Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Everton

Blast from the past

9th November 1929: West Ham met Everton at the Boleyn Ground, the day before the premiere of John Grierson’s documentary film Drifters about North Sea herring fishermen, which was made for the Empire Marketing Board and effectively inaugurated the British Documentary Film Movement. Grace Kelly was born three days after the game.

Outside-left Jimmy Ruffell bagged a brace in this match, with centre-forward Vic Watson scoring the other as the Hammers pushed into the First Division’s top ten with a 3-1 win in front of 24,801. Watson would end the season as the Irons’ top goalscorer with an astonishing 50 goals in 44 appearances. Dixie Dean scored Everton’s consolation. Two-goal hero Ruffell is pictured below with Bobby Moore over 43 years later on 17th February 1973, the day the World Cup-winning England captain surpassed Ruffell’s record number of West Ham United appearances.

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Syd King’s Irons went on to finish in seventh place that season, while Everton ended the campaign in 22nd position and were relegated. Since that season in 1930, the Toffees have only been relegated once. Sheffield Wednesday won the league title in 1929/30 and Arsenal won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Ted Hufton, Alfred Earl, Bill Cox, Fred Norris, Jim Barrett, Albert Cadwell, Tommy Yews, Stan Earle, Vic Watson, Viv Gibbins, Jimmy Ruffell.

Everton: Arthur Davies, Warney Cresswell, Jack O’Donnell, Thomas Robson, Thomas Griffiths, Hunter Hart, Ted Critchley, George Martin, Dixie Dean, Tommy White, Jimmy Stein.

Club Connections

Former Hammer and Toffee David Unsworth is currently in charge of the Under-23s at Goodison Park. He is joined in representing both clubs by:

Goalkeepers: George Kitchen, Richard Wright.

Defenders: William Wildman, Lars Jacobsen, David Burrows, George Eccles, Bob Young, Lucas Neill, John Russell, Alex McCartney, William Kelly.

Midfielders: Harry Dawson, Don Hutchison, Joe Blythe, Mark Ward, Ray Atteveld, Niclas Alexandersson, Danny Williamson, Ian Bishop, Thomas Hitzlsperger.

Strikers: Tony Cottee, Chas Crossley, Alex McDonald, Mike Newell, Enner Valencia, Nikica Jelavic.

Slaven Bilic played for both clubs and managed the Hammers, while David Moyes and Sam Allardyce managed both clubs.

Today’s focus falls on a player who was a title winner with Everton before later spending a season with the Hammers. Tony Weldon was born in Inverness, Scotland, on 12th November 1900 and began his career with Scottish junior side Kilsyth Rangers before moving on to Airdrie for £5 in December 1924. The Lanarkshire club made a very tidy profit on Weldon when they sold him to Everton for £2,000 in March 1927.

26-year-old inside-left Weldon scored on his Everton debut in March 1927, a game in which Toffees legend Dixie Dean also scored to hand the Blues a 2-1 victory over Leeds. He scored three goals in nine games to help Everton avoid relegation to the Second Division by four points. The 1927/28 season saw a terrific Toffees turnaround as they went from relegation strugglers the previous season to title winners – Weldon scored seven goals in 40 appearances and his partnership with compatriot Alex Troup made a major contribution as Everton secured their third First Division league championship success. He played 22 games in the 1928/29 campaign, scoring three goals as the champions dropped dramatically to an 18th-placed finish. Weldon made three league appearances in the 1929/30 season before moving to Second Division Hull in December 1929 for a £1,000 fee, a month after this preview’s featured match above. Weldon had scored 13 goals in 74 games during his near-three years at Goodison Park.

Hull were relegated to the Third Division North at the end of the 1929/30 season and could not win an immediate promotion back to the second tier, finishing sixth in 1930/31. The 30-year-old Weldon, however, was handed the opportunity of a return to the First Division by West Ham United in June 1931. He made his Hammers debut in the opening fixture of the 1931/32 campaign, a 1-0 defeat at Bolton on 29th August 1931. Weldon (pictured) scored his first goal for the club on his home debut two days later in a 3-1 win over Chelsea at the Boleyn Ground. His Everton debut had seen him score alongside Dixie Dean; his Irons debut saw him score alongside Hammers’ own legendary goalscorer Vic Watson. His second goal came in a 2-2 draw at Liverpool on 10th October 1931, by which time the Hammers were struggling in the league.

Weldon battled bravely on the Hammers’ behalf but the club would suffer relegation at the end of the 1931/32 campaign – he scored two further goals in claret and blue, in a 3-1 defeat at Chelsea in the FA Cup fourth round on 23rd January 1932 and in a 4-2 home loss to Birmingham on 23rd April 1932. His final match for West Ham United came on the penultimate weekend of the 1931/32 season in a 2-0 defeat at Sunderland on 30th April 1932. In total he made 22 appearances for the club, scoring four goals – he left to sign for Welsh side Lovell’s Athletic, then playing in the Western League.

Weldon moved to Rochdale in the summer of 1933, serving a year’s stint before moving to Ireland and joining Dundalk as player-coach. By the end of 1934 he had been appointed player-manager of Bangor in Northern Ireland, thus becoming one of the few players to play for clubs in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Weldon was the father-in-law of former Leeds centre-forward Jim Storrie. Tony Weldon died in 1953, at the age of either 52 or 53.

Referee

Saturday’s referee is 38-year-old Paul Tierney. The Lancashire-based official has refereed the Hammers on four previous occasions, with the Irons yet to lose when he’s been in charge. His most recent Hammers appointment was our 3-0 victory at Newcastle in December of last year.

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Tierney’s first West Ham appointment was for the 1-1 draw with Everton in November 2015 which saw James McCarthy’s tackle on Dimitri Payet put the Frenchman out of action for two months. His second Irons game was our 0-0 draw at West Brom in September 2017, when he chose to issue just a yellow card to Ben Foster for his late tackle on Chicharito. He also refereed our goalless draw at Shrewsbury in the third round of last season’s FA Cup.

Possible line-ups

For West Ham United, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Samir Nasri, Andriy Yarmolenko and Andy Carroll are on the sidelines through injury. Everton have certainly been the Hammers’ bogey side in recent seasons – we have only beaten the Toffees three times in the league, home or away, since April 2007, drawing five and losing eleven in all competitions since then. However, the Irons have won the last two, home and away.

Marco Silva will be without the injured Yerry Mina but Phil Jagielka, Lucas Digne and Andre Gomes should all be available.

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

Possible Everton XI: Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Jagielka, Digne; Gueye, Gomes; Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Bernard; Calvert-Lewin.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Crossed Hammers & Three Lions: Stewart Downing

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

Today, as England prepare to face Montenegro in Euro 2020 qualifying, we look back at a former Hammers and England winger. Stewart Downing was born in Middlesbrough on 22nd July 1984 and came through the youth system at his hometown club, making his full debut in April 2002 at the age of 17. He played for England Under-16s, Under-18s, Under-19s and Under-21s and made 234 appearances in his first spell at Middlesbrough, scoring 22 goals and winning the League Cup in 2004. He also had a loan spell at Sunderland in 2003, scoring three goals in seven matches in the second tier.

The 20-year-old Downing made his England debut under Sven-Goran Eriksson in a 0-0 friendly draw at Villa Park against the Netherlands on 9th February 2005. Downing was also voted Middlesbrough’s Player of the Season for 2004/05. Shortly after being a UEFA Cup finalist, Downing was selected in England’s squad for the 2006 World Cup and made three substitute appearances against Paraguay, Trinidad & Tobago and Ecuador.

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After Middlesbrough’s relegation in 2009, Downing joined Aston Villa for a fee of £10m, rising to £12m based on appearances. He missed out on a place in Fabio Capello’s 2010 World Cup squad. After two seasons, 79 appearances, 11 goals, a League Cup Final appearance in 2010 and being voted Player of the Season for 2010/11, he moved to Liverpool for an estimated £20m in the summer of 2011.

Downing won the League Cup for a second time in 2012, a game in which he was awarded the Alan Hardaker Trophy for being the Man of the Match, and was an FA Cup finalist in the same year. He ended the season by being named in Roy Hodgson’s England squad for the 2012 European Championships but he did not get any game time during the tournament.

After seven goals in 91 appearances for Liverpool, Downing signed for Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United in August 2013 for a reported £5m, joining up with former Liverpool team-mate Andy Carroll who had signed permanently for the Hammers a few weeks earlier. The 29-year-old Downing made his Hammers debut as a substitute in a 2-0 opening day home victory over Cardiff on 17th August 2013 – he went on to make 37 appearances in his first season, scoring his first goal for the club from a free-kick in a 2-0 win over Tottenham at Upton Park on 3rd May 2014 as the Hammers finished 13th.

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Downing had a fantastic season in 2014/15, with his move from the wing to the tip of a midfield diamond paying individual and team dividends. He scored in the first away game of the season at Crystal Palace, cutting in from the right to finish low into the far corner – it was the second goal in a 3-1 Hammers win. The Irons had pushed into the Premier League’s top four by the time Downing inspired a comeback from 2-0 down at Stoke to claim a point on 1st November 2014 – he set up the first for Enner Valencia before firing home right-footed to complete the fightback and claim a point.

Downing’s excellent form had not gone unnoticed by England manager Hodgson, who rewarded the 30-year-old with his first England appearance in two and a half years against Scotland in a friendly at Celtic Park, Glasgow. Downing played the first half in a 3-1 Three Lions win. It would transpire to be his 35th and final cap – he never scored a senior goal for his country.

Downing kept up his impressive club form, scoring in successive games in December 2014. The first was a deflected effort which won a point in a 1-1 draw at former club Sunderland and the second was a stunning strike in a 2-0 home win over Leicester, killing the ball with his first touch before bending a strike from distance into the corner of Kasper Schmeichel’s goal to seal the points after Carroll’s first half goal had put the Hammers in front. Downing began the calendar year of 2015 in a similar vein, scoring in a 3-0 home win over Hull, but the Hammers would tail off dramatically and end up finishing 12th. His final goal for the Hammers came in his last home match, giving the Hammers the lead against Everton with a trademark curled left-footed effort after cutting in from the right to give the Irons the lead – in a microcosm of the Irons’ season though, they would throw away the lead late on and lose the match 2-1.

Downing’s final match for the Hammers was the 2-0 defeat at Newcastle on 24th May, the final day of the 2014/15 season. He had made 79 appearances for the club in all competitions, scoring seven goals. He returned to his first club Middlesbrough later that summer in a £5.5m deal, dropping down to the Championship to seal a move back to his roots. He won promotion to the Premier League in the first season of his second spell, earning West Ham an extra £1.5m as part of the transfer deal. The top flight return was short-lived though, with an immediate relegation sending Middlesbrough and Downing back to the Championship. Now 34, Downing is still at the Riverside and aiming to secure a play-off place under Tony Pulis.

Montenegro v England

England face Montenegro this evening in their second match of Euro 2020 qualification – it will be the fifth meeting between the two nations. The pair have met for a European Championship qualifier in Podgorica once before, with the Three Lions drawing 2-2 to secure a spot in the 2012 Finals. The match was played in front of 12,000 at the Stadion Pod Goricom on 7th October 2011. Sak Noel was number one with ‘Loca People’, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy topped the UK box office and co-founder of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs, had passed away two days before at the age of 56.

Montenegro were dealt an early blow when Manchester United’s Ashley Young converted a Theo Walcott cross in the tenth minute to register his fourth goal for the Three Lions. Fabio Capello’s England doubled their lead just after the half-hour courtesy of a tap-in from Aston Villa’s Darren Bent, with Young this time the provider.

The hosts pulled one back with seconds of the first half remaining – Fatos Beciraj found Elsad Zverotic and the Young Boys player beat future Hammer Joe Hart courtesy of a deflection off Gary Cahill. The feature of today’s piece, Stewart Downing, entered the action in place of Young on the hour mark but Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney was sent off for lashing out at Miodrag Dzudovic in the 73rd minute, becoming only the second player to be dismissed twice for England after David Beckham. The red card meant Rooney would be suspended for the opening games of the tournament. Just as the clash entered stoppage time, Dzudovic crossed for substitute Andrija Delibasic of Rayo Vallecano to head in at the far post.

Montenegro: Mladen Bozovic (Videoton), Vladimir Bozovic (Rapid Bucharest), Stefan Savic (Man City), Miodrag Dzudovic (Spartak Nalchik), Elsad Zverotic (Young Boys), Fatos Beciraj (DInamo Zagreb), Milorad Pekovic (SpVgg Greuther Furth), Simon Vukcevic (Blackburn), Mladen Kascelan (LKS Lodz), Stevan Jovetic (Fiorentina), Mirko Vucinic (captain, Juventus).

Subs: Milan Jovanovic (Spartak Nalchik) for Kascelan; Dejan Damjanovic (FC Seoul) for Beciraj, Andrija Delibasic (Rayo Vallecano) for Vladimir Bozovic.

England: Joe Hart (Man City), Phil Jones (Man Utd), Gary Cahill (Bolton), John Terry (captain, Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Scott Parker (Tottenham), Gareth Barry (Man City), Ashley Young (Man Utd), Wayne Rooney (Man Utd), Darren Bent (Aston Villa).

Subs: Stewart Downing (Liverpool) for Young, Frank Lampard (Chelsea) for Bent, Danny Welbeck (Man Utd) for Walcott.

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
Rio Ferdinand
Stuart Pearce
Frank Lampard Junior
Joe Cole
David James
Robert Green


Dan Coker's Match Preview

West Ham's Montenegrin Connection (+ Loan Round-Up)

With England’s upcoming match against Montenegro tomorrow, here’s a look at the Hammers’ only Montenegrin connection, plus an opportunity to provide an update on West Ham’s loaned contingent.

Sead Haksabanovic

Sead Haksabanovic was born on 4th May 1999 in Hyltebruk, Sweden, and began his career with Swedish side Halmstads, making his debut in April 2015 at the age of just 15. Having represented Sweden at youth levels, Haksabanovic made his international senior debut for Montenegro in a 4-1 2018 World Cup qualification victory over Armenia on 10th June 2017 – the attacking midfielder’s entire family is from Montenegro. He scored 13 goals in 70 appearances for Halmstads before moving to West Ham for £2.7m in August 2017, having previously had trials with Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Manchester City.

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The 18-year-old Haksabanovic made his debut for Slaven Bilic’s West Ham on 19th September 2017 in a 3-0 League Cup third round win over Bolton at London Stadium – his second, and most recent, appearance in claret and blue was under David Moyes in a 2-0 FA Cup fourth round defeat at Wigan on 27th January last year. He joined Malaga on loan at the start of this season and made two substitute appearances in the Spanish second tier before the loan was cut short and he joined Swedish side Norrkoping in another loan deal. The Swedish league season starts next Sunday.

Loan Round-up

With today’s international connections focus being so brief, and also focusing on a player currently out on loan from the club, I thought it might be a decent time to check in on the other players who are currently on temporary deals away from West Ham.

21-year-old attacking midfielder Marcus Browne has made 20 starts in League One this season for struggling Oxford, with a further eight appearances from the bench. He has scored five goals and contributed four assists, playing mostly on the left wing for Karl Robinson’s men. He bagged a brace and set up another in a 4-2 win over Rochdale in late November. A further ten appearances, three goals and one assist have been recorded in the domestic cups.

Norwegian international Martin Samuelsen, who turns 22 next month, has made seven starts and five sub appearances for VVV-Venlo in the Dutch league and cup this season. His two goals for the club both came in the KNVB Cup in a 3-0 win at Westlandia in late September. He has not played a minute of senior football since before Christmas, being an ever-present on the bench since the end of the winter break. His loan spell in the Netherlands was cut short in mid-February; he joined Norwegian side Haugesund in another loan deal. The Norwegian league season starts next Sunday.

26-year-old Jordan Hugill has made 22 starts in all competitions for Middlesbrough this season, with a further 12 appearances from the bench. He has scored seven goals for the club, including a double in a 2-0 home win over Wigan in November and a last-minute penalty to equalise in a 1-1 home draw with Millwall in January.

25-year-old right-back Sam Byram suffered horrendous luck early on his loan spell at Nottingham Forest, making one Championship and two League Cup appearances for the club before succumbing to serious injury in the 39th minute of a League Cup second round match at home against Newcastle on August 29th. He has not featured since.

Edimilson Fernandes has made 21 league and cup starts for Fiorentina this season, with a further six appearances from the bench. The 22-year-old Swiss international has two goals and two assists to his name in Serie A this season, setting up two goals in a 3-3 draw at Sassuolo and scoring in a 1-1 draw at Udinese and a 4-1 win at SPAL.

Toni Martinez made a good start to his loan spell with Spanish second tier outfit Rayo Majadahonda in August, scoring on his league debut in a 2-1 defeat at Real Zaragoza. He made eight starts for the club and ten sub appearances, with one further goal coming in a 2-1 defeat at Tenerife in November. Martinez switched loan clubs in January, joining Lugo, and scored on his debut for his new club against the one he’d just left, Rayo Majadahonda, in a 3-2 win on 26th January. Martinez has made five starts and three substitute appearances for Lugo, but the strike against his previous side remains his only goal so far for the club.

Central midfielder Josh Cullen, who turns 23 in a fortnight, has made 20 starts for Lee Bowyer’s promotion-chasing Charlton in League One this season. His season was disrupted by a dislocated shoulder but he has contributed four assists and recently been called up to the Republic of Ireland’s senior squad. He has played every minute for Charlton since his return from injury in January.

19-year-old left-back Vashon Neufville has only made two appearances for Newport since joining the Welsh club in January. He starred in their FA Cup third round win over Leicester on his debut but has only played one match in League Two, in a 3-0 defeat at Grimsby at the start of February.

23-year-old midfield man Moses Makasi has made 12 appearances for League Two Stevenage since his January switch, mainly featuring in a wide role. He has one assist to his name and played just over an hour in yesterday’s 2-2 draw at Macclesfield.

Joe Powell, who made his Hammers debut in September’s 8-0 League Cup win over Macclesfield, joined League Two side Northampton in January. The 20-year-old attacking midfielder has made four starts for Keith Curle’s Cobblers, and three substitute appearances. He has scored two goals, the most recent being an 88th-minute 30-yard winner in a 1-0 home victory over Newport earlier this month – this goal came just two minutes after Powell had come off the bench.

21-year-old centre-forward Oladapo Afolayan, who joined West Ham from Solihull Moors last February, has started twice for Oldham in League Two since joining in January, and made two further sub appearances. He was briefly under the management of Manchester United and England great Paul Scholes until his recent resignation at the Latics.

Finally, 20-year-old Reece Oxford returned to Germany in January, signing a loan deal with Bundesliga side Augsburg. He has made four starts and one brief sub appearance for the Bavarian club. He helped his team to a clean sheet in a 1-0 cup win at Holstein Kiel but his league starts have seen a 4-0 defeat at Werder Bremen, a 3-2 home loss to Bayern Munich and a 5-1 defeat at Freiburg. He has not featured in his side’s last three games, in which the club have picked up two wins and a draw.


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


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