Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Sheff Utd v West Ham

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Sheffield United on Sunday is open HERE. Entries can be submitted until 12 noon on Sunday.

Blast from the past

7th March 1931: Oswald Mosley had set up his New Party (later to become the British Union of Fascists) six days previously, and Mikhail Gorbachev, Rupert Murdoch, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Norman Tebbit were all born during the course of the month. Meanwhile, West Ham United took on Sheffield United at Bramall Lane in front of 13,315.

Syd King’s Hammers went into the game on the back of five successive defeats, conceding 15 goals in those reverses. Third in the top flight shortly before Christmas 1930, West Ham had dropped to mid-table by the time of this game in early March 1931, a similar position to that occupied by their Yorkshire hosts. The Irons came away with maximum points though, claiming a 2-1 victory courtesy of goals from their two wingers, outside-right Tommy Yews (pictured below) and outside-left Jimmy Ruffell.

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The Hammers would slump to an eventual 18th-place finish in 1930/31, only five points clear of relegation. Sheffield United ended up in 15th place – Manchester United were relegated in bottom position. Arsenal won the league title and West Brom won the FA Cup. Viv Gibbins was the Irons’ top goalscorer, notching 19 goals in 22 appearances.

West Ham United: Bob Dixon, Alfred Earl, Reg Wade, Jimmy Collins, Jim Barrett, Joe Musgrave, Tommy Yews, Stan Earle, Vic Watson, Wilf James, Jimmy Ruffell.

Club Connections

West Ham United and Sheffield United have shared a number of personnel over the years. A run-through of those who have represented both clubs includes:

Goalkeepers: Ted Hufton, Tom McAlister, Bill Biggar, Richard Wright and Mervyn Day.

Defenders: Jon Harley, Matthew Kilgallon, David Unsworth, Jimmy Holmes, Wayne Quinn, Simon Webster and Fred Milnes.

Midfielders: Don Hutchison, Kyel Reid, George Ratcliffe, Joe Cockroft, Franz Carr, Herbert Winterhalder, Ravel Morrison, Lou Raisbeck, and Jim Simmons.

Strikers: Billy Barnes, Henri Camara, David Kelly, Brian Deane, Peter Kyle and Dick Leafe.

Martin Peters played for West Ham and Sheffield United; he also managed the Blades.

This week’s focus though is on a player who represented Sheffield United and later played for Thames Ironworks. Kenny McKay was born in Wishaw, Lanarkshire in 1876 – he started his footballing career with Hamilton Academical before moving south of the border to sign for Sheffield United. McKay was a member of the Blades side which won the 1897/98 First Division title; this was to be his one and only season at the club. McKay moved to Tottenham in a surprise transfer and scored on his debut against Thames Ironworks on 3rd September 1898.

McKay (pictured) signed for Thames Ironworks in their final season before reforming as West Ham United. Francis Payne, the club secretary, had been given the task of finding players for the club’s first season in the top division of the Southern League; according to one report Arnold Hills gave Payne £1,000 to find the best players available. With this money he brought McKay, Tom Bradshaw and Bill Joyce from Tottenham. McKay made his Irons debut in a 1-0 Southern League defeat at Reading on 16th September 1899 and scored his first goals for the club two days later, bagging a brace on his home debut in a 4-0 win over Chatham at the Memorial Grounds. An inside-right, McKay enjoyed a particularly impressive run of five goals in seven FA Cup games – one in a 6-0 thrashing of Royal Engineers, another in a 4-0 win at Grays, two in a 7-0 win at Dartford on 28th October and another in a 2-0 home win over New Brompton as the Irons won through to the competition’s fifth qualifying round. McKay also scored in a 3-1 Southern League defeat at Southampton on 16th December 1899 before tragedy struck the club – the aforementioned Bradshaw, McKay’s Irons team-mate and former Tottenham colleague, died of consumption on Christmas Day 1899.

McKay scored in a 2-1 home defeat to QPR five days after Christmas and was also on the scoresheet twice in successive games in mid-January as the Irons ushered in the 20th century, in a 1-1 draw at Bristol Rovers and 3-0 win at Sheppey United. McKay scored his last goal at the Memorial Grounds in a 4-2 home win over Sheppey, with his final goal for the club coming in his next match away at Millwall, the winning goal in a 1-0 triumph. Thames Ironworks finished in 14th place and would be required to play a Test Match against Fulham to maintain their senior divisional standing; ironically, the game would be played at White Hart Lane, McKay’s former stomping ground, and it would be his last appearance for the Hammers. The Irons recorded a 5-1 victory on 30th April 1900 to preserve the club’s Southern League First Division status. Just over a month later, the club was reformed as West Ham United.

After scoring 13 goals in 36 appearances, McKay returned to Scotland, playing a single season with Wishaw United. He moved to Fulham in 1901, helping the Cottagers to win the Second Division of the Southern League in 1902 and 1903. His date of death is unknown.

Referee

The referee on Sunday will be Martin Atkinson. 2020/21 is Atkinson’s 16th as a Premier League referee. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Atkinson has refereed 28 of our league matches, officiating in 14 wins for the Hammers, three draws and 11 defeats.

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Atkinson’s Hammers appointments last season were our 1-0 win at Southampton in December, our 1-0 defeat at Arsenal in March, our 3-2 home win over Chelsea in July and our 3-1 win over Watford later that month. His most recent match in charge of the Hammers was our 4-0 home win over Wolves in September.

Possible line-ups

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has doubts over John Egan, Enda Stevens, Sander Berge, Lys Mousset and Rhian Brewster but Ethan Ampadu and John Fleck are available. Jack O’Connell is a long-term absentee. Right wing-back George Baldock is the younger brother of former Hammers striker Sam Baldock. Sheffield United have been victorious in all of their previous Premier League home games against West Ham – 3-2 in March 1994, 3-0 in April 2007 and 1-0 in January 2020. The Blades have gone 11 league matches without a clean sheet though, conceding 20 goals.

For West Ham United, Angelo Ogbonna is expected to be fit but Michail Antonio remains a doubt. Antonio has scored eight goals in his past six Premier League away appearances. Mark Noble is available but Andriy Yarmolenko is out. Noble is just one Premier League goal away from equalling Paolo Di Canio’s record of 47 for the club. West Ham haven’t won a top-flight match at Bramall Lane since April 1968.

Possible Sheffield United XI: Ramsdale; Basham, Ampadu, Stevens; Baldock, Norwood, Berge, Lundstram, Lowe; McGoldrick, McBurnie.

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

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Crossed Hammers & Three Lions: Matthew Upson

Welcome to the latest in a series of articles designed for international matches – a look back at former Hammers players who wore the Three Lions of England.

Today, as England prepare to face Iceland in the League A Group 2 Nations League match at Wembley, we look back at a West Ham United and England centre-back. Matthew Upson was born in Suffolk on 18th April 1979. Originally at Ipswich’s School of Excellence, Upson joined Luton as a trainee after Ipswich youth coach, and former West Ham United Academy Director, Terry Westley moved to the Hatters. Upson joined Arsenal in 1997 after just one league appearance for Luton. After a year out with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, the centre-half spent a short loan spell with Nottingham Forest.

Upson moved to Alan Smith’s Crystal Palace on loan in the spring of 2001 but spent the 2001/02 season back at Highbury, making 14 Premier League appearances which earnt him a title winners’ medal at the end of the campaign. He broke his leg in February 2002 and joined Reading on loan in September 2002 to aid his recovery and return to action. He signed permanently for David Sullivan and David Gold’s Birmingham in January 2003 and spent four years with the Blues, winning seven England caps during his time at St Andrew’s – he made his Three Lions debut in a 2-1 win over South Africa in Durban on 22nd May 2003.

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The 27-year-old Upson signed for Alan Curbishley’s West Ham United in January 2007 for an initial fee of £6m, rising to £7.5m depending on appearances. Birmingham boss Steve Bruce later claimed that he was forced to sell Upson by Karren Brady, Birmingham’s managing director at the time. Upson made his debut for the relegation-threatened Hammers at Aston Villa on 3rd February 2007, but had to be withdrawn with a calf injury 30 minutes into the 1-0 defeat. He lasted just 11 minutes of his comeback match a month later against Tottenham before again succumbing to injury in a match the Irons would eventually lose 4-3.

West Ham eventually pulled off the Great Escape without Upson but he was to have a much bigger impact throughout the rest of his career in claret and blue. He made 33 appearances in a 2007/08 season which saw West Ham finish tenth in Curbishley’s only full campaign in charge – his first goal for the Hammers was the winner in a 2-1 triumph over Manchester United at Upton Park on 29th December 2007. Upson also made a return to the England side under Fabio Capello in a 2-1 win over Switzerland in February 2008, becoming the first Hammers centre-half to wear the Three Lions since Rio Ferdinand eight years earlier.

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In July 2008, Upson’s squad number of 6 was retired by the club in memory of Bobby Moore, after which he took the number 15 shirt. Gianfranco Zola took over early on in a 2008/09 campaign which saw Upson make 41 appearances in all competitions as the Irons finished ninth – he also won a further seven England caps, becoming a mainstay of Capello’s defence and making five starts. He was named Man of the Match and scored his first goal for his country in a 2-1 win in Germany in November 2008 – this goal can be viewed at the 0:47 mark of the video below. Upson was linked with a £10m move to Manchester City and Tottenham in the January window of 2009, but Zola and the board opted to cash in on Craig Bellamy instead.

The 2009/10 season began with Upson being appointed captain after the departure of Lucas Neill. Upson scored in the season’s opening match, a 2-0 win at Wolves, but bigger clubs had again been sniffing around, with a £15m bid from Liverpool reportedly rejected, while interest from Fiorentina, Arsenal and Aston Villa was also rebuffed. The club opted to sell James Collins instead. Upson made 35 appearances during the campaign, scoring a further two goals – in a 2-1 defeat at Stoke on 17th October 2009 and in a 1-1 draw at Avram Grant’s Portsmouth on 26th January 2010, which was to prove to be his final goal for the Hammers. The cash-strapped Irons avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth but Upson had still impressed sufficiently to travel to South Africa as part of England’s 2010 World Cup squad – he would end the tournament as the Three Lions’ joint-top goalscorer, thanks to his header in the 4-1 second round defeat to Germany. It was to be Upson’s second goal in his 21st and final cap for his country. His goal in this game can be viewed at the 1:33 point of the video below.

The 2010/11 season would be an unmitigated disaster for West Ham United. Grant joined the club as manager from Portsmouth, the first appointment by Upson’s former Birmingham employers Sullivan and Gold. He made 35 appearances as the Hammers were relegated in bottom position – his final match in claret and blue came in a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City on 1st May 2011. The 32-year-old Upson left the club on a free transfer later that summer, opting to remain in the Premier League with Stoke. Upson had made 145 appearances for West Ham United, scoring four goals – each of these four goals can be viewed in my video below.

After a year and a half with Stoke, Upson dropped down to the Championship to sign for Brighton, initially on loan before making the move permanent in the summer of 2013. He returned to the top flight with Leicester a year later before signing for Championship side MK Dons in the summer of 2015. He retired from playing in 2016. Now 41, Upson is currently working as a pundit for the BBC – he has a son, Elijah, with his wife Ellie, a British runner.

England v Iceland

England face Iceland this evening in League A Group 2 of the 2020/21 Nations League – it will be the fifth meeting between the two nations. The most famous meeting between the pair came in the second round of Euro 2016 and resulted in a 2-1 win for the Icelandics in front of 33,901 in Nice on 27th June 2016. Drake featuring Wizkid and Kyla was number one with ‘One Dance’, The Secret Life of Pets topped the UK box office while, three days earlier, the UK voted to leave the European Union in the Brexit referendum – Prime Minister David Cameron resigned as Conservative Party Leader the following day.

Future West Ham players Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere were both involved on a night of ignominy for England. The Three Lions took the lead after just four minutes through a Wayne Rooney penalty but Iceland equalised just two minutes later when Ragnar Sigurdsson bundled home from close range following a long throw. Kolbeinn Sigthorsson scored the game’s winning goal in the 18th minute when his shot slipped through Hart’s hand.

Manager Roy Hodgson resigned in the aftermath of the match. Iceland would bow out to Dimitri Payet’s France in the quarter-finals, the West Ham talisman scoring one and creating another in a 5-2 rout in Paris.

England: Joe Hart (Man City), Kyle Walker (Tottenham), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Chris Smalling (Man Utd), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Dele Alli (Tottenham), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Wayne Rooney (captain, Man Utd), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Raheem Sterling (Man City).

Subs: Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) for Dier; Jamie Vardy (Leicester) for Sterling; Marcus Rashford (Man Utd) for Rooney.

Iceland: Hannes Halldorsson (Bodo/Glimt), Birkir Saevarsson (Hammarby), Kari Arnason (Malmo), Ragnar Sigurdsson (Krasnodar), Ari Skulason (OB), Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Charlton), Aron Gunnarsson (captain, Cardiff), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea), Birkir Bjarnason (Basel), Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (Kaiserslautern), Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (Nantes).

Subs: Elmar Bjarnason (AGF) for Sigthorsson; Arnor Ingvi Traustason (IFK Norrkoping) for Bodvarsson.

The previous articles in the series are:

Vic Watson
Jack Tresadern
Billy Moore
Ted Hufton
Jim Barrett
Jackie Morton
Ken Brown
Bobby Moore
Johnny ‘Budgie’ Byrne
Sir Geoff Hurst
Martin Peters
Frank Lampard Senior
Sir Trevor Brooking
Alan Devonshire
Alvin Martin
Paul Goddard
Rio Ferdinand
Stuart Pearce
Frank Lampard Junior
Joe Cole
David James
Kieron Dyer
Robert Green
Scott Parker
Stewart Downing
Joe Hart


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Crossed Hammers & Three Lions: Ted Hufton

Welcome to the latest in a series of articles designed for international matches – a look back at former Hammers players who wore the Three Lions of England.

Today, as England prepare to face Belgium in the League A Group 2 Nations League match in Leuven, we look back at West Ham United’s first ever England goalkeeper – Arthur Edward (Ted) Hufton. Ted was born in Southwell, Nottinghamshire on 25th November 1892 – he was the eldest of seven siblings (one of whom tragically died in childhood), and his father was a clerk. The family moved to Sheffield and Ted became a moulder’s apprentice. He began his junior career playing for local works side Atlas and Norfolk in Sheffield and joined Sheffield United in August 1912. He soon seized the first-team spot but his meteoric rise was followed by a temporary decline as a broken nose suffered in a practice match led to Harry Gough going on to play for the Blades in the 1915 FA Cup Final and later gaining England recognition. Ted joined the Coldstream Guards during the First World War and suffered shrapnel wounds whilst in action in France.

Having made 54 guest appearances for the club during World War One, Ted signed permanently for West Ham United in March 1919 for £350 and made his Football League debut for Syd King’s Second Division Hammers at the age of 26 in a 1-1 draw with Lincoln in front of 20,000 at Upton Park on 30th August 1919. Joe Hughes, West Ham’s regular goalkeeper before Hufton’s arrival, asked King if he could be placed on the transfer list – when King enquired as to why, Hughes allegedly pointed to Hufton and stated, “He’s my governor – let me go. He’s a better goalie than I’ll ever be”. Hughes joined Bolton soon after.

Standing at 5’10 tall and weighing in at 12st, Hufton made 42 appearances as West Ham finished seventh in their first season after being elected to the Football League, and 39 appearances followed in the next campaign as the club progressed to fifth. Hufton saved 11 of 18 penalties he faced during his first two seasons at West Ham, earning him the nickname of ‘Penalty King’. The 1920/21 season also saw Hufton receive the notable record of not conceding more than two goals in any league match he played, the best record in the country that year. The club’s upward trajectory continued with a fourth-place finish as Hufton made 36 appearances in 1921/22. Ted married Evelyn Grayson in September 1922.

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The 1922/23 campaign was a stellar one for West Ham United; Hufton made 48 appearances as the club secured promotion to the First Division and went all the way to the FA Cup Final, the first to be staged at Wembley. The Hammers would lose 2-0 to Bolton in the ‘White Horse Final’ but Hufton’s 20 clean sheets during the season had brought him to the attention of the England selectors. The 30-year-old Hufton made his England debut in a 2-2 draw with Belgium in Antwerp, alongside West Ham team-mate Bill Brown who was on the scoresheet that day. Ted would have to wait nearly four years for his next cap; he played 15 games to help the Hammers to a 13th-placed finish in their first season in the top flight of English football in 1923/24. Ted and Evelyn had a baby daughter in 1924.

Only eight appearances followed in 1924/25 as the Irons again finished 13th in the First Division. The Hammers finished 18th in 1925/26, with Hufton making 39 appearances; the following campaign would see the club rise to a sixth-placed finish, with Hufton playing 43 matches. 1927/28 saw the Irons drop again, down to 17th, and the club finished in the same position the year after.

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It was in the 1927/28 campaign that Hufton won his next two England caps – the first came in a 2-0 defeat to Ireland at Windsor Park on 22nd October 1927, a game which saw Hufton break a bone in his right forearm after 20 minutes. He battled on until half-time when he was replaced by inside-left Jack Ball between the posts. Hufton was also in goal for England’s 5-1 defeat to Scotland at Wembley on 31st March 1928. His final three England caps were all won in May 1929, by which time Hufton was 36 – a 4-1 win over France in Paris on 9th May 1929; a 5-1 win over Belgium in Brussels two days later (details in today’s featured match below); and a 4-3 defeat to Spain in Madrid on 15th May 1929. He had won six England caps, conceding 14 goals.

Hufton made 34 appearances in 1929/30 as West Ham finished seventh but the rise again proved temporary as they fell to 18th the next season. West Ham’s regular flirtations with the lower reaches of the First Division came to a head in 1931/32 when the club were relegated in bottom position, with Hufton making 22 appearances. Hufton’s final league match in a West Ham shirt was as a 39-year-old in a 3-2 defeat at Chelsea on 7th May 1932.

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Ted Hufton had made 456 appearances for West Ham United, including wartime matches – he is one of the club’s all-time greatest goalkeepers alongside the likes of Ernie Gregory, Phil Parkes, Ludek Miklosko and Robert Green. The Hammers had to wait until 2001 to have another goalkeeper play for England, that custodian being David James – Green and Joe Hart have since joined Hufton and James as goalkeepers who have represented England whilst at West Ham.

Hufton was granted a free transfer and joined Watford for a brief spell. After retiring from playing, he went into the motor trade as a rep while living in Manor Park. Hufton returned to Upton Park after World War Two to take up the position of press-room steward on matchdays. Ted Fenton said of Hufton, “Ted Hufton, the goalkeeper, was another of my heroes, and he was always in the Press Room after a match at Upton Park, dispensing yarns and memories with the utmost amiability”. Ted’s later life was beset by ill health and he was knocked down by a scooter in 1963, and by a car a few months later. He moved to Swansea and his eyesight began to fail. Ted Hufton passed away in Swansea on 2nd February 1967 at the age of 74.

Belgium v England

England face Belgium this evening in League A Group 2 of the 2020/21 Nations League – it will be the 25th meeting between the two nations. A previous meeting between the pair in Brussels resulted in a 5-1 win for the Three Lions in front of 35,000 at Parc Duden Stadion on 11th May 1929. Audrey Hepburn had been born a week earlier.

West Ham’s Ted Hufton was winning his fifth England cap in this match. England were 3-0 up by half-time courtesy of a hat-trick for Middlesbrough centre-forward George Camsell, the third of which was a penalty. His first came after 32 minutes, the second two minutes later, and the hat-trick was completed eight minutes before the interval. Camsell got his, and England’s, fourth on the hour before he turned creator, setting up West Brom inside-left Joe Carter for a goal in the 64th minute. Belgian inside-left Jacques Moeschal scored a consolation with two minutes remaining following a skilful solo run.

Carter’s goal was England’s 500th in their history. Camsell scored 18 goals in just nine England appearances – the highest goals-to-games ratio for England of anyone who has played more than a single international. He remains Middlesbrough’s all-time leading goalscorer, having scored a club record 325 league goals in 419 games.

Belgium: Jan de Bie (Royal Racing Club Bruxelles), Theodoor Nouwens (KRC Mechelen), Nicolaas Hoydonckx (KSC Hasselt), Henri van Averbeke (Beerschot AC), Florimond Vanhalme (captain, Cercle Brugge KSV), Gustave Boesman (Gent), Pierre Braine (Beerschot AC), Michel Vanderbauwhede (Cercle Brugge KSV), Raymond Braine (Beerschot AC), Jacques Moeschal (Royal Racing Club Bruxelles), Jan Diddens (KRC Mechelen).

England: Ted Hufton (West Ham), Tom Cooper (Derby), Ernie Blenkinsop (Sheffield Wednesday), Len Oliver (Fulham), Jack Hill (captain, Newcastle), John Peacock (Middlesbrough), Hughie Adcock (Leicester), Edgar Kail (Dulwich Hamlet), George Camsell (Middlesbrough), Joe Carter (West Brom), Leonard Barry (Leicester).

The previous articles in the series are:

Vic Watson
Jack Tresadern
Billy Moore
Jim Barrett
Jackie Morton
Ken Brown
Bobby Moore
Johnny ‘Budgie’ Byrne
Sir Geoff Hurst
Martin Peters
Frank Lampard Senior
Sir Trevor Brooking
Alan Devonshire
Alvin Martin
Paul Goddard
Rio Ferdinand
Stuart Pearce
Frank Lampard Junior
Joe Cole
David James
Kieron Dyer
Robert Green
Scott Parker
Stewart Downing
Joe Hart


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Fulham

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Fulham on is open HERE. Entries can be submitted until 5pm today.

Blast from the past

12th January 2008 – Gordon Brown was Prime Minister, Basshunter was number one with ‘Now You’re Gone’, I Am Legend topped the UK box office and mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary had died the day before. Meanwhile, West Ham United secured a 2-1 Premier League victory over Fulham in front of 34,947 at Upton Park.

Former Hammers left-back Paul Konchesky was in the visitors’ starting XI that day, while ex-Fulham man Luis Boa Morte came off the bench for the Irons. Roy Hodgson had taken over as Fulham boss just over a fortnight previously. Despite struggling in the league’s relegation zone, Simon Davies gave the visitors the lead after just eight minutes when his glided free-kick from the left evaded the home defence and bounced past the helpless and flat-footed Robert Green. Freddie Ljungberg was enjoying one of his better afternoons in claret and blue, albeit wearing a shirt without his name or number after an earlier injury had left his original shirt bloodied – the Swede beat Konchesky after 28 minutes to swing over a cross which was expertly met with a brilliant glancing header by Dean Ashton at the near post. The 24-year-old striker would go on to be the Hammers’ top scorer that season, with 11 goals in 35 matches. Ashton’s thunderous left-footed drive soon after crashed against the crossbar, via the fingertips of Antti Niemi.

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Niemi denied Ashton and strike partner Carlton Cole before the Hammers found their winning goal with 22 minutes remaining, Anton Ferdinand (pictured above) providing a firm finish to Mark Noble’s fine cut-back – the Hammers’ homegrown midfielder had chased down the ball when it seemed to be harmlessly heading out for a goal-kick. Midfielder Jimmy Bullard ended 16 months of injury hell after coming on as a late substitute for Fulham against the club which had released him earlier in his career without making a senior appearance – he was met with generous applause by home and away supporters alike. The West Ham goals from this game can be viewed in my video below.

Alan Curbishley’s Hammers went on to finish the 2007/08 Premier League season in tenth place, while Hodgson’s Fulham ended up 17th, surviving on goal difference. Goalkeeper Green would be voted Hammer of the Year, with George McCartney runner-up. Manchester United won the title and Portsmouth won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Robert Green, Jonathan Spector, Anton Ferdinand, Matthew Upson, George McCartney, Freddie Ljungberg (Julien Faubert), Mark Noble, Hayden Mullins, Matthew Etherington (Lee Bowyer), Carlton Cole (Luis Boa Morte), Dean Ashton.

Fulham: Antti Niemi, Moritz Volz (Jimmy Bullard), Dejan Stefanovic, Carlos Bocanegra (Aaron Hughes), Paul Konchesky, Simon Davies, Chris Baird, Danny Murphy, Steven Davis, Clint Dempsey, David Healy (Alexei Smertin).

Club Connections

Ryan Fredericks welcomes his former club. Scott Parker played for both clubs and is currently manager at Craven Cottage. A decent number of players join the pair in representing West Ham United and Fulham over the years. These include:

Goalkeepers: Bill Biggar, Jan Lastuvka, Tony Parks.

Defenders: Paul Kelly, Bobby Moore, George Horler, George Redwood, Kevin Lock, Tony Gale, Jack Hebden, Rufus Brevett, John Paintsil, Paul Konchesky, Ian Pearce, Wayne Bridge, Jon Harley, Alan Stephenson, Andy Melville.

Midfielders: Luis Boa Morte, Dick Richards, George Carter, Papa Bouba Diop, Fergus Hunt, Havard Nordtveit.

Strikers: Johnny ‘Budgie’ Byrne, Brian Dear, Alf Harwood, Jack Fletcher, Roger Cross, Iain Dowie, Fred Harrison, Billy Brown, Archie Macaulay, Danny Shea, Kenny McKay, Leroy Rosenior, Bobby Zamora, Mladen Petric, Bill Davidson.

This week’s focus though is on a player who joined Fulham after starting his career at West Ham. Ray Houghton was born in Glasgow on 9th January 1962; a boyhood Celtic fan, he moved to London at the age of ten and progressed through the youth ranks at West Ham, signing professional forms as a 17-year-old in July 1979. He made his first team debut at the age of 20 under John Lyall, as a 60th-minute substitute for fellow Scot and Academy product George Cowie in a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal on 1st May 1982. Due to intense competition for midfield places, Houghton was allowed to move to Fulham on a free transfer just over two months later having made just one appearance for the Hammers.

Houghton made his debut for Malcolm Macdonald’s Fulham in a 1-1 draw against Rotherham at Craven Cottage on the opening day of the 1982/83 season – the club were playing in the Second Division having just won promotion from the Third. The Cottagers nearly achieved back-to-back promotions, but missed out on a place in the top flight by one point after losing four of their final five matches. Fulham dropped to 11th the following season before finishing ninth in 1984/85. After scoring 16 goals in 129 league games for the club, Houghton signed for First Division Oxford in September 1985 for a fee of £147,000.

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Houghton won the League Cup in his first season with Oxford, scoring the second goal in a 3-0 win over QPR in the Final. He helped keep the club in the top flight in his two seasons at the Manor Ground and also became an international player during his time there. Houghton had declared himself available for the Republic of Ireland having qualified to play for them through his Irish father – he won his first cap in Jack Charlton’s first match as manager, a 1-0 defeat to Wales in a friendly at Lansdowne Road on 26th March 1986.

Houghton left Oxford for Liverpool for £825,000 shortly after the start of the 1987/88 campaign. He scored his first goal for his country on 12th June 1988, a looping header and the winning goal in a Euro ’88 group match in Stuttgart against England. He also represented his country at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, scoring a penalty in the second round shoot-out win over Romania to help send the Green Army into a quarter-final clash with the hosts. The dynamic, diminutive midfielder (he stood at 5’7 tall) won two First Division titles, two FA Cups and the Charity Shield during his five years at Anfield; he departed for Aston Villa in a £900,000 move in the summer of 1992 and won the League Cup with Villa in 1994.

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Shortly after that League Cup win, Houghton again represented the Republic of Ireland at an international tournament, the 1994 World Cup in the USA – he scored the shock winner against Italy in the opening group game with a lofted left-foot strike at Giants Stadium, New Jersey. Houghton returned to London with Crystal Palace for £300,000 in March 1995 but couldn’t keep the Eagles in the top flight and spent the following two seasons with them in the second tier.

Houghton joined Reading on a free transfer in the summer of 1997 and won his last cap for his country in the second leg of a World Cup ’98 Play-Off against Belgium in Brussels on 15th November 1997 – he came off the bench to sign off with a goal to level the tie but couldn’t prevent the hosts eventually winning 3-2 on aggregate. He had won 73 international caps, scoring six goals.

After two seasons with Reading, the second of which was spent in the third tier after relegation from the First Division, Houghton ended his career with a spell at non-league Stevenage, signing for the club in September 1999 before retiring in May 2000 at the age of 38. Having represented the Hammers for just half an hour, Houghton had gone on to make over 700 domestic appearances during the rest of his career. Houghton has since been a consultant on the Football Manager game series and was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Huddersfield in 2005 for services to sport. Now 58, he works as a television and radio pundit in both Ireland and England.

Referee

Tonight’s referee will be Merseyside-based Robert Jones, who will take on his second ever senior Hammers appointment – his only other match involving West Ham’s first team was the 4-0 defeat at Oxford in the League Cup third round in September 2019.

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Jones has refereed one other Premier League match in his career so far, that being Sheffield United’s 1-0 win at Brighton last December.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United will be without Michail Antonio. Aaron Cresswell should be available, but Mark Noble is a doubt. The Hammers are unbeaten in the past ten meetings between the sides in east London, winning six and drawing four. West Ham’s tally of 13 goals is the club’s third highest after seven fixtures of a Premier League campaign.

Fulham are without the injured Kenny Tete and Terence Kongolo, while Josh Onomah is also out and Aboubakar Kamara is suspended. Neeskens Kebano is available, but Mario Lemina is a doubt. Fulham won their first Premier League game away to West Ham in 2001 but are winless in ten subsequent league visits, drawing four and losing six. Fulham manager Scott Parker made 129 appearances for West Ham between 2007 and 2011, scoring 12 goals.

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

Possible Fulham XI: Areola; Aina, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Robinson; Lemina, Anguissa; Decordova-Reid, Cairney, Lookman; Mitrovic.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Liverpool v West Ham

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Liverpool on Saturday is now open HERE. Entries can be submitted until 3.30pm on Saturday.

Blast from the past

Since our first game at the home of Liverpool in 1914, we have only ever won there on four occasions – the most recent was in 2015, 52 years after our previous victory there in 1963; prior to that was a win in 1954 and our first victory was back in 1928. Needless to say, Anfield is not the happiest of Hammers hunting grounds!

The first victory of the post-war period came on 4th September 1954 in a Second Division match in front of 37,592 spectators – Kitty Kallen was number one with ‘Little Things Mean A Lot’, Laurence Harvey was in UK cinemas in Romeo and Juliet and broadcaster Anne Diamond was born four days later.

Bill Nelson made his Hammers league debut for this visit to Don Welsh’s newly-relegated Liverpool. The 24-year-old left-back had made his first competitive appearance for the club in a 2-1 Essex Professional Cup tie win over Colchester four years earlier, on 28th September 1950, but would only make two league appearances for the club. The first of these was this win at Anfield; the second came just two days later, in a 1-1 home draw with Hull. The Silvertown-born defender transferred to QPR in 1955 and later moved to Southern League Guildford.

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Centre-forward Dave Sexton gave Ted Fenton’s Hammers the lead after 24 minutes, with winger Harry Hooper (pictured above) doubling the advantage on the hour. Hooper sadly passed away in August of this year at the age of 87 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. Liverpool winger Jimmy Payne registered a consolation for the hosts with 14 minutes remaining.

The Hammers went on to finish in eighth place in 1954/55, while Liverpool finished 11th. Inside-left John Dick would end the season as the Irons’ top goalscorer with 26 goals in 41 matches. Birmingham topped the Second Division, Chelsea won the First Division title and Newcastle won the FA Cup.

Liverpool: Dave Underwood, Tom McNulty, Frank Lock, Barry Wilkinson, Don Campbell, Geoff Twentyman, Jimmy Payne, Alan Arnell, Louis Bimpson, John Evans, Billy Liddell.

West Ham United: George Taylor, John Bond, Bill Nelson, Andy Malcolm, Ken Brown, Frank O’Farrell, Harry Hooper, Albert Foan, Dave Sexton, John Dick, Jimmy Andrews.

Club Connections

Adrian welcomes his former club. A whole host of players join the goalkeeper in having turned out for both West Ham United and Liverpool, particularly over the last 30 years. These include:

Goalkeepers: David James, Charles Cotton.

Defenders: Paul Konchesky, Alvaro Arbeloa, Rob Jones, David Burrows, Glen Johnson, Julian Dicks, Rigobert Song, Neil Ruddock, Thomas Stanley.

Midfielders: Don Hutchison, Yossi Benayoun, Joe Cole, Victor Moses, Paul Ince, Ray Houghton, Javier Mascherano, Stewart Downing, Mike Marsh.

Strikers: Craig Bellamy, Titi Camara, Andy Carroll, Robbie Keane, David Speedie, Neil Mellor, Charlie Satterthwaite, Danny Shone, Tom Bradshaw.

George Kay made 237 league appearances for the Hammers between 1919 and 1926, becoming the first-ever player to play more than 200 league matches for the club. Kay was also the West Ham captain in the 1923 FA Cup Final. He went on to manage Liverpool between 1936 and 1951, winning the First Division title in 1947.

This week’s focus though is on a much-travelled Scottish centre-forward who represented both clubs. Peter Kyle was born in Cadder, East Dunbartonshire, on 21st December 1878 and represented Glasgow and District schools before playing for Glasgow Parkhead. He had been rejected after trial periods with Clyde, Hearts and Thames Ironworks (later to be West Ham United) but did turn out for junior club Larkhall Thistle.

Having reportedly been rejected by Clyde due to possessing a fierce temper, the 20-year-old Kyle joined First Division Liverpool in 1899 for £100, playing five games for the club. He made his Liverpool debut under manager Tom Watson in a 3-2 defeat at Stoke on 2nd September 1899 and played in four of the opening five league games of the season, all of which ended in defeat. His fifth and final appearance for Liverpool came in a 1-0 FA Cup first round replay win over Stoke at Anfield on 1st February 1900. He failed to score a goal for the club and, unhappy with mainly reserve team football, he dropped down into the Second Division to sign for Leicester in the summer of 1900. After just over a year in the East Midlands, Kyle was on the move again, signing for West Ham United in the autumn of 1901.

The 22-year-old Kyle (pictured), a heavy-set centre-forward who was over 6’ in height, made his Hammers debut in a 1-0 FA Cup third qualifying round win at Leyton on 2nd November 1901 – it was the only time he would savour victory in a West Ham shirt. He made his only Southern League appearance for the club in a 2-1 defeat at QPR the following week and his final match for the Irons came in a 2-1 FA Cup fourth qualifying round loss at home against Grays United on 16th November 1901. After just three games for West Ham, Kyle was shipped out to fellow Southern League outfit Kettering in a swap deal for Welsh international full-back Bill Jones in December 1901. Jones would spend the remainder of the 1901/02 season in east London, making 15 appearances for the Hammers – Jones was tragically killed in action during World War One, in May 1918, and is buried at the Doiran Military Cemetery in the north of Greece, near the south-east shore of Lake Doiran.

Kyle, meanwhile, represented Kettering in the Southern League before appearing for Wellingborough. He returned to Scotland in September 1902, playing once for Aberdeen before joining Cowdenbeath three months later. He moved to Hearts in the summer of 1903 and represented Larkhall-based side Royal Albert, Port Glasgow Athletic and Partick Thistle in 1904. Kyle returned to the Southern League in 1905, signing for Tottenham – the extrovert centre-forward was involved in an incident which validated those clubs who had been previously concerned about Kyle’s temperament. He was suspended by his club in the spring of 1906 for fighting with Spurs team-mate Chris Carrick, an incident which was deemed “a breach of the club’s training rules”. Teesside-born Carrick had also played for West Ham, but during the 1904/05 season so he had not been a team-mate of Kyle’s at the Hammers.

Kyle was swiftly transferred to First Division Woolwich Arsenal in April 1906 and proved there was little doubt over his footballing ability, scoring 22 goals in 60 senior outings – he was also called up by his country to take part in a trial match in 1907 but never played a full international game for Scotland. Kyle was Arsenal’s top scorer in the top flight in 1907/08 but, with the club strapped for cash, he was sold to First Division rivals Aston Villa before the end of that campaign. By October 1908 the wayward striker was on the move again, staying in the top flight to sign for Sheffield United. His old failing came to the fore once again though when he was sacked for failing to train properly with the Blades and he returned to Scotland with former club Royal Albert in the summer of 1909.

Kyle returned to Southern League football with Watford at the age of 30 in November 1909. He scored four goals in 13 appearances but was released in February 1910 for what was, according to the West Herts Post, “utterly disgraceful and demoralising conduct” which also involved team-mates Frank Cotterill and Jock Grieve. Kyle returned to Scotland to join Royal Albert for a third spell and finished his career at Raith Rovers, whom he joined in July 1911. Peter Kyle died on 19th January 1957 at the age of 78.

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. Last season, Friend refereed the Hammers in our 3-0 defeat at Burnley last November, for our 2-0 loss at Manchester City in February and, most recently, for our 4-0 win at Norwich in July.

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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

Reigning champions Liverpool are without Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while Joel Matip, Konstantinos Tsimikas, Naby Keita and Thiago Alcantara are doubts. The Reds are unbeaten in eight league matches against West Ham, winning six and drawing two.

West Ham boss David Moyes is reluctant to throw new signing Said Benrahma into Premier League action too soon. Michail Antonio is facing at least a month on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury last weekend; Antonio has scored in four of his six Premier League appearances against Liverpool. Moyes has not won any of his 16 matches as a manager against Liverpool at Anfield.

Possible Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Matip, Robertson; Henderson, Thiago, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane.

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

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!


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