Dan Coker's Match Preview

Blast from the past

Back in 1999/2000, West Ham United were in the midst of a season which had seen them earn UEFA Cup football, by virtue of winning the InterToto Cup, and been third in the league after five games but the campaign had started to unravel. Without a win since the end of November and out of the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup, the Hammers finally registered their first win of the new millennium on the 22nd January 2000 by beating Leicester City 3-1 at Filbert Street in front of 19,019. Manic Street Preachers were number one with ‘The Masses Against The Classes’ and Sleepy Hollow was in UK cinemas as Paulo and Paolo secured the three points.

The Hammers took the lead on 13 minutes when Frank Lampard played a pass into the penalty area for Paulo Wanchope to steer home his first goal in ten games. The Foxes were depleted by injuries (defender Tommy Goodwin made his only appearance for the club in this game) but were level just 11 minutes later when Emile Heskey was allowed to run at the Hammers’ defence before rifling a shot beyond the injured Shaka Hislop, who was replaced two minutes later by Craig Forrest.

The Irons would be forced into a second change before half-time when a challenge from Greek midfielder Theo Zagorakis left Steve Lomas grounded with a leg injury, which saw him replaced by Michael Carrick after 38 minutes. Carrick’s shot four minutes into first-half stoppage time was intercepted by Wanchope who drove through the legs of Pegguy Arphexad from a tight angle to give West Ham the lead at the interval.

Wanchope (pictured above) turned provider in the second half, sending the ball out to Paolo Di Canio on the left of the penalty area – the Italian jinked his way beyond two defenders before dispatching the ball into the bottom corner with 60 minutes played. Di Canio was later denied by Arphexad and, after beating three defenders, also saw an effort headed off the line by Phil Gilchrist. The 3-1 scoreline was enough to see the Hammers record their first away league win since late August and overtake the Foxes into eighth place in the Premier League table.

Alongside Goodwin, Jordan Stewart also made his Leicester debut that day and went on to make 127 appearances for the Foxes until his departure for Watford in 2005. Stuart Campbell and Joe Cole were midfield opponents in this match – Campbell is now Cole’s manager at Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Harry Redknapp’s West Ham would end the season in ninth position, while Martin O’Neill’s Leicester would finish eighth and win the League Cup. Manchester United won the league title, Chelsea won the FA Cup and Di Canio was voted Hammer of the Year, with Trevor Sinclair runner-up.

Leicester City: Pegguy Arphexad, Frank Sinclair, Phil Gilchrist, Matt Elliott, Tommy Goodwin, Darren Eadie, Theo Zagorakis (Jordan Stewart), Stuart Campbell, Arnar Gunnlaugsson (Danny Thomas), Emile Heskey, Graham Fenton.

West Ham United: Shaka Hislop (Craig Forrest), Rio Ferdinand, Neil Ruddock, Javier Margas, Trevor Sinclair, Frank Lampard, Steve Lomas (Michael Carrick), Joe Cole, Marc Keller (Scott Minto), Paulo Wanchope, Paolo Di Canio.

Club Connections

Players who have represented both the Hammers and the Foxes include:

Goalkeepers: George Hebden, Colin Mackleworth.

Defenders: John Pantsil, Gary Charles, Chris Powell, Rufus Brevett, Paul Konchesky, Dai Jones, Matthew Upson, Billy Oakes.

Midfielders: Andy Impey, Shaun Newton, Nolberto Solano, Franz Carr, Sid Bishop.

Strikers: David Connolly, Mike Newell, Brian Deane, Paul Kitson, Norman Proctor, Les Ferdinand, David Kelly, Tony Cottee, Jimmy Quinn.

Frank O’Farrell, Martin Allen and Jimmy Bloomfield have played for the Hammers and managed the Foxes.

Today’s focus though is on a player who only played a total of five matches for West Ham United and Leicester City. Clive Clarke was born in Dublin on the 14th January 1980 and started his career at Stoke, where he played 264 matches and won two full caps for Ireland before joining Alan Pardew’s West Ham United in July 2005 for a fee of £275,000.

Although primarily a left-back and signed as cover for fellow new signing and future Fox Paul Konchesky, none of Clarke’s appearances for the Hammers were in his favoured position. The 25-year-old made his debut on the left side of midfield in a 1-0 defeat at Bolton in the third round of the League Cup on 26th October 2005 but had to wait until 1st February 2006 for his first Premier League appearance, at right-back in the famous 3-2 win at Arsenal in which he came up against Thierry Henry in the Gunners’ final defeat at their old Highbury home. Clarke’s final game in claret and blue was his home debut, again playing on the left side of midfield in a 4-2 defeat to Portsmouth at Upton Park on the 18th March 2006. After just three appearances for West Ham, he moved to Sunderland in August 2006 in a deal that saw George McCartney move to East London.

After four appearances for the Wearsiders, Clarke moved to Coventry for a three-month loan spell. He joined Leicester at the age of 27, then managed by another former Hammer in Martin Allen, in another three-month loan deal in August 2007 but in a League Cup second round tie at Nottingham Forest, just twelve days and two matches into his loan spell, Clarke collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest in the changing rooms at the City Ground causing the match to be abandoned at half-time. Five days after the incident, Clarke told the BBC:

“I remember feeling a bit lethargic on the field in the first half, and I was involved in a collision with our goalkeeper Paul Henderson, which led to their goal. I sat quietly in a corner of the dressing room and felt a bit queasy. I can recall [team-mate and centre-half] Patrick Kisnorbo talking to me, but it wasn’t really registering. Then I just passed out. When I was told what had happened, the blood drained from my body. I just thought I could have been dead and that I might never have seen my family again”.

Clarke never played professional football again, returning to Sunderland as scheduled in November 2007 and leaving the Black Cats by mutual consent in February 2008 on medical advice. Now 36, Clarke is a managing director of JPA Worldwide, a management and marketing service in the professional sports industry.

Referee

The referee on New Year’s Eve will be Anthony Taylor – the Hammers were allocated the 38-year-old on five occasions last season as he took charge of our defeat at Tottenham, as well as our home win over Newcastle which came just three games after he had controversially sent off Adrian against Leicester. He was also the man in the middle for our FA Cup third round win over Wolves and our 3-2 win at Everton in March. Most recently, Taylor took charge of our 2-0 defeat at Everton in October and our 2-1 defeat at Chelsea in August, awarding the home side a penalty and later controversially failing to issue a second yellow card to Diego Costa for an awful lunge at Adrian – Costa remained on the pitch to score the 89th-minute winner.

Indeed, controversy and incident are never far away when the Cheshire-based official is the referee for a West Ham United match. Taylor is the referee who had not one, but two red cards rescinded from the same game after he had sent off Carlton Cole and Darron Gibson in the Hammers’ 2-1 home defeat to Everton in December 2012. He sent off the home side’s Kevin Mirallas against the Hammers at Goodison Park in March and awarded the Toffees a penalty which Romelu Lukaku saw saved by Adrian.

Possible line-ups

Leicester City have no injury concerns but Claudio Ranieri will be without suspended England striker Jamie Vardy. Ranieri rested Danny Drinkwater and Riyad Mahrez against Everton on Boxing Day and changes could be in store for the Foxes. Leicester are unbeaten in their last four matches against the Hammers in all competitions, while West Ham have not recorded a Premier League win away at Leicester since this preview’s featured match, in January 2000.

For West Ham United, Sam Byram, Reece Oxford, Manuel Lanzini and Simone Zaza are back in training and Pedro Obiang returns from suspension. Alvaro Arbeloa is out for a few more weeks with a badly bruised leg which has put him on crutches since the Arsenal match while fellow full-back Arthur Masuaku is several weeks away from a return after suffering a knee injury in training. James Collins returns to training next week after a calf strain but Gokhan Tore and Diafra Sakho are out for months after knee and back surgery respectively. Michail Antonio will miss the home match against Manchester United on Monday if he is booked at Leicester – New Year’s Eve is the cut-off point for receiving a ban though so Antonio will not receive a suspension for five bookings after that date. West Ham have only won two of their last ten Premier League away games. The Hammers have only won once at the home of a reigning Premier League champion, when Jermain Defoe scored the only goal of the game at Manchester United in December 2001. The Irons have drawn one (at Chelsea in March) and lost 18 of their other matches away to reigning title-holders.

Possible Leicester City XI: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Schlupp; Mahrez, Mendy, Drinkwater, Albrighton; Slimani, Musa.

Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Kouyate, Reid, Ogbonna; Antonio, Obiang, Noble, Cresswell; Ayew, Carroll, Payet.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!