Dan Coker's Match Preview

Blast from the past

23rd October 1954 – the day West Germany joined NATO and four days after Britain agreed to end its military occupation of the Suez Canal, Don Cornell was number one with ‘Hold My Hand’, Robert Donat was in UK cinemas in Lease of Life and West Ham United met Stoke City at the Boleyn Ground for a Second Division encounter in front of 27,005.

The Hammers were to emerge victorious with a 3-0 victory with two goals coming courtesy of 24-year-old inside-forward John Dick (pictured) and another from fellow striker Dave Sexton. The win would take the Hammers into the second tier’s top eight. Govan-born Dick would end the campaign as the Irons’ top goalscorer with 26 goals from 41 appearances.

West Ham would indeed finish the 1954/55 Division Two season in eighth place, while Stoke would end the campaign in fifth position. Birmingham and Luton would win promotion, Chelsea won the First Division title and Newcastle won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: George Taylor, John Bond, Ken Brown, Harry Kinsell, Andy Malcolm, Frank O’Farrell, Harry Hooper, Albert Foan, Dave Sexton, John Dick, Jimmy Andrews.

Club Connections

Marko Arnautovic welcomes the club he left in the summer, while Glen Johnson visits the club with whom he started his career. A reasonable number of players have also worn the shirts of both Stoke City and West Ham United. These include:

Goalkeepers: Tony Parks, Steve Banks, Lawrie Leslie, Pat McMahon, Bob Dixon.

Defenders: Clive Clarke, Abdoulaye Faye, Danny Collins, Billy Cope, Matthew Upson.

Midfielders: Luke Chadwick, Paul Allen, Kevin Keen, Victor Moses.

Strikers: Frank Richardson, Lee Chapman, Jack Farrell, Sir Geoff Hurst, John Carew, Wilf Phillips, Henri Camara, Nicky Morgan.

Lou Macari has also managed both clubs, with two spells in charge of the Potters.

Today’s focus falls on a man who enjoyed successful playing spells at both clubs. Matthew Etherington began his career at Peterborough, making his debut in May 1997 at 15 years and 262 days. He played 58 games for the Posh before joining Tottenham in December 1999. After three and a half years at White Hart Lane, which included a loan spell at Bradford, Etherington signed for Glenn Roeder’s West Ham in August 2003 – he was valued at £500,000 in the deal which took Frederic Kanoute to north London in the aftermath of the Hammers’ relegation. Peterborough made a formal complaint to the FA regarding the valuation placed on Etherington as they would have benefited from a sell-on clause had it been greater than the £500,000 they had sold Etherington to Tottenham for in 1999.

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Etherington made his debut in claret and blue in a 2-1 opening-day win at Preston in August 2003 and, after Trevor Brooking took caretaker control, he scored his first goal for the Hammers in a 3-0 win at Crewe the following month. With Alan Pardew now at the helm, he was sent off in a 1-1 draw at Norwich in February 2004 but scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 home win against Wimbledon the following month. The left-winger also scored in a 2-1 home victory against Gillingham and was voted the Hammer of the Year for the 2003/04 season. Etherington scored with a stunning strike in the 2-0 play-off semi-final second leg win against Ipswich at Upton Park, played out in front of a raucous midweek atmosphere under the lights – one of my favourite Boleyn Ground memories. The Hammers would be defeated in the Final by Crystal Palace and miss out on promotion.

The former England Under-21 man would score three goals the following season – against Derby in a 1-1 away draw, Nottingham Forest in a 3-2 Boxing Day home win and at Ipswich in a 2-0 triumph on New Year’s Day – Alan Pardew’s Irons achieved promotion at the second time of asking, with Etherington supplying the cross for Bobby Zamora’s winning goal in the Play-Off Final against Preston. Etherington would again score three goals in the following campaign, with Premier League strikes in the curtain-raising 3-1 home win against Blackburn and 3-2 victory at Highbury supplemented by an FA Cup goal as Blackburn were knocked out 4-2 in the fourth round at the Boleyn Ground – the Hammers would go on to make the Final against Liverpool, with Etherington recovering from injury to play a significant part in a memorable Irons performance.

A disappointing, and goalless, 2006/07 season followed as the Hammers narrowly avoided relegation in a turbulent campaign but Etherington returned to his three-goals-in-a-season routine in 2007/08, scoring twice in a 3-0 win at Reading in September 2007 before notching once in the 5-0 rout at Derby two months later. He made a promising start to life under Gianfranco Zola in 2008/09, scoring in successive September league wins against Newcastle (3-1) and at Fulham (2-1) but departed in January 2009 after personal problems necessitated a move away. He had made 195 appearances for the Hammers in all competitions, scoring 18 goals. My video below contains all 18 of Etherington’s goals for West Ham United, including his hat-trick against Wimbledon and double against Reading, as well as his Play-Off Semi-Final stunner against Ipswich.

The 27-year-old Etherington signed for Tony Pulis’ Stoke for £3m in January 2009. He made his debut in a 0-0 draw with Liverpool and was sent off in a 2-0 defeat to Sunderland for kicking Danny Collins, another player who played for both the Hammers and the Potters. He scored his first Stoke goal in a 4-3 League Cup win over Blackpool the following season and his first league goal in a 2-2 draw with Wolves. He was named Stoke’s Player of the Year for 2009/10, his first full campaign with the club. The following season saw him score a last-minute equaliser at Manchester City and the first goal in the 5-0 Wembley win over Bolton in the FA Cup semi-final – just as in 2006, Etherington would face a fitness race for the 2011 Final. He did play but would again receive a runners-up medal as Stoke lost 1-0 to Manchester City. Etherington also saw a penalty saved by Robert Green in the quarter-final as his Stoke side knocked out the Hammers on a controversial afternoon at the Britannia – Etherington’s own fall under Scott Parker’s ‘challenge’ to win the penalty was dubious in itself!

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Etherington’s form started to dip and starting appearances became more sporadic before he left the club at the end of his contract in the summer of 2014 – he had made 176 appearances for the Potters, scoring 16 goals. On 3rd December 2014, after turning down an offer from Millwall, Etherington admitted a back injury had got the better of him and announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 33. Speaking personally, I always looked forward to watching Matty’s pace and trickery down the left wing, regularly giving his full-back a hard time – Etherington, now 36, remains one of my favourite Hammers of the last 15 years.


The referee on Monday will be Michael Oliver. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Oliver has refereed 11 of our league matches, officiating in two wins for the Hammers, one draw and eight defeats.

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Oliver was the man in the middle for the Irons’ 2-0 reverse at Chelsea three seasons ago and also sent off Kevin Nolan at Anfield four seasons ago. His only Hammers appointments in 2015/16 were for the 2-1 home victory over Southampton in December and the 4-1 home defeat to Swansea in May. His only games in charge of the Irons last season were our 5-0 home defeat to Manchester City in the FA Cup third round and the 2-2 home draw with West Brom in February. He most recently refereed our 4-0 defeat at Everton in December 2017 and, prior to that, our 3-2 home defeat to Tottenham in September, sending off Spurs’ Serge Aurier but failing to award the Hammers a penalty in the dying minutes for a push on Andy Carroll.

Possible line-ups

For West Ham United, Sam Byram, Winston Reid, Pedro Obiang and Michail Antonio are unavailable through injury. James Collins, Aaron Cresswell, Manuel Lanzini and Andy Carroll should all be available. Former Stoke player Marko Arnautovic has been involved in 13 Premier League goals this season, five more than any other West Ham player.

Stoke, who have only recorded one clean sheet in their last eight games, will be without Lee Grant, Konstantinos Stafylidis and Eric Choupo-Moting, while Ibrahim Afellay and Jese have been internally suspended. Charlie Adam completes the final game of a three-match ban. Stoke are unbeaten in their last five league visits to face West Ham, although four of those matches were draws. However, the Potters have lost on their last seven Premier League visits to London, conceding 26 goals while scoring just five in reply. They have not won in the Premier League since 20th January, when they defeated Huddersfield.

Possible West Ham United XI: Hart; Zabaleta, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku; Fernandes, Kouyate, Noble, Mario; Arnautovic.

Possible Stoke City XI: Butland; Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters; Bauer, Allen, Ndiaye, Sobhi; Shaqiri; Diouf .

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!