Dan Coker's Match Preview
Blast from the past
The 1960s were a good time for West Ham United to take on Sunderland. The two sides met 12 times during the decade, with the Irons notching 29 goals. September 9th 1967 was no exception – Engelbert Humperdinck was number one with ‘The Last Waltz’ and the Hammers certainly led the Wearsiders on a merry dance in the second half of this particular match in front of 39,772 at Roker Park.
Sunderland, who were yet to suffer defeat that season until the Hammers’ visit, were undone in a second period which saw the east Londoners score five goals in the space of 16 minutes to record a 5-1 win. At the forefront of the victory were West Ham’s three World Cup winners: Bobby Moore, Sir Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters.
After 12 minutes West Ham found themselves 1-0 behind through an own-goal after Moore put a cross beyond Jim Standen. The Mackems led at the break but the recovery began on the hour, Peters putting the Hammers back on level terms. The turnaround was complete barely a minute later, Hurst striking the Hammers into the lead. Harry Redknapp’s 30-yarder then made it an astonishing three goals in three minutes to put the Irons into an unassailable 3-1 lead. Hurst added his second of the afternoon on 75 minutes and Moore atoned for his first-half own-goal by completing the scoring a minute later with a long-range strike.
The Hammers would go on to finish the 1967/68 season in 12th place, with the Mackems ending up in 15th position.
West Ham United: Jim Standen, John Charles, Bobby Moore, John Cushley, Bill Kitchener, Harry Redknapp, Martin Peters, Ronnie Boyce, Peter Brabrook, Trevor Brooking, Geoff Hurst.
A large number of players have worn the shirts of both Sunderland and West Ham United. Of the current crop, Stewart Downing will be facing the team he spent a successful loan period with back in 2003. A brief run-through of some others who have represented both clubs is best served by dividing them by playing position.
Defenders: Danny Collins, Matt Kilgallon, Keith Coleman, Gary Breen, Mick McGiven, Tal Ben Haim, Wayne Bridge, George McCartney, Calum Davenport, Andy Melville, Anton Ferdinand, Clive Clarke.
Midfielders: Harry Hooper, Don Hutchison.
Strikers: Billy Moore, David Bellion, Lee Chapman, Brian Deane, Pop Robson, David Kelly, Dave Swindlehurst, David Connolly, Jack Foster, Dick Bell.
Paolo Di Canio also played for the Hammers and managed the Black Cats.
Today’s focus though is on a left-back who made his name at Sunderland in the 1920s before briefly turning out for the Hammers. Ernie England was born in Shirebrook, Derbyshire on February 3rd 1901. Sunderland signed him from Shirebrook for a fee of £100 in December 1919; he made his debut in a 1-0 defeat that month against Manchester City. In the post-war Football League, England was a tough but reliable right-footed left-back; he developed a right-footed slide tackle that was invariably perfectly timed. England made 30 or more appearances in eight seasons during the 1920s and was an ever-present in all competitions in 1922/23 as Sunderland finished runners-up to Liverpool in Division One. England made 352 appearances in all competitions for the Mackems, without scoring.
West Ham paid £500 to bring England to Upton Park in October 1930 and he made his debut on 3rd January 1931 in a 5-5 draw with Aston Villa. England played four more matches for the club as the Hammers slipped from 6th to 12th between January and March 1931 – he appeared in a 3-2 home victory over Newcastle, a 4-3 home defeat to Grimsby, a 2-1 home loss to Birmingham and, finally a 3-0 defeat at Leeds.
England spent only five months in east London before moving to Mansfield, for whom he made over 150 appearances and finally scored a handful of goals. He joined Frickley in 1936 and became club captain. Playing against Scarborough in the Midland League in 1936, he showed just how hard he was: midway through the second half England headed the ball and was temporarily dazed by the impact. He finished the game but collapsed upon entering the dressing room and was rushed to hospital in South Elmsall, where he remained in a semi-conscious state. He later had no recollection of the incident that caused his injury or that he had completed the game. England returned to Mansfield as assistant trainer after hanging up his boots, later moving to Notts County in a similar role. He died on the 22nd February 1982, at the age of 81.
Saturday’s referee will be Phil Dowd, who will be taking charge of his first West Ham game this season. Since the Irons achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Dowd has refereed eight of our league matches, officiating in one win, four draws (all goalless) and three defeats. His last match involving the Hammers was the 2-0 victory over Tottenham in the final home game of last season.
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet will be without injured trio Billy Jones, Patrick van Aanholt and Emanuele Giaccherini. Lee Cattermole, Jack Rodwell and Steven Fletcher could all return to the side after being benched for the Wearsiders last time out at Liverpool following defeat at home to Manchester City. Argentinian international midfielder Ricardo Alvarez, on loan from Inter Milan, is also pushing for a start.
Sam Allardyce may hand top scorer Diafra Sakho a recall to the starting line-up following his goalscoring return from the bench against Swansea last Sunday. Enner Valencia may have to be content with a place amongst the substitutes after Andy Carroll bagged a brace last week. Mark Noble has been ruled out by Big Sam but Carl Jenkinson should be fit after a hamstring scare. James Tomkins is one yellow card away from a one-match suspension. The Hammers could return to third with victory as Manchester United do not play until Sunday, at Old Trafford against Liverpool. Whatever the weekend’s results, West Ham will not drop out of the top five.
Possible Sunderland XI: Pantilimon; Vergini, O’Shea, Brown, Réveillère; Cattermole, Rodwell, Larsson; Johnson, Wickham; Fletcher.
Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Jenkinson, Tomkins, Reid, Cresswell; Song, Kouyate, Nolan; Downing; Sakho, Carroll.
Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!