Dan Coker's Match Preview

West Ham's Czech Connections: Part One

With England playing the Czech Republic in Euro 2020 qualifying yesterday, the first part of my look at the Hammers’ Czech Connections focuses on a man who came ‘from near Moscow and played in goal for West Ham’…

Ludek Miklosko was born in Prostejov, a city in the Olomouc region of then-Czechoslovakia, on 9th December 1961 and came through the youth systems at Zelezarny Prostejov and, later, Baník Ostrava. He made his senior debut with RH Cheb (now known as Hvezda Cheb) in 1980 at the age of 18 and returned to Banik Ostrava in 1982; he made his debut for Czechoslovakia in the same year.

After eight years with Banik Ostrava, including winning the Czech league title, Miklosko signed for Lou Macari’s West Ham United in February 1990 for a bargain £266,430. Macari had given trials to the 6’4 Miklosko in December 1989 but it was two months later before he received work permit clearance to play in Britain. Ironically, Macari never got to manage his new signing in a match as the Scot was already on his way out of the club when the 28-year-old Miklosko made his Hammers debut in a 2-2 Second Division draw at Swindon on 18th February 1990 – he went on to keep seven clean sheets in 19 appearances under Billy Bonds in the remainder of his first season. The club finished seventh, two points and one place short of a play-off spot. Miklosko was in the Czechoslovakia squad for the 1990 World Cup in Italy but didn’t play a game, with future QPR custodian Jan Stejskal preferred between the posts.

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Miklosko was a Division Two, FA Cup and League Cup ever-present in 1990/91, keeping 25 clean sheets in 56 appearances in all competitions during a season in which his popularity was underlined by being voted Hammer of the Year. The Irons won promotion and reached the FA Cup Semi-Finals – the only match ‘Ludo’, as he was affectionately known, didn’t play in was a 5-1 Full Members Cup defeat at Luton, when Allen McKnight came into the side. Ludo’s 22 league clean sheets equalled the club record previously set by Phil Parkes.

Renowned for his agility, shot-stopping and long kicks which could often reach the opposing penalty area, Miklosko experienced top flight football in England for the first time in the 1991/92 season but the Hammers would be relegated in bottom position. He missed six league matches, four of which were lost, with Tony Parks his new understudy. Ludo kept 12 clean sheets in his 46 appearances. He played a key role in denting Manchester United’s title hopes, making two fantastic saves from Mark Hughes and Ryan Giggs, with Kenny Brown scoring the Hammers’ winner in a 1-0 victory. Ludo also kept a clean sheet in a goalless draw at eventual champions Leeds.

1992/93 would again see Miklosko play every league and major cup match, missing only an Anglo-Italian Cup tie against Bristol Rovers when rookie Steve Banks donned the gloves. Bonds’ Hammers won an instant promotion to the Premier League, with Ludo in fine form, particularly when saving a penalty from Sunderland’s Don Goodman in a memorable, televised 6-0 home win over the Wearsiders in October 1992. Miklosko played 55 matches in all competitions, keeping 23 clean sheets. He also retired from international duty in December 1992 having won 40 caps for Czechoslovakia.

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Miklosko helped the Hammers establish themselves as a Premier League outfit in 1993/94, playing 51 matches and keeping 18 clean sheets as the Irons finished 13th and reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. ‘Ludo’ remained first choice under new manager Harry Redknapp in 1994/95, keeping 16 clean sheets in 48 games, playing a key role in the Hammers’ ultimate survival after a season-long battle against the drop. The Irons finished 14th but perhaps Ludo’s finest hour in a West Ham shirt arrived in the final game of that season when his fine saves from Lee Sharpe and Mark Hughes, and his role in the rearguard action against Andy Cole and his Manchester United team-mates denied the Red Devils the title in an incredible finish to the campaign.

1995/96 would see Miklosko miss his first league matches in four seasons, after a red card against Everton resulted in suspension. Julian Dicks took over in goal at Goodison Park, performing manfully as the Hammers went down to a 3-0 defeat in December 1995. 17-year-old Neil Finn started the New Year’s Day match at Manchester City in Miklosko’s absence, with Ludo’s wife helping to attach Finn’s name and number to his goalkeeper’s jersey in advance of the match – the Hammers narrowly lost 2-1. Les Sealey also got a game in goal at Newcastle, making several saves to keep the scoreline down to a 3-0 Magpies win. Miklosko saved a Keith Curle penalty when Manchester City were beaten 4-2 at Upton Park in March 1996 with the Hammers going on to finish in the top ten for the first time since 1985/86. Miklosko played 42 matches in all competitions, keeping 14 clean sheets.

The Hammers experienced a difficult 1996/97 season, finishing 14th and being knocked out of both cups by lower league opposition in Wrexham and Stockport. Miklosko missed two league matches and two League Cup matches through injury, with Sealey and Steve Mautone stepping in. Ludo kept nine clean sheets in his 41 appearances. It was around this time that Mikosko stepped out of international retirement to make two appearances for the newly-established Czech Republic.

1997/98 saw Craig Forrest join the club and, after only one clean sheet in 15 appearances in the first half of the season, the 35-year-old Ludo made his final Hammers appearance in a 2-0 defeat at Derby on 6th December 1997. Miklosko joined QPR in an initial loan deal in 1998, which was later made permanent for £50,000. He joins fellow West Ham goalkeeping greats Phil Parkes and Robert Green in having kept goal for both clubs.

Miklosko had made 373 appearances for West Ham in all competitions. He had kept 125 clean sheets, won the Hammer of the Year once and been promoted with the club twice. My video below is a compilation of some of Ludo’s saves in a West Ham shirt – it includes a rare interview with the man himself at a time when his English was in its fledgling phase, as well as plaudits from former team-mates Ian Bishop and Stewart Robson.

After three years at Loftus Road, Miklosko retired from playing and replaced Sealey as goalkeeping coach at West Ham under the new management of Glenn Roeder in the summer of 2001. He helped David James and Robert Green establish themselves in the England side during his time coaching at the club, which ended in March 2010, two months after the Sullivan/Gold takeover at the club. Now 57, Miklosko was back in east London for the re-naming of the Billy Bonds Stand earlier this month.


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Crossed Hammers & Three Lions: Rio Ferdinand

Welcome to the latest in a series of articles designed for international matches – a look back at former Hammers players who wore the Three Lions of England.

Today, as England prepare to face the Czech Republic in their first Euro 2020 qualifier, we look back at a former Hammers and England defender. Rio Ferdinand was born in King’s College Hospital, Denmark Hill on 7th November 1978. He joined the West Ham United Academy in 1992 having been scouted by Frank Lampard Senior and made his first team debut on 5th May 1996 as a 17-year-old, coming on for Tony Cottee in the 68th minute of the final day 1-1 home draw with Sheffield Wednesday. Ferdinand’s first appearance for the club coincided with legendary centre-back Alvin Martin’s final outing in claret and blue – it was hoped that this was a symbolic changing of the guard, a passing of the baton with Rio seen as the long-term successor to ‘Stretch’, himself an England international. Further substitute appearances arrived in the early stages of 1996/97 at both Arsenal on the opening day and Sunderland a month later before a League Cup appearance from the bench in a 1-0 win over Barnet, with the winning goal in that game scored by Slaven Bilic.

Ferdinand joined Bournemouth on loan in November 1996 and Sir Alex Ferguson, who had Ferdinand watched during his two months with the Cherries, said he was “graceful, balanced, first touch like a centre-forward”. Having collected valuable first-team experience to go alongside his obvious natural talent, Ferdinand returned to Upton Park and made his first Hammers start in a disastrous 1-0 FA Cup third round replay defeat at the hands of Wrexham. With the Hammers also knocked out of the League Cup the previous month by another lower league side in Stockport and entrenched in a fierce battle for survival, Ferdinand had to grow up quickly. Coming on as a half-time substitute in midfield, he notched his first West Ham goal in a 2-1 defeat at Blackburn the following week, controlling a loose ball in the box expertly with his right foot before firing beyond Tim Flowers with his left. Ferdinand would miss only two of the remaining fourteen matches in 1996/97 (with the Hammers failing to win either of those he missed), with the young defender playing a crucial role alongside the likes of Bilic, Julian Dicks and new signings Paul Kitson, John Hartson and Steve Lomas in ensuring the Hammers successfully staved off the threat of relegation. My video below shows both of Rio’s goals in claret and blue.

After rounding off the 1996/97 campaign with a 2-0 defeat at the home of champions Manchester United, Ferdinand became a transfer target of Old Trafford boss Ferguson. Writing in his autobiography, Fergie states “Martin [Edwards, former Manchester United chairman] called the West Ham chairman, Terry Brown, who said: ‘Give us a million plus David Beckham.’ In other words: he’s not for sale”. Ferdinand made 35 Premier League appearances in 1997/98 as the Hammers improved and finished eighth and, at the age of 19, was voted Hammer of the Year by the club’s supporters – he remains, to this day, the youngest-ever recipient of the prestigious award. The 19-year-old Ferdinand had made his full international debut in a 2-0 Wembley win against Cameroon on 15th November 1997 and manager Glenn Hoddle went on to name Rio alongside cousin, and future Hammer, Les in his World Cup squad for France ’98, although the young centre-half did not receive any game time at the tournament.

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Ferdinand played a key role in securing West Ham’s highest-ever Premier League finish of fifth in 1998/99 and subsequently experienced European football with the Hammers the following season, playing every match in the successful Intertoto Cup campaign and appearing in three of the club’s four UEFA Cup fixtures. He played 47 games in total in 1999/2000, which was to prove his final full campaign in east London, but was left out of Kevin Keegan’s England squad for Euro 2000. His last game for the club was to be against his next employers, as West Ham went to Elland Road in November 2000 and beat big spenders Leeds 1-0 – Ferdinand was outstanding as Nigel Winterburn’s sole strike for the club won the match and, by the end of the following week, Rio was heading north for a fee of £18m, a transfer record between two British clubs at the time. It was also a world record fee for a defender. Rio had made 158 appearances for West Ham United in all competitions, scoring two goals. Chairman Terry Brown and manager Harry Redknapp claimed that, due to the uncertainty regarding the transfer system at the time, there was a possibility that no club would be in a position to be offered that type of money again. Nearly 19 years on, the current world record fee stands at £198m…

The transfer heralded the beginning of the end for West Ham United’s modern-day Golden Generation – six months later, Redknapp had left and Ferdinand’s team-mate from youth team to first team, Frank Lampard Junior, was quick to follow. Within two further years, Joe Cole and Glen Johnson had departed, with Michael Carrick and Jermain Defoe also consigned to Upton Park history by the end of summer 2004. This collection of players have earned a total of 388 England caps, winning the Champions League, Europa League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup between them along the way. The proceeds from Ferdinand’s sale were spent on Christian Dailly, Rigobert Song, Titi Camara, Ragnvald Soma and Svetoslav Todorov – only one of those players (Dailly) made more than 25 league appearances for West Ham. The West Stand was coined by some fans as ‘The Rio Stand’ with many believing that some of the funds generated from Ferdinand’s transfer had helped complete a side of the ground which stood for just 15 years before it was knocked down.

Having been named in Sven-Goran Eriksson’s squad for the 2002 World Cup, Ferdinand established himself on the global stage – he had an excellent tournament and scored his first international goal in the 3-0 second round win over Denmark in Niigata on 15th June 2002. England were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Brazil.

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As Leeds struggled financially, Ferdinand left the Elland Road club just under two years after signing for them, moving on to Manchester United for a fee of £29.1m – manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s long-standing interest had not waned. In September 2003, however, he missed a drugs test and was banned from competitive football for eight months from January until September 2004, causing him to miss half a Premier League season, Manchester United’s FA Cup triumph, and Euro 2004.

Ferdinand again reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 2006 in Germany, and scored his second goal for his country in a 3-0 Euro 2008 qualifying victory over Russia at Wembley on 12th September 2007, with Steve McClaren now in charge. England would ultimately fail to qualify for the tournament but, under the stewardship of Fabio Capello, Ferdinand scored his third and final England goal in a 5-1 World Cup 2010 qualifier against Kazakhstan at Wembley on 11th October 2008, a match which saw the stylish centre-half captain his country for the second time (his first captaincy had been in a friendly match in Paris against France seven months earlier). Ferdinand’s final appearance for the Three Lions came at the age of 32 in a 2-2 Euro 2012 qualifying draw with Switzerland at Wembley on 4th June 2011.

After leaving the Hammers in 2000, Ferdinand went on to be named in the Premier League PFA Team of the Year six times by his fellow professionals, won six Premier League titles, three League Cups, six Community Shields, one Champions League and one FIFA Club World Cup. He won 81 caps for England, scoring three goals, and captained his country on seven occasions. After twelve years, 455 appearances and eight goals with the Red Devils, he left Old Trafford for QPR in 2014, spending one year at Loftus Road before hanging up his boots in the summer of 2015. Now 40, Ferdinand worked as a BBC pundit during the 2018 World Cup. Former Manchester United and England team-mate Paul Scholes said of Ferdinand:

“He was such a pleasure to play with and play in front of. To play in front of him, he made your job so easy. He was a great player, without a doubt the best centre-half I ever played with. I would say for a time as well he was the best centre-half in the world.”

England v Czech Republic

England face the Czech Republic this evening in their first qualification match for the 2020 European Championships – it will be the third post-Czechoslovakia meeting between the two nations. The pair have met twice before in friendlies, with the first match being a 2-0 win for England featuring the focus of today’s piece, Rio Ferdinand, and came in front of 38,535 at Wembley on 18th November 1998. Cher was number one with ‘Believe’, Antz topped the UK box office and the National Grid reported a surge in the use of electricity at 8pm, as the Coronation Street episode featuring the death of Des Barnes reached its conclusion.

Glenn Hoddle took charge of what transpired to be his final match as England manager and the Three Lions took the lead after 22 minutes. West Ham striker Ian Wright, winning his 33rd and final cap, centred from the left and Tottenham’s Darren Anderton finished low and left-footed into the corner past Petr Kouba. It was Anderton’s seventh and final goal for his country, in the 26th of his 30 caps.

The lead was doubled when Wright broke free down the left again – his cross found Dion Dublin who beat future Hammer Tomas Repka in the air to find Aston Villa team-mate Paul Merson, who finished with aplomb into the corner of Kouba’s net. Dublin and Merson were to both join Wright in winning their final caps for their country in this match. It was Merson’s third goal in his 21st cap. Lee Hendrie replaced Merson in the second half to win his only England cap.

England: Nigel Martyn (Leeds), Martin Keown (Arsenal), Rio Ferdinand (West Ham), Sol Campbell (captain, Tottenham), Darren Anderton (Tottenham), David Beckham (Man Utd), Nicky Butt (Man Utd), Graeme Le Saux (Chelsea), Paul Merson (Aston Villa), Dion Dublin (Aston Villa), Ian Wright (West Ham).

Subs: Robbie Fowler (Liverpool) for Wright; Lee Hendrie (Aston Villa) for Merson.

Czech Republic: Petr Kouba (Viktoria Zizkov), Tomas Repka (Fiorentina), Tomas Votava (Sparta Prague), Jiri Novotny (Sparta Prague), Jiri Nemec (captain, Schalke), Karel Poborsky (Benfica), Radek Bejbl (Atletico Madrid), Patrik Berger (Liverpool), Radoslav Latal (Schalke), Vladimir Smicer (Lens), Pavel Kuka (Nurnberg).

Subs: Martin Kotulek (Sigma Olomouc) for Novotny; Miroslav Baranek (Sparta Prague) for Latal; Roman Vonasek (Lokeren) for Nemec; Vratislav Lokvenc (Sparta Prague) for Smicer; Radek Sloncik (Banik Ostrava) for Kuka.

The previous articles in the series are:

Vic Watson
Jack Tresadern
Billy Moore
Ken Brown
Johnny ‘Budgie’ Byrne
Bobby Moore
Martin Peters
Frank Lampard Senior
Sir Trevor Brooking
Alan Devonshire
Alvin Martin
Paul Goddard
Stuart Pearce
Frank Lampard Junior
Joe Cole
David James
Robert Green


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Huddersfield

Blast from the past

30th August 1930 – the first British Empire Games (now known as the Commonwealth Games) had just been held in Canada, while the nine days before this date saw the births of Princess Margaret and actors Sean Connery and Windsor Davies. The summer had also seen the death of Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Meanwhile, at Upton Park, Syd King’s West Ham United opened the 1930/31 season with a 2-1 First Division victory over Huddersfield Town. Vic Watson (pictured below) bagged a brace in front of 18,023 – the Hammers’ greatest ever goalscorer would go on to score 14 goals in 18 matches during this campaign. The match also saw a debut for inside-left Wilf James who had joined the Irons from Notts County during the close season – he would score seven goals in 41 appearances for the club and won both his Welsh international caps during his stay in east London. He moved to Charlton in February 1932.

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The Hammers went on to finish the 1930/31 season in 18th place, while Clem Stephenson’s Huddersfield ended up fifth – Manchester United were relegated in bottom position. Viv Gibbins was the Irons’ top goalscorer with 19 goals from 22 appearances. Arsenal won the First Division title and West Brom won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Bob Dixon, Alfred Earl, Bill Cox, Jimmy Collins, Jim Barrett, Albert Cadwell, Tommy Yews, Stan Earle, Vic Watson, Wilf James, Jimmy Ruffell.

Club Connections

A small number of players have worn the shirts of both West Ham United and Huddersfield Town. Those who have represented both clubs include:

Defenders: Dickie Pudan, Archie Taylor, Simon Webster, Elliott Ward, Steve Walford, David Unsworth.

Midfielders: Peter Butler, Diego Poyet, Mark Ward.

Strikers: Dave Mangnall, Jack Foster, George Crowther.

Lou Macari managed both clubs, while Chris Powell played for West Ham and managed Huddersfield. Sam Allardyce played for the Terriers and managed the Hammers.

Today’s focus though is on a full-back who played for West Ham in the 1990s and had a loan spell with Huddersfield. Kenny Brown was born on 11th July 1967 in Barking – his father Ken made 474 appearances for the Hammers between 1953 and 1967, winning the FA Cup in 1964 and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965. Kenny began his career with Norwich under his father’s management in 1986 before moving to Plymouth in 1988. He made over 100 appearances for the Pilgrims before moving to First Division West Ham United in August 1991, initially on loan. The Browns would be the third father-and-son pairing to play for West Ham after Jim Barrett Senior and Junior, and Bill Lansdowne and Billy Lansdowne. They have since been joined by Frank Lampard Senior and Junior, Steve and Dan Potts, John and George Moncur, and Rob and Elliot Lee.

The 24-year-old Kenny made his debut in a 0-0 opening day draw with Luton at Upton Park on 17th August 1991 and scored his first goal for the club in his fourth appearance in a 3-1 win over Aston Villa at Upton Park 11 days later. His move was made permanent for what would become an eventual fee of £235,000. His second goal for Billy Bonds’ men was the first West Ham goal I ever saw, in a 2-1 home defeat to Manchester City on 21st September 1991. Kenny had to wait seven months for his next goal but it was one that went down in Hammers folklore – the winner in a 1-0 triumph over Manchester United which helped deny the Red Devils the title and handed it on a plate to Leeds. The Irons’ relegation would be confirmed just three days later. Kenny made 33 appearances in all competitions in 1991/92.

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Predominantly a right-back but happy to fill in at left-back or in midfield, Kenny made 19 appearances the following season and scored two crucial goals in the promotion run-in. His late long-range strike at Birmingham on 3rd April 1993 sparked a dramatic comeback from 1-0 down to an eventual 2-1 win and he bagged the third in a 3-1 win at Swindon on 2nd May on the penultimate weekend of the season – the Hammers were promoted by virtue of scoring one more goal than nearest rivals Portsmouth.

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Kenny found game time hard to come by in the following two seasons, making 12 appearances in each of the 1993/94 and 1994/95 campaigns. Harry Redknapp had taken over from Bonds by the time Kenny scored his last goal in claret and blue, in a 2-0 FA Cup third round win at Wycombe on 7th January 1995 (he is pictured above, celebrating with Alvin Martin). A flurry of loan spells followed – Kenny made five appearances for tomorrow’s opponents Huddersfield in 1995 and also spent time at Reading, Southend, Crystal Palace, Reading again and Birmingham before signing permanently for the Blues in a £75,000 move in January 1997. Kenny’s final appearance for West Ham had been in a 1-0 home win over Nottingham Forest on 3rd February 1996. He had made 79 appearances for the Hammers in all competitions, scoring six goals. My video below is a compilation of Kenny’s six strikes in claret and blue.

The 29-year-old Kenny quickly realised he had made a mistake in moving to St Andrew’s, the club then being owned by David Sullivan and David Gold – he teamed up again with Bonds at Millwall just four months later. His last action in the Football League came at Gillingham, where he spent the final months of the 1998/99 season. Kenny signed for non-league Kingstonian before moving to Ireland with Portadown, then on to Wales with Barry Town. Kenny became player-coach and later manager at Barry, winning the Welsh League and Cup double in consecutive seasons. He resigned after a turbulent change of ownership which saw the club unable to pay its players. Kenny returned to England, signing for Tilbury, and ended his playing days in Spain with Torrevieja, an hour south of Benidorm.

In May 2006, Kenny was appointed Director of Football at Javea, near Alicante, and ran a summer school there with Julian Dicks. Kenny was appointed Dicks’ assistant at Grays in September 2009 and was named assistant manager at Concord Rangers in June 2012. Just a month later though, he was appointed Lead Development Coach at Barnet. After a season with the Bees, Kenny moved to Chelmsford to be assistant manager to Dean Holdsworth but departed before Christmas 2013 when Holdsworth left the club. Kenny joined Dagenham and Redbridge as Academy Manager in the summer of 2014, working with the Under-12s to Under-16s. Kenny completed his UEFA Pro Licence in the same group as Thierry Henry and Mikel Arteta. Now aged 51, he is currently Head of Coaching at Millwall.

Referee

The referee on Saturday will be Jonathan Moss. The Yorkshire-based official has sent off a player in six of his last 13 appointments involving the Hammers – the 4-3 defeat to Bournemouth in August 2015 saw Carl Jenkinson sent off, while the 2-1 win over Chelsea in October 2015 saw Nemanja Matic dismissed (then-Blues manager Jose Mourinho was also sent to the stands). Moss issued a red card to Jordan Ayew of Aston Villa in February 2016 with the Hammers going on to win 2-0 while, going further back, Burnley’s Michael Duff was also sent off by Moss in our 1-0 home win over the Clarets in May 2015.

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Moss also issued a red card to Cheikhou Kouyate in the 5-1 FA Cup fifth round win at Blackburn in February 2016, although this was later rescinded. Arguably the 48-year-old’s most controversial Hammers appointment was the 2-2 draw at Leicester in April 2016 when he sent off Jamie Vardy and awarded two penalties, the second arriving deep into stoppage time as the Foxes rescued a precious point. Moss’ matches in charge of the Hammers last season were December 2017’s goalless draw with Arsenal at London Stadium, our 4-1 win at Huddersfield last January, our 3-0 home win over Southampton last March and our 0-0 home draw with Manchester United in May. His most recent Hammers appointment was our 1-0 home win over Arsenal in January.

Possible line-ups

Manuel Pellegrini is without Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Andriy Yarmolenko and Andy Carroll.

Huddersfield manager Jan Siewert is without right-back Demeaco Duhaney, central midfielders Danny Williams and Jonathan Hogg, winger Isaac Mbenza and centre-forwards Laurent Depoitre and Adama Diakhaby through injury. Full-back Erik Durm and centre-half Terence Kongolo are doubts.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Cresswell; Rice, Noble; Snodgrass, Lanzini, Anderson; Arnautovic.

Possible Huddersfield XI: Lossl; Durm, Schindler, Zanka, Lowe; Billing, Stankovic, Mooy; Pritchard; Grant, Mounie.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Cardiff v West Ham

Blast from the past

4th March 2012 – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel topped the UK box office and Gotye featuring Kimbra was number one with ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ as West Ham United recorded a 2-0 victory over tomorrow’s opponents Cardiff City in front of 23,872 at the Cardiff City Stadium. Davy Jones of The Monkees had passed away four days earlier while actor Philip Madoc, known for many roles but perhaps most fondly remembered for playing the German U-boat captain in a famous episode of Dad’s Army, died the day after the game.

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Skipper Kevin Nolan opened the scoring in this Sunday lunchtime encounter two minutes before half-time, meeting Nicky Maynard’s short pass and stroking a low effort into the far corner of the net in his first game back from a three-match suspension. Popular left-back George McCartney (pictured above) doubled the visitors’ advantage against the Bluebirds, managed by former Hammers centre-half Malky Mackay, with 13 minutes left of the contest – the Ulsterman, in his second spell with the club, picked up the ball on halfway before embarking on a run which took him into the hosts’ penalty area. When his initial cross was blocked, McCartney met the rebound himself to steer the ball into the net with his right foot to register his second, and ultimately final, goal in claret and blue. My video below shows the action from this match in the Welsh capital.

Cardiff had gone into the match on the back of a penalty shoot-out defeat to Liverpool in the League Cup Final the weekend before. Sam Allardyce’s Hammers would finish third in the Championship in 2011/12, while Cardiff would end the campaign in sixth place. Reading won the division, with the Irons beating the Bluebirds in the Play-Off Semi-Finals before clinching promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking with a Wembley win over Blackpool in the Final. Manchester City won the title and Chelsea won the FA Cup.

Cardiff City: David Marshall, Kevin McNaughton, Ben Turner, Mark Hudson, Andrew Taylor, Don Cowie, Peter Whittingham, Aron Gunnarsson, Joe Mason, Kenny Miller, Rudy Gestede (Haris Vuckic).

West Ham United: Robert Green, Joey O’Brien, James Tomkins, Abdoulaye Faye, George McCartney, Mark Noble, Henri Lansbury (Gary O’Neil), Jack Collison, Kevin Nolan, Ricardo Vaz Te, Nicky Maynard (Carlton Cole).

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 and James Collins.

Midfielders: Gary O’Neil, Matt Holmes, Trevor Sinclair, Ravel Morrison, Bobby Weale, Billy Thirlaway, Joe Durrell 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 Cardiff before a loan spell with West Ham later in his career. Roger Johnson was born on 28th April 1983 in Ashford, Surrey. A Chelsea season-ticket holder as a boy, he started his career with Wycombe before signing for Cardiff in the summer of 2006 for £275,000. The 6’3 centre-half made his debut at the age of 23 in a 2-1 Championship win at Barnsley on 5th August 2006 and scored his first goal for the club in a 4-1 home win over Preston on 23rd February 2007. He also scored in a 2-1 home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in April of the same year as the Bluebirds finished 13th under Dave Jones. The 2007/08 season saw Johnson score late winners against Brighton at home in the League Cup and at Norwich in the league, as well as goals in draws at Hull and Watford. Johnson also scored in wins at Preston and at home against Bristol City in the Severnside Derby. He notched a crucial goal in Cardiff’s 2-0 victory at Premier League Middlesbrough in the FA Cup quarter final, a run which took the Bluebirds all the way to the 2008 FA Cup Final at Wembley, which they lost 1-0 to Portsmouth. Johnson was awarded the club’s Player of the Year award at the end of the season.

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Johnson scored a late winning goal at home against Southampton on the opening day of the 2008/09 campaign and also scored in 2-0 home wins over Preston and Sheffield Wednesday, as well as a 2-2 draw at Wolves and 4-1 home victory over Derby. He had played every minute of the season until he had to leave the field at Crystal Palace on 11th April 2009 after being hit in the throat by an elbow from Palace defender Claude Davis; Johnson suffered breathing difficulties and was forced to spend two nights in hospital. Davies was found guilty of violent conduct by the FA and banned for three matches. Johnson was voted the club’s Player of the Year for the second successive campaign and was named in the Championship Team of the Year as Cardiff finished one place outside the play-off spots in seventh position.

Having scored 14 goals in 136 appearances for Cardiff, the 26-year-old Johnson moved to Premier League Birmingham in the summer of 2009 for a fee of £5m and won the League Cup with the Blues in 2011 having knocked out West Ham in the Semi-Finals. Birmingham were relegated at the end of the 2010/11 season but Johnson remained in the top flight, signing for Wolves in a deal worth just over £4m. Despite being club captain, Johnson had disciplinary issues at Molineux and the club were relegated in 2012 with Johnson subsequently placed on the transfer list. He joined Sheffield Wednesday on a three-month loan in September 2013 before moving to the Hammers in another temporary switch.

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With Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United 19th in the Premier League and having just been beaten 5-0 at Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup third round, the 30-year-old Johnson was brought in on loan until the end of the season. The Hammers were without fellow centre-halves James Tomkins, James Collins and Winston Reid at the time, while Everton’s Johnny Heitinga had rejected a move to Upton Park despite the two clubs agreeing terms. Johnson made his debut in a 6-0 League Cup Semi-Final first leg defeat at Manchester City on 8th January 2014, two days after joining the club; he also later played in the 3-0 home defeat in the second leg as the Irons were trounced 9-0 on aggregate. Johnson’s league debut came in a 2-0 win at former club Cardiff on 11th January 2014 and he made his home debut in a 3-1 loss to Newcastle the following week. After two months out of the side, Johnson returned to make two substitute appearances in 2-1 wins against Hull at home and away to Sunderland, both in late March. Nicknamed ‘The Relegator’ by skipper Mark Noble for his role in demotions at both Birmingham and Wolves, Johnson made six appearances in total for West Ham United before returning to Wolves at the end of the 2013/14 season.

Johnson’s contract at Molineux was eventually terminated by mutual consent in February 2015 and he joined Charlton soon after. He moved to Indian Super League side FC Pune City in the summer of 2015 but rejoined Charlton in January 2016. Now 35, Johnson is at National League side Bromley having joined the club in October 2017, five months after his second release from Charlton. He returned to Wembley for the FA Trophy Final against Brackley last season, scoring a 95th-minute own goal and eventually being on the losing side in a penalty shoot-out.

Referee

Tomorrow’s referee is 50-year-old Graham Scott. The Oxfordshire-based official will be taking charge of only his seventh Premier League match involving West Ham United – the Hammers have won five of the previous six 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 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 on the final day of last season and our 3-1 defeat at Arsenal in August.

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Scott was most recently the man in the middle for our 3-1 victory in the reverse fixture against Cardiff at London Stadium in December, a match which saw him award a penalty to the visitors which Lukasz Fabianski saved. He was also in charge 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

Cardiff City will be without injured centre-half Sol Bamba for the rest of the season.

Manuel Pellegrini has Fabian Balbuena and Aaron Cresswell available but Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere and Andriy Yarmolenko are still sidelined. West Ham are on a seven-match winning streak against Cardiff, keeping clean sheets in five of those games.

Possible Cardiff City XI: Etheridge; Peltier, Morrison, Ecuele Manga, Bennett; Gunnarsson, Ralls, Arter; Camarasa, Reid; Zohore.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Noble; Snodgrass, Lanzini, Anderson; Arnautovic.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Newcastle

Blast from the past

West Ham United hosted Newcastle United on 26th September 1925, the same day that golfer Walter Hagen won the eighth PGA Championship at Olympia Fields, Illinois and the Italian submarine Sebastiano Veniero was sunk by collision and lost off Sicily, with 54 dead.

The Hammers, meanwhile, bagged maximum points with a 1-0 First Division victory over the Magpies in front of 24,722 at Upton Park. Legendary centre-forward Vic Watson (pictured below) scored the winning goal and would go on to be the Irons’ top scorer in 1925/26, with 20 goals from 39 games.

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Syd King’s Hammers, who had topped the table in mid-September, went on to finish in 18th place in the 1925/26 Division One season, two points clear of relegation, while Newcastle ended up 10th. Huddersfield won the league title and Bolton won the FA Cup, beating the relegated Manchester City in the Final.

West Ham United: Ted Hufton, Tommy Hodgson, Billy Henderson, George Carter, Jim Barrett, Albert Cadwell, Tommy Yews, Stan Earle, Vic Watson, Billy Moore, Jimmy Ruffell.

Newcastle United: Willie Wilson, Alf Maitland, Frank Hudspeth, Tom Curry, Charlie Spencer, Willie Gibson, Tom Urwin, Bob Clark, Jimmy Loughlin, Tom McDonald, Tom Mitchell.

Club Connections

West Ham United and Newcastle United have shared a multitude of personnel over the years. Mohamed Diame could play for the visitors against his old club, while Andy Carroll welcomes his former employers. A brief run-through of others who have represented both clubs is best served by dividing them by playing position.

Goalkeepers: Shaka Hislop, Pavel Srnicek and Ike Tate.

Defenders: Stuart Pearce, Tommy Bamlett, Abdoulaye Faye, Wayne Quinn, Dave Gardner, Dickie Pudan and James Jackson.

Midfielders: Kevin Nolan, Scott Parker, Lee Bowyer, Rob Lee, Nolberto Solano, Kieron Dyer and Franz Carr.

Strikers: James Loughlin, Paul Goddard, Les Ferdinand, John Dowsey, Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson, Justin Fashanu, Demba Ba, Marlon Harewood, David Kelly, Keith Robson, Vic Keeble, Craig Bellamy and Paul Kitson.

Chris Hughton also played for the Hammers and managed the Magpies while Sam Allardyce and Alan Pardew have managed both clubs. Glenn Roeder also played for Newcastle and managed both clubs.

Today’s focus though is on a goalkeeper who won international recognition at Newcastle before joining the Hammers. Matt Kingsley was born in Edgworth, Lancashire, on 30th September 1874 and started his footballing career with local village club Turton before moving to Darwen. The 23-year-old Kingsley joined newly-promoted Newcastle in 1898, making his debut in the Magpies’ first ever First Division fixture against Wolves on 3rd September 1898 and spending the next six years in the North East, establishing himself as one of the finest goalkeepers in the top flight.

In 1901, Kingsley became Newcastle’s first ever England international. Playing on home turf at St James’ Park, Kingsley kept a clean sheet in a 6-0 win over Wales but it would be his only cap for his country. The 1901/02 season was a particular highlight for both Kingsley and the Magpies, as they recorded their then-highest league finish of third in the First Division, as well as reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. Kingsley conceded only 34 goals in 34 league games that season but lost his place to Jimmy Lawrence midway through the 1903/04 campaign.

After 189 appearances for Newcastle, the 29-year-old Kingsley (pictured) moved to Syd King’s West Ham United in 1904, where he spent a single season with the Hammers in the Southern League First Division. He made his debut in the inaugural match at Upton Park, a 3-0 win over Millwall on 1st September 1904, becoming the Irons’ first goalkeeper at the Boleyn Ground and the first to keep a clean sheet at the famous old stadium. Stocky, and short for a goalkeeper at 5’9, Kingsley was noted for his fisted clearances so as to avoid being bundled into the back of the net by opposition forwards. Kingsley also had a habit of continually swinging his arms to and fro as he observed the action in front of him. A feisty character, Kingsley made 30 appearances in 1904/05, keeping nine clean sheets as the Hammers finished 11th.

Kingsley was involved in an unsavoury incident with former West Ham forward Bertie Lyon while playing for the Hammers against Brighton at the Goldstone Ground on 25th March 1905 – Kingsley, who had joined the Irons in the summer Lyon left, was seen to run at Lyon and kick him to the ground, which caused a crowd invasion and a near riot took place. The fracas led to Kingsley being sent off and having to be escorted from the playing field by police, while Lyon was carried from the field; Brighton won the match 3-1. Kingsley only played two more matches for West Ham after the incident, with his final appearance coming in a 2-2 draw at Bristol Rovers on 8th April 1905. He was handed an FA ban for the incident at Brighton shortly after and left the Hammers in the summer of 1905 for a brief spell with Queens Park Rangers.

Kingsley later played for Barrow and Rochdale. After his retirement from the game in 1907, Kingsley returned to the Blackburn area and began working as a nightwatchman for the Manchester textile firm Calico Printers’ Association. Kingsley was enlisted as a quarryman during World War One and later joined the Royal Engineers as a sapper in 1917. The 1939 census listed Kingsley’s occupation as ‘general labourer’. Matt Kingsley died in Leigh, Lancashire, on 27th March 1960, aged 85.

Referee

The referee on Saturday will be Christopher Kavanagh. The Manchester-born official has refereed the Hammers on five previous occasions, most recently for our 2-2 home draw with Brighton, a game in which he failed to punish Lewis Dunk for an elbow on Andy Carroll. He had previously been in charge for our 1-1 draw at Huddersfield in November and our 1-0 home defeat to Wolves in September.

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Kavanagh was the man in the middle for our 2-0 win at Leicester in May and also issued Arthur Masuaku with a red card for spitting in January’s FA Cup fourth round defeat at Wigan. He has been the man in the middle for 16 Premier League matches so far in 2018/19, issuing 52 yellow cards in those games and one red, and awarding three penalties.

Possible line-ups

For West Ham United, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere and Andriy Yarmolenko are on the injury list. There are doubts over Fabian Balbuena, Aaron Cresswell, Arthur Masuaku, Ben Johnson and Marko Arnautovic.

Newcastle United are likely to have Rob Elliot, Ciaran Clark and Jonjo Shelvey sidelined. Newcastle have lost only three of their last 11 league games away to West Ham.

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

Possible Newcastle XI: Dubravka; Schar, Lejeune, Lascelles; Yedlin, Hayden, Longstaff, Almiron, Ritchie; Perez, Rondon.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

P.S. If you’re attending tomorrow’s game, don’t forget to be in your seat by 5.15pm to see the great Billy Bonds receive the long-overdue accolade of having a stand named in his honour – the East Stand at London Stadium. Congratulations Bonzo, thoroughly deserved…


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