Dan Coker's Match Preview

Blast from the past

“You’d better beware, you’d better take care, you’d better watch out, he ain’t got much hair!” – fans of early ‘70s glam rock will recognise (some of) those lyrics from The Sweet’s ‘Blockbuster’, which was number one on the 10th February 1973 when Norwich failed to heed the warning and the follicly-challenged Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson sealed maximum points for the visiting Hammers. Elsewhere, Last Tango In Paris was in UK cinemas and The Wombles had just made their television debut.

This 1-0 victory at Carrow Road in front of 32,597 was the last time West Ham United won in the league at the home of this weekend’s opponents, Norwich City. The game also saw a debut for midfielder Bertie Lutton who had arrived from Brighton a month earlier. Goalscorer Robson would go on to win the Hammer of the Year award at the end of the season and finish as the club’s (and the Football League’s) top goalscorer with 28 goals from 46 games.

Robson’s strike saw Ron Greenwood’s Hammers continue a march which saw them end up sixth in the First Division. Ron Saunders’ Canaries were to finish in 20th place in 1972/73, two points clear of relegation. Liverpool won the First Division title and Sunderland won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Bobby Ferguson, John McDowell, Tommy Taylor, Bobby Moore, Frank Lampard, Bertie Lutton, Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking, John Ayris, ‘Pop’ Robson, 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 used to ply his trade at Carrow Road, while Sam Byram welcomes the club he left last 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, 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, Keith Robson, 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.

Today’s focus though is on a player who represented both clubs in the very early years of the 20th century. Billy Linward was born in Hull on 8th February 1877 and first played for Grimsby All Saints, from where he moved to Doncaster in the Midland League for the start of the 1895/96 season. Just as Doncaster were elected into the Football League for the 1901/02 season, Linward moved to Southern League West Ham United, receiving a wage of £2.10s a week.

Linward, an outside-left who was no slouch on the field, made his debut for the Hammers on 7th September 1901 in a 2-0 win at Bristol Rovers. He is pictured here, looking the epitome of Edwardian elegance in his photograph for the 1902 club handbook. The 24-year-old Linward scored his first goal for West Ham in a 4-1 win over Luton at the Memorial Grounds on 12th October 1901. He scored twice in successive games the following month, in a 2-1 defeat at QPR on 9th November 1901 and in a 2-1 loss to Grays United in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup a week later. His last goal for the Irons came in a 2-1 home win over Swindon on 14th December 1901. No player appeared in more matches for the Hammers in 1901/02 than Linward. He played in all 30 Southern League First Division matches in 1901/02 as the Hammers finished fourth; the only game he missed in league or cup that season was an FA Cup third qualifying round win at Leyton.

Linward also played in all of the Hammers’ first eleven matches of the 1902/03 season, ten of them in the league. His final appearance for West Ham came on 13th December 1902 in a 2-0 defeat at Lincoln in the Intermediate Round of the FA Cup – later that month he was on the move to the Football League, joining Woolwich Arsenal of the Second Division. Linward had scored four goals in 42 matches for West Ham United.

Having won promotion to the top flight in 1903/04, Linward joined Norwich in the summer of 1905; the Citizens (as Norwich were then nicknamed) had just become a Southern League club. He made his debut on 2nd September 1905 in a 2-0 defeat at Plymouth, thus having the honour of appearing in Norwich’s first ever match as a professional side. He played again against Watford and Brighton before the month was out but these three appearances would be the sum of his Norwich contribution and, after failing to secure a first-team place, he left at the end of the season.

Linward later played for Scottish side Kilmarnock before returning to England to play for Maidstone. He ended his footballing career at Dartford. Billy Linward died in West Ham aged 62, on the 8th January 1940.

Referee

Saturday’s referee is Kevin Friend. 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. This season, Friend has refereed the Hammers in our 3-0 defeat at Burnley in November and, most recently, for our 2-0 loss at Manchester City in February.

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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

Norwich City will have to do without Sam Byram, Christoph Zimmermann, Grant Hanley and Moritz Leitner, while Todd Cantwell is a doubt. Norwich have won just one of their past 11 league matches, drawing one and losing nine, and are currently on a six-game losing streak – one defeat short of their longest such sequence in the Premier League. The Canaries, however, are unbeaten in their previous 17 home league games against the Hammers, winning nine and drawing eight, with their last defeat being in this preview’s featured match, a 1-0 loss in February 1973.

West Ham United are again without Robert Snodgrass and Felipe Anderson. The Irons are without an away clean sheet in the league since December’s 1-0 win at Southampton.

Possible Norwich City XI: Krul; Aarons, Godfrey, Klose, Lewis; Buendia, Trybull, McLean, Hernandez; Pukki, Drmic.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek, Fornals; Bowen, Haller, Antonio.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!