Dan Coker's Match Preview

Preview: Sunderland

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.

Club Connections

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.

Referee

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.

Possible line-ups

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!


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Preview: Swansea City

Blast from the past

Christmas Eve 1955 – Dickie Valentine was number one with ‘Christmas Alphabet’ and another Dickie, West Ham United’s John Dick, was amongst the goals in a 5-1 victory over this weekend’s opponents Swansea City (or Swansea Town as they were known then) in front of 15,857 at the Boleyn Ground.

Dick signed for the Hammers in the summer of 1953, later recalling: “Arthur Rowe and Bill Nicholson [Tottenham’s manager and first-team coach respectively at the time] drove to my mother’s house in Glasgow to offer me a professional contract, but I had already agreed to join the Hammers. The Spurs people were not too happy about that after such a long journey but I didn’t fancy Spurs. Ted Fenton had got in first, so I became a West Ham player – something I never had any cause to regret”. Dick, it seems, was on the road to becoming a Hammers legend before he had even kicked a ball for the club!

Dick went on to score 166 goals in 351 league and cup appearances, placing him joint third with Jimmy Ruffell in the list of the Hammers’ all-time top goalscorers. Only Vic Watson and Sir Geoff Hurst have scored more. He departed for Brentford in September 1962 and went on to manage West Ham Juniors. Dick died in 2000 at the age of 70.

Dick was joined on the scoresheet that Christmas Eve afternoon by Harry Hooper, Billy Dare, John Bond and Ken Tucker. The Hammers would finish 16th in the Second Division in 1955/56, while Swansea would end the campaign in 10th.

West Ham United: Ernie Gregory, John Bond, Malcolm Allison, Noel Cantwell, Frank O’Farrell, Andy Malcolm, Harry Hooper, Billy Dare, Ken Tucker, Brian Moore, John Dick.

Club Connections

A small number of players have worn the shirts of both West Ham United and Swansea City. These include: Lee Chapman, Andy Melville, Frank Lampard Junior, Shaun Byrne, Frank Nouble and Noel Dwyer. John Bond also represented both clubs, playing for the Hammers and managing the Swans.

Today’s focus though is on a homegrown Hammers product who returned from a short stint at Swansea to kickstart his Upton Park career. Matthew Rush was a right-winger who came through the Academy at West Ham United. He made his debut as a 19-year-old under Billy Bonds in a 7-1 victory over Hull in October 1990, a game famous for Steve Potts’ solitary Hammers’ strike. Bonzo’s boys achieved promotion at the end of that season, a campaign which also saw Rush pick up Under-21 international honours for the Republic of Ireland, for whom he qualified through his Irish mother. He scored his first goals for the Hammers in April 1992, a double in a 4-0 win over Norwich, but the Hammers would ultimately yo-yo back to the second tier. Rush endured a testing two-year period when it appeared his Hammers career was fading and dying. His only appearances in the promotion campaign of 1992/93 came in the now-defunct Anglo-Italian Cup and he had a spell on loan at Cambridge United towards the end of that season.

Rush remained out in the cold as the Hammers set about establishing themselves in their first season in the Premier League. He joined Swansea City for a two-month loan spell in January 1994 and played 13 matches, helping them to the semi-finals of the Autoglass Trophy (now known as the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy). He was handed a surprise start by Bonds on Easter Saturday 1994 against Ipswich at Upton Park and scored a stunning, dipping volley from distance to put the Irons on their way to a 2-1 victory, their first win since New Year’s Day (you can watch this goal in the video below, although the video’s creator is a season out in claiming it was scored in 1994/95). Rush signed a three-year contract that summer, rejecting overtures from Kevin Keegan’s upwardly-mobile Newcastle United. He found opportunities increasingly sparse under Harry Redknapp in 1994/95 but did score in successive matches in October 1994, a 2-0 win over Southampton and a 3-1 defeat at Tottenham. His searing pace also played a major part in a barnstorming 2-0 victory over champions-in-waiting Blackburn Rovers, Rush streaking away from Colin Hendry late on to lay on a cross which led to Don Hutchison sealing the points in the Hammers’ ultimately successful quest for survival.

Having scored 5 goals in 48 league appearances for West Ham, Rush was sold to Norwich in the summer of 1995 for £350,000. On his debut for the Canaries, against Sunderland, he badly ruptured his knee. He sought to gain fitness in a loan spell at Northampton and eventually joined Oldham in March 1997 having made just three appearances for Norwich in his 18 months at Carrow Road. Rush sustained cruciate ligament damage in a match against Carlisle in April 1998 and was forced to retire from the game at the age of just 27. He is now a sports scientist.

Referee

Sunday’s referee will be Chris Foy; the Liverpool-based official has been taking charge of Premier League fixtures since 2001. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Foy has refereed six of our league matches, officiating in no wins, three draws and three defeats for the Hammers. He has been the man in the middle twice for the Irons already this season, against Tottenham in the 1-0 loss at Upton Park and the 2-2 draw at Stoke.

Possible line-ups

Sam Allardyce should have summer signing sensations Diafra Sakho and Alex Song back in the squad after injury. Neither has turned out in claret and blue since the goalless draw with Aston Villa a month ago and, as with Enner Valencia at West Brom in midweek, Sam Allardyce may decide to introduce both from the bench rather than risk further injury with the busy festive schedule just around the corner. Song is the likelier starter, with Mark Noble still struggling. Kevin Nolan scored on his return to the starting XI at The Hawthorns and could be rewarded by retaining his place against a side he bagged a brace against in the corresponding fixture last season. West Ham could field their two most expensive signings, Valencia and Andy Carroll, up front together for the first time. James Tomkins is one yellow card away from a one-match suspension. With Southampton and Manchester United not playing each other until Monday night, the Hammers could go third with victory on Sunday.

Swansea City will be without suspended left-back Neil Taylor who picked up his fifth booking of the season in the midweek victory over QPR. Fellow defender Federico Fernandez may also be sidelined with a calf injury. Taylor could be replaced by 20-year-old Stephen Kingsley who is yet to make his Premier League debut for the club but has 92 appearances for Falkirk under his belt. Alternatively, Spanish centre-half Jordi Amat could move across to cover for Taylor. Angel Rangel and Jonjo Shelvey were rested in midweek and could return in place of Ashley Richards and Leon Britton respectively.

Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Jenkinson, Tomkins, Reid, Cresswell; Song, Kouyate, Nolan; Downing; Valencia, Carroll.

Possible Swansea City XI: Fabianski; Rangel, Williams, Bartley, Amat; Shelvey, Ki; Routledge, Sigurdsson, Montero; Bony.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Preview: West Bromwich Albion

Blast from the past

West Ham United arrived at the home of West Bromwich Albion for a Second Division fixture on Wednesday 4th April 1990 having recorded one win in their previous four matches, denting the club’s promotion aspirations. Billy Bonds had only recently taken over the managerial position from Lou Macari and victory in front of 11,556 at The Hawthorns helped get the Hammers back on track.

Jimmy Quinn opened the scoring after six minutes, powering a free-kick into the Baggies’ net via a slight deflection. For the second, Trevor Morley held the ball up after a lofted pass forward from Gary Strodder, who was making what would transpire to be his final appearance for West Ham before he moved, ironically, to The Hawthorns in the summer. George Parris’ cross after Morley’s lay-off was headed down by Quinn for Ian Bishop to stoop and nod in his first Hammers goal.

Albion replied before half-time through a Don Goodman header after an in-swinging corner from the right wasn’t dealt with. The Irons sealed the points in the second half when Bishop’s defence-splitting through-ball sent Morley racing clear, his chip nodded home at the far post by future Baggies joint assistant head coach Kevin Keen. The win put West Ham back within four points of the play-offs but they would eventually lose out on this lottery by one place. Promotion would be achieved automatically the following season, Bonds’ first full campaign in charge.

To see the goals from this 1989/90 victory at West Brom, skip to 1:48:29 of the video below.

West Ham United: Ludek Miklosko, George Parris, Gary Strodder, Tony Gale, Julian Dicks, Stuart Slater, Ian Bishop, Martin Allen, Kevin Keen, Jimmy Quinn, Trevor Morley.

Club Connections

West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion have shared a decent number of players over the years; Morgan Amalfitano is one of these and he should face the club he spent a season with on loan last term. Other players to represent both clubs include: Sir Geoff Hurst, Jeroen Boere, Alan Dickens, David Burrows, John Hartson, Franz Carr, Steve Walford, Gary Strodder, Peter Butler, Frank Nouble, David Cross and Nigel Quashie.

Archie Macauley played for West Ham and managed West Brom, while Bobby Gould played for the Hammers and the Baggies and also spent a period as manager at The Hawthorns.

Today’s focus though is on a player who is recognised as one of West Ham United’s best centre-backs of the last ten years but started his career as a right-back with West Bromwich Albion. Danny Gabbidon made his debut for the Baggies on 20th March 1999 in a 1-0 defeat against Ipswich Town at The Hawthorns. After 27 appearances in all competitions, he found himself surplus to requirements after the appointment of Gary Megson as manager and the recruitment of Des Lyttle. He found himself on loan at Cardiff at the start of 2000/01, a move which was swiftly made permanent for a fee approaching £500,000.

2002 was an impressive year for Gabbidon – he helped Cardiff reach the Division Two play-offs, made his international debut for Wales and won the Welsh clubman of the year award. The Bluebirds won promotion to Division One the following season – Gabbidon was named in the First Division Team of the Season for 2003/04 and won the Player of the Month award in January 2005 after the competition had been re-named as the Championship. Despite chairman Sam Hammam’s regular assurances that Gabbidon was the future of Cardiff City, he was sold (along with James Collins) to West Ham United in July 2005 in an effort to trim the club’s wage bill.

Gabbidon quickly built up an effective partnership with Hammers’ homegrown product Anton Ferdinand as West Ham embarked on an exciting and memorable 2005/06 campaign. The Hammers finished ninth under the guidance of Alan Pardew and came within seconds of winning the FA Cup. Gabbidon’s contribution to that terrific campaign was recognised by the club’s supporters as he beat off strong competition to become the recipient of the Hammer of the Year award that season. Hamstring and groin problems during the following season restricted Gabbidon’s contribution to The Greatest Escape and the signing of Matthew Upson, coupled with Gabbidon’s increasing injury issues, led to tougher times for the Welsh international; indeed, injury ensured Gabbidon would not play a single match between December 2007 and August 2009. After 96 league appearances over six seasons with West Ham, Gabbidon was released after relegation in the summer of 2011. He has had spells with QPR and Crystal Palace since and is now back at Cardiff as a player/coach. He was joint-interim manager earlier this season following the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Referee

West Ham United have been unfortunate enough to see Mike Jones allocated as Tuesday’s referee. Jones was in the spotlight as recently as Sunday when he failed to award Manchester City a clear penalty at Southampton and instead booked Sergio Aguero for diving. Jones’ last two Premier League games officiating West Ham have both come at Old Trafford – the 3-1 defeat last term and the 1-0 loss the season before. He is perhaps more infamous for a shocking display during our FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Stoke in 2011, when he allowed both goals for the home side to stand despite blatant infringements on Matthew Upson and Thomas Hitzlsperger respectively. He also awarded the Potters a penalty for a Matthew Etherington dive (which was saved by Rob Green) and gave Stoke a free-kick for a tangle which should have seen James Tomkins awarded a penalty.

Possible line-ups

Belgian international left-back Sebastien Pocognoli could miss out for West Brom after being taken off against Arsenal on Saturday with a thigh injury. He was replaced by Costa Rican right-back Cristian Gamboa who could play out of position on the left against the Hammers as Pocognoli’s replacement. The alternative for the Baggies is Australian left-back Jason Davidson, who has only appeared in two Premier League matches so far. Claudio Yacob is suspended.

For West Ham United, reports suggest Alex Song and Enner Valencia will miss Tuesday’s encounter, while Diafra Sakho is set for an extended spell on the sidelines. Sam Allardyce’s biggest call then will be whether or not to restore Winston Reid to the starting line-up after suspension ruled him out of Saturday’s victory over Newcastle. James Tomkins was my Man of the Match against the Magpies, while James Collins was also excellent in ensuring the Hammers kept a clean sheet. Allardyce could revert to a back three to accommodate Reid, as he did at Everton, which would see Carl Jenkinson and Aaron Cresswell employed as wing-backs and could facilitate a start for Mauro Zarate as a second striker. On the other hand, Big Sam may opt to stick with a winning team.

Looking ahead to our home clash with Swansea on Sunday, the Swans could be without up to half of their backline should Ashley Williams and Neil Taylor pick up their fifth yellow cards of the season against QPR on Tuesday.

Possible West Bromwich Albion XI: Foster; Wisdom, Dawson, Lescott, Gamboa; Mulumbu, Gardner; Dorrans, Sessegnon, Brunt; Berahino.

Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Jenkinson, Collins, Tomkins, Cresswell; Noble, Kouyate; Amalfitano, Downing, Jarvis; Carroll.

Enjoy the game – Up the Hammers!


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Preview: Newcastle

Blast from the past

April 1986 surely goes down as one of the most relentlessly exciting months in West Ham United’s history. Beginning with a 2-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest, the Hammers reinvigorated their title charge by winning eight of their next nine matches. The most outstanding and amazing game in this unforgettable run has to be the incredible 8-1 victory over this weekend’s opponents, Newcastle United.

It was Monday the 21st of April 1986 and the goals began to flow after just three minutes. Alan Devonshire’s floated free-kick from the left was prodded home by an unmarked Alvin Martin for his first on what would turn out to be a remarkable personal night for ‘Stretch’. It was 2-0 after 11 minutes as Mark Ward found Ray Stewart overlapping on the right wing – Tonka’s cross-cum-shot was fumbled over his goalline by the Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Thomas, who had been suffering from injury before the game. On 36 minutes Devonshire played a short pass to Neil Orr who hit a rasping 30-yarder which deceived Thomas in mid-air and found the net for the Hammers’ third. Shortly before half-time, Stewart’s long throw sparked a spot of head tennis in the Newcastle penalty area, which culminated in future West Ham manager Glenn Roeder flicking the ball off his heel and into his own net to give the Irons an ultimately unassailable 4-0 half-time lead.

Thomas’ race was run and he was substituted at half-time with outfield player Chris Hedworth taking the goalkeeper’s jersey in his stead. Hedworth himself was soon injured in a collision with Tony Cottee but stayed between the sticks to see Martin notch his second of the game, and the Hammers’ fifth, after Tony Gale had flicked a cross into the path of his central defensive partner’s run. Hedworth succumbed to injury, with Newcastle consequently being reduced to ten men and Peter Beardsley becoming their third custodian of the evening. Hedworth never played for Newcastle again. Billy Whitehurst fired a consolation for the Magpies but the Hammers were soon back on the attack and grabbing a sixth. Devonshire and George Parris combined down the left, with Devonshire’s dinked cross to the far post being nodded in by the onrushing substitute Paul Goddard (who would go on to sign for Newcastle six months later). Goddard then released Cottee down the left and his cross was headed in by Frank McAvennie to make it seven.

There was still time for an eighth. Ward’s cross found Cottee in the area, the PFA Young Player of the Year-in-waiting being bundled to the ground by Roeder. With the majority of a buoyant Boleyn crowd of 24,735 chanting ‘Alvin, Alvin’, penalty king Stewart passed on responsibilities to his captain and the man of the moment… who didn’t disappoint, Martin completing a very unique hat-trick not just because it came from a defender, but because each strike was registered against a different goalkeeper. Cottee, who must have been desperate to add his own name to the scoresheet, hit the bar with a header late on, with the Hammers having to settle for just the eight goals.

West Ham won their next four matches, keeping their title hopes alive until Liverpool clinched the championship with a win at Chelsea. In the final-game decider for the runners-up position, Everton beat the Hammers 3-1 at Goodison Park to leave the Irons in third place, still our highest ever League position. Unfortunately there was no prize of a European place in 1986/87 following the Heysel ban on English clubs in Europe.

West Ham United: Phil Parkes, Ray Stewart, Alvin Martin, Tony Gale, George Parris, Mark Ward, Neil Orr, Alan Dickens (Paul Goddard), Alan Devonshire, Frank McAvennie, Tony Cottee.

Newcastle: Martin Thomas (Ian Stewart), Neil McDonald, Glenn Roeder, John Anderson, John Bailey, Paul Stephenson, David McCreery, Chris Hedworth, Tony Cunningham, Peter Beardsley, Billy Whitehurst.

Club Connections

West Ham United and Newcastle United have shared a multitude of personnel over the years. This Saturday, both Sam Allardyce and Alan Pardew will be facing clubs they have formerly managed while Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll could both face the North East club they served with distinction. West Ham assistant manager Neil McDonald also played for Newcastle, appearing in the aforementioned match. A brief run-through of some others who have represented both clubs is best served by dividing them by playing position.

Goalkeepers: Shaka Hislop and Pavel Srnicek.

Defenders: Abdoulaye Faye, Wayne Quinn, Dave Gardner and Stuart Pearce.

Midfielders: Scott Parker, Lee Bowyer, Rob Lee, Nolberto Solano and Kieron Dyer.

Strikers: Paul Goddard, Les Ferdinand, Demba Ba, Marlon Harewood, David Kelly, Keith Robson, Vic Keeble, Craig Bellamy, Pop Robson and Paul Kitson.

Chris Hughton also played for the Hammers and managed the Magpies while Glenn Roeder played for the Tynesiders but managed the Irons.

This week’s focus though is on a player who had a relatively short stint at Upton Park but, in a previous meeting between the two clubs, was to be involved in one of the lowest points in the career of a Hammers legend.

Franz Carr was a winger who could run the 100m in 10.02 seconds but who his ex-Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough described as “the best bloody corner-flag hitter in the country”. He won the League Cup with Forest in 1989 and 1990 but the writing was on the wall when he was locked in a City Ground boiler room by Clough after a dismal performance against Oldham. He had a 12-game loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday before joining the Hammers in March 1991 after injury had sidelined Trevor Morley. Despite the Hammers enjoying a successful season which would end in promotion for Billy Bonds’ side, Carr did not taste victory in any of his three matches as a West Ham player. His only start came in a 2-1 defeat at Oxford; he made substitute appearances in a 3-1 home loss to Sheffield Wednesday and a 0-0 draw at Hull. He would return to his parent club who would go on to beat the Hammers in the FA Cup semi-final the following month.

Carr, who also scored one goal in nine matches for England Under-21s, left the City Ground later that summer to sign for Ossie Ardiles’ Newcastle for a fee of £250,000. He made a promising start to his career at St James’ Park but a knee injury kept him out for the majority of 1991/92. He returned for the final three games of that campaign, by which time Kevin Keegan had replaced Ardiles as manager. Three games into the following season, the Magpies led West Ham by two goals to nil at St James’ Park (the second coming from David Kelly) when Julian Dicks was given his first red card of three in 1992/93. Julian takes up the story about what he describes as his only regret in football: “I remember playing at Newcastle one day and little Franz Carr was giving me the runaround. He could give me seven yards start and still beat me over 10. In the end I remember him coming towards me and I just decided to elbow him in the face. I remember it so clearly, I just had to do it. It was so premeditated and right in front of the Newcastle fans. I didn’t bother waiting for the red card, I just walked off!”

Keegan’s signing of future Hammer Rob Lee from Charlton would spell the beginning of the end for Carr on Tyneside, having scored 3 goals in 25 games. He departed for Sheffield United in January 1993 and would go on to play for Leicester, Aston Villa, Reggiana, Bolton, West Brom and Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Carr now works in sports management.

Referee

Saturday’s referee will be Mike Dean; 2014/15 is Dean’s fifteenth as a Premier League referee. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Dean has refereed nine of our league matches, officiating in five wins for the Hammers, two draws and two defeats. Dean was the man in the middle for our 3-1 home loss to Southampton earlier this season.

Possible line-ups

For West Ham United, a number of key players are playing a fitness waiting game for the visit of one of the Premier League’s in-form sides. Cheikhou Kouyate and Stewart Downing trained yesterday, while Enner Valencia could also be in contention. Alex Song, Mark Noble and Diafra Sakho will face late fitness tests on Saturday, while Winston Reid is unavailable through suspension. Andy Carroll will not be expected to get through three sets of 90 minutes in the upcoming eight days so could possibly start on the bench.

Newcastle are also suffering their fair share of injury problems, although Alan Pardew could welcome back up to four key men for the trip to East London. Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Cheick Tiote and Emmanuel Riviere have all returned to training but goalkeeper Tim Krul has emerged as a late doubt. Rob Elliot is standing by to take the Dutchman’s place. Davide Santon, Ryan Taylor, Curtis Good, Siem De Jong, Rolando Aarons, Jonas Gutierrez, Gabriel Obertan and Mehdi Abeid are all sidelined.

Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Jenkinson, Tomkins, Collins, Cresswell; Kouyate, Noble, Amalfitano; Downing; Zarate, Valencia.

Possible Newcastle XI: Elliot; Janmaat, Williamson, Taylor, Haidara; Tiote, Colback; Cabella, Sissoko, Gouffran; Riviere.

Enjoy the game – Up the Hammers!


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Everton

Blast from the past

Almost 42 years ago to the day, West Ham United recorded one of only seven post-war league wins at Goodison Park. It was the 25th November 1972 – Trevor Brooking and Clyde Best were the Hammers’ goalscorers in a 2-1 victory in front of 27,558, while Bernie Wright struck for Everton. The Irons went on to finish in 6th place that season, with Brooking and Best scoring 20 goals between them.

Everton are certainly the Hammers’ bogey side of late – we haven’t beaten the Toffees, home or away, since April 2007, drawing four and losing nine in all competitions since then. We have only recorded two wins at Goodison Park since 1983 (in January 1994 and December 2005).

Everton: David Lawson, Peter Scott, John Hurst, Roger Kenyon, Terry Darracott, Henry Newton, Colin Harvey, Howard Kendall, John Connolly, Rod Belfitt, Bernie Wright.

West Ham United: Bobby Ferguson, John McDowell, Bobby Moore, Tommy Taylor, Frank Lampard (Kevin Lock), Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking, Pat Holland, Dudley Tyler, Pop Robson, Clyde Best.

Club Connections

Considering they have spent the majority of their respective histories at a reasonably similar level, West Ham United and Everton have shared relatively few players. Those who have appeared for both clubs include: Don Hutchison, David Burrows, Mark Ward, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Joe Blythe, George Eccles, William Wildman, David Unsworth, Ray Atteveld, George Kitchen, Danny Williamson, Richard Wright, Niclas Alexandersson, Mike Newell, Ian Bishop, Lars Jacobsen, Lucas Neill and Slaven Bilic.

Perhaps the most notable Hammer to have also represented the Toffees is legendary goalscorer Tony Cottee. Famously scoring on his debut at Upton Park against Tottenham as a 17-year-old prodigy on New Year’s Day 1983, TC won the PFA Young Player of the Year Award as a 20-year-old in 1986 having helped the Hammers to their best-ever finish of third. He scored 20 league goals in that season, taking his tally to 57 in three-and-a-half years. He improved his personal record in 1986/87, notching 22 league goals, but West Ham plummeted to a 15th-placed finish. He scored a further 13 in his final season and, at this stage in his Hammers career, Cottee had scored 92 league goals in 212 games.

West Ham avoided relegation in 1988 on goal difference; Everton, meanwhile, had finished fourth and they swooped for the Hammers’ home-grown goal machine in a British record £2.2m deal that summer. Cottee made an incredible start to his spell at Goodison Park, scoring a hat-trick on his debut – an opening-day 4-0 win over Newcastle. Cottee appeared in two Wembley finals in his first season with the Blues, scoring twice in a 4-3 defeat to Nottingham Forest in the Full Members Cup, before playing in a 3-2 defeat to Merseyside neighbours Liverpool in the FA Cup Final. Cottee scored 13 goals in each of his first two seasons with Everton and, in February 1991, scored a dramatic late equaliser in a 4-4 draw with Liverpool in the FA Cup fifth round (first replay). Everton triumphed in the second replay to set up a quarter-final date with West Ham at the Boleyn Ground, a game the Hammers won through strikes from Colin Foster and Stuart Slater. Cottee would appear from the bench at the home of his boyhood heroes, incidentally replacing the current assistant manager of the Hammers, Neil McDonald. Everton continued to decline from being a major force in English football in the 1980s to being perennial relegation strugglers in the 1990s.

Following 72 goals in 184 matches for the Toffees, Cottee headed back to East London in September 1994 in a swap deal with David Burrows to join up with new Hammers manager Harry Redknapp. Cottee faced a mixed start on his return to the claret and blue – he was sent off on his second debut for the club after scything down Rob Jones in a 0-0 draw at Liverpool but followed that up by notching a late winner on his first match back at Upton Park, a typical poacher’s effort in a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa. Cottee hit a rich vein of form around Christmas, scoring six goals in five matches, including a hat-trick in a 3-0 home win over Manchester City. He grabbed his 100th Hammers goal with a solo effort in a 2-1 win at Leicester in February 1995 before hitting a double in a 2-2 draw with former club Everton in his next match. TC’s 13 goals ensured he finished the campaign as West Ham’s top scorer and this contribution went a long way towards securing survival that season. His 10 league goals the following year helped the Hammers to a first top ten finish since the Cottee-inspired 85/86.

With the inception of ‘West Ham United Nations’ in 1996/97, Cottee was deemed surplus to requirements and left for Selangor of Malaysia. He had played in 279 league matches for the Hammers in total, scoring 115 goals. In all competitions, he scored 145 goals in 335 games. After less than a year at the Shah Alam Stadium, he was back in the Premier League with Leicester, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win at Old Trafford in January 1998. He won his first major trophy two years later as the Foxes beat Tranmere in the League Cup Final. Alongside a loan spell at Birmingham, Cottee went on to play for Norwich and Millwall, with a short period as player-manager at Barnet sandwiched in between. He also won 7 caps for England.

Referee

“We want Mark Clattenburg” sing the Hammers faithful whenever another dodgy ref gives an absurd decision against us – well, this Saturday, we get our man! Clattenburg’s record when officiating Hammers’ matches generally bodes well for us – he was the man in the middle for our 3-1 victory at Crystal Palace earlier in this campaign. He also refereed our 3-1 home win over Southampton last season and, in the previous year, took charge in 2-1 wins at QPR and at home against Norwich. On the flip side, he had no choice but to send off Kevin Nolan in a 2-1 defeat at Fulham last season and was also the man in black for a woeful away showing at Villa Park in a 2-1 defeat in February 2013.

Possible line-ups

Much has been made of a potential Hammers injury crisis, but Everton face their fair share of difficulties too. Full-backs Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines, midfielders Darron Gibson and James McCarthy and winger Steven Pienaar all face late fitness tests while Antolin Alcaraz, John Stones, Arouna Kone, Kevin Mirallas, Bryan Oviedo and Gareth Barry are all set to be ruled out.

For West Ham United, a number of key players are set to be touch-and-go for the tough trip to Merseyside. Defenders Guy Demel and Winston Reid are doubts, as are Stewart Downing and Diafra Sakho after the pair reported back from international duty with knee and back issues respectively. Alex Song and Enner Valencia are also reported to be suffering from knocks.

Looking ahead to our home encounter with Newcastle next week, should Jack Colback or Daryl Janmaat pick up a yellow card against QPR, they will subsequently miss our game on 29th November.

Possible Everton XI: Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Hibbert; Gibson, McCarthy, Barkley, McGeady; Eto’o, Lukaku.

Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Jenkinson, Collins, Tomkins, Cresswell; Noble, Kouyate, Song; Amalfitano; Cole, Sakho.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!


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