Dan Coker's Match Preview

Blast from the past

Back in 1985/86, West Ham United visited Leicester City on the 11th January 1986, beating the Foxes 1-0 at Filbert Street in front of 11,512. This away victory came on the day Countdown co-presenter Rachel Riley was born, the day after Lovejoy made its BBC debut and the day before Catchphrase first aired on ITV. Pet Shop Boys were number one with ‘West End Girls’ and National Lampoon’s European Vacation topped the UK box office.

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The only goal of the game came courtesy of 25-year-old Frank McAvennie (pictured above). Alan Dickens released Mark Ward down the right and his dinked cross was met by a looping McAvennie header which beat Ian Andrews in the Leicester goal. McAvennie would top the Hammers scoring charts with 28 goals from 51 matches in 1985/86. The goal can be viewed in my video below.

Liverpool clinched the 1985/86 championship while, in the final-game decider for the runners-up position, Everton beat the Hammers 3-1 at Goodison Park to leave the Irons in third place, still our highest ever League position. Unfortunately there was no prize of a European place in 1986/87 following the Heysel ban on English clubs in Europe. Liverpool would complete the Double by winning the FA Cup. Tony Cottee would be voted Hammer of the Year, with strike partner McAvennie runner-up.

Leicester City: Ian Andrews, John O’Neill, Russell Osman, Simon Morgan, Bobby Smith, Ali Mauchlen, Gary McAllister, Ian Banks, Andy Feeley, Steve Lynex, Mark Bright (Alan Smith).

West Ham United: Phil Parkes, Ray Stewart, Alvin Martin, Tony Gale, Steve Walford, Mark Ward, George Parris, Alan Dickens, Alan Devonshire, Frank McAvennie, Tony Cottee.

Club Connections

Players who have represented both the Hammers and the Foxes include:

Goalkeepers: George Hebden, Colin Mackleworth.

Defenders: Gary Charles, Chris Powell, Dickie Pudan, Rufus Brevett, Paul Konchesky, Dai Jones, Matthew Upson, Clive Clarke, Billy Oakes, Fred Milnes, John Paintsil.

Midfielders: Andy Impey, Shaun Newton, Nolberto Solano, Franz Carr, Sid Bishop.

Strikers: David Connolly, Albert Carnelly, Mike Newell, Brian Deane, Keith Robson, Paul Kitson, David Speedie, Bertie Lyon, Norman Proctor, Les Ferdinand, David Kelly, Tony Cottee, Jimmy Quinn.

Frank O’Farrell and Jimmy Bloomfield have played for the Hammers and managed the Foxes.

Today’s focus is on another who played for West Ham United and managed Leicester City. Martin Allen was born in Reading on the 14th August 1965 and started his professional career at QPR in 1984. Martin was born into the famous footballing Allen family – the son of Dennis Allen (who played for Reading, Charlton and Bournemouth), the nephew of Les and cousin of Paul, Bradley and Clive. He played in the 1986 League Cup Final during his time at Loftus Road before joining Lou Macari’s West Ham United in the summer of 1989 for a fee of £670,000. He scored on his Hammers debut in a 3-2 home win over Plymouth on 26th August 1989 and bagged another in his next appearance at Upton Park in a 1-1 draw against Swindon. Allen scored an impressive 11 goals in 48 appearances in his first season with the club and also picked up a red card in a League Cup quarter-final against Derby – it was Allen’s strike against Wimbledon that had booked the Hammers’ place in the last eight. He had gained a reputation as a midfielder with an eye for goal – his combative nature in the middle of the park also lived up to his nickname, ‘Mad Dog’.

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Billy Bonds had taken over from Lou Macari midway through the 1989/90 campaign – Allen’s goal at Middlesbrough had given Bonzo his first win as Hammer manager. 1990/91 would see Allen spend more time as a substitute than the previous season – he made 46 appearances but 12 of these were from the bench. He scored five goals in this promotion-winning campaign – four came in October 1990 with two in a League Cup second round second leg 2-2 draw at Stoke and another double in a 2-1 home win over Charlton. His final goal of the season was in the reverse match at Selhurst Park, Charlton’s temporary home, in a 1-1 draw.

The fateful First Division campaign of 1991/92 saw Allen spend a considerable amount of time on the sidelines with an Achilles injury – he scored two goals from 24 matches, both against Sunderland in a 3-2 FA Cup fifth round replay defeat at Upton Park on 26th February 1992. Allen was a key member of the 1992/93 promotion-winning side though, playing 44 matches as he teamed up with new signing Peter Butler in midfield – the pair provided a tough-tackling, no-nonsense approach which allowed wingers Kevin Keen and Mark Robson to create for free-scoring Trevor Morley and Clive Allen, Martin’s cousin who had joined from Chelsea towards the end of the previous campaign. ‘Mad Dog’ scored four goals – September strikes in a 2-1 home win over Watford and 3-1 triumph at Peterborough were followed by a goal in a 6-0 smashing of Sunderland at Upton Park and another in a 4-0 home victory over Brentford.

1993/94 saw ‘Mad Dog’ stamp his paws on the Premier League – he scored ten goals in 34 matches. Most of his game time in the early months of the season came from the bench and he only registered one goal before Christmas, in a 2-0 League Cup second round second leg win at Chesterfield. He won his place back in January 1994 and scored three goals in as many matches – against Watford in a 2-1 home win in the FA Cup third round, at Aston Villa in a 3-1 defeat and in a 3-3 home draw with Norwich – he kept his place in midfield for the rest of the season as the Hammers consolidated their top-flight status. A flurry of goals between March and May saw Allen bag six goals in nine matches, including a delightful lofted effort over future Hammer David James in a 2-1 home defeat to Liverpool and typical long-range efforts in a 2-1 home defeat to Blackburn and 2-0 win at Arsenal. Although Ken Monkou did score an own goal later in the 3-3 draw with Southampton on 7th May 1994, ‘Mad Dog’ holds the distinction of being the last West Ham player to score in front of the terraced North Bank having struck earlier in the second half of the game.

1994/95 saw Harry Redknapp take up the managerial reigns – Allen scored twice in 33 appearances that season, in a 2-1 win at Chelsea and 2-0 home win over Southampton, both in October 1994. Allen’s final goal in claret and blue came in a 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest on 26th August 1995. His last appearance for the club was four days later in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham at Upton Park. After the death of his father Dennis, who used to watch Martin from the West Stand at Upton Park, Allen decided it was too emotional to play at Upton Park and left the club for Portsmouth in August 1995. He had made 232 appearances for the club, scoring 35 goals. 33 of Mad Dog’s 35 goals can be seen in my video below.

After two years at Fratton Park, Allen moved to Southend where he ended his playing career in 1998. He began his managerial career as assistant to future Hammers boss Alan Pardew at his hometown club Reading and managed Barnet, Brentford and MK Dons before getting the Leicester job in May 2007. Due to a strained relationship with chairman Milan Mandaric, mainly revolving around player transfers, Allen was only in charge for four games before leaving the club on 29th August 2007. He won two, drew one and lost one of his matches with the Foxes.

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Now 54, Allen has since managed Cheltenham, Barnet (for four further spells), Notts County, Gillingham, Eastleigh and, most recently, Chesterfield.

Referee

The referee on Wednesday will be David Coote. The Nottingham-based official will take charge of a West Ham game for only the fifth time, with the Hammers yet to win a game he’s refereed. His only other Hammers appointments were for our 2-0 defeat at Burnley in December 2018, our 3-0 loss at Wolves last January, our 1-1 draw with Sheffield United in October and, most recently, our 2-1 home defeat to Leicester last month.

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Coote has refereed nine Premier League matches so far this season – he has issued 34 yellow cards, one red and awarded two penalties, one of which was saved by Lukasz Fabianski in the reverse fixture between the Irons and the Foxes.

Possible line-ups

Leicester City should have Wilfred Ndidi available but Daniel Amartey and Matty James will miss out. The Foxes have conceded 12 goals in their last six Premier League fixtures, one more than in their opening 17 matches.

For West Ham United, Lukasz Fabianski, Ryan Fredericks, Jack Wilshere, Andriy Yarmolenko, Michail Antonio and Felipe Anderson are definitely out. West Ham have won only twice in ten Premier League away meetings, drawing four and losing four. The Hammers have triumphed just three times in nine league games when going ahead, drawing three and losing three, and dropping 15 points across those matches.

Possible Leicester City XI: Schmeichel; Pereira, Soyuncu, Evans, Chilwell; Tielemans, Ndidi, Praet; Maddison; Vardy, Iheanacho.

Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Zabaleta, Rice, Noble, Masuaku; Snodgrass, Fornals; Haller.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!