Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Brighton

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

Blast from the past

Today’s blast from the past features a 2-1 victory at Upton Park against tonight’s opponents, Brighton. It arrived just over 104 years ago, on Boxing Day 1914 in front of 9,600 spectators. H.H. Asquith was Prime Minister during the first Christmas of World War One and Bernard Youens, who would play Stan Ogden in Coronation Street, was born two days later.

Both Hammers’ goals were scored by legendary centre-forward Syd Puddefoot (pictured below), his tenth and eleventh of the season. The 20-year-old ‘Puddy’, as he was affectionately known by supporters, finished the season as the club’s top scorer with 18 goals in 37 matches.

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Syd King’s Hammers ended the 1914/15 season fourth in the Southern League First Division. Brighton were to finish tenth. Watford won the Southern League First Division, Everton won the league title and Sheffield United won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Joe Hughes, Frank Burton, Billy Cope, Bob Whiteman, Bill Askew, Alf Fenwick, Dick Leafe, George Butcher, Syd Puddefoot, George Hilsdon, Jack Casey.

Club Connections

Brighton manager Chris Hughton is back in east London having served West Ham United as a player. Other players who have appeared for both clubs include:

Goalkeeper: Harry Medhurst.

Defenders: Len Young, Dennis Burnett, Mauricio Taricco, Tommy McAteer, Matthew Upson, Keith McPherson, William Kelly and Wayne Bridge.

Midfielders: Sebastien Carole, Bertie Lutton, John Payne, George Parris and Tony Stokes.

Strikers: Sam Baldock, Greg Campbell, Brian Dear, Tommy Dixon, Justin Fashanu, Sam Jennings, Sam Small, Bobby Zamora, Dave Sexton, Mike Small and Paul Kitson.

In addition, ex-Hammers Archie Macaulay and Liam Brady have managed Brighton. Alan Curbishley played for both clubs and managed the Hammers.

This week’s focus though is on a player who spent a season with the Hammers before joining the Seagulls. Herbert Lyon was born in Mosborough, Sheffield on 18th May 1875 and started his career with Overseal Town before joining Gresley Rovers in Derbyshire. In 1899, he moved to Leicester but was on the move again a year later, signing for Nelson. The nomadic Lyon, who stood 5’7 tall, also turned out for Watford before becoming one of four players to leave Reading and sign for West Ham United in the summer of 1903.

Better known as ‘Bertie’, the 28-year-old made his Hammers debut in a 4-2 defeat at Millwall on 5th September 1903, the opening day of the 1903/04 season. He scored twice on his home debut two days later in a 4-1 victory over Kettering, playing at centre-forward, but would not score again in the league for another five months. He did embark, however, on a free-scoring run in the FA Cup, bagging a brace in a 4-0 home win over Brighton in the third qualifying round on 31st October 1903 before scoring another double in a 3-0 win at Clapton Orient in the fourth qualifying round two weeks later. Lyon (pictured) scored again in a 5-0 fifth qualifying round win at Chatham on 28th November 1903 before the Irons were knocked out in the Intermediate round by Fulham, losing 1-0 in the last FA Cup tie the club played at the Memorial Grounds.

Lyon’s record of five goals in four FA Cup matches belied his league form, but he finally ended his Southern League drought in a 5-0 home hammering of Brighton on 13th February 1904 having been moved to his favoured position of inside-right. He scored again in his next home match, a 2-0 win against Northampton on 27th February 1904. This would be his last Hammers goal, with his final appearance for the club coming in a 1-0 home defeat to Swindon on 30th April 1904. West Ham ended the 1903/04 season in 12th position and, having scored three times against them during the campaign, Lyon joined Brighton in the summer of 1904 as part of a major clear-out of players designed to reduce the club’s debts before the move to Upton Park. He had scored nine goals in 33 appearances for West Ham United.

Lyon was involved in an unsavoury incident with West Ham goalkeeper Matt Kingsley while playing for Brighton against the Hammers at the Goldstone Ground on 25th March 1905 – Kingsley, who had joined the Irons in the summer Lyon left, was seen to kick Lyon, which caused a crowd invasion and a near riot took place. The fracas led to Kingsley being sent off and Lyon was carried from the field; Brighton won the match 3-1. Lyon scored five goals in 29 matches for Brighton before leaving the Seagulls for Swindon in 1905.

Lyon went on to play for Carlisle before returning to Swindon. He also played for Blackpool and Walsall before ending his career in Wales with Tredegar; Lyon also worked as a brickyard labourer at the end of his playing career. Bertie Lyon died in 1927 at the age of either 51 or 52.


The referee on Wednesday will be Christopher Kavanagh. The Manchester-born official has refereed the Hammers on four previous occasions, most recently for our 1-1 draw at Huddersfield in November. His last match at London Stadium was our 1-0 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 12 Premier League matches so far in 2018/19, issuing 39 yellow cards in those games and one red, and awarding three penalties.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United are without the injured Ryan Fredericks, Fabian Balbuena, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko and Chicharito but Pablo Zabaleta could return from illness. Robert Snodgrass has a knock and will undergo a late fitness test. New signing Samir Nasri should be available. West Ham have lost all three Premier League encounters against Brighton, with the Hammers’ last triumph over the Seagulls being a 6-0 home Championship victory in April 2012. The Irons have won five of their past seven league matches, but have lost two of the last three.

Brighton are without goalkeeper Mat Ryan and winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who are away at the Asian Cup representing Australia and Iran respectively. Jose Izquierdo, who has two goals in three matches against West Ham, is likely to miss out through injury. The Seagulls have lost seven of their last eight top-flight games in London, with their win at West Ham last season the exception.

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

Possible Brighton XI: Button; Montoya, Dunk, Duffy, Bernardo; Propper, Stephens, Gross; Knockaert, Andone, Locadia.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

Follow @dan_coker on twitter.

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Burnley v West Ham

Blast from the past

28th September 1974: Ceefax was five days old, the football world was reeling from the ending of the short but turbulent tenure of Brian Clough at Elland Road, Carl Douglas was ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ at the top of the charts and the country was twelve days from its second General Election of the year. And West Ham United scored five goals in one match away from home. Heady times indeed.

Being West Ham, we didn’t make it easy – we let three in at this weekend’s destination, Turf Moor, that day in front of 17,613. But legends Brooking and Bonds were on target, supplemented by a Billy Jennings strike and a double from Keith Robson (pictured). The 5-3 victory was one of only three on the road in 1974/75.

Burnley would close the season in tenth position, while the Hammers would finish in thirteenth place and as FA Cup winners; Derby won the league title. Jennings was the Irons’ top scorer with 14 goals from 40 matches; Bonds was voted Hammer of the Year for the third time, with Mervyn Day runner-up.

West Ham United: Mervyn Day, John McDowell, Kevin Lock, Tommy Taylor, Frank Lampard, Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking, Graham Paddon, Billy Jennings, Keith Robson, Bobby Gould.

Club Connections

Joe Hart welcomes his former club to Turf Moor. A small collection of players join him in having turned out for the Hammers and the Clarets. They include:

Goalkeepers: Tommy Hampson, Herman Conway and Frank Birchenough.

Defenders: Tyrone Mears, Joe Gallagher, David Unsworth, Tommy Dunn, Jack Tresadern, Jon Harley and Mitchell Thomas.

Midfielders: Junior Stanislas, Reg Attwell, Matt Taylor and Luke Chadwick.

Strikers: Bill Jenkinson, Sam Jennings, Walter Pollard, Ian Wright, Ian Moore and Zavon Hines.

John Bond played for the Hammers and managed the Clarets.

Today’s focus though falls on a player who earned a special place in West Ham folklore before playing for Burnley late in his career. Alan Taylor was born in Leicestershire on 14th November 1953 – rejected by Preston as a youth player, he drifted into non-league football in Lancashire. Eventually his goalscoring reputation with both Morecambe and Lancaster prompted Fourth Division Rochdale into making a move for him, taking Taylor into the professional game for the first time in 1973.

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West Ham United manager John Lyall signed the pacey striker for £40,000 a year later – he made his debut as a substitute in a 2-1 home win over First Division champions Leeds in December 1974. Taylor had been injured during Rochdale’s FA Cup ties in the early rounds and so was eligible to appear for West Ham in the competition in 1975. His fifth appearance for West Ham, his first for the club in the FA Cup, saw him score his first goals for his new side as he grabbed a double in the 2-0 quarter-final triumph over Arsenal at Highbury. ‘Sparrow’ followed that up with two goals in as many league games, in a 2-1 home win over Burnley and a 1-1 draw at Birmingham, before bagging another FA Cup brace in the 2-1 semi-final replay victory over Ipswich at Stamford Bridge. The 21-year-old’s romantic FA Cup tale continued all the way to the Final against Fulham at Wembley as he memorably scored another two goals to take the Cup back to east London.

Taylor opened the 1975/76 Division One season with five goals in three games – one in a 2-1 win at Stoke, two in a 2-2 draw at Liverpool and a further double in a 3-2 home win over Burnley. He also scored in both legs of the European Cup Winners’ Cup second round tie against Ararat Yerevan as well as scoring once in a 2-1 home win over Manchester United and the winning goals in 1-0 home victories over Arsenal and QPR. Taylor also scored in the 3-1 home win over Den Haag in the third round second leg of the ECWC as the Hammers overturned a 4-2 first leg deficit to triumph on away goals. Taylor appeared from the bench, for Frank Lampard, in the final against Anderlecht as the Hammers were defeated 4-2.

Having been the club’s top scorer in 1975/76 with 17 goals from 50 games, Taylor’s impact at the club began to wane due to injuries but he kept up his excellent record against Arsenal, notching another double at Highbury as the Hammers won 3-2 in February 1977. West Ham were relegated in 1978 and, after one season in the Second Division, he returned to the top flight with John Bond’s Norwich for £90,000 – his last goal for he Hammers came in a 4-0 home win over Blackburn on 30th December 1978 and his last game for the club came in a 1-0 defeat at Blackburn on 5th May 1979. Taylor left West Ham in 1979 having scored 36 goals in 124 appearances in all competitions – 15 of these goals can be viewed in my video below.

Taylor was on the move again within a year, first to Vancouver Whitecaps before a short spell at Cambridge United. He returned to Vancouver in 1981 where he stayed for three years before returning to England to join Third Division Hull’s 1983/84 promotion charge. That ended in failure when the Tigers needed to beat Burnley by three goals or more in the season’s final match – they could only win 2-0. After the game a story goes that Taylor joined the Burnley players in Turf Moor’s centre circle, informing them that his manager had resigned in the dressing room and that he’d agreed to sign for Burnley.

Clarets manager John Benson used Taylor sparingly however and, as the club slipped towards the Third Division trapdoor in 1984/85, there was no place for Taylor in the side (although he did continue his love affair with the FA Cup, scoring a hat-trick in a win at Penrith). Benson recalled Taylor towards the end of the season and he scored seven goals in nine games, including the winner in each of the last two away games at Swansea and Walsall. It was too little, too late – Taylor’s efforts and goals were to ultimately prove futile and Burnley were relegated to the Football League’s bottom tier. In the following season he was a regular and netted sixteen league goals and won the Supporters’ Club’s Player of the Year Award. Financial issues led to Taylor moving to Bury and, after two years at Gigg Lane, he returned to Norwich before hanging up his boots and running a newsagents in the city with his wife Jeanette. Now 65, Taylor occasionally leads tours of London Stadium.

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The referee on Sunday will be David Coote. The Nottingham-based official will take charge of a West Ham game for the first time.

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Coote has refereed four Premier League matches so far this season – he has issued seven yellow cards, no reds and awarded no penalties.

Possible line-ups

Burnley are without England internationals Nick Pope and Aaron Lennon, as well as Republic of Ireland left-back Stephen Ward; Steven Defour and Robbie Brady are doubts and Matt Lowton is suspended. Burnley’s only home victory against the Hammers in the last 40 years was a 2-1 win in February 2010. The Clarets have won just one of their last nine games against West Ham in all competitions. Burnley’s last seven top-flight goals have all been scored by different players.

West Ham United are without Ryan Fredericks, Fabian Balbuena, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko, while Pablo Zabaleta, Marko Arnautovic and Chicharito are doubts. The Hammers have won 14, drawn four and lost just two of their last 20 matches against Burnley home and away in all competitions, stretching back to 1979. The last time the Hammers won four consecutive away matches in a single top-flight season was in 1985.

Possible Burnley XI: Hart; Bardsley, Gibson, Mee, Tarkowski, Taylor; Cork, Westwood; Hendrick; Vydra, Wood.

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

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Southampton v West Ham

Blast from the past

4th February 2017 – Ed Sheeran was number one with ‘Shape Of You’, Sing topped the UK box office and Coleen Nolan had just won the 19th series of Celebrity Big Brother. West Ham United, meanwhile, were defeating Southampton 3-1 in front of 31,891 at St Mary’s.

The Hammers fell behind after 12 minutes on the South Coast when Manolo Gabbiadini blasted in at the near post from a tight angle beyond a statuesque Darren Randolph – it was the Italian’s Saints debut after a £14m move from Napoli on transfer deadline day. The Irons were level within two minutes after Pedro Obiang’s through ball found Andy Carroll who slotted home a right-footed equaliser – Carroll (pictured below) has scored in both of his Hammers starts at St Mary’s.

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West Ham took the lead a minute before the break when Obiang scored his first goal in claret and blue to add to his earlier expert assist. Following a half-cleared corner, the Spanish-born midfielder was given time and space to drill in a low shot from 30 yards out, which went through a crowded penalty area and crept beyond Fraser Forster. The Hammers clinched the points seven minutes into the second half when Mark Noble’s free-kick found the net via a deflection from Steven Davis.

West Ham United would finish the 2016/17 Premier League season in 11th position, while Southampton would end up eighth in a campaign which saw Chelsea win the title and Arsenal win the FA Cup. Michail Antonio would finish as the Hammers’ top scorer with nine goals in 37 matches; he would also be voted Hammer of the Year, with Manuel Lanzini runner-up.

Southampton: Fraser Forster, Cedric Soares, Jack Stephens, Maya Yoshida, Ryan Bertrand, Oriol Romeu, Steven Davis, James Ward-Prowse, Sofiane Boufal (Shane Long), Manolo Gabbiadini, Jay Rodriguez (Nathan Redmond).

West Ham United: Darren Randolph, Cheikhou Kouyate (James Collins), Jose Fonte, Winston Reid, Aaron Cresswell, Sofiane Feghouli (Jonathan Calleri), Mark Noble, Pedro Obiang, Robert Snodgrass, Michail Antonio, Andy Carroll (Manuel Lanzini).

Club Connections

Michail Antonio travels to the home of his former club. An array of West Ham United’s good, bad and ugly have also turned out for Southampton:

Goalkeepers: Richard Wright, George Kitchen.

Defenders: Richard Hall, Christian Dailly, Joe Kirkup, Wayne Bridge, Neil Ruddock, Bill Adams, Ian Pearce, Darren Powell, Albie Roles, Jose Fonte, Horace Glover, Calum Davenport.

Midfielders: Jimmy Carr, Bobby Weale, Luis Boa Morte, Nigel Quashie, Eyal Berkovic, Robbie Slater, Peter Cowper, Paul Allen.

Strikers: Vic Watson, Justin Fashanu, David Speedie, David Connolly, Viv Gibbins, Iain Dowie, Ted MacDougall, Henri Camara, Alex McDonald, Frank Costello, Fred Harrison, Walter Pollard, Arthur Wilson, Jimmy Harris, Jack Foster, Jack Farrell.

In addition, Harry Redknapp and Alan Pardew have managed both clubs.

Today’s focus is on a famous West Ham captain who went on to manage Southampton. George Kay was born in Manchester on 21st September 1891. He started his career with Bolton in 1911 and joined Belfast club Distillery later that year. Kay served on the Western Front as a Sergeant with the Royal Garrison Artillery during World War One before being sent home suffering from shellshock and the effects of gas. Kay played for the Hammers while on leave, making his debut in a 2-1 home win over Arsenal in the London Combination on 2nd September 1916. He scored his first goal in a 2-1 win at Tottenham on 28th September 1916 and bagged a hat-trick in the reverse fixture on 4th November 1916. He also scored in a 2-0 home win over Luton on 2nd December 1916 – the Hammers would go on to win the 1916/17 London Combination.

Kay joined West Ham United officially at the end of the war for a fee of £100. Kenny Davenport, the man who had discovered Kay at Bolton, declared Kay to be as “strong as I’ve seen of a lad of his years. Nothing passed him. He’s a big chap, but fast and bright.” The 27-year-old Kay made his Second Division debut for the Hammers in a 2-0 home defeat to Barnsley on 8th September 1919, the opening day of the 1919/20 season. He scored his first league goal in a 1-0 win at Birmingham the following month and also bagged the only goal of the game against Bury at the Boleyn Ground on 24th January 1920. He was sent off in the reverse fixture at Bury the following month but rounded off the campaign with a goal in a 3-0 home win over Stockport on 1st May 1920. The Irons ended their first Football League season with a seventh-placed finish in the Second Division. Kay scored one goal in 1920/21, in a 2-0 home win over Fulham on 18th September 1920, as the Hammers finished fifth. The Irons continued to progress, finishing fourth in 1921/22 – Kay scored five goals in this campaign, in a 2-0 home win over Wolves on 5th November 1921, a 3-1 defeat at Derby on Christmas Eve, a 1-1 home draw with Hull on 11th February 1922, a 2-1 home defeat to Rotherham the following month and in a 2-0 home win over Sheffield Wednesday on 1st April 1922.

Impressing manager Syd King with his committed performances and natural leadership, centre-half Kay replaced Billy Cope as skipper in 1922 and, under the Mancunian’s captaincy, the Hammers entered an exciting period – promotion to the top flight for the first time ever was secured at the end of 1922/23 and the Irons also appeared in Wembley’s first ever FA Cup Final at the end of the same season (Kay is pictured below with his Bolton counterpart Joe Smith). Kay scored four goals in the Hammers’ first top-flight campaign on the way to a 13th-placed finish in 1923/24 – he scored in successive autumn home wins against Chelsea (2-0) and Birmingham (4-1), as well as a 3-2 home win over Nottingham Forest on 22nd December 1923 and in a 1-1 home draw with Leeds in the FA Cup second round two months later.

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In 1924/25, Kay became the first West Ham player to reach 200 league and cup games. He scored three goals during the campaign as the Hammers again finished 13th – his first came in a Christmas Day 3-2 home win over Cardiff, his second in a 1-0 FA Cup first round replay win over Arsenal (a match played at Stamford Bridge) and the third in a 2-1 home win over West Brom on 21st March 1925.

Having played over 40 matches in each of his previous four seasons, Kay’s final year at West Ham saw him make just 18 appearances. The club struggled to cope with the loss of their leader, finishing 18th. Kay’s final goal in claret and blue was scored in a 3-1 home win over Tottenham on 20th March 1926, with his last appearance for the club coming at the age of 34 in a 2-0 home defeat to Bury on 1st May 1926. Kay had made 282 appearances for West Ham United, scoring 22 goals. He had played alongside the likes of Jack Tresadern, Jimmy Ruffell, Syd Puddefoot and Vic Watson, captaining the club with inspirational leadership during their best period in the first half of the 20th century – he was widely regarded as being the best Hammer to never play for England, until Billy Bonds half a century later.

Kay ended his playing career with a couple of matches for Stockport in 1927 before becoming coach, and eventually manager, at Luton in the Third Division South. He joined Southampton in May 1931 at the age of 39 following the resignation of Arthur Chadwick, who had stood down after Saints had embarked on a policy of selling their best players to survive financially. Kay nurtured a younger generation of players at Saints, including Ted Drake (who later joined Arsenal and played for England) and Charlie Sillett (father of John and Peter).

Kay “was tremendously enthusiastic and he worked hard throughout his stay at The Dell, using up a considerable amount of nervous energy at every match. He ‘played’ every kick and his body would visibly vibrate to the stresses and strains on the playing field”. He started his Southampton career with an opening day victory over Burnley on 29th August 1931 but injuries resulted in the club sliding down the table to finish 14th. Despite the financial difficulties faced by the club and several players leaving in the summer of 1932 in order to balance the books, Kay’s team improved slightly on the previous season and ended 1932/33 in 12th place. The Saints won a club record 15 out of 21 home matches, but only registered three away victories. Supporters became disillusioned with further player sales though and attendances dropped to record lows. Kay is pictured (suited) below with his 1933 side, on the far left at the end of the middle row.

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Southampton equalled the record of 15 home victories in the 1933/34 season but their away record worsened, yielding no wins and only six draws on the road, resulting in a 14th-placed finish. Drake, the jewel in the crown, was sold for a record fee of £6,000 to Arsenal in March 1934. Kay struggled to fill the gap left by Drake and the 1934/35 season started badly although the team did end their run of 33 away games without a win and finished the season in 19th place. The club’s finances were now so dire that the supporters’ club had to make a loan of £200 to help finance the summer wage bill.

1935/36 was Southampton’s 50th season since their original formation in 1885; Kay returned to his former club to sign legendary Hammers centre-forward Vic Watson. The Saints made a superb start to the season but this form could not be sustained and the slump was only partially relieved by a 7-2 victory over Nottingham Forest on 15th February 1936. Saints suffered their heaviest-ever league defeat the following month, losing 8-0 at Tottenham and recorded their lowest ever home attendance for a league match two days later, when only 1,875 turned out to witness a 1-0 defeat against Port Vale. The directors again responded by selling their better players and Saints finished the season in a disappointing 17th position, with Watson top-scorer on 14 goals.

The entire board of directors resigned in June 1936, with a new board asking Kay to resign in order to reduce the company’s wage bill. In August 1936, Kay accepted an offer from First Division Liverpool, with whom he went on to win the league title in 1947 and reach the 1950 FA Cup Final. He brought Bob Paisley to the club as a player and also managed Sir Matt Busby, who would go on to say that Kay had a huge influence on his management style.

A chain-smoker who was always immaculately dressed, Kay suffered from ill health and felt the pressures and stresses of football management deeply. He was particularly sick in the run-up to the 1950 FA Cup Final against Arsenal and was confined to his bed until the day of the game when he proudly led his players out at Wembley for presentation to King George VI. He retired from football in February 1951 on medical advice and sadly passed away in April 1954, aged 62. Kay’s 1923 FA Cup medal was sold at auction in 2005 for £4,560. He was an inspirational captain and manager who represented his clubs with class and distinction and is fondly remembered in the record books.


Thursday’s referee will be Craig Pawson; 2018/19 is Pawson’s seventh as a Premier League referee. In 2014/15 he refereed West Ham’s 3-1 home win over Liverpool and sent off Adrian in our 0-0 draw at Southampton, a decision that was later overturned. His Hammers appointments in 2015/16 were both at the Boleyn Ground, for our 2-2 draw with Manchester City in January 2016 and the 3-3 draw with Arsenal three months later.

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Pawson did not referee the Hammers at all last season; his most recent Irons game was our 8-0 win over Macclesfield in September. His matches in charge of West Ham United in 2016/17 saw him send off Harry Arter as the Hammers defeated Bournemouth 1-0 in August 2016, while he also officiated in our 2-1 home win over Chelsea in the fourth round of the League Cup in two months later. He also refereed our 5-1 home defeat to Arsenal in December 2016. He awarded Watford a penalty and sent off Michail Antonio as the Irons drew 1-1 at Watford in February 2017.

Possible line-ups

Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand is likely to miss out, while Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is suspended. New manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has won two of his first three Premier League matches in charge of Southampton.

West Ham United travel to Southampton having lost just two of their last nine league matches and could welcome back Lucas Perez from injury, while Aaron Cresswell could claim a starting berth. Fabian Balbuena, Marko Arnautovic and Chicharito are doubts. The Hammers are without Ryan Fredericks, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko. Pablo Zabaleta and Mark Noble are both one yellow card away from a one-match ban.

Possible Southampton XI: McCarthy; Yoshida, Bednarek, Vestergaard; Valery, Romeu, Lemina, Targett; Armstrong, Redmond; Ings.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Antonio, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Snodgrass, Rice, Noble, Anderson; Carroll, Perez.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

Follow @dan_coker on twitter.

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Watford

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

Blast from the past

With Edward Elgar’s choral work The Dream of Gerontius having just received its first performance in Birmingham Town Hall and actor Alastair Sim being born four days previously, West Ham United took on Watford in a Southern League First Division fixture on the 13th October 1900. A 2-0 victory in front of 4,000 was recorded to give the Hammers their fourth win in six league games at the start of the 1900/01 campaign, their first as West Ham United having just turned professional and changed their name from Thames Ironworks.

Wing-half George Neil made his 19th and final appearance for the Hammers as goals from inside-forward Fred Corbett (pictured) and outside-left Freddie Fenton were enough to give the Hammers victory at the Memorial Grounds. Corbett was a “strong and determined” Stepney-born forward who scored nine goals in 23 matches in 1900/01 and would, in total, score 15 goals in 38 matches in a Hammers career which ended with a move to Bristol Rovers in 1902. Fenton was a product of Midlands football and was an extremely modest man who played with verve and flair on the left flank – he scored three goals in 19 matches in 1900/01, his only season as a Hammer. Fenton is in the history books thanks to scoring the club’s first FA Cup goal under the banner of West Ham United, against Olympic on 3rd November 1900.

West Ham United would finish the 1900/01 Southern League First Division season in sixth position, eight points behind champions Southampton, while Watford would end up in 14th. Liverpool won the First Division title and Tottenham won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Tommy Moore, Syd King, Charlie Craig, George Neil, Charlie Dove, Roddy McEachrane, Fergie Hunt, Fred Corbett, Jimmy Reid, Bert Kaye, Freddie Fenton.

Club Connections

Former Hammer Domingos Quina is now on Watford’s books. Other players to have represented both clubs, divided by position, include:

Goalkeepers: Joe Webster, Billy Biggar, Ted Hufton, David James, Perry Suckling, Manuel Almunia, Jack Rutherford.

Defenders: Jon Harley, Calum Davenport, Chris Powell, Lucas Neill, James McCrae, Colin Foster.

Midfielders: Henri Lansbury, Alan Devonshire, Alessandro Diamanti, Stuart Slater, Jobi McAnuff, Jimmy Lindsay, Joe Blythe, David Noble, Jimmy Carr, Mark Robson, Valon Behrami, Carl Fletcher.

Strikers: James Reid, David Connolly, Jack Foster, Roger Hugo, Billy Jennings, Peter Kyle, Bertie Lyon.

Len Goulden played for West Ham and managed Watford, while Malky Mackay played for both clubs and went on to manage the Vicarage Road club. Glenn Roeder played for the Hornets and managed both clubs; Gianfranco Zola has managed both the Hammers and the Hornets.

Today’s focus is on a former Hammers forward who went on to play for the Hornets. Mauro Zarate was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on the 13th March 1987; he was the son of Sergio, a Chilean-born former footballer, and Catalina, who had an Italian background. Zarate, whose grandfather Juvenal and brothers Sergio, Rolando and Ariel were also all footballers, started his career with Velez Sarsfield in 2004 before moving on to Al-Sadd in the Qatari league in 2007. He moved on loan to David Sullivan and David Gold’s Birmingham for the second half of the 2007/08 season before moving to Italian club Lazio in the summer of 2008, initially on loan before making the move permanent. He spent the 2011/12 campaign on loan at Inter Milan before returning to Velez Sarsfield in the summer of 2013.

After a season back in Argentina, the 27-year-old Zarate signed for Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United in the summer of 2014 on a free transfer. He scored on his Hammers debut on the 23rd August 2014 in a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace. He would make only eight appearances in 2014/15, scoring his second and final goal of the season in a 2-1 defeat at Everton on 22nd November 2014. After falling out of favour with Allardyce, and with Andy Carroll, Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho in good form, Zarate spent the second half of the season on loan at QPR.

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Zarate returned to Upton Park with the Hammers under new management in the shape of Slaven Bilic – the Argentinian scored his first goal of the 2015/16 campaign in a 2-2 Europa League third qualifying round first leg home draw with Astra Giurgiu on 30th July 2015 before bagging the match-clinching second goal in a famous 2-0 win at Arsenal in the season’s opening Premier League match. Zarate scored again in a 2-1 League Cup third round defeat at eventual title winners Leicester on 22nd September 2015 and struck the opening goal in a 2-1 home win over Chelsea on 24th October, our last ever match against our west London rivals at the Boleyn Ground. Zarate’s final goal in claret and blue was a sumptuous, curling free-kick into the top corner in a 1-1 home draw against West Brom on 29th November 2015. His final match for the club was our 1-0 FA Cup third round win over Wolves on 9th January 2016. Zarate had made 29 appearances for West Ham United, scoring seven goals (all seven can be viewed on the WHTID Twitter and Facebook pages). He returned to Italy in January 2016, joining Fiorentina in a £1.6m deal.

After a year in Florence, the 29-year-old Zarate returned to the Premier League with Watford in the January 2017 transfer window; he made his Hornets debut in a 2-1 home win over Burnley on 4th February 2017. His third appearance for the Hornets was also his last – playing against the Hammers at Vicarage Road in a game which would end 1-1 on 25th February 2017, Zarate injured his cruciate knee ligament and was ruled out for the rest of the season.

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Zarate spent a brief two-month loan stint with United Arab Emirates-based club Al-Nasr between October 2017 and January 2018 before joining Velez Sarsfield for a third spell. Now 31, Zarate is currently with Boca Juniors, having joined the Buenos Aires-based club in the summer of this year.


Saturday’s referee will be Lee Mason from Greater Manchester. Mason’s four games officiating the Hammers last season all ended in defeat. Most recently, he took charge of our 4-1 defeat at Arsenal in April; prior to that, he refereed our 3-0 home defeat to Burnley in March, while the other two matches were both 3-2 defeats: at Southampton in August 2017 when he failed to send off Dusan Tadic but did give Marko Arnautovic a red card, before awarding the Saints a match-winning penalty in added time; and against Newcastle at home in December 2017 when he awarded the Hammers a penalty only for Andre Ayew’s effort to be saved. Mason refereed the Hammers once in 2016/17 – the 1-0 home win over Hull when he awarded the Hammers a match-winning penalty – but took charge of two West Ham matches the previous season, those being the 0-0 draw at Swansea in December 2015 and the 3-0 win at West Brom in April 2016.

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He refereed three Premier League matches involving the Hammers in 2014/15 – the 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa, the 1-0 home win over Sunderland and the 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford when he sent off Wayne Rooney, denied the Hammers a penalty when Morgan Amalfitano’s cross struck Radamel Falcao’s arm and disallowed Kevin Nolan’s last-minute strike for a marginal offside. Mason was also the man in the middle for our 1-0 FA Cup win at Bristol City in January 2015. He also officiated in four of our games in 2013/14, sending off two of our players (Mark Noble against Everton and James Tomkins at Cardiff) and disallowing a perfectly good Stewart Downing equaliser at Crystal Palace. He also sent off Mark Noble at Birmingham in December 2009.

Possible line-ups

For West Ham United, Ryan Fredericks, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko and Marko Arnautovic miss out through injury. Lucas Perez could return to the squad.

For Watford, right-back Daryl Janmaat, centre-back Sebastian Prodl, midfielder Will Hughes and centre-forwards Andre Gray and Adalberto Penaranda could all be out injured.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku; Snodgrass, Rice, Noble, Anderson; Antonio, Chicharito.

Possible Watford XI: Foster; Femenia, Kabasele, Cathcart, Holebas; Sema, Quina, Doucoure, Pereyra; Deulofeu, Deeney.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Fulham v West Ham

Blast from the past

Easter Monday, 6th April 1953 – Winston Churchill was Prime Minister, The Stargazers were number one with ‘Broken Wings’, the BBC introduced its iconic Watch with Mother brand for children’s programming and West Ham United secured a 3-2 Second Division victory over Fulham in front of 19,270 at Craven Cottage.

Legendary Hammers left-back Noel Cantwell made his league debut in this match, the Irons’ third over the Easter period – the Hammers had been defeated 2-1 by the Cottagers at Upton Park on Good Friday and lost 4-1 away to Swansea on Easter Saturday. The match was also 33-year-old Geordie right-back Ernie Devlin’s 70th and final league appearance for the club – he had made his debut in May 1947. Indeed, of the Hammers side that day, four hailed from the North East (Devlin, Southren, Dixon and Hooper) and three from Ireland (Cantwell, McGowan and O’Farrell).

This win in West London came courtesy of first goals in claret and blue for Dave Sexton, who scored once on what was the day of his 23rd birthday, and 23-year-old Tommy Dixon (pictured), who bagged a brace. Geordie centre-forward Dixon had only made his league debut two days previously in the defeat at Swansea and would go on to be the Hammers’ top scorer the following season, 1953/54, with 19 goals in 32 matches. He was also the first player to score for West Ham in a floodlit first team match at Upton Park, ten days after his double against Fulham, in a friendly match against First Division Tottenham. An Aircraftman in the RAF, Dixon had never played football before when an officer asked him to play left-back for the unit team while in Singapore in 1951. He passed away on 6th February 2014 at the age of 84.

Irish centre-forward Freddie Kearns would be the Hammers’ top scorer for the season with 12 goals from 23 appearances. Ted Fenton’s Hammers went on to finish the 1952/53 Second Division season in 14th place, while Bill Dodgin’s Fulham ended up eighth. Sheffield United topped the Second Division, Arsenal won the First Division title and Blackpool won the FA Cup in the ‘Matthews Final’.

West Ham United: Ernie Gregory, Ernie Devlin, Noel Cantwell, Danny McGowan, Malcolm Allison, Frank O’Farrell, Tommy Southren, Dave Sexton, Tommy Dixon, Jimmy Andrews, Harry Hooper.

Club Connections

Ryan Fredericks is unavailable for the trip to his former club. Scott Parker played for both clubs and is currently assistant manager at Craven Cottage. A decent number of players join the pair in representing West Ham United and Fulham over the years. These include:

Goalkeepers: Bill Biggar, Jan Lastuvka, Tony Parks.

Defenders: Paul Kelly, Bobby Moore, George Horler, Tony Gale, George Redwood, Kevin Lock, Jack Hebden, Rufus Brevett, John Paintsil, Paul Konchesky, Ian Pearce, Wayne Bridge, Jon Harley, Alan Stephenson, Andy Melville.

Midfielders: Luis Boa Morte, Dick Richards, George Carter, Papa Bouba Diop, Ray Houghton, Fergus Hunt.

Strikers: Johnny ‘Budgie’ Byrne, Brian Dear, Alf Harwood, Jack Fletcher, Roger Cross, Iain Dowie, Fred Harrison, Billy Brown, Archie Macaulay, Danny Shea, Kenny McKay, Leroy Rosenior, Bobby Zamora, Mladen Petric.

This week’s focus though is on a player who spent a couple of months with West Ham before later playing for Fulham. Alexander Davidson (known as Bill) was born in West Lothian, Scotland on 22nd September 1878. He started his career with Scottish side Third Lanark before attracting the attention of English clubs. Bill moved to Glossop North End in November 1899, with a low point arriving when he was suspended for one month for striking two Nottingham Forest players after a match at the City Ground on 13th January 1900. He joined Manchester City, then Reading and it was from the Elm Park club that he joined the Hammers in December 1902.

Described as “a fearless player but rather erratic”, centre-forward Davidson (pictured) made his Hammers debut in a 2-1 home defeat to Southampton on Christmas Day 1902 at the Memorial Grounds. He scored his first goal for the Irons in his fourth match, a 3-0 home win over Wellingborough in the Southern League First Division on 10th January 1903, and scored again in a 3-2 home win over Northampton two weeks later. He made his final appearance for the club in a 1-0 home win over Tottenham on 14th February 1903. After two goals in nine appearances for West Ham United, Davidson moved to Luton in February 1903 after just two months in East London.

Davidson moved on again, signing for Fulham for the 1903/04 season, making two appearances without scoring. He went on to represent New Brompton (now known as Gillingham), Kilmarnock, Aberdeen, Stockport, Atherton Church House, Bolton, Wigan Town, Nelson and finally Macclesfield. Bill Davidson passed away between October and December 1929 at the age of 51.


Saturday’s referee will be Mike Dean; 2018/19 is Dean’s 19th as a Premier League referee. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Dean has refereed 22 of our league matches, officiating in nine wins for the Hammers, seven draws and six defeats.

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Dean refereed our final match at the Boleyn when we famously triumphed 3-2 over Manchester United. His decision to send off Sofiane Feghouli just 15 minutes into our 2-0 defeat to the Red Devils in January 2017 was later rescinded. Dean’s three Hammers appointments last season were the 3-2 win over Tottenham in the League Cup fourth round at Wembley in October, the 2-1 defeat at Manchester City in December, our 1-1 Premier League draw with Tottenham in January. He most recently refereed our goalless home draw with Chelsea in September.

Possible line-ups

Fulham are without the suspended Andre Zambo Anguissa, while Calum Chambers, Kevin McDonald and Floyd Ayite are injury doubts.

West Ham United will be without Ryan Fredericks, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko and Marko Arnautovic, while Lucas Perez is a doubt. Pablo Zabaleta is one yellow card away from a one-match suspension.

Possible Fulham XI: Rico; Fosu-Mensah, Ream, Mawson, Bryan; Chambers, Seri, Cairney; Schurrle, Sessegnon; Mitrovic.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku; Snodgrass, Rice, Noble, Anderson; Chicharito, Carroll.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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