Dan Coker's Match Preview

Blast from the past

West Ham United have met Gillingham in the FA Cup on four previous occasions – all of these meetings came when the Gills went under their previous name of New Brompton, while two of the clashes were when the Hammers themselves were known as Thames Ironworks. The third of these meetings was in the fourth qualifying round at Priestfield in front of 1,200 on the 17th November 1900. Five days before the Hammers and the Gills fought out a 1-1 draw in this match, the Exposition Universelle of 1900 had closed – it was a world’s fair held in Paris from 14th April to 12th November 1900 to celebrate the achievements of the past century and to accelerate development into the next. The fair was visited by nearly 50m people and brought international attention to the Art Nouveau style as well as displaying many technological innovations including diesel engines, talking films and escalators. The Gare d’Orsay (now the Musée D’Orsay) was opened in time for the event.

The Hammers had beaten amateur side Olympic 1-0 at the Memorial Grounds in the third qualifying round to earn safe passage through to this fourth qualifying round tie at Priestfield. It was within the rules at the time for the club that was drawn away to tempt their opponents with a cash offer to reverse the venue. The West Ham directors tried hard to get New Brompton to come to the Memorial Grounds, and offered a substantial sum in addition to halving the gate money, but the offer was rejected.

The Hammers emerged from this encounter between two Southern League First Division sides with a draw courtesy of a goal from 19-year-old centre-forward Fred Corbett. They would win the replay 4-1 at the Memorial Grounds to march on to the fifth qualifying round, where they would beat Clapton Orient (now Leyton Orient) 3-2 in a replay after drawing 1-1 at home. The Hammers were knocked out in the intermediate round, losing 1-0 at home to First Division Liverpool 119 years ago tomorrow, on 5th January 1901. Tottenham would win the 1901 FA Cup, beating Sheffield United 3-1 in a replay at Bolton’s Burnden Park after a 2-2 draw in the Final at Crystal Palace.

West Ham United: Hughie Monteith, Wally Tranter, Syd King, Bob Allan, Charlie Craig, Roddy McEachrane, Fergie Hunt, James Reid, Fred Corbett, Bert Kaye, Freddie Fenton.

Aside from this fourth qualifying round draw in 1900, the remaining FA Cup record between the two clubs is as follows:
1899 – New Brompton 0-0 Thames Ironworks (Fourth Qualifying Round)
1899 – Thames Ironworks 2-0 New Brompton (Fourth Qualifying Round Replay)
1900 – West Ham 4-1 New Brompton (Fourth Qualifying Round Replay)

Club Connections

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

Goalkeepers – Stephen Bywater, Fred Griffiths, Peter Chiswick, Steve Mautone, Charlie Ambler, Peter Shearing, Jack Rutherford, Darren Randolph, Tony Parks, Steve Banks.

Defenders – Paul Konchesky, Vic Niblett, Ernie Watts, Gary Breen, Steve Walford, Kenny Brown, George Wright.

Midfielders – Matt Jarvis, Steve Lomas, Tommy Caldwell, Joe Durrell, Patrick Leonard, Adam Nowland, Manny Omoyinmi, Derek Woodley.

Strikers – Terry Matthews, Derek Hales, Frank Nouble, James Reid, Charlie Satterthwaite, John Arnott, Andy Smillie, Billy Lansdowne, Frank Cannon.

Syd King played for New Brompton, Thames Ironworks and West Ham United, and also managed West Ham United. Martin Allen and Andy Nelson played for West Ham and managed Gillingham. Glenn Roeder played for the Gills and managed both clubs.

Today’s focus though is on the centre-forward who scored West Ham United’s goal in this preview’s featured match. Fred Corbett was born in West Ham on 1st January 1881 and was a product of the Old St Luke’s youth team – he became the club’s first ever black player when he made his debut for Thames Ironworks, where he was employed as a labourer, in a 1-0 defeat at Reading on 16th September 1899. Two further appearances followed in the 1899/1900 season.

Corbett was, however, to be a leading light in the Irons’ first season under their new title of West Ham United and scored his first goal for the club in a 1-0 win at Swindon on 6th October 1900; he followed that up with his first goal at the Memorial Grounds in a 2-0 win over Watford the following week. His third goal for the club came in this preview’s featured match in the FA Cup at New Brompton, and he also scored in the 4-1 replay win. He bagged a brace against Swindon in a 3-1 home win on 19th January 1901 and scored three more times in the 1900/01 campaign, all at home – in a 2-0 win over Luton on 9th February, a 2-0 triumph over Bristol Rovers on 16th March and a 1-0 victory against Millwall the following week.

Described as “strong and determined”, Corbett opened the 1901/02 season with a goal in a 2-0 win at Bristol Rovers on 7th September 1901 but his best display in a Hammers shirt came in a rearranged game against Wellingborough Town on 30th September 1901 after the first fixture was abandoned because of poor light due to the late arrival of the Northamptonshire club – West Ham won 4-2, with Corbett scoring a hat-trick. His final goals for the club came in a 4-1 home win over Luton on 12th October 1901, in which he scored twice. His last match for the Irons was a 4-0 defeat at Southampton on 7th December 1901. Having been a vital source of goals during his season-and-a-half in the Hammers’ first team, scoring 15 goals in 38 appearances for the club, Corbett moved to Bristol Rovers that winter.

After successful stints with Bristol Rovers (who Corbett enjoyed three spells with), Bristol City and Brentford, the 30-year-old Corbett signed for New Brompton in 1911. He had, by now, married his wife Kate and had two children, Winifred and Irene. He scored six goals in 22 games for the club before they changed their name to Gillingham in 1912. Fred Corbett died on 15th April 1924 in Brentford, aged 43.


Sunday’s referee will be 36-year-old West Yorkshire-based Andrew Madley, who will take on his first ever Hammers appointment. Madley, the older brother of former referee Bobby Madley, has refereed 14 matches so far in 2019/20 – six in the Premier League, six in the Championship, one in League One and one in the League Cup. He has dished out 46 yellow cards and six reds in those 14 games, as well as awarding five penalties.

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VAR will not be in use for Sunday’s match.

Possible line-ups

Gillingham boss Steve Evans is hopeful that he can name the same starting XI for the fifth consecutive match, although Mark Marshall and Alex Jakubiak are pushing for starts (the latter is on loan from Watford). The Gills are on an eight-game unbeaten run at Priestfield in all competitions, winning seven of those eight games.

West Ham Academy product Olly Lee, son of former Hammer Rob and brother of Elliot, is on loan at the Gills from Hearts – he never made a competitive appearance for the Irons but, now aged 28, is likely to play at the tip of a midfield diamond for the Gills. 26-year-old goalkeeper Jack Bonham joined the Gills from Brentford in the summer. 35-year-old right-back Barry Fuller is now in his second spell at the club. 20-year-old centre-back Jack Tucker has recently signed a new contract with the Gills following interest from Championship clubs; he is likely to partner club captain Max Ehmer, 27, in the centre of defence. 23-year-old Connor Ogilvie, who joined the club permanently in the summer following two loan spells from Tottenham, is likely to play at left-back. 22-year-old Alfie Jones, on loan from Southampton, could anchor the midfield; 20-year-old Ireland Under-21 international Thomas O’Connor, also on loan from the Saints, should also start in midfield along with 28-year-old Stuart O’Keefe, formerly of Crystal Palace and Cardiff. The Gills are likely to play two up front, with Brandon Hanlan and Mikael Mandron leading the line of late – Hanlan is a 22-year-old product of Charlton’s youth system, while Mandron is a 25-year-old French striker who is a product of the Clairefontaine Academy which produced Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka. Amongst other clubs, the 6’3 Mandron has also represented Sunderland, Wigan and Colchester.

West Ham United are likely to have David Martin, Jack Wilshere, Michail Antonio and Andriy Yarmolenko on the injury list. Lukasz Fabianski, Angelo Ogbonna, Aaron Cresswell and Mark Noble all sat out training on Friday.

Possible Gillingham XI: Bonham; Fuller, Tucker, Ehmer, Ogilvie; Jones; O’Connor, O’Keefe; Lee; Hanlan, Mandron.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Fornals, Rice, Sanchez, Lanzini; Ajeti, Haller.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!