Dan Coker's Match Preview

Blast from the past

5th April 2005: Prime Minister Tony Blair asked the Queen for a dissolution of Parliament for a general election on 5th May, Tony Christie featuring Peter Kay was at the top of the charts with ‘(Is This The Way To) Amarillo’ and The Ring Two topped the UK box office. Meanwhile, West Ham United completed their second away victory in three days following a 2-0 weekend win at Wigan.

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In front of 12,209 at Turf Moor in this midweek encounter, Ade Akinbiyi wasted Burnley’s best chance of the first half after heading wide of the target. Hammers forward Teddy Sheringham fired just wide before a mistake let the Irons in to seal the three points with the game’s only goal. With seven minutes to go, a loose pass allowed Marlon Harewood to round the goalkeeper and square for Sheringham to calmly stroke home the winner three days after his 39th birthday. The veteran would be voted Hammer of the Year a few weeks later, with a teenaged Mark Noble runner-up. The goal from this match can be viewed in my video below – the referee that night, incidentally, was Kevin Friend, who will take charge of tomorrow’s encounter at Turf Moor too.

Burnley would close the season in 13th position, while the Hammers would finish in sixth place and be promoted via the Play-Offs; Sunderland won the Championship title, Chelsea won the Premier League and Arsenal won the FA Cup. Marlon Harewood was the Irons’ top scorer with 22 goals from 54 matches.

Burnley: Danny Coyne, Frank Sinclair (Tony Grant), John McGreal, Gary Cahill, Mo Camara, John Oster (Jean-Louis Valois), Micah Hyde, James O’Connor, Graham Branch (Michael Duff), Ade Akinbiyi, Dean Bowditch.

West Ham United: Jimmy Walker, Tomas Repka, Anton Ferdinand, Elliott Ward, Chris Powell, Shaun Newton, Hayden Mullins (Carl Fletcher), Nigel Reo-Coker, Mark Noble (Matthew Etherington), Marlon Harewood (Bobby Zamora), Teddy Sheringham.

Club Connections

Joe Hart welcomes his former club to Turf Moor. A small collection of players join him in having turned out for the Hammers and the Clarets. They include:

Goalkeepers: Tommy Hampson, Herman Conway and Frank Birchenough.

Defenders: Tyrone Mears, Joe Gallagher, David Unsworth, Tommy Dunn, Jack Tresadern, Jon Harley and Mitchell Thomas.

Midfielders: Junior Stanislas, Reg Attwell, Matt Taylor and Luke Chadwick.

Strikers: Bill Jenkinson, Sam Jennings, Walter Pollard, Ian Moore , Alan Taylor and Zavon Hines.

John Bond played for the Hammers and managed the Clarets.

Today’s focus is on a former England international striker who ended his career with Burnley having also represented West Ham United late in his distinguished career. Ian Wright was born on the 3rd November 1963 in Woolwich and began his professional career with Steve Coppell’s Crystal Palace, joining from Greenwich Borough at the age of 21 in the summer of 1985. He moved to George Graham’s Arsenal for a club record £2.5m in September 1991, having already made his England debut in February 1991 while still at Selhurst Park but, despite his goalscoring exploits, was left out of England’s Euro ’92 squad by Graham Taylor.

Wright went on to be Arsenal’s top scorer for six consecutive seasons, playing a major part in the club’s success during the 1990s, winning an FA Cup and League Cup double in 1993 and scoring in both the FA Cup Final and replay against Sheffield Wednesday. He also helped Arsenal reach the 1993/94 Cup Winners’ Cup Final, although he was suspended for the Final in which Arsenal beat Parma 1–0. He scored five goals in England’s qualification campaign for the 1994 World Cup, the first a key equaliser in a 1-1 draw in Poland and four in a 7-1 victory in San Marino, but the Three Lions failed to qualify for the tournament. Wright also made one start and three substitute appearances in Terry Venables’ first five games as England manager but thereafter never played under Venables again.

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Wright scored a total of 185 goals for Arsenal before moving to the Hammers in July 1998 at the age of 34 for £500,000 and scored the winner on his debut in a 1-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday on 15th August 1998. He followed that up with two goals on his home debut but the Irons threw away a 3-0 lead to lose 4-3 to Wimbledon. He scored the winner in a 1-0 home win over Southampton, a goal made famous for its celebration as Wright and Neil Ruddock parodied Paolo Di Canio’s push on referee Paul Alcock – Di Canio was to join them as a team-mate four months later! A brace followed in a 3-0 Hallowe’en win at Newcastle and Wright closed 1998 with a goal in a 2-0 home win over Coventry. Injury kept Wright on the sidelines for three months at the start of 1999 but he scored as a substitute in his second game back, a 5-1 triumph over Derby on 17th April, before scoring the opener a week later in a fine 2-1 win at Tottenham. Wright was sent off the following week in a 5-1 home defeat to Leeds and vandalised the referee’s room on his way to an early bath – the Hammers finished with eight men as Shaka Hislop and Steve Lomas were also dismissed by Rob Harris.

Wright also won his final two England caps while playing for West Ham, in a Euro 2000 qualifier in Luxembourg and a home friendly against the Czech Republic. He won 33 caps for England, scoring nine goals – only Mick Channon has played more times for England without being taken to a major tournament. Wright’s final appearance for the Hammers came as a substitute in the 1-0 InterToto Cup third round first leg win over Jokerit of Finland at Upton Park on 17th July 1999. He scored nine goals in 26 appearances for West Ham United – all nine of these goals can be viewed on the West Ham Till I Die social media pages.

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Wright went on to have a loan spell with Nottingham Forest before departing the Hammers permanently for Celtic. He moved to Stan Ternent’s Burnley, then in the third tier, on Valentine’s Day 2000, teaming up with old friend and fellow former Hammer Mitchell Thomas. Wright made his Clarets debut in a 0-0 draw with Wigan at Turf Moor on 19th February 2000 – the only time he had failed to score on his debut for a new club. His first goal for Burnley was an 88th-minute equaliser at Gillingham on 14th March 2000 and he followed that up with his first goal at Turf Moor four days later in a 3-0 win over Reading. Wright scored the 90th-minute winner in a 2-1 home victory against Notts County on 8th April and bagged his final goal for the club in a 3-2 win at Brentford on 24th April 2000. After scoring four goals in 15 appearances for Burnley, culminating in promotion to Division One, Wright took the decision to hang up his boots and bring the curtain down on an illustrious playing career – he was awarded an MBE in 2000.

Wright, who turned 56 last Sunday, has since been Director of Football at Ashford Town and first-team coach at MK Dons. He is now a regular pundit on Match of the Day and ITV’s coverage of England internationals.

Referee

Saturday’s referee is Kevin Friend, who also refereed the featured match at the top of this preview. The Leicester-based official has been involved in top-flight matches since 2009 and took charge of the Hammers in our historic 3-0 victory at Liverpool in August 2015. He sent off Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and West Ham’s Mark Noble in that match at Anfield, with the latter’s dismissal rescinded on appeal. Friend most recently refereed the Hammers in our 1-1 home draw with Liverpool in February and also took charge of our 1-0 defeat at Brighton in October 2018.

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Friend is also remembered for the soft penalty he gifted Hull in our 1-0 defeat at the KC Stadium in September 2013 when Joey O’Brien was adjudged to have shoved Robbie Brady. He compounded the error by later denying the Irons a clear penalty when Jake Livermore handled in the area. Don’t expect much from Friend in the way of handball decisions – he also denied the Hammers a penalty in a match at Everton when Aaron Cresswell’s cross was handled by Seamus Coleman.

Possible line-ups

Burnley are without Danny Drinkwater and Johann Berg Gudmundsson but Chris Wood is likely to be available. Burnley have recorded only two home victories against the Hammers in the last 40 years. The Clarets have won just two of their last ten games against West Ham in all competitions.

West Ham United are without Lukasz Fabianski, Winston Reid and Michail Antonio, while Jack Wilshere is a doubt. The Hammers have won 14, drawn four and lost just three of their last 21 matches against Burnley home and away in all competitions, stretching back to 1979.

Possible Burnley XI: Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Hendrick, Cork, Westwood; McNeil; Barnes, Wood.

Possible West Ham United XI: Roberto; Fredericks, Balbuena, Diop, Cresswell; Rice, Noble, Snodgrass; Lanzini, Anderson; Haller.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!