Dan Coker's Match Preview

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Blast from the past

Today’s focus sees us travel back nearly 84 years, to Boxing Day 1936 – George VI had become King 15 days earlier after the abdication of Edward VIII, and Tommy Steele (knighted in the Queen’s recent Birthday Honours) was born nine days before a game which saw West Ham United secure a 3-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in front of 34,196 in a Cockney Christmas cracker at White Hart Lane.

The Hammers had raised the curtain on the 1936/37 Second Division season with maximum points from the reverse fixture against Spurs at Upton Park and completed the double over their north London rivals in this Boxing Day encounter. Walter Alsford was making his last appearance for Tottenham before a move to fellow Second Division side Nottingham Forest the following month but it was the Hammers’ Edinburgh-born centre-forward, 32-year-old Peter Simpson (pictured), who stole the show, bagging a brace to secure the victory. Outside-right Stan Foxall was also on the scoresheet for the Irons, while Tottenham’s goals came courtesy of Romford-born outside-left Les Miller and Geordie inside-right Joe Meek.

Simpson’s double was his only two-goal haul for the club – he had joined West Ham for a modest fee from Crystal Palace having netted 165 goals in 195 games for the Selhurst Park club between 1929 and 1935. Simpson had made his Hammers debut in a 4-3 defeat at Norwich on 31st August 1935 and scored 12 goals in 36 appearances for the Irons, playing his last game on 26th March 1937 in a goalless home draw with Barnsley. He moved on to Reading and later played for Aldershot. He ran a tobacconist’s in Croydon after retiring from the game. Peter Simpson died in March 1974, in Croydon, at the age of 69.

Charlie Paynter’s Hammers would end the 1936/37 Second Division season in sixth position, while Tottenham would finish tenth. Leicester topped the Second Division, Manchester City won the First Division title and Sunderland won the FA Cup. Len Goulden would go on to top the Hammers’ scoring charts that season, with 15 goals from 44 matches.

Tottenham Hotspur: Jack Hall, Ralph Ward, Vic Buckingham, Walter Alsford, Arthur Rowe, Frank Grice, Jimmy McCormick, Joe Meek, Johnny Morrison, Andy Duncan, Les Miller.

West Ham United: Jack Weare, Charlie Bicknell, Charlie Walker, Ted Fenton, Dick Walker, Joe Cockroft, Stan Foxall, Tommy Green, Peter Simpson, Len Goulden, Jackie Morton.

Club Connections

Ryan Fredericks returns to his former club while ex-West Ham goalkeeper Joe Hart welcomes his old side; a large group of players join them in having turned out for Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United. Divided here by position, they include:

Goalkeepers: Bill Kaine, Charlie Ambler, Fred Griffiths.

Defenders: Calum Davenport, Paul Konchesky, Mark Bowen, Mauricio Tarrico, Steve Walford, Chris Hughton, Percy Mapley, Fred Milnes, Mitchell Thomas, Neil Ruddock.

Midfielders: Paul Allen, Scott Parker, Michael Carrick, Jimmy Neighbour, Matthew Etherington, Ilie Dumitrescu, John Moncur, Mark Robson, David Bentley, Charlie Whitchurch, Chris Carrick, Martin Peters, John Smith.

Strikers: Mido, Frederic Kanoute, Almer Hall, Bobby Zamora, Peter Kyle, Sergei Rebrov, Kenny McKay, George Foreman, Dave Dunmore, Teddy Sheringham, Les Bennett, Jermain Defoe, Bill Joyce, Robbie Keane, Fred Massey, Jimmy Reid, Clive Allen, Les Ferdinand, Jimmy Greaves, Harry Bradshaw.

Jack Tresadern played for West Ham and managed Tottenham, while Trevor Hartley also played for the Hammers and managed Spurs on a caretaker basis. Alan Pardew played for Tottenham and managed the Hammers, while Harry Redknapp played for the Hammers and managed both clubs.

Today’s focus though is on a goalkeeper who spent one season with West Ham having started his career with Tottenham. Tony Parks was born in Hackney on 26th January 1963 and came through the ranks at Spurs, playing regularly for the youth and reserve sides. He made his first team debut for Tottenham at the age of 19 in a 2-2 draw with West Ham at Upton Park on 10th May 1982 but a regular spot in the starting XI proved elusive due to the presence of Ray Clemence. A brave, athletic goalkeeper, he made 49 appearances for Tottenham, with perhaps the most memorable coming in a UEFA Cup run in 1983/84.

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After Clemence had suffered an injury in an FA Cup tie at Fulham in January 1984, Parks took over first team goalkeeping duties for a few weeks. Clemence made an initial return before severing a tendon in his finger during training – Parks consequently played in both legs of the UEFA Cup semi-final against Hajduk Split, helping Tottenham to a two-legged Final against Anderlecht. Clemence was fit for both legs of the Final but manager Keith Burkinshaw kept faith with the 21-year-old Parks – both legs ended in 1-1 draws with the winners of the competition decided on penalties. Parks saved from Morten Olsen and Arnor Gudjohnsen (father of former Chelsea and Tottenham forward Eidur Gudjohnsen) to win the UEFA Cup for Spurs.

Following the signing of Bobby Mimms, Parks had loan spells at Oxford in 1986 and Gillingham in 1987 before signing permanently for Third Division Brentford, managed by former Tottenham man Steve Perryman, in 1988. He joined fellow third tier side Fulham in 1990 before making a return to the top flight with Billy Bonds’ newly-promoted West Ham United in 1991, replacing Allen McKnight as Ludek Miklosko’s understudy. Parks admitted that he had let his early success at Tottenham go to his head a little and appreciated being offered a fresh start back in the First Division with the Hammers.

The 28-year-old Parks made his West Ham debut in a 2-0 home defeat to Notts County on 31st August 1991; he again deputised for ‘Ludo’ four days later in a midweek goalless draw at QPR, making a string of fine saves to keep a clean sheet and help the Hammers claim a point at Loftus Road. He had to wait nearly five months for his next appearance, again keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory over Oldham at Upton Park on 1st February 1992.

Chirpy Cockney Parks would play all six of the Hammers’ matches in February 1992, three of which were in the FA Cup. The 5’10 custodian, a big favourite with the fans, kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 fourth round replay win at Wrexham before helping the Hammers secure a fifth round replay with a 1-1 draw at Sunderland’s Roker Park. John Byrne’s double put the Second Division Wearsiders in control of the replay at the Boleyn Ground (Parks is pictured on the programme cover for that match) before two wonder strikes from Martin Allen put the Irons back on terms. David Rush grabbed the winner as Sunderland progressed all the way to the Final that year. Parks also kept goal in a 2-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough, which was sandwiched in between the two Sunderland ties. He rounded off the month by starting in a 2-0 home defeat to Everton on 29th February, and played his last match for the club in a 1-0 defeat to Southampton at The Dell on 3rd March 1992. The Hammers would be relegated in bottom place at the end of the 1991/92 First Division season.

Having made nine appearances for West Ham United, keeping three clean sheets, Parks left the Hammers in the summer of 1992. Disappointed to be offered only a new one-year contract by the club, he signed for third tier Stoke. He had never let the Hammers down and is remembered for screaming instructions to his back line. He moved to Falkirk later that year and made over 100 appearances for the Scottish side during a four-year spell, winning the Scottish Challenge Cup in the 1993/94 season – he played alongside former Hammers team-mate Frank McAvennie and another former West Ham player, Tommy McQueen. A spell at Blackpool in 1996/97 yielded no first team appearances before he joined Burnley; a loan spell at fourth tier Doncaster in 1997/98 preceded his only appearances for the Clarets, in two League Cup ties in 1998/99. A short stint at non-league Barrow was followed by a return to league football with Scarborough. He ended his career with fourth tier Halifax, playing his final professional match in the 2000/01 season. Parks also had two spells as caretaker manager at Halifax, in 2000 and 2001, before leaving the club in 2002.

Parks went on to work as a goalkeeping coach, holding roles at several clubs and also working under Clemence with the England youth teams for the FA. He returned to Tottenham under Harry Redknapp in November 2008 and has also been goalkeeping coach at Aston Villa. Now 57, he was Head of Academy Goalkeeping at Watford but left the club in September 2018 to set up Tony Parks Goalkeeping, offering private coaching and Coach Education.


Sunday’s referee is 39-year-old Paul Tierney. The Lancashire-based official has refereed the Hammers on eight previous occasions. His most recent Irons appointment was our 1-1 draw at Manchester United in July, a match in which he awarded the Hammers a penalty which was converted by Michail Antonio. He also refereed our 2-0 home win against Norwich in August 2019 and our 2-0 defeat at Everton last October. Tierney was also in charge for our 2-0 defeat to Everton in east London in March 2019 and also refereed our 3-0 win at Newcastle in December 2018.

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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 (pictured above). 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

Gareth Bale is set to make his second debut for the hosts but Japhet Tanganga and Giovani Lo Celso are out. Eric Dier is a doubt. Tottenham could win three consecutive Premier League games against West Ham for the first time since a run of five between March 2008 and December 2009. Spurs have scored 13 goals in their past two matches in all competitions.

West Ham United are likely to have a fully fit squad, with Ryan Fredericks, Issa Diop and Arthur Masuaku all set to be available. Said Benrahma’s signing was not completed in time for him to feature on Sunday. Michail Antonio has scored four goals in his seven Premier League appearances against Tottenham. The Hammers have won only twice in their last 18 Premier League games away to Tottenham, drawing six and losing ten.

Possible Tottenham Hotspur XI: Lloris; Aurier, Dier, Sanchez, Reguilon; Sissoko, Hojbjerg, Ndombele; Bale, Kane, Son.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Coufal, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku; Bowen, Soucek, Rice, Fornals; Antonio.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!