Dan Coker's Match Preview

Blast from the past

West Ham United have met Birmingham City in the FA Cup on three previous occasions. The second of these meetings was in the third round at Upton Park in front of 31,056 on the 9th January 1965. Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames were number one with ‘Yeh Yeh’ and Mary Poppins was in UK cinemas as the Hammers emerged victorious against the Blues with a 4-2 win.

Denis Thwaites gave the Blues the lead in the sixth minute before Alec Jackson doubled the visitors’ lead when scoring direct from a corner. Thwaites was murdered, aged 70, along with his wife Elaine in the 2015 Sousse attacks in Tunisia. West Ham, who were without skipper Bobby Moore, hit the post through Geoff Hurst but pulled one back before half-time when Johnny ‘Budgie’ Byrne touched home Johnny Sissons’ cross.

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The Hammers, playing the role of cup holders, equalised in this all-First Division tie when Hurst (pictured above in this match against the Blues) converted a cross from Alan Sealey. Sir Geoff completed the comeback with his second goal before Sissons made the game safe. The goals from this match can be viewed in the video below.

The Hammers were knocked out in the fourth round, losing 1-0 at home to Chelsea. Martin Peters was voted Hammer of the Year, with Bobby Moore runner-up.

West Ham United: Jim Standen, John Bond, Ken Brown, Martin Peters, Alan Sealey, Eddie Bovington, Ronnie Boyce, Johnny Sissons, Tony Scott, Geoff Hurst, Johnny Byrne.

Aside from this third round victory in 1965, West Ham’s remaining FA Cup record against Birmingham is as follows:
1933 – West Ham 4-0 Birmingham (Quarter-Final)
1984 – Birmingham 3-0 West Ham (5th round)

Club Connections

A large group of players have turned out for West Ham United and Birmingham City. Divided by playing position, they include:

Goalkeepers – Joe Hart, Darren Randolph, Les Sealey.

Defenders – Carl Jenkinson, David Burrows, Joe Gallagher, Gary Breen, Jonathan Spector, Matthew Upson, Julian Dicks, Bob Fairman, Roger Johnson, Kenny Brown.

Midfielders – David Bentley, Michael Carrick, Billy Guest, Alan Curbishley, Michael Hughes, George Parris, Harry Hooper, Hayden Mullins, Papa Bouba Diop, Ravel Morrison, Nigel Quashie, Stan Lazaridis, Lee Bowyer, Mark Ward, Billy Thirlaway.

Strikers – Eamonn Dolan, Tony Cottee, Jim Barrett Jr, Robert Hall, Jimmy Bloomfield, Mike Newell, Steve Whitton, John Burton, Mauro Zarate, Dave Mangnall, David Speedie, Sam Small.

John Bond and Chris Hughton played for West Ham and managed Birmingham. Lou Macari and Gianfranco Zola have managed both clubs. Harry Redknapp played for the Hammers and managed both clubs.

Today’s focus though is on an England international right-back who spent a spell on loan at Birmingham from the Hammers. Gary Charles was born in Newham on 13th April 1970 and began his career with Clapton before moving to Nottingham Forest, making his league debut in 1987. He spent a loan spell at Leicester in 1989 and won two England caps in 1991, against New Zealand and Malaysia. He won the Full Members’ Cup in 1992 but moved to Derby in the summer of 1993 before returning to the Premier League with Aston Villa in January 1995. He won the League Cup with Villa in 1996.

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Charles moved to Portugal in January 1999, signing for Benfica before Harry Redknapp swooped to sign him for West Ham United for £1.2m in October 1999. The 29-year-old made his Hammers debut in a 3-2 League Cup fourth round victory at Birmingham on 30th November 1999 but had to be withdrawn due to injury. He made his return on 5th February 2000 but scored a last-gasp own goal as the Irons lost 2-1 at Southampton. Charles made his home debut a week later in the famous 5-4 win over Bradford, his third and final start for the club. He made two sub appearances before the end of the 1999/2000 season, both in mid-April in 2-1 wins over Newcastle at home and away to former club Derby. Charles’ sixth and final appearance for West Ham was again as a substitute in a 1-0 home defeat to another former club, Leicester, on 23rd August 2000.

Charles dropped down to the second tier to join Birmingham on loan in September 2000, making his debut in a 1-1 draw at West Brom on 17th September 2000. He made his home debut six days later in a 2-0 win over Tranmere but was affected by hamstring problems and made his third and final appearance for the club in a 2-1 home win over Crystal Palace on 14th October 2000. He subsequently featured regularly for the Hammers’ reserves but was hampered by a number of niggling injuries and was forced to retire in the summer of 2002 due to injury.

Charles struggled with alcoholism during the latter stages of his career and after he retired – he was jailed in January 2004 for a series of drunken incidents in his car and was imprisoned again in December 2006 for threatening a bouncer while drunk – he was serving a suspended sentence at the time for attacking a woman at a taxi rank. He was named assistant manager at Lincoln in October 2011 and has since been Director of Football at Nottingham University. He was named manager of National League North side Nuneaton Town in March 2018 but was replaced three months later. Now 48, Charles runs his own Midlands-based clinic, GCSports Care, for professionals with addiction problems and other off-field issues.


Saturday’s referee will be Roger East; the Wiltshire-based official has been taking charge of Premier League fixtures since 2012 but has only taken charge of six previous West Ham matches in the top flight, those being the 1-1 home draw with Stoke in April 2015, the 3-2 home defeat to Leicester in March 2017, the 0-0 draw with Everton the following month, our 1-0 home win over Swansea in September 2017 and our 3-1 defeat at Brighton last February. He was most recently in charge of the Hammers for our 4-2 win over Burnley in November.

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The 53-year-old has also refereed the Hammers in the FA Cup, for the fourth round replay win over Liverpool in February 2016 and for the 2-1 quarter-final replay defeat to Manchester United in April of the same year. He also sent off Portsmouth’s Liam Lawrence and West Ham’s Frederic Piquionne in the Irons’ 4-3 home win over Pompey in September 2011. Lee Probert will be the VAR official for Saturday’s match.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United have Ryan Fredericks, Fabian Balbuena, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko and Chicharito on the injury list.

Birmingham boss Garry Monk is hopeful that defender Kristian Pedersen can return to the side but forward Omar Bogle looks set to miss out. The Blues are on a five-game unbeaten run in the Championship and have picked up eight points from a possible 12 over the Christmas period.

Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Antonio, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Diangana, Rice, Noble, Snodgrass; Arnautovic, Perez.

Possible Birmingham City XI: Camp; Harding, Morrison, Dean, Colin; Jota, Gardner, Kleftenbeld, Maghoma; Jutkiewicz, Adams.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!