born in East Ham on 26th June 1893, Bailey (pictured) had joined the Hammers from Custom House and made his debut in a goalless draw with Northampton at Upton Park on 15th March 1913. He took over Danny Shea’s inside-right position when the legendary Irons forward moved to Blackburn for a record £2,000 later that year. For this trip to Watford in November 1914, Bailey was switched to the centre-forward berth in the absence of another West Ham legend Syd Puddefoot – Puddefoot would be the Irons’ top scorer for the 1914/15 season with 18 goals in 37 appearances, while Bailey would bag five goals from 20 appearances. Bailey’s career was badly disrupted by World War One but he returned from service in Egypt to feature for West Ham in the Second Division after the club’s election to the Football League in 1919. After scoring 27 goals in 95 appearances for West Ham United, he departed for Charlton in 1921 – Dan Bailey died at the age of 73 in April 1967.

Syd King’s Hammers ended the 1914/15 season fourth in the Southern League First Division, while Watford topped the table at the end of the campaign. Everton won the league title and Sheffield United won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Joe Webster, Frank Burton, Alfred Tirrell, Bob Whiteman, Bill Askew, Tommy Randall, Herbert Ashton, George Butcher, Dan Bailey, Jack Mackesy, Jimmy Carr.

Club Connections

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

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

Defenders: Jon Harley, Calum Davenport, Lucas Neill, James McCrae, Chris Powell, 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, Mauro Zarate, Jack Foster, Roger Hugo, Billy Jennings, 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.

This week’s focus though is on a much-travelled Scottish centre-forward who represented both clubs. Peter Kyle was born in Cadder, East Dunbartonshire, on 21st December 1878 and represented Glasgow and District schools before playing for Glasgow Parkhead. He had been rejected after trial periods with Clyde, Hearts and Thames Ironworks (later to be West Ham United) but did turn out for junior club Larkhall Thistle.

Having reportedly been rejected by Clyde due to possessing a fierce temper, Kyle joined First Division Liverpool in 1899 for £100, playing five league games for the club. Unhappy with mainly reserve team football, he dropped down into the Second Division to sign for Leicester in the summer of 1900. After just over a year in the East Midlands, Kyle was on the move again, signing for West Ham United in the autumn of 1901.

The 22-year-old Kyle (pictured), a heavy-set centre-forward who was over 6’ in height, made his Hammers debut in a 1-0 FA Cup third qualifying round win at Leyton on 2nd November 1901 – it was the only time he would savour victory in a West Ham shirt. He made his only Southern League appearance for the club in a 2-1 defeat at QPR the following week and his final match for the Irons came in a 2-1 FA Cup fourth qualifying round loss at home against Grays United on 16th November 1901. After just three games for West Ham, Kyle was shipped out to fellow Southern League outfit Kettering in a swap deal for Welsh international full-back Bill Jones in December 1901. Jones would spend the remainder of the 1901/02 season in east London, making 15 appearances for the Hammers – Jones was tragically killed in action during World War One, in May 1918, and is buried at the Doiran Military Cemetery in the north of Greece, near the south-east shore of Lake Doiran.

Kyle, meanwhile, represented Kettering in the Southern League before appearing for Wellingborough. He returned to Scotland in September 1902, playing once for Aberdeen before joining Cowdenbeath three months later. He moved to Hearts in the summer of 1903 and represented Larkhall-based side Royal Albert, Port Glasgow Athletic and Partick Thistle in 1904. Kyle returned to the Southern League in 1905, signing for Tottenham – the extrovert centre-forward was involved in an incident which validated those clubs who had been previously concerned about Kyle’s temperament. He was suspended by his club in the spring of 1906 for fighting with Spurs team-mate Chris Carrick, an incident which was deemed “a breach of the club’s training rules”. Teesside-born Carrick had also played for West Ham, but during the 1904/05 season so he had not been a team-mate of Kyle’s at the Hammers.

Kyle was swiftly transferred to First Division Woolwich Arsenal in April 1906 and proved there was little doubt over his footballing ability, scoring 22 goals in 60 senior outings – he was also called up by his country to take part in a trial match in 1907 but never played a full international game for Scotland. Kyle was Arsenal’s top scorer in the top flight in 1907/08 but, with the club strapped for cash, he was sold to First Division rivals Aston Villa before the end of that campaign. By October 1908 the wayward striker was on the move again, staying in the top flight to sign for Sheffield United. His old failing came to the fore once again though when he was sacked for failing to train properly with the Blades and he returned to Scotland with former club Royal Albert in the summer of 1909.

Kyle returned to Southern League football with Watford at the age of 30 in November 1909. He scored four goals in 13 appearances but was released in February 1910 for what was, according to the West Herts Post, “utterly disgraceful and demoralising conduct” which also involved team-mates Frank Cotterill and Jock Grieve. Kyle returned to Scotland to join Royal Albert for a third spell and finished his career at Raith Rovers, whom he joined in July 1911. Peter Kyle died on 19th January 1957 at the age of 78.


The referee tomorrow will be Christopher Kavanagh. The Manchester-born official has refereed the Hammers on eight previous occasions, most recently for our 4-1 win at Watford in May when he sent off the Hornets’ Jose Holebas and awarded the Irons a penalty, converted by Mark Noble after a foul on Michail Antonio. Prior to that, Kavanagh officiated our 2-0 defeat at Chelsea in April and our 2-0 home win over Newcastle in March, a game in which he also awarded the Hammers a penalty for a foul on Chicharito which was again converted by Noble.

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Kavanagh had previously been in charge for our 2-2 home draw with Brighton in January, our 1-1 draw at Huddersfield last November and our 1-0 home defeat to Wolves last September. He was the man in the middle for our 2-0 win at Leicester in May 2018 and also issued Arthur Masuaku with a red card for spitting in an FA Cup fourth round defeat at Wigan in January 2018.

Possible line-ups

Tom Dele-Bashiru, Ismaila Sarr, Troy Deeney and Adalberto Penaranda are out injured for Watford, while Abdoulaye Doucoure and Roberto Pereyra are doubts.

For Manuel Pellegrini’s Hammers, Mark Noble, Felipe Anderson and Sebastien Haller are available but Winston Reid remains out. West Ham have lost only two of their last 15 league matches at Watford.

Possible Watford XI: Foster; Femenia, Dawson, Cathcart, Holebas; Hughes, Capoue, Doucoure, Pereyra; Deulofeu, Gray.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Zabaleta, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Rice, Noble; Lanzini, Fornals, Anderson; Haller.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Brighton v West Ham

Blast from the past

Today’s blast from the past features a 1-0 victory at the Goldstone Ground, West Ham United’s first ever win away to tomorrow’s opponents, Brighton. It arrived nearly 106 years ago, on the 13th December 1913 in front of 6,000 spectators. H. H. Asquith was Prime Minister and, the day before, the stolen Mona Lisa was recovered in Florence after Vincenzo Perugia was arrested while trying to sell it. Music hall singer Alec Hurley had died the previous week – Hurley was the second husband of music hall singer and comedienne Marie Lloyd, who was best known for her performances of ‘My Old Man (Said Follow The Van)’.

22-year-old Lincolnshire-born forward Dick Leafe (pictured), formerly of Boston Town, Grimsby and Sheffield United, scored the only goal of the game as the Hammers ran out 1-0 winners – it was Leafe’s tenth goal in 15 games since making his debut three months earlier. When Leafe retired from playing in 1922, having scored 44 goals in 106 appearances for West Ham United, he took on the job of assistant secretary at the club until the management was forced to reduce the staff at the outbreak of World War Two.

Syd King’s Hammers ended the 1913/14 season sixth in the Southern League First Division; Leafe finished the season as the club’s top scorer with 21 goals in 37 matches. Brighton were to finish seventh. Swindon won the Southern League First Division, Blackburn won the league title and Burnley won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Tommy Lonsdale, Tom Brandon, George Irvine, Tommy Randall, Bill Askew, Dan Woodards, Herbert Ashton, Syd Puddefoot, Bertie Denyer, Dick Leafe, George Hilsdon.

Club Connections

Players who have appeared for both clubs include:

Defenders: Len Young, Dennis Burnett, Mauricio Taricco, Tommy McAteer, Matthew Upson, Keith McPherson, William Kelly and Wayne Bridge.

Midfielders: Sebastien Carole, Bertie Lutton, John Payne, George Parris and Tony Stokes.

Strikers: Brian Dear, Sam Baldock, Tommy Dixon, Justin Fashanu, Greg Campbell, Paul Kitson, Sam Jennings, Sam Small, Herbert Lyon, Bobby Zamora, Dave Sexton and Mike Small.

In addition, Alan Curbishley played for both clubs and managed West Ham. Ex-Hammers Archie Macaulay, Chris Hughton and Liam Brady have managed Brighton.

This week’s focus though is on a goalkeeper who was with the Hammers either side of the Second World War before ending his playing career with the Seagulls. Harry Medhurst was born in Byfleet, Surrey on 5th February 1916 and started his career at Woking. At the age of 20, he agreed to turn professional by moving to Charlie Paynter’s Second Division West Ham United in 1936. Medhurst had to wait two years to make his Hammers debut, finally appearing between the posts in a 1-0 win over Fulham at Upton Park on Christmas Eve 1938. He took over from established custodian Herman Conway for all but one of the remaining 27 matches of the 1938/39 campaign, which saw the Irons finish 11th. Medhurst kept nine clean sheets in his 26 appearances during his first season of competitive football in east London – he is pictured below, claiming the ball in a 3-3 FA Cup fourth round draw with Tottenham at the Boleyn Ground on 21st January 1939, a match played in front of an official attendance of 42,716.

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Medhurst played in the first three games of the 1939/40 season before the Football League was suspended due to the outbreak of World War Two. Medhurst rose to the rank of Sergeant PTI (Physical Training Instructor) in the Army, having served with the Essex and Royal Artillery from 1939 to 1946. The regiment was a volunteer air defence unit of Britain’s Territorial Army – during the war, it defended the approaches to London in the Blitz and Operation Diver (the codename for countermeasures against the V-1 flying bomb campaign launched by the Luftwaffe in 1944, ‘Diver’ being the codename for the V-1 itself) before becoming a garrison unit in the liberation of Norway.

Medhurst played 134 matches for West Ham during hostilities, in the War League South, War League South Cup, London League, London War Cup and the Football League War Cup. The Hammers would indeed win the Football League War Cup in 1940, with Medhurst keeping a clean sheet in a 2-0 win at Chelsea in the second leg of the first round to see the side safely through to the next round against Leicester. Wartime service requirements restricted Medhurst to just this one outing in the competition, with Conway keeping goal as the Irons defeated the Foxes, Huddersfield, Birmingham and Fulham en route to a Wembley Final victory over Blackburn. Paynter successfully lobbied for Medhurst and Norman Corbett, who arrived at Wembley in his soldier’s uniform in time to take part in the post-match celebrations, to receive winners’ medals for their contributions to the cup run. Medhurst also guested for Sheffield Wednesday while based in Yorkshire during the conflict.

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Medhurst stayed with the Second Division Hammers when the Football League resumed in 1946/47, and played the first three games of that season, his final outing for West Ham coming in a 2-0 home defeat to Leicester on 7th September 1946. The presence of George Taylor and Ernie Gregory in the Hammers goalkeeping ranks led to the 30-year-old Medhurst being allowed to depart for First Division Chelsea in December 1946 in exchange for England international centre-forward Joe Payne (Payne still holds the Football League record for the most goals scored in one game, bagging ten in a 12-0 win for Luton over Bristol Rovers in a Third Division South match in April 1936). Medhurst had made 170 appearances for the Irons, although only 27 were in official Football League matches, with a further nine in the FA Cup.

Medhurst made 157 appearances for Chelsea during his six years in west London before joining Brighton in November 1952. He made 12 appearances for the Seagulls, helping them to a seventh-placed finish in the Third Division South in 1952/53 before retiring from playing at the end of that season, aged 37. Medhurst was also a keen cricketer, playing as a right-handed batsman for Cambridgeshire in the Minor Counties Championship from 1950 until 1953.

Medhurst returned to Stamford Bridge fulfilling various roles as a trainer, head first-team coach and physiotherapist until his retirement in 1975. Chelsea awarded him a Testimonial match against West Ham the following year. Harry’s assistant physio in the 1960s and ‘70s had been his son, Norman, who went on to work with England at European Championships and World Cups, including Italia ’90. Harry Medhurst died in Woking on 9th April 1984, at the age of 68. His son, Norman, passed away in June 2017.


The referee on Saturday will be 40-year-old Anthony Taylor – his most recent Irons appointment was for our 1-0 win at Tottenham in April. He also refereed our 4-2 FA Cup fourth round defeat at Wimbledon in January last season, as well as our 3-2 home win over Crystal Palace in December and our 4-0 opening-day defeat at Liverpool last August.

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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 for 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. Taylor also awarded a controversial and ultimately match-winning penalty to Liverpool at Upton Park in April 2014, while 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

Brighton are likely to be without right-back Ezequiel Schelotto, midfielder Yves Bissouma and winger Jose Izquierdo – alongside Glenn Murray, Izquierdo has often been the scourge of West Ham United in recent seasons. The Seagulls have won three and drawn one of the last four meetings between the two sides.

West Ham United are without the injured Mark Noble. Jack Wilshere should be available but Felipe Anderson and Sebastien Haller are doubts.

Possible Brighton XI: Ryan; Burn, Duffy, Dunk; Montoya, Stephens, Propper, March; Gross, Locadia; Maupay.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku; Rice; Antonio, Wilshere, Snodgrass, Lanzini; Haller.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

Follow @dan_coker on twitter.

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Man City

Hello and welcome to my first preview of the 2019/20 campaign as I enter my sixth season of writing for WHTID. I’m also delighted to announce that my wife and I have welcomed our first baby into the world over the summer break. Our son, Joey, was born last Friday, 2nd August, at 7.16pm weighing 9lb 6oz. A new addition to the West Ham family!

Blast from the past

13th December 1930 – Ramsay MacDonald was Labour Prime Minister as the country navigated its way through the Great Depression, former Labour MP Gwyneth Dunwoody was born the day before and composer Peter Warlock died four days later as West Ham United emerged victorious from a First Division encounter against Manchester City with a 2-0 win in front of 19,875.

The Hammers came into the game on the back of a nine-game unbeaten run (consisting of six wins and three draws) which had started back in mid-October with a 5-1 home win over Manchester United. City arrived in east London with two England internationals in their team, centre-half Sam Cowan and outside-left Eric Brook, while future Manchester United manager Matt Busby played for the visitors at right-half. West Ham, meanwhile, were without two of their own England internationals, goalkeeper Ted Hufton and legendary goalscorer Vic Watson. Viv Gibbins, who would be the Irons’ top goalscorer in this 1930/31 season with 19 goals from 22 appearances, was also absent.

The hosts, however, did have their other three England internationals on display in Jim Barrett, Stan Earle and Jimmy Ruffell – indeed, it was outside-left Ruffell (pictured) who scored both West Ham’s goals in this 2-0 triumph over Manchester City. He would hit 13 goals in 38 appearances during the 1930/31 season. What was now a ten-match unbeaten run for the Irons came to an abrupt end the following week with a 6-1 savaging at Sunderland.

This victory over the Sky Blues though was West Ham’s tenth win from their first 19 fixtures of the 1930/31 campaign and elevated the club into third place in the First Division table 12 days before Christmas. However, only four victories from the remaining 23 fixtures saw Syd King’s Hammers slump to an eventual 18th-place finish, only five points clear of relegation. Peter Hodge’s City ended up in eighth place – Manchester United were relegated in bottom position. Arsenal won the league title and West Brom won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Bob Dixon, Alfred Earl, Reg Wade, Jimmy Collins, Fred Norris, Albert Cadwell, Tommy Yews, Stan Earle, Jim Barrett, Wilf James, Jimmy Ruffell.

Manchester City: Len Langford, John Ridley, Laurie Barnett, Matt Busby, Sam Cowan, Jackie Bray, Ernie Toseland, Bobby Marshall, Dave Halliday, Fred Tilson, Eric Brook.

Club Connections

Pablo Zabaleta and Manuel Pellegrini welcome their former club. A large group of players join them in having represented West Ham United and Manchester City. Divided by playing position, they include:

Goalkeepers – Joe Hart, Perry Suckling, David James.

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

Midfielders – Samir Nasri, Marc-Vivien Foe, Kevin Horlock, Patrick Leonard, James Cumming, Eyal Berkovic, Steve Lomas, Frank Lampard Junior, John Payne, Michael Hughes, Ian Bishop, Trevor Sinclair.

Strikers – Paulo Wanchope, Bill Davidson, Carlos Tevez, Craig Bellamy, Phil Woosnam, Justin Fashanu, Trevor Morley, Clive Allen, Lionel Watson, David Cross, George Webb.

Stuart Pearce played for both clubs and has managed Manchester City. Malcolm Allison and John Bond were also West Ham players who went on to manage City.

Today’s focus though falls on a player who spent four-and-a-half seasons with West Ham before moving to Manchester City – Mark Ward. Born in Prescot, Lancashire on 10th October 1962, Ward started his career in the youth team at Everton but, at 5’6, was told he was too small to play top-flight football. He signed for non-league Northwich Victoria in 1981 and worked in a bakery. After two years with the Vics, Ward signed for Second Division Oldham in 1983 and spent two seasons at Boundary Park under Joe Royle. By the summer of 1985, John Lyall had seen enough of the tenacious 22-year-old right-winger to bring him to the Boleyn Ground for an initial fee of £225,000.

‘Wardie’ made his Hammers debut on the opening day of the 1985/86 campaign in a 1-0 defeat at Birmingham on 17th August 1985 and scored his first goal for the club in a 2-1 win at Oxford on 9th November 1985. Ward’s first Upton Park goal came a week later in another 2-1 win, this time over Watford. He played a prominent part in West Ham United’s highest-ever top-flight finish that season as the Hammers finished third – his ever-present record of 52 appearances in 1985/86 was the joint-most of any player in the squad, alongside Phil Parkes and Tony Gale. Surpassing 25 appearances ensured former club Oldham received an extra £25,000 as part of the transfer, taking the total fee to £250,000. Ward’s crosses created plenty of goals for sharp-shooters Tony Cottee and Frank McAvennie, while a strong work ethic ensured he tracked back to support Ray Stewart behind him at right-back. His third and final goal of the campaign came in a 2-1 home win over Manchester United on 2nd February 1986.

Ward was voted runner-up to Billy Bonds in the Hammer of the Year voting for 1986/87 but the Hammers slumped to a 15th-place finish – he made 49 appearances, again scoring three goals. Two of these strikes came in the League Cup, the first in a 1-1 second round first leg draw at Preston on 23rd September 1986 and the second in a 3-2 win at Watford in the next round on 29th October. His only league goal came in a 1-1 home draw against Newcastle on 2nd May 1987.

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The diminutive Ward was sent off twice before Christmas in the 1987/88 season, in a 1-1 draw at Wimbledon on 12th September and a 2-1 home win over Southampton on 5th December. He made 42 appearances during a campaign which saw the Irons finish 16th, scoring once, in a 1-1 home draw against Oxford on 5th March 1988. Ward made 41 appearances in 1988/89 but West Ham would be relegated from the top flight – he scored twice, the first in a 1-0 win at Wimbledon on 10th September 1988 and the other in a 2-1 victory at Newcastle on 3rd May 1989. He was sent off for the third time in his Hammers career in a 1-0 FA Cup fifth round win at Charlton on 18th February 1989.

With McAvennie and Cottee both departing before the 1988/89 season, and the sacking of Lyall at the end of that campaign, Ward became unsettled and ultimately clashed with new manager Lou Macari. Ward scored in a 1-1 draw at Hull on 2nd September 1989 and bagged a brace in a 2-0 triumph at Sheffield United on 14th October. Later that month, however, Ward missed the team coach travelling to Aston Villa for a League Cup third round tie and the PFA were called in to mediate. Ward went on to score in a 5-4 defeat at Blackburn on 25th November and scored his fifth goal of the season in a 2-1 defeat at Bradford on 9th December 1989 – it would be his final goal for the club. Determined to get away from Upton Park, his last appearance in a West Ham shirt came in a 1-0 defeat at Ipswich on Boxing Day 1989. After 14 goals in 209 appearances for West Ham United, Ward returned to the First Division to sign for Howard Kendall’s Manchester City in a £1m-rated swap deal that saw Ian Bishop and Trevor Morley move to east London. 11 of Ward’s 14 goals for West Ham United can be viewed in the video below.

Ward made his debut for City on 30th December 1989 in a 2-0 win over Millwall at Maine Road and scored his first goal for the club in a 2-1 victory at Aston Villa on 1st April 1990. He made it three goals in as many matches by also scoring in a 1-1 draw at Millwall the following weekend and in a 3-1 win at QPR four days after that. Ward only missed two games in 1990/91, scoring 13 goals as the Sky Blues finished fifth. His final goal for City came in a 2-2 draw at Arsenal on 17th April 1991, with his last appearance for the club coming in a 1-0 defeat at local rivals Manchester United on 4th May 1991. After 18 months at Manchester City, in which he scored 16 goals in 67 appearances, Ward moved back to his native Merseyside to sign for Everton for £1.1m – the club which had released him as a schoolboy.

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After two-and-a-half seasons at Goodison Park, Ward went on to represent Birmingham as a player-coach from 1994 to 1996, with whom he won the Football League Trophy in 1995 and was named in the Second Division PFA Team of the Year for 1994/95, before joining Huddersfield. He also played for Ayr United, Wigan, Dundee and Valur in Iceland before ending his career with spells at Altrincham and Leigh RMI.

Since retiring from playing in 1999, Ward managed Altrincham from 2000 to 2001. He became involved in the supply of cocaine in Liverpool and was arrested after 4kg of cocaine was found during a raid at a house in Merseyside in May 2005. Ward was jailed for eight years in October 2005 – he was released from HM Prison Kirkham in May 2009, having served four years in Kirkham and in HM Prison Liverpool. Now 56, Ward is a regular at events involving the Boys of ’86 and attended games at London Stadium last season.


Saturday’s referee will be Mike Dean; 2019/20 is Dean’s 20th as a Premier League referee. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Dean has refereed 23 of our league matches, officiating in ten 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 two Hammers appointments last season were the goalless home draw with Chelsea last September and, most recently, our 2-0 win at Fulham in December.

The VAR Official is David Coote.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United have captain Mark Noble on the injury list, but last season’s Hammer of the Year Lukasz Fabianski is available. The Hammers have lost their four previous matches against Manchester City at London Stadium by an aggregate score of 17-1, Aaron Cresswell scoring the Irons’ goal. Indeed, City are the only visiting team to have won four times at London Stadium. The Irons are beginning the season against an established top-six side for the sixth successive year. They lost four of their previous five, with the exception being a 2-0 win at Arsenal under Slaven Bilic in 2015.

Manchester City will be without Benjamin Mendy and Leroy Sane. Pep Guardiola has a doubt over Fernandinho but Aymeric Laporte could be available. Right-back Joao Cancelo could make his debut for the Sky Blues. David Silva has scored five and assisted two goals in his six away matches against West Ham for City in all competitions, scoring in all three of the matches he’s played at London Stadium. The Sky Blues are unbeaten in their last ten opening Premier League fixtures, winning nine.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Balbuena, Diop, Cresswell; Rice, Wilshere; Lanzini, Fornals, Anderson; Haller.

Possible Manchester City XI: Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; Rodri, De Bruyne, David Silva; Bernardo Silva, Jesus, Sterling.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

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There is still time to join the WHTID Fantasy League. Click here. When you’ve registered your details, follow the instructions to select your team. When you’ve selected your team, you need to join The Official WHTID League by clicking on the ‘Create and join leagues’ tab on the right side of the screen (this will only appear after you have picked your team). Then click on ‘Join a league’ and then ‘Join private league’ before typing the code kje6ia into the relevant box. You have until 7pm this evening (Friday) to register before the opening round of games. Good luck!


Join the WestHamTillIDie Fantasy League 2019/20

WestHamTillIDie are again running a league for the upcoming season’s Premier League Fantasy Football. We invite you to take part and submit a team!

If you participated last year, you will automatically be part of the league. All you need to do is complete your team for the new season.

If you didn’t take part last year and are new to the WHTID League, firstly click here. When you’ve registered your details, follow the instructions to select your team.

When you’ve selected your team, you need to join The Official WHTID League by clicking on the ‘Create and join leagues’ tab on the right side of the screen (this will only appear after you have picked your team). Then click on ‘Join a league’ and then ‘Join private league’ before typing the code kje6ia into the relevant box. You need to register before the season starts on Friday 9th August.

Special thanks to Ray The Hammer for setting up the league.

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