Dan Coker's Match Preview

Blast from the past

Today’s blast from the past features a 4-2 victory at home against this weekend’s opponents, Norwich City; it arrived on New Year’s Day 1974 in front of 32,259 spectators. Slade were number one with ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’, Paul Newman and Robert Redford were in UK cinemas in The Sting, New Year’s Day was celebrated as a public holiday for the first time and The Three-Day Week was introduced by the Conservative government as a measure to conserve electricity during the period of industrial action by coal miners, lasting until 7th March. Two days later, the Jimmy Perry and David Croft sitcom It Ain’t Half Hot Mum made its debut on BBC television.

Less than a month prior to this encounter with the Canaries, Graham Paddon and Ted MacDougall had swapped clubs, Paddon moving to the Hammers in exchange for MacDougall and £30,000 – the deal was rated at £170,000. Both Paddon (pictured below) and MacDougall bagged a brace apiece against their former employers in this match – for the 23-year-old Paddon, these were the first of his 15 goals for the club in a stay which would last until November 1976, when he was transferred back to Norwich for £110,000 after making 152 appearances for the Irons. With both clubs struggling at the foot of the First Division table, the points were crucial and, added to Paddon’s double, further goals from Bobby Gould and Trevor Brooking ensured the Hammers picked up a vital 4-2 victory.

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The Canaries ended up bottom and were relegated at the end of the 1973/74 season. The Hammers finished in 18th position, avoiding relegation by two places and one point. Billy Bonds was voted Hammer of the Year for the second time and was joint-leading scorer with Clyde Best on 13 goals, Leeds were First Division champions and Liverpool won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Mervyn Day, John McDowell, Tommy Taylor, Bobby Moore, Frank Lampard, Mick McGiven, Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking (Keith Coleman), Graham Paddon, Bobby Gould, Clyde Best.

Club Connections

A long list of players have turned out for both West Ham United and Norwich City over the years. Robert Snodgrass welcomes his former club to east London, while Sam Byram returns to the club he left in the summer. Other players who have appeared for both clubs include:

Goalkeeper: Robert Green.

Defenders: Edward Wagstaff, Malky Mackay, John Gurkin, Elliott Ward, John McDowell, Kenny Brown, Calum Davenport, Fred Milnes, Charlie Craig, Mark Bowen, Steve Walford.

Midfielders: Bill Silor, Luke Chadwick, Matt Jarvis, Martin Peters, Gary O’Neil, Billy Linward, Henri Lansbury, Scott Parker, David Bentley, Dale Gordon, Johnny Sissons, Jimmy Neighbour, Graham Paddon, Matthew Rush.

Strikers: Billy Ingham, Justin Fashanu, Albert Foan, David Cross, Alex Birnie, Craig Bellamy, Freddie Kearns, John Hartson, Les Robinson, Tony Cottee, Ron Williams, Ted MacDougall, Alan Taylor, Dean Ashton.

In addition, Glenn Roeder has managed both clubs while ex-Hammers Ken Brown, Archie Macauley, John Bond and Chris Hughton have managed Norwich.

This week’s focus though is on a player who spent his early twenties with the Hammers before representing the Canaries later in his career. Keith Robson was born on the 15th November 1953 in Hetton-le-Hole, County Durham, and began his career with Newcastle before moving to Ron Greenwood’s West Ham United in 1974 for £60,000. His arrival, alongside that of Billy Jennings from Watford, sparked an extraordinary scoring spree with the Hammers netting a remarkable 20 goals in just four games during a ten-day period. The 20-year-old Robson made his debut against Tranmere on 18th September 1974 in a 6-0 League Cup second round replay win at the Boleyn Ground. He scored his first Hammers goal in his next match just three days later, a 6-2 home victory over Leicester and notched another in a 3-0 win over Birmingham in the following game. His first goals away from Upton Park soon arrived as he bagged a brace in a 5-3 win at Burnley. Robson made it five goals in four games with another in a 2-2 home draw with Derby on 5th October 1974.

The aggressive forward also scored with a header in a 3-0 win over Middlesbrough at the Boleyn on 2nd November 1974 and followed that with a point-earning strike in a 1-1 draw at Liverpool three weeks later. A Boxing Day goal secured a 1-1 draw with Tottenham at Upton Park before he scored in a 2-1 defeat at Leeds on 11th January 1975. Two more goals followed before the end of the season, one in a 2-1 home win over QPR which secured a quarter-final place in the FA Cup and another in a 2-1 home win over Burnley. A thigh injury sustained in March was to end Robson’s season however, keeping him out of the FA Cup semi-final and the Wembley victory over Fulham in the Final. Robson had scored 11 goals in 30 appearances for the Hammers in the 1974/75 season, none more important than that FA Cup fifth round winner over QPR, a looping header over future Hammers goalkeeper Phil Parkes.

Robson (pictured), a skilful but temperamental player who had his fair share of flare-ups with opponents and referees, put that disappointment behind him early the following season – he did make a belated Wembley appearance, as a substitute in the 2-0 Charity Shield defeat against Derby, and scored the winner in a 1-0 home victory over Tottenham on 25th August 1975. He scored in a 3-0 European Cup Winners’ Cup first round second leg triumph over Finnish side Lahden Reipas at Upton Park on 1st October 1975 and continued his 1975/76 cup exploits by bagging another goal in a 3-0 League Cup third round home win over Darlington a week later. The following round of the Cup Winners’ Cup saw the Hammers paired with Soviet side Ararat Erevan and Robson was on the scoresheet again, converting a back-post header in a 3-1 home win in the second leg on 5th November 1975. His goal against Coventry, again at the Boleyn, secured a 1-1 draw three days later and lifted the Hammers to the top of the First Division table.

Robson was sent off two days after Christmas 1975 in a 2-1 home defeat to Ipswich; already booked for a vicious sliding tackle on Clive Woods, he punched George Burley after being fouled from behind and was dismissed. He went over five months without a goal as the Hammers plummeted in the league but arguably his finest hour in claret and blue was to come on 14th April 1976 – in one of the great Upton Park nights under the lights, Robson’s scorcher from distance was crucial in helping the Irons to a 3-1 European Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final second leg victory over Eintracht Frankfurt, overturning a 2-1 first leg deficit to win 4-3 on aggregate. Still on a high, Robson made it two goals in two games three days later in a 2-2 home draw with Aston Villa.

Robson’s final goal for West Ham was scored in the Cup Winners’ Cup Final against Anderlecht at the Heysel Stadium on 5th May 1976 – his first goal away from Upton Park for 16 months. His near-post header levelled the match at 2-2 but the Belgians, inspired by future Hammer Francois Van der Elst, would go on to win 4-2. It was Robson’s eighth goal in his 49th appearance of the season.

Robson’s 1976/77 campaign was disrupted by injury as he made only ten appearances, without scoring. His disciplinary record again came under the spotlight as he was publicly criticised by chairman Reg Pratt after being booked in a League Cup loss to QPR in October 1976. He played his last game for the Hammers in a 6-0 defeat at Sunderland on 5th March 1977, a game later described by manager John Lyall as one of the worst team performances in his time at the club. Following a loan spell with Team Hawaii, and after scoring 19 goals in 89 appearances for West Ham United, Robson was sold to Second Division Cardiff in August 1977. Six of these 19 goals can be viewed in my video below.

After just six months at Cardiff, the 24-year-old Robson returned to the top flight, signing for John Bond’s Norwich in February 1978 for £25,000. Reunited with former Hammers team-mate Graham Paddon, Robson was also later joined by familiar faces in the shape of John McDowell and Alan Taylor, while West Ham legend Martin Peters was also already at Carrow Road when Robson signed. Three mid-table finishes (13th, 16th and 12th) were recorded under Bond’s management after Robson’s arrival but, after another former Hammer Ken Brown took over in October 1980, the Canaries were relegated at the end of the 1980/81 season, swapping places with the Hammers who stormed to the Second Division title that season. Robson scored 14 goals in 71 appearances for Norwich but left the club in September 1981, signing for Second Division Leicester.

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After a spell on loan to Carlisle, Robson moved to Hong Kong to play for the South China Athletic Association. He returned to Norfolk in 1983, playing for Norwich Busmen, Corinthian-Casuals and Wroxham, where he became assistant manager in 1993/94. He also worked as a machinist at Impress Metal Packing Co. Now 65, Robson is a visitor to London Stadium and has also guested at events run by Any Old Irons, the West Ham United Foundation programme providing free events for over-65s.


Saturday’s referee is 38-year-old Paul Tierney. The Lancashire-based official has refereed the Hammers on five previous occasions. His most recent Irons appointment was our 2-0 home defeat to Everton in March. He also refereed our 3-0 win at Newcastle in December.

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Tierney’s first West Ham appointment was for the 1-1 draw with Everton in November 2015 which saw James McCarthy’s tackle on Dimitri Payet put the Frenchman out of action for two months. His second Irons game was our 0-0 draw at West Brom in September 2017, when he chose to issue just a yellow card to Ben Foster for his late tackle on Javier Hernandez. He also refereed our goalless draw at Shrewsbury in the third round of the FA Cup in January 2018.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United are without Winston Reid and Michail Antonio but Javier Hernandez is available.

Norwich City could be without centre-halves Christoph Zimmermann and Timm Klose as well as winger Onel Hernandez but centre-forward Josip Drmic may be available. Norwich have a win and two defeats from their three Premier League matches so far and were knocked out of the League Cup by League Two Crawley this week. Striker Teemu Pukki has five goals from his first three games of the season.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Rice, Noble; Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Anderson; Haller.

Possible Norwich City XI: Krul; Aarons, Hanley, Godfrey, Lewis; Trybull, Leitner; Buendia, Stiepermann, Cantwell; Pukki.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!