Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

Player In Focus: Lukasz Fabianski

Lukasz Fabianski was born on 18th April, 1985 and began his professional career at Legia Warsaw before transferring to Arsenal in 2007, then joining Swansea in 2014, playing 150 matches before moving to West Ham United for £7m.

Fabianski has made 16 appearances in the Premier League this season, keeping 5 clean sheets, conceding 22 goals, being on the winning side 5 times and on the losing side 7 times. This season Fabianski has been hindered by injury after an excellent season before and he started strongly with the Hammers 5th in the league, keeping 2 consecutive clean sheets by the end of September 2019.

Replaced by Roberto after going down injured with a torn hip muscle at Bournemouth, Hammers form dipped immediately. Can we place our poor season form down to this injury? Remember Fab was voted player of the season at Swansea then the following season Hammer of the Year in 2019.

Returning to the squad on 28th December against Leicester Fab played the next two matches, going off after 15mins against Sheffield United in what looked like a repeat of the injury that sidelined him for months before. Would that be the end of the season for Fabianski? The season was going from bad to worse.

Returning on 29th January 2020 against Liverpool at the London Stadium, Fabianski has played in goal for the remainder of what is now an incomplete season. But, with the league position looking increasingly precarious for the Hammers, Fabianski has not been able to turn the tide in what was proving to be a miserable season for us.

With the loss of Fabianski in goal, the very poor form of Roberto and the drop in form of other players within the team, our season start imploding with the embarrassing defeat to Oxford United in the Carabao Cup at the end of September when our season was looking so good. Some would argue it was a false dawn and the eventual sacking of Pellegrini was inevitable given the criticism of the gaffer in terms of his team selections and tactics, in particular the choice of replacement goalkeeper and lack of ability to motivate the team out of the ongoing slump.

When in form, Fabianski is an excellent shot stopper, commands his area and is a great distributor of the ball, all of which builds confidence in the team from the defence to attack. Goalkeeping is one of many areas we need to have quality and Fabianski offers us that. The issue that has been especially highlighted for us this season is whether we have a good enough stand by to replace him if he suffers another major injury?

Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

Through the Lens: Photographs From Hammers History Part 3 Tony Cottee

Tony Cottee Debut at Upton Park 1st January 1983

Tony Cottee was born on 11th Just 1965 in Forest Gate, London. One of the most prolific goal scorers in English football during the 80s and 90s, scoring 293 goals in 712 games, in all competitions.

Playing on his debut aged 17, Cottee scores past Spurs and England goalkeeper Ray Clemence on 1st January 1983 in the English League One match at Upton Park.

Cottee went on to play 8 games that season, scoring 5 goals. Cottee secured a regular first team place in the following season scoring 18 goals – still on 18 years old. But, in 1984-85 season, Cottee scared 17 First Division goals and by the age of 20 had already managed 37 league goals.

Cottee went to his first match at Upton Park as a boy with his dad to in March 1972 to watch the Hammers beat Nottingham Forest 4-2, with Pop Robson scoring 2 goals. Cottee himself describes this as his ‘rite of passage’ and he has been connected to the club for almost 50 years.

Talking about his debut, Cottee describes how only the year before he was watching the team play from the stands and by the New Year he was in the first team playing with Martin and Devo – something he just couldn’t believe at the time!

For Cottee, and many others who have played for the club or followed the Hammers, Upton Park holds so many special memories and scoring “in a 3-0 victory against the old enemy. It couldn’t get much better than that.”

I love this photo, not only because its of Cottee scoring against Clemence in goal for Spurs, but its such a perfect shot, capturing the moment the ball leaves Cottee’s head, but a perfect rule of thirds composition. Depth of field is spot on with the crowd blurred in the background – but you can still make out some fans standing with their hands up in the air in celebration. The frame of the goal posts, the structure of the stand and the players creating a triangulated dynamic that leads your eye around the scene.

Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

Player In Focus: Michail Antonio

Born 28th March 1990 in Wandsworth, Antonio signed for West Ham United on 1st September 2015, making his debut on 19th September in the 60th minute in a win against Manchester City.

Antonio has scored some key goals in his career so far, notably against Southampton on 28th December with the Hammers 1-0 down, eventually winning 2-1. And who can forget Antonio’s homage to Homer Simpson after scoring on 27th February 2016 against Sunderland where he lay on the floor sideways, spinning round in a circle!

Also, Antonio scored the only goal as Hammers were the first team to beat Spurs in their new stadium on 29th April 2019.

Antonio started the 2016-17 season as a right back, but for the Hammers first Premier league match at the London Stadium, he was switched to winger and scored the only goal in a 1-0 win against Bournemouth.

Hit by injury this season, we have at times missed his pace and ability to stretch and unsettle defences. Apparently without Antonio in the team it takes the Hammers 27mins longer to score a goal.

His strength on the ball gives the team time, especially in forward play, but how often does he get caught surrounded by players unable to cross or pass the ball? Despite some key goals from Antonio, how often has he missed a sitter that is the difference between winning a losing? Antonio has missed 9 big chances this season, with a shooting accuracy of 43%.

Antonio can frustrate as much as he entertains at times, but the team, I would argue, has so much more when he is in it. Antonio runs down the wing, pulls defenders and offers us much needed attacking power. He can get in goal scoring positions and with a 70% tackling percentage so far this season he can break up play in midfield and get the team going forward.

Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

Through the Lens: Photographs From Hammers History Part 2 Trevor Brooking

Trevor Brooking Scores Only Goal to Seal 1980 FA Cup Final Win Against Arsenal

Sir Trevor Brooking CBE was born on 2nd October 1948 and began his West Ham United career on the 24th July 1965 as a young apprentice, turning down both Chelsea and Spurs. Trevors status is legend within West Ham history and reputation as a gentleman, both on and off the pitch and as an ambassador for football is beyond reproach.

There are a number of photographs of Trevor Brookings goal that sealed the FA Cup against Arsenal, showing the before and after on a hot, sunny 10th May in 1980. But this shot shows the moment the ball crosses the line, Jennings diving late and Trevor surrounded by Arsenal players which shows was a fantastic goal it was. Trevor had to bend down to get at the low shot, he was perfectly positioned as play revolved around the six yard box. Not only has Trevor bent down, he has managed to get the perfect angle to head the ball between defender and keeper. 1-0 and the stadium is rocking!

The build up to the goal came after a slow start to the match, the Hammers gained possession from a free kick after Brady was caught offside. Keeping possession in the 12th minute West Ham’s Devonshire broke down the left wing firing over a cross into the Arsenal 6 yard box. Cross’s shot was blocked by Young but Pearson had a shot at goal. As the ball went across the goal Trevor’s quick reaction left the Arsenal defence stranded and he flicked a header past Jennings in the 13th minute. Trevor’s goal decided the match as the Hammers sealed a famous victory at Wembley, which remains the last time a team from outside the top flight has won the FA Cup Final.

Looking at the replay of the goal its amazing to see the crowd of photographers either side of the goal – there must have been about 30 at least, and a few hands raise up in celebration as the ball hits the back of the net and therefore missing a shot of a lifetime. You can even see some of the photographers switching cameras as Devonshire makes his cross and Jennings gets a hand to ball. In some respects, sport photography is quite different these days. And this is what makes this such a wonderful photo. But given how many photographers there were either side of the net, someone was bound to get a great shot. There is just a split second to get it right.

Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

Through the Lens: Photographs From Hammers History Part 1 - Bobby Moore

Bobby Moore: First Gentleman of English Football

My first image in this series is of Hammers Legend Bobby Moore, which was displayed in the Bobby Moore: First Gentleman of English Football exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London from 27th February 2018 to 6th January 2019. The photographer is unknown and it was taken on the pitch inside the Boleyn Ground in 1962.

Its not the classic action photo, nor one of the more glamorous images of Bobby in the later years of his career, but a fresh faced younger player aged 21 years with the World Cup to look forward to in the summer after impressing Winterbottom in the England U23 squad. A year later from this photo Moore eventually captained England.

Sandwiched between ’61 and ’63 where he was voted Hammer of the Year, Moore played in the warm up match against Peru and remained in the squad for the duration of the 1962 World Cup in Chile, where England were beaten in the Quarter Finals by winners Brazil.

The country suffered the Big Freeze from late December ’61 until early March ’62 and The Beatles had their first hit with Love Me Do as the world came close to nuclear war with the Cuban missile crisis.

Moore’s impact on West Ham United and the England game is there for all to see and this photo is near the beginning of a football playing career that ended 1978 with his retirement from the pitch.

Once a national icon from the success of 1966 World Cup victory and winning BBC Sports Personality of The Year, its amazing to see this photo of Moore as a young player with all that ahead of him.

I love this portrait of Moore, he looks straight at the camera, confident, young and fresh faced with the Boleyn ground behind him with a wry smile on his face. A wonderful relaxed portrait.

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