Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Sheff Utd v West Ham

Blast from the past

14th October 1989: Jive Bunny were number one with ‘That’s What I Like’; Oliver and Company (an animated Disney film based on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist) topped the UK box office; and boxer Anthony Joshua was born the following day. Monty Python star Graham Chapman had died ten days previously. Meanwhile, West Ham United took on Sheffield United at Bramall Lane in front of 20,822.

Lou Macari’s Hammers went into the game on the back of two successive home league defeats, with 3-2 and 1-0 reverses against West Brom and Leeds either side of a 1-1 League Cup second round second leg draw with Birmingham, also at the Boleyn Ground. Dave Bassett’s Blades, meanwhile, went into this encounter sitting pretty at the top of the Second Division table as they welcomed their newly-relegated visitors.

West Ham had Gary Strodder back in the centre of defence, making his first appearance for six months and replacing the injured Tony Gale. The Hammers were awarded a penalty in the 33rd minute when Mark Ward’s chipped pass released Stuart Slater, who was brought down by Blades goalkeeper Simon Tracey – the spot-kick, however, was thundered against the crossbar by Hammers skipper Julian Dicks. The Irons did take the lead six minutes later though – excellent work down the left by Kevin Keen was rewarded when his cut-back was crashed into the net by the left foot of Ward.

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The Irons doubled their lead with 20 minutes remaining – Keen was again involved, sending a pass down the middle for Eamon Dolan to advance into the hosts’ penalty area where he was brought down by Tracey. Despite Dicks still being on the pitch, Ward assumed penalty duties and sent his strike straight down the middle and into the net. The action from this match can be viewed in my video below.

The Hammers would finish the 1989/90 Second Division season in seventh place, with Sheffield United being promoted in second position. Leeds topped the Second Division, Liverpool won the title and Manchester United won the FA Cup. Trevor Morley, signed along with Ian Bishop in exchange for Ward at Christmas 1989, was voted in third place of the Hammer of the Year running, with Slater runner-up and captain Dicks claiming the award for the first time. Dicks was also the club’s top scorer for this season, with 14 goals in 52 games.

West Ham United: Phil Parkes, Steve Potts, Alvin Martin, Colin Foster, Gary Strodder, Julian Dicks, George Parris, Kevin Keen, Mark Ward, Stuart Slater, Eamonn Dolan.

Club Connections

West Ham United and Sheffield United have shared a number of personnel over the years. Ravel Morrison could face his former club, while a run-through of others who have represented both clubs includes:

Goalkeepers: Ted Hufton, Tom McAlister, Bill Biggar, Richard Wright and Mervyn Day.

Defenders: Jon Harley, Matthew Kilgallon, David Unsworth, Jimmy Holmes, Wayne Quinn, Simon Webster and Fred Milnes.

Midfielders: Kyel Reid, George Ratcliffe, Joe Cockroft, Franz Carr, Herbert Winterhalder, Lou Raisbeck, and Jim Simmons.

Strikers: Billy Barnes, Henri Camara, David Kelly, Brian Deane, Peter Kyle, Dick Leafe and Kenny McKay.

Martin Peters played for West Ham and Sheffield United; he also managed the Blades.

This week’s focus though is on a player who had two spells at Upton Park. Don Hutchison was born in Gateshead on 9th May 1971 – he first caught the eye while playing for Paul Gascoigne’s former club, Redheugh Boys, but started his professional career at Hartlepool. The gangling ‘Hutch’ was used either as a striker or central defender before settling into an attacking midfield role. He played his last game for the club in November 1990 before signing for Liverpool after his talents were quickly spotted by bigger clubs. After almost four years at Anfield, and some controversial off-field antics which earned him a somewhat dubious reputation early on his career, Hutchison joined Harry Redknapp’s Hammers in a club-record £1.5m deal in August 1994.

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The 23-year-old Hutchison converted a penalty on his debut in a 3-1 defeat to Newcastle, the club he supported as a boy, at the Boleyn on 31st August 1994 and scored in successive home games in October, a 2-0 League Cup second round second leg win over Walsall and the only goal in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. He also scored the winner in a 1-0 League Cup third round win against Chelsea on 26th October 1994. Disciplinary and injury issues were never far away in Hutchison’s early days in east London though, and he was sent off after receiving two yellow cards in the first half of a home game against Leicester on 5th November – the Hammers’ ten men went on to win the match 1-0 but Hutchison wouldn’t return to the side until January 1995. He scored in a 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea the following month and bagged the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win at Arsenal on 5th March 1995. He also scored in a 1-1 draw at Southampton ten days later and was on the scoresheet again three days after that in a 2-0 win at Aston Villa.

With the Hammers in a relegation battle, ‘Deadly Don’ scored in a 2-0 home win over eventual champions Blackburn on 30th April 1995 and bagged a brace against former club Liverpool in a 3-0 win at Upton Park on 10th May, a victory which secured the club’s survival in the Premier League. Hutchison scored a thumping free-kick in a 1-1 home draw with Tottenham at the start of the 1995/96 season, on 30th August 1995, and also scored in a 3-1 home defeat to Chelsea on 11th September 1995. His final game of his first spell in claret and blue came in a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City on New Year’s Day 1996 – he had scored 13 goals in 39 appearances. He moved to First Division Sheffield United later that month for £1.2m.

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Hutchison made his Sheffield United debut in a 1-1 draw at Tranmere on 13th January 1996. He scored two goals in 19 matches before the end of the season and scored three goals in 41 matches in 1996/97 – the first in a 2-0 win at Oldham on 7th September 1996 and the other two in successive games in November 1996, a 4-2 win at Grimsby and 2-1 victory at West Brom. The Blades reached the Play-Off Final under Howard Kendall at the end of the 1996/97 season but were defeated by Crystal Palace. Hutchison even went in goal for the last half-hour of a 2-2 draw at Ipswich in November 1997, by which time Kendall had returned to Everton and Nigel Spackman had taken over as Blades boss. Hutchison scored his last goal for the Blades in a 1-0 home win over Ipswich in the FA Cup fourth round on 3rd February 1998 and played his last game for the club in the fifth round of the competition, in a 1-0 win over Reading on 13th February 1998. He had scored six goals in 91 appearances for Sheffield United.

Hutchison returned to the Premier League in February 1998, teaming up again with Kendall at Everton and joining a group of players to have played for both Merseyside clubs. He moved on to Sunderland in the summer of 2000 and returned to West Ham in August 2001, again setting a club-record fee, this time of £5m. By now, Glenn Roeder was Hammers manager and Hutchison was an international player for Scotland, having made his debut in 1999 – he would win 26 caps for Scotland, scoring six goals, including one against England at Wembley in a Euro 2000 Play-Off.

The 30-year-old ‘Hutch’ made his second debut for the Hammers in a goalless draw at Derby on 8th September 2001 and scored in a 3-0 home win over Newcastle on 23rd September 2001, the same side he’d scored his first ever Hammers goal against seven years earlier. Hutchison suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in February 2002 which would keep him out for ten months. The midfielder’s ten appearances in 2002/03 all came as a substitute and he was unable to prevent the Irons’ relegation to the First Division at the end of the campaign.

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Hutchison scored a late winner under caretaker manager Trevor Brooking in a 1-0 win at Derby on 4th October 2003 and preserved Brooking’s unbeaten home record in his last match as manager by bagging a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Burnley at Upton Park on 18th October 2003. His final goals for the Hammers came on 1st May 2004, scoring twice in a 4-0 home win over Watford under Alan Pardew. Hutchison’s last appearance for West Ham came in a 1-0 home defeat to Brighton on 13th November 2004 and he left the club at the end of the 2004/05 promotion campaign after his contract expired, signing for Millwall. He had made 71 appearances in his second spell, scoring five goals – this took his Hammers totals across both his spells to 18 goals in 110 appearances.

Hutchison moved to Coventry in January 2006 before joining Luton in the summer of 2007. He was released at the end of the 2007/08 season and announced his retirement. Now 48, Hutchison now works in the media.


The referee on Friday will be Michael Oliver. He has refereed 21 of our matches, officiating in five wins for the Hammers, five draws and 11 defeats. Oliver has refereed the Irons twice this season, in our 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace in October, when he awarded the visitors a match-levelling penalty and, most recently, for our 3-2 home defeat to Tottenham in November.

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Oliver also refereed our 1-1 draw at Leicester in October 2018, when he sent off Mark Noble. His only previous red card issued to a West Ham player came six seasons ago, when he sent off Kevin Nolan in our 4-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield in December 2013. Oliver also refereed our 3-1 home win over Manchester United last season.

Possible line-ups

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has doubts over both his back-up goalkeepers, Michael Verrips and Simon Moore – the latter is expected to be fit enough to take a place on the bench. Right wing-back George Baldock is the younger brother of former Hammers striker Sam Baldock. Ex-Hammer Ravel Morrison is unlikely to start against his former club but could feature from the bench. Sheffield United have been victorious in both of their previous Premier League home games against West Ham – 3-2 in March 1994 and 3-0 in April 2007. The Blades could fail to score in three successive league fixtures for the first time since September 2013.

For West Ham United, Aaron Cresswell and Mark Noble are available but David Martin, Ryan Fredericks, Jack Wilshere, Michail Antonio and Andriy Yarmolenko are all out. Noble is just two Premier League goals away from equalling Paolo Di Canio’s record of 47 for the club.

Possible Sheffield United XI: Henderson; O’Connell, Basham, Egan; Baldock, Fleck, Lundstram, Norwood, Stevens; McBurnie, McGoldrick.

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

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Gillingham v West Ham

Blast from the past

West Ham United have met Gillingham in the FA Cup on four previous occasions – all of these meetings came when the Gills went under their previous name of New Brompton, while two of the clashes were when the Hammers themselves were known as Thames Ironworks. The third of these meetings was in the fourth qualifying round at Priestfield in front of 1,200 on the 17th November 1900. Five days before the Hammers and the Gills fought out a 1-1 draw in this match, the Exposition Universelle of 1900 had closed – it was a world’s fair held in Paris from 14th April to 12th November 1900 to celebrate the achievements of the past century and to accelerate development into the next. The fair was visited by nearly 50m people and brought international attention to the Art Nouveau style as well as displaying many technological innovations including diesel engines, talking films and escalators. The Gare d’Orsay (now the Musée D’Orsay) was opened in time for the event.

The Hammers had beaten amateur side Olympic 1-0 at the Memorial Grounds in the third qualifying round to earn safe passage through to this fourth qualifying round tie at Priestfield. It was within the rules at the time for the club that was drawn away to tempt their opponents with a cash offer to reverse the venue. The West Ham directors tried hard to get New Brompton to come to the Memorial Grounds, and offered a substantial sum in addition to halving the gate money, but the offer was rejected.

The Hammers emerged from this encounter between two Southern League First Division sides with a draw courtesy of a goal from 19-year-old centre-forward Fred Corbett. They would win the replay 4-1 at the Memorial Grounds to march on to the fifth qualifying round, where they would beat Clapton Orient (now Leyton Orient) 3-2 in a replay after drawing 1-1 at home. The Hammers were knocked out in the intermediate round, losing 1-0 at home to First Division Liverpool 119 years ago tomorrow, on 5th January 1901. Tottenham would win the 1901 FA Cup, beating Sheffield United 3-1 in a replay at Bolton’s Burnden Park after a 2-2 draw in the Final at Crystal Palace.

West Ham United: Hughie Monteith, Wally Tranter, Syd King, Bob Allan, Charlie Craig, Roddy McEachrane, Fergie Hunt, James Reid, Fred Corbett, Bert Kaye, Freddie Fenton.

Aside from this fourth qualifying round draw in 1900, the remaining FA Cup record between the two clubs is as follows:
1899 – New Brompton 0-0 Thames Ironworks (Fourth Qualifying Round)
1899 – Thames Ironworks 2-0 New Brompton (Fourth Qualifying Round Replay)
1900 – West Ham 4-1 New Brompton (Fourth Qualifying Round Replay)

Club Connections

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

Goalkeepers – Stephen Bywater, Fred Griffiths, Peter Chiswick, Steve Mautone, Charlie Ambler, Peter Shearing, Jack Rutherford, Darren Randolph, Tony Parks, Steve Banks.

Defenders – Paul Konchesky, Vic Niblett, Ernie Watts, Gary Breen, Steve Walford, Kenny Brown, George Wright.

Midfielders – Matt Jarvis, Steve Lomas, Tommy Caldwell, Joe Durrell, Patrick Leonard, Adam Nowland, Manny Omoyinmi, Derek Woodley.

Strikers – Terry Matthews, Derek Hales, Frank Nouble, James Reid, Charlie Satterthwaite, John Arnott, Andy Smillie, Billy Lansdowne, Frank Cannon.

Syd King played for New Brompton, Thames Ironworks and West Ham United, and also managed West Ham United. Martin Allen and Andy Nelson played for West Ham and managed Gillingham. Glenn Roeder played for the Gills and managed both clubs.

Today’s focus though is on the centre-forward who scored West Ham United’s goal in this preview’s featured match. Fred Corbett was born in West Ham on 1st January 1881 and was a product of the Old St Luke’s youth team – he became the club’s first ever black player when he made his debut for Thames Ironworks, where he was employed as a labourer, in a 1-0 defeat at Reading on 16th September 1899. Two further appearances followed in the 1899/1900 season.

Corbett was, however, to be a leading light in the Irons’ first season under their new title of West Ham United and scored his first goal for the club in a 1-0 win at Swindon on 6th October 1900; he followed that up with his first goal at the Memorial Grounds in a 2-0 win over Watford the following week. His third goal for the club came in this preview’s featured match in the FA Cup at New Brompton, and he also scored in the 4-1 replay win. He bagged a brace against Swindon in a 3-1 home win on 19th January 1901 and scored three more times in the 1900/01 campaign, all at home – in a 2-0 win over Luton on 9th February, a 2-0 triumph over Bristol Rovers on 16th March and a 1-0 victory against Millwall the following week.

Described as “strong and determined”, Corbett opened the 1901/02 season with a goal in a 2-0 win at Bristol Rovers on 7th September 1901 but his best display in a Hammers shirt came in a rearranged game against Wellingborough Town on 30th September 1901 after the first fixture was abandoned because of poor light due to the late arrival of the Northamptonshire club – West Ham won 4-2, with Corbett scoring a hat-trick. His final goals for the club came in a 4-1 home win over Luton on 12th October 1901, in which he scored twice. His last match for the Irons was a 4-0 defeat at Southampton on 7th December 1901. Having been a vital source of goals during his season-and-a-half in the Hammers’ first team, scoring 15 goals in 38 appearances for the club, Corbett moved to Bristol Rovers that winter.

After successful stints with Bristol Rovers (who Corbett enjoyed three spells with), Bristol City and Brentford, the 30-year-old Corbett signed for New Brompton in 1911. He had, by now, married his wife Kate and had two children, Winifred and Irene. He scored six goals in 22 games for the club before they changed their name to Gillingham in 1912. Fred Corbett died on 15th April 1924 in Brentford, aged 43.


Sunday’s referee will be 36-year-old West Yorkshire-based Andrew Madley, who will take on his first ever Hammers appointment. Madley, the older brother of former referee Bobby Madley, has refereed 14 matches so far in 2019/20 – six in the Premier League, six in the Championship, one in League One and one in the League Cup. He has dished out 46 yellow cards and six reds in those 14 games, as well as awarding five penalties.

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VAR will not be in use for Sunday’s match.

Possible line-ups

Gillingham boss Steve Evans is hopeful that he can name the same starting XI for the fifth consecutive match, although Mark Marshall and Alex Jakubiak are pushing for starts (the latter is on loan from Watford). The Gills are on an eight-game unbeaten run at Priestfield in all competitions, winning seven of those eight games.

West Ham Academy product Olly Lee, son of former Hammer Rob and brother of Elliot, is on loan at the Gills from Hearts – he never made a competitive appearance for the Irons but, now aged 28, is likely to play at the tip of a midfield diamond for the Gills. 26-year-old goalkeeper Jack Bonham joined the Gills from Brentford in the summer. 35-year-old right-back Barry Fuller is now in his second spell at the club. 20-year-old centre-back Jack Tucker has recently signed a new contract with the Gills following interest from Championship clubs; he is likely to partner club captain Max Ehmer, 27, in the centre of defence. 23-year-old Connor Ogilvie, who joined the club permanently in the summer following two loan spells from Tottenham, is likely to play at left-back. 22-year-old Alfie Jones, on loan from Southampton, could anchor the midfield; 20-year-old Ireland Under-21 international Thomas O’Connor, also on loan from the Saints, should also start in midfield along with 28-year-old Stuart O’Keefe, formerly of Crystal Palace and Cardiff. The Gills are likely to play two up front, with Brandon Hanlan and Mikael Mandron leading the line of late – Hanlan is a 22-year-old product of Charlton’s youth system, while Mandron is a 25-year-old French striker who is a product of the Clairefontaine Academy which produced Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka. Amongst other clubs, the 6’3 Mandron has also represented Sunderland, Wigan and Colchester.

West Ham United are likely to have David Martin, Jack Wilshere, Michail Antonio and Andriy Yarmolenko on the injury list. Lukasz Fabianski, Angelo Ogbonna, Aaron Cresswell and Mark Noble all sat out training on Friday.

Possible Gillingham XI: Bonham; Fuller, Tucker, Ehmer, Ogilvie; Jones; O’Connor, O’Keefe; Lee; Hanlan, Mandron.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Fornals, Rice, Sanchez, Lanzini; Ajeti, Haller.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Bournemouth

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

Blast from the past

In today’s preview, we travel back to 11th April 1990; Margaret Thatcher was in her final months as Prime Minister, Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ topped the charts, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley were in UK cinemas in Look Who’s Talking and, at a time of Poll Tax Riots and the Strangeways Prison Riots, West Ham United ran riot as Bournemouth, competing at the opposite end of the Second Division, visited east London.

Billy Bonds’ Hammers ran out 4-1 winners in this Wednesday night encounter in front of 20,202 spectators at the Boleyn Ground. Jimmy Quinn’s strike was deflected in for an own goal by ex-Tottenham defender Paul Miller before Ian Bishop (pictured below) struck a beauty into the top corner from distance against his old club after 23 minutes. David Coleman, who had celebrated his 23rd birthday just three days previously, pulled one back before half-time for Harry Redknapp’s Bournemouth, lifting the ball over Ludek Miklosko after Luther Blissett had outmuscled Colin Foster. Coleman tragically died in 1997.

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In the second half, Quinn won a penalty which was dispatched with the usual aplomb by Julian Dicks, who would be voted Hammer of the Year a month later (the first of four occasions that he would win the prestigious prize). Dicks would also finish as top scorer with 14 goals from 52 matches. Northern Ireland striker Quinn was again involved for the fourth goal, heading Stuart Slater’s cross back across goal for ‘Mad Dog’ Martin Allen to nod home from close range. My video below shows the goals from this game.

The Hammers would end the 1989/90 campaign in seventh place in the Second Division, two points adrift of the play-offs despite finishing as the division’s joint highest scorers with 80 goals, while Bournemouth would finish 22nd out of 24 teams and were relegated. Leeds won the Second Division, Liverpool won the First Division title and Manchester United won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Ludek Miklosko, George Parris (Steve Potts), Tony Gale, Colin Foster, Julian Dicks, Kevin Keen, Ian Bishop, Martin Allen, Stuart Slater, Jimmy Quinn, Trevor Morley (Frank McAvennie).

Club Connections

A decent number of players have turned out for both West Ham United and Bournemouth. Ex-Bournemouth loanee Jack Wilshere is now at West Ham. Ex-Bournemouth midfielder Paul Mitchell, who made one league appearance for the Hammers in 1994, is back with the Cherries as a correspondent for Opta Sports. Jermain Defoe and Hammers Academy product Junior Stanislas are currently on Bournemouth’s books, although Defoe is currently on loan at Rangers. Other players to have appeared for both clubs include:

Goalkeepers: David James and Stephen Henderson.

Defenders: Everald La Ronde, Bill Kitchener, Rio Ferdinand, Phil Brignull, Reg Parker, Keith Rowland, Elliott Ward, Bobby Howe and Horace Glover.

Midfielders: Keith Miller, Carl Fletcher, Ian Bishop, Trevor Hartley, Bobby Barnes, Tommy Southren, Jimmy Neighbour, Emmanuel Omoyinmi, Tony Scott, Anthony Edgar, Scott Mean, Matty Holmes, Dale Gordon, Jack Collison and Patsy Holland.

Strikers: Nicky Morgan, John Arnott, Mark Watson, Zavon Hines, Steve Jones and Ted MacDougall.

Harry Redknapp played for and managed both clubs. Former Hammers player John Bond went on to manage Bournemouth, while Jimmy Quinn played for both clubs and also managed the Cherries.

Today’s preview focuses on a goalkeeper who experienced limited playing time at West Ham United and had a spell on loan with Bournemouth while with the Hammers. Marek Stech was born on 28th January 1990 in Prague and began his career as a trainee with Sparta Prague before moving to West Ham United at the age of 16 in August 2006. After a loan spell with Wycombe, Stech signed for League Two club Bournemouth on an emergency loan on 11th December 2009 due to last for seven days after the Cherries received special dispensation from the Football League. The following day, Stech made his debut for Bournemouth but let in five goals as they lost 5-0 away to Morecambe. Stech’s loan with Bournemouth lasted only one match, and he returned to West Ham.

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The goalkeeper made his Hammers debut under Avram Grant aged 20 on 24th August 2010 in a 1-0 League Cup second round win over Oxford at Upton Park – he went on to play in the 2-1 third round win at Sunderland and the 3-1 fourth round win over Stoke at the Boleyn on 27th October 2010. This third appearance was also his last for the club as Robert Green replaced him for the quarter-final win over Manchester United in a snowy east London. Stech has the distinction of a 100% winning record in a West Ham shirt.

Loan spells at Yeovil and Leyton Orient followed before he signed for Yeovil permanently in 2012. He won promotion to the Championship via the League One play-offs in 2013 and earned his first (and currently only) senior cap for the Czech Republic a year later, shortly before he returned to his homeland by signing for Sparta Prague. He signed for League Two Luton in 2017 and was named in the PFA League Two Team of the Year at the end of his first season, which culminated in promotion. Now 29, Stech is still at Luton, who are now in the Championship.


Tomorrow’s referee is 51-year-old Graham Scott. The Oxfordshire-based official will be taking charge of only his ninth Premier League match involving West Ham United – the Hammers have won five of the previous eight league matches he has officiated. His first Premier League appointment with the Irons was our 3-1 win at Southampton in February 2017. He also took charge of the Hammers for our 3-0 win at Stoke under David Moyes in December 2017 – 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 2018, our 3-1 home win over Everton in Moyes’ last match of his first spell in charge of the Hammers and our 3-1 defeat at Arsenal in August 2018.

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Scott was the man in the middle for both our matches against Cardiff last season. The match at London Stadium saw him award a penalty to the visitors which Lukasz Fabianski saved as the Hammers went on to win 3-1. He also officiated our 2-0 defeat in the Welsh capital in March 2019. He was most recently in charge of our 2-1 defeat at Manchester United last April, awarding the home side two penalties. Scott was also in charge for our 2-1 League Cup victory over Cheltenham in August 2013 and 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

The Hammers are without Jack Wilshere and Andriy Yarmolenko for the first match of David Moyes’ second spell as manager, while David Martin is a doubt. Aaron Cresswell could return from a one-match ban. Each of West Ham’s last four home league matches have ended in defeat, their worst run since January 2006 (also four defeats in a row). The Irons haven’t lost five successive home league contests since April 1931. West Ham have lost seven Premier League matches on New Year’s Day, second only to the highest total of ten defeats recorded by Everton.

Bournemouth are set to be without the injured Adam Smith, Jack Stacey, Nathan Ake, Lloyd Kelly, Charlie Daniels, David Brooks and Arnaut Danjuma, while club captain Simon Francis and Josh King are doubts. King has five in his last six against the Hammers, while fellow striker Callum Wilson has scored seven goals in seven Premier League matches for Bournemouth against West Ham. Neither player has scored more Premier League goals against a single opponent than they have versus West Ham. Six of Bournemouth’s last seven opening league matches in a calendar year have ended level, with the other ending in defeat; the Cherries’ last such win was a 2-0 success against Wycombe in 2012.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku; Antonio, Rice, Noble, Anderson; Haller.

Possible Bournemouth XI: Ramsdale; Steve Cook, Mepham, Simpson, Rico; Harry Wilson, Billing, Gosling, Fraser; Solanke, Callum Wilson.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Leicester

Blast from the past

6th October 1984 – Stevie Wonder was number one with ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’, David Warner and Angela Lansbury were in UK cinemas in The Company of Wolves and actor Leonard Rossiter had passed away the day before. Meanwhile, the Hammers defeated the Foxes at Upton Park in front of 15,306 spectators.

38-year-old Hammers legend Billy Bonds (pictured below) was amongst the scorers in a 3-1 win for the Irons. Future Leicester striker Tony Cottee was also on the scoresheet for the Hammers, while a Ray Stewart penalty rounded off the hosts’ goalscoring. Winger Steve Lynex scored the Foxes’ consolation.

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West Ham United would finish the 1984/85 First Division season in 16th position, while Leicester would end up 15th in a campaign which saw Everton win the title and Manchester United win the FA Cup. Tony Cottee would finish as the Hammers’ top scorer with 24 goals in 50 matches; the young striker would finish runner-up to Paul Allen in the Hammer of the Year voting.

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

Leicester City: Mark Wallington, John O’Neill, Bob Hazell, Paul Ramsey, Bobby Smith, Steve Lynex, Andy Peake (Mark Bright), Kevin MacDonald, Ian Wilson, Alan Smith, Gary Lineker.

Club Connections

David Martin welcomes his former club to London Stadium. Others who join him in having represented both the Hammers and the Foxes include:

Goalkeepers: George Hebden, Colin Mackleworth.

Defenders: Gary Charles, Chris Powell, Dickie Pudan, Rufus Brevett, Paul Konchesky, Dai Jones, Matthew Upson, Clive Clarke, Billy Oakes, Fred Milnes, John Paintsil.

Midfielders: Andy Impey, Shaun Newton, Franz Carr, Sid Bishop.

Strikers: David Connolly, Albert Carnelly, Brian Deane, Keith Robson, David Speedie, Bertie Lyon, Paul Kitson, Norman Proctor, Les Ferdinand, Mike Newell, David Kelly, Tony Cottee, Jimmy Quinn.

Frank O’Farrell, Jimmy Bloomfield and Martin Allen have played for the Hammers and managed the Foxes.

Today’s focus, though, falls on a player who spent a season with West Ham United in the twilight of his career before representing Leicester for half a season. Nolberto Solano was born in Callao, Peru on 12th December 1974 – he played for Sporting Cristal and Deportivo Municipal in his homeland before moving to Boca Juniors of Argentina. ’Nobby’ joined Newcastle in 1998 and spent just over five years with the Magpies before signing for Aston Villa for £1.5m in January 2004. On transfer deadline day in August 2005, Solano rejected a late offer to join Liverpool and agreed to return to Newcastle in a £1.5m deal.

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After two years with Newcastle in his second spell on Tyneside, the 32-year-old Solano signed a one-year contract with Alan Curbishley’s West Ham in August 2007 to be closer to his London-based family. He made his debut on 21st October 2007, as a 73rd-minute substitute for Mark Noble in a 3-1 win over Sunderland. His impact was immediate when, after just five minutes on the pitch and the game tied at 1-1, Solano hit the post with the ball rebounding off Black Cats goalkeeper Craig Gordon and into the net to restore the Hammers’ lead. He scored his first goal for the Irons with a trademark free-kick and the fifth goal in the 5-0 away triumph at Derby on 10th November 2007 and added another goal in the 1-1 home draw with Reading on Boxing Day. He struck the last-gasp winner over Fulham at Craven Cottage in a 1-0 win on 23rd February 2008 before rounding off his season, and his spell at Upton Park, with another free-kick in a 2-2 final-day draw against former club Aston Villa on 11th May 2008. He was released by West Ham when his contract expired at the end of the 2007/08 season having scored four goals in 23 appearances – each of these four goals can be viewed in my video below.

On being released by the Hammers, Solano spent six months in Greece playing for Larissa before going back to his native Peru to play for Universitario de Desportes. ‘Nobby’ then came back to England to join former coach Nigel Pearson at Championship side Leicester, where he made his debut in a goalless home draw with former club Newcastle on 30th January 2010. The 35-year-old played for the Foxes for four months, making 13 appearances without scoring in regulation play – he did convert from the spot during a penalty shoot-out defeat to Cardiff in the Play-Off Semi-Finals on 12th May 2010, his final appearance for the club.

Solano followed Pearson north to Hull for the 2010/11 season. After a year with the Tigers he moved on to Hartlepool but a change in management saw him fall from first team grace before an illness finished his season, and his career, in February 2012. Solano had also made 95 appearances for Peru, scoring twenty goals, in a fifteen-year international career.

Solano started off his coaching career as a part-time coach with Northern League Division one side Newcastle Benfield before being named head coach of his former side Universitario in May 2012. Two years later, on 1st May 2014, he was named head coach of Internacional de Toronto, a club in the Canadian third division. Solano, who turned 45 earlier this month, has been assistant manager of the Peru national team since December 2017.


The referee on Saturday will be David Coote. The Nottingham-based official will take charge of a West Ham game for only the fourth time – his only other Hammers appointments were for our 2-0 defeat at Burnley last December, our 3-0 loss at Wolves in January and, most recently, our 1-1 draw with Sheffield United in October.

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Coote has refereed seven Premier League matches so far this season – he has issued 26 yellow cards, one red and awarded one penalty.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United have lost only three of their last 32 home matches against Leicester stretching back to 1967, with 21 victories and eight draws against the Foxes in that time. Manuel Pellegrini will be without Winston Reid and Jack Wilshere, while Aaron Cresswell is suspended. Lukasz Fabianski could make his comeback from injury and Ryan Fredericks returns from a ban.

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers will be without Matthew James. The Foxes are unbeaten in their last four visits to east London.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Rice; Antonio, Noble, Snodgrass, Anderson; Haller.

Possible Leicester City XI: Schmeichel; Pereira, Soyuncu, Evans, Chilwell; Ndidi; Perez, Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Crystal Palace v West Ham

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

Syd King’s West Ham United arrived at The National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace, the former home of our Boxing Day opponents, for a Southern League First Division fixture on 18th January 1908 while en route to a tenth-place finish. Four days later, Arthur Henderson became the second leader of the Labour Party following the resignation of Keir Hardie – Scotsman Hardie was a founder of the Labour Party in 1900 and had previously been the MP for West Ham South, as an independent candidate, between 1892 and 1895.

Outside-right David Lindsay made his 53rd and final appearance for the Hammers – the Scottish international had made his debut in September 1906 and had scored four goals for the club – he returned to Scotland to represent Leith Athletic. The Hammers recorded a 3-1 victory in front of 8,000 spectators, their first ever away victory against Crystal Palace. Lionel Watson (pictured) bagged his first of four goals in four games. The 26-year-old inside-left, who had played First Division football with Blackburn prior to moving south to sign for West Ham, scored 27 goals in his 80 appearances for the Hammers between September 1905 and April 1908. A great practical joker, he returned to Lancashire to join Blackpool and continued to live in the seaside town after his retirement from football, later working as an auctioneer before his death in 1945.

Legendary inside-right Danny Shea scored his first goal for the Irons away from Upton Park in this match and centre-forward Harry Stapley completed the Hammers’ scoring with his penultimate goal for the club – he moved into league football with Second Division Glossop later in 1908, retaining his amateur status so he could continue working as a schoolteacher.

Crystal Palace would finish the 1907/08 campaign in fourth position, while Stapley would end the season as the Irons’ top goalscorer with ten goals in 25 games.

West Ham United: George Kitchen, James Gault, Archie Taylor, Tommy Allison, Frank Piercy, Bob Young, David Lindsay, Danny Shea, Harry Stapley, Lionel Watson, Fred Blackburn.

Club Connections

James Tomkins and Cheikhou Kouyate welcome their former club to Selhurst Park. 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, Chris Powell, Alan Stephenson, Tony Gale, Darren Powell, Jose Fonte.

Midfielders: Jimmy Wood, Anton Otulakowski, Victor Moses, 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, Ian Wright, Andy Smillie, Jeroen Boere, Johnny Cartwright, Johnny Byrne, Peter Simpson, Freddie Sears, 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 former 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.

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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. It was to be Upson’s second goal in his 21st and final cap for his country.

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 40, 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 Boxing Day will be Andre Marriner; the 48-year-old failed to send off Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero for an elbow on Winston Reid in August 2016, with the Hammers trailing 2-1 with 14 minutes remaining. The Argentine was retrospectively charged with violent conduct and suspended for three matches, a decision which did nothing to benefit West Ham. Marriner did, however, show leniency that day towards the visitors by failing to issue Arthur Masuaku with a second yellow card on more than one occasion.

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Since we achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 the Birmingham-based official has been far from a good omen for West Ham – he has refereed 18 of our league matches, officiating in only three wins for the Hammers, five draws and ten defeats. His most recent match officiating the Irons was our 2-0 defeat at Wolves earlier this month.

Possible line-ups

Crystal Palace look set to be without injured right-back Joel Ward and centre-backs Gary Cahill and Scott Dann. Roy Hodgson is also without Jeffrey Schlupp and Andros Townsend. Mamadou Sakho is available after suspension. All five of Roy Hodgson’s previous Boxing Day Premier League matches have ended in goalless draws. A league-low 15 goals have been scored at Selhurst Park this term. Crystal Palace won October’s reverse fixture 2-1, having previously recorded only one victory in ten Premier League games against West Ham, drawing four and losing five.

Manuel Pellegrini is without Winston Reid and Jack Wilshere but Manuel Lanzini and Felipe Anderson are available. Ryan Fredericks is banned after collecting five yellow cards. Neither David Martin nor Lukasz Fabianski will be able to play two games in 48 hours. Aaron Cresswell and Robert Snodgrass are both one yellow card away from one-match bans. West Ham are unbeaten in their last five visits to Selhurst Park. Since their Premier League return in 2012, West Ham have won just one of five Boxing Day games, drawing two and losing two.

Possible Crystal Palace XI: Guaita; Kelly, Tomkins, Sakho, van Aanholt; Kouyate, Milivojevic, McArthur; Ayew, Benteke, Zaha.

Possible West Ham United XI: Martin; Zabaleta, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Snodgrass, Rice, Noble, Fornals; Antonio, Haller.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

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