Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Aston Villa v West Ham

Blast from the past

Engelbert Humperdinck was number one with ‘Release Me’, Don Murray, Carita and Patrick Troughton were in UK cinemas in The Viking Queen and British Fleet Air Arm and Royal Air Force aircraft bombed and sank the grounded supertanker SS Torrey Canyon following a disastrous oil spill as the Hammers recorded a 2-0 First Division victory on the 28th March 1967 in front of 22,011 at Villa Park.

19-year-old centre-half Paul Heffer and 20-year-old left-back Bill Kitchener made only their fourth appearances for the club while Martin Peters was pushed up front to partner Geoff Hurst. Indeed, it was Hurst who proved to be the Hammers hero as he scored both goals to give the Irons their third consecutive win following a 2-1 Good Friday home win over Villa in the reverse fixture four days earlier, and a 3-2 home win over Burnley on Easter Saturday. Heffer would go on to work for the West Ham Academy for over 30 years and is now a Club Ambassador.

Embed from Getty Images

For the Hammers, knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round by Third Division Swindon and beaten in the semi-finals of the League Cup by West Brom, the three consecutive league wins saw them move into the top ten in the table. However, no wins, one draw and seven defeats from the season’s remaining eight games saw the club slump down the division, despite the presence of three players who had won the World Cup the previous summer.

West Ham would end the 1966/67 season in 16th position, while Aston Villa would close the campaign in 21st place, and were relegated. Hurst was voted Hammer of the Year for the second consecutive season, with captain Bobby Moore runner-up. Manchester United won the First Division title and Tottenham won the FA Cup.

Sadly, three members from each side that day are no longer with us. For the Hammers, Moore passed away in 1993, John Charles in 2002 and Peter Brabrook in 2016. For Villa, John Sleeuwenhoek died in 1989, while Barry Stobart and Peter Broadbent passed away within five weeks of each other in 2013.

Aston Villa: Colin Withers, Mick Wright, John Sleeuwenhoek, Charlie Aitken, Dave Pountney, Lew Chatterley, Mike Tindall, Johnny MacLeod, Peter Broadbent, Barry Stobart, Willie Anderson.

West Ham United: Jim Standen, John Charles, Paul Heffer, Bobby Moore, Bill Kitchener, Peter Brabrook, Eddie Bovington, Ronnie Boyce, Johnny Sissons (Harry Redknapp), Martin Peters, Geoff Hurst.

Club Connections

Former Villans Carlos Sanchez and Robert Snodgrass return to Villa Park while ex-Hammer Henri Lansbury welcomes his former club. Other players who have appeared for both clubs include:

Goalkeepers: David James, Mervyn Day, Les Sealey.

Defenders: Bill Askew, Arthur Marjeram, James Collins, Gary Charles.

Midfielders: Thomas Hitzlsperger, Tommy Southren, Nigel Reo-Coker, Nolberto Solano, Stewart Downing, Ray Houghton, Franz Carr, Fred Norris, Alan Curbishley, Tony Scott.

Strikers: Carlton Cole, John Carew, Marlon Harewood, Robbie Keane, Frank McAvennie, Peter Kyle, Phil Woosnam.

Today’s focus though is on a midfielder who appeared for Aston Villa late in his career after two spells at West Ham United. Joe Cole was born in Paddington on the 8th November 1981 and was a prodigious young talent who was linked with a £10m move to Manchester United before he’d even made his professional debut. Likened to Paul Gascoigne, Cole made his debut at the age of 17 in January 1999 in a 1-1 FA Cup draw at home against Swansea; his league debut arrived eight days later in a 4-1 defeat at Old Trafford. Cole was a key figure in the Hammers’ FA Youth Cup winning team in 1999 and also played his part in the senior team’s InterToto Cup success later that summer. His first goal for the club came in a 3-2 League Cup win at Birmingham in November 1999 while his first league strike came in the 5-4 win over Bradford in February 2000.

Cole scored five goals in 2000/01, including one in the 3-0 win at Coventry and strikes in the 1-1 home draws with Bradford and Coventry. He also notched crucial goals in the 3-1 home win over Derby and 3-0 home victory over Southampton as the under-performing Hammers secured their survival in the top flight the weekend before Harry Redknapp’s departure.

Embed from Getty Images

Cole made his England debut on 25th May 2001 in a 4-0 friendly win over Mexico at Derby’s Pride Park and scored his first goal under new Hammers manager Glenn Roeder in the 3-0 FA Cup third round win at Macclesfield in January 2002. The skilful midfielder was part of England’s 2002 World Cup squad and got his 2002/03 campaign off to a flyer, scoring from distance to give the Irons the lead against champions Arsenal only for the Gunners to eventually claim a 2-2 draw at Upton Park. The season was a turbulent one, with Cole one of the few players to emerge with credit from a campaign which would end in relegation. Joey also scored in the 2-1 home defeat to Birmingham, the 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough, the 3-2 FA Cup third round home win over Nottingham Forest and the 2-2 home draw with Newcastle. He was named captain by Roeder in January 2003 and was voted Hammer of the Year by the club’s supporters at the season’s end. Cole scored his first England goal in his tenth appearance for his country on 3rd June 2003 in a 2-1 friendly win over Serbia & Montenegro at Leicester’s Walkers Stadium.

Embed from Getty Images

The 21-year-old Cole left West Ham United in the summer of 2003 to sign for Chelsea in a £6.6m deal, having scored 13 goals in 150 appearances for the Hammers. He earned himself a place in the 2005/06 PFA Team of the Year and started all five of England’s matches at the 2006 World Cup, scoring a stunning, dipping volley in a 2-2 Group B draw against Sweden, in Cologne on 20th June 2006. In 2007/08, he won the Chelsea Player of the Year Award and played in the Champions League Final – he also scored home and away against West Ham that season, refusing to celebrate his strike in Chelsea’s 4-0 win at Upton Park in March 2008. After seven years at Stamford Bridge in which he won three Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups, two Community Shields and was a Champions League finalist, Cole joined Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool on a free transfer in the summer of 2010. Earlier that summer, Cole had won the last of his 56 England caps at his third World Cup – he had scored ten goals for his country.

Embed from Getty Images

After a difficult start to life on Merseyside, Cole spent the 2011/12 season on loan at French side Lille but, after returning to Liverpool for the first half of the following season, 31-year-old Joey returned to the Boleyn Ground in early January 2013, signing for Sam Allardyce’s Hammers on a free transfer. He set up both goals on his second debut for the club as another ex-Villa man, James Collins, scored twice in a 2-2 FA Cup third round draw with Manchester United and scored himself in the 1-1 home draw with QPR and the 3-2 home defeat to Tottenham.

Cole started the 2013/14 season with a bang, notching the Hammers’ first goal of the campaign in a 2-0 home win over Cardiff in August 2013 before scoring in the 3-0 win over Fulham in November. His final goal for the Hammers came in the 3-3 home draw with West Brom in late December 2013. Cole’s last appearance for West Ham came in the 2-0 defeat at Manchester City in May 2014 and he left the club later that summer after his contract expired, signing for Aston Villa. Cole had scored five goals in 37 appearances in his second spell in east London, taking his totals for the Hammers to 18 goals in 187 matches. The video below shows all 18 of these goals.

Cole made his Villa debut under Paul Lambert in a 3-0 defeat at Everton on 18th October 2014; he scored his only goal for the club in a 1-1 draw at Burnley on 29th November of the same year. Beset by hamstring injuries, he made 15 appearances in 2014/15 but was an unused substitute as Villa lost the FA Cup Final 4-0 to Arsenal later that month, by which time Tim Sherwood had taken over as manager. Cole’s 16th and final appearance for Aston Villa came in a 5-3 League Cup second round win over Notts County at Villa Park on 25th August 2015.

Embed from Getty Images

Following a spell with Coventry which was later made permanent, Cole ended his career playing for Tampa Bay Rowdies in the USL, the second tier of the American soccer pyramid – he retired in November 2018. Now 37, Cole is a technical academy coach at Chelsea.

Referee

Monday’s referee will be Mike Dean; 2019/20 is Dean’s 20th as a Premier League referee. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Dean has refereed 24 of our league matches, officiating in ten wins for the Hammers, seven draws (including our last visit to Villa Park on Boxing Day 2015) and seven defeats.

Embed from Getty Images

Dean refereed our final match at the Boleyn when we famously triumphed 3-2 over Manchester United. His decision to send off Sofiane Feghouli just 15 minutes into our 2-0 defeat to the Red Devils in January 2017 was later rescinded. Dean’s two Hammers appointments last season were the goalless home draw with Chelsea last September and our 2-0 win at Fulham in December. His most recent Hammers appointment was our 5-0 opening day home defeat to Manchester City.

The VAR Official is Martin Atkinson.

Possible line-ups

Aston Villa will be without injured captain James Chester and left-back Matt Targett, while centre-forward Jonathan Kodjia also misses out with a fractured cheekbone. Winger Trezeguet is suspended. Villa have lost just two of their last 18 home league games against West Ham, winning eight and drawing eight. However, they have won just one of their last 16 Monday Premier League matches drawing five and losing ten.

For West Ham United, Winston Reid and Michail Antonio remain unavailable – Antonio is unlikely to return until after Christmas. The Hammers have failed to score in five of their last nine trips to Villa Park. Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini has won five of his past six matches against Villa, drawing the other.

Possible Aston Villa XI: Heaton; Guilbert, Engels, Mings, Taylor; Douglas Luiz, McGinn, Grealish; El Ghazi, Wesley, Jota.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Rice, Noble; Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Anderson; Haller.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Crossed Hammers & Three Lions: John 'Jackie' Morton

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, with England having faced Kosovo in Euro 2020 qualifying at Southampton earlier this week, we look back at a former Hammers and England outside-left – Jackie Morton. John ‘Jackie’ Morton was born in Sheffield on 26th July 1914 to parents Colin and Lily. Jackie, who once worked in a Sheffield steel mill, turned pro at the age of 17, after learning the ropes with Woodburn Council School and Woodhouse Alliance before joining Gainsborough Trinity. He became the first of West Ham United’s many successful signings from the Midland League club when he joined for £600 in December 1931.

Morton made his debut for the Hammers at the age of 17 in a 1-1 draw with reigning champions Arsenal in front of 34,852 at Upton Park on 26th March 1932 and scored his first goal for the club in his third match, a 7-2 defeat at Blackpool on 2nd April 1932. The Hammers, though, would be relegated at the end of the 1931/32 season.

1932/33 saw Jackie make 42 appearances, turning in many sterling displays and scoring 13 goals, including the first of his four braces for the club in a 4-3 defeat at Southampton on 24th September 1932. The Hammers finished 20th in their first season back in the Second Division – it was a traumatic campaign which saw Charlie Paynter take over from Syd King as manager, with King committing suicide within a month of his sacking. 1933/34 was less profitable for Morton in terms of goals but represented a better season for the Irons, who finished seventh with Jackie scoring six goals in 44 appearances. The Hammers came within a whisker of promotion in 1934/35, losing out on goal average to Bolton in the race for the second promotion spot after both sides finished on 56 points – Morton contributed seven goals in his 42 matches. At the end of that season, on 8th May 1935, Jackie had the honour of being chosen for the Anglo-Scots XI in the King George V Silver Jubilee Match.

West Ham again came close to promotion in 1935/36 as they finished fourth, three points adrift of Charlton in second with Jackie scoring five goals in 26 games. Morton really came into form in 1936/37, scoring 14 goals in 41 appearances, the highest he was to score in a single season in east London. Four goals in two games arrived in February 1937, with a brace in a 2-2 home draw with Nottingham Forest on 6th February 1937 followed by another double the following week in a 4-1 win over Norwich, again at the Boleyn Ground. The Hammers finished sixth in the Second Division.

Such fine form was rewarded when the 23-year-old made his England debut in a 5-4 win against Czechoslovakia at White Hart Lane on 1st December 1937. In doing so, he became the 11th West Ham United player to represent England, playing outside-left with Hammers team-mate Len Goulden playing inside-left. Jackie marked what would be his only England appearance by scoring after 20 minutes – according to The Times, “he was put through cleverly, beat his man, and finished with a fine shot just out of Planicka’s reach”. On Morton’s opposite flank, the great Stanley Matthews contributed a hat-trick – just over six months younger than Morton, it was to be Matthews’ only treble for his country. Jackie would almost certainly have won more caps but for an untimely injury which resulted in Arsenal’s Cliff Bastin taking his place – he could count himself unlucky not to have won more recognition.

The speedy Yorkshireman, standing at 5’9 and weighing in at 10st 4lbs, was described as a “frail-looking winger, fast and possessing a multitude of tricks and a good shot”. He made 40 appearances in 1937/38, scoring three goals as the Hammers finished ninth. He played 35 games in 1938/39, scoring eight goals. He struck his fourth and final brace in a 5-2 win over Swansea at the Boleyn on 8th October 1938. Jackie’s final goal for the Hammers came in a 6-2 win at Norwich on 11th March 1939; his final match in claret and blue was as a 24-year-old in a 1-0 defeat to Luton at Upton Park the following week, on 18th March 1939. Jackie Morton had scored 57 goals in 275 appearances for West Ham United.

The outbreak of the Second World War effectively ended Jackie’s footballing career. He served in the Royal Air Force and worked as a bookmaker in London’s East End after the war. He is pictured here in 1962. Jackie Morton died on 8th March 1986 in Milton Keynes, aged 71.

The previous articles in the series are:

Vic Watson
Jack Tresadern
Billy Moore
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
Stewart Downing
Joe Hart


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Crossed Hammers & Three Lions: Joe Hart

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

Today, as England prepare to face Bulgaria in a qualification match for the 2020 European Championships, we look back at a former Hammers and England goalkeeper. Joe Hart was born in Shrewsbury on 19th April 1987 and was Head Boy at his school, Meole Brace, in his final year there. He was a competent cricketer, briefly playing for Shrewsbury CC in the Birmingham and District Premier League and also spending two years in Worcestershire’s youth squads. Hart represented his hometown football club though, making his full debut for non-league Shrewsbury in April 2004, a day after his 17th birthday. He played for the club in League Two in the following two seasons and earned international recognition, winning six caps at Under-19 level for England. He was voted into the 2005/06 PFA League Two Team of the Season by his fellow professionals and he moved to Premier League Manchester City at the end of that season.

Hart spent January 2007 on loan at Tranmere in League One and joined Blackpool in a similar short-term deal in April that year. He became first-choice goalkeeper at Manchester City under Sven-Goran Eriksson in 2007/08 – he had, by this point, also made his England Under-21 debut under the tutelage of former Hammer Stuart Pearce. Hart made his senior England debut under Fabio Capello in a 3-0 away win over Trinidad and Tobago on 1st June 2008, a match which also saw West Ham’s Dean Ashton win his only senior England cap. Hart was a half-time replacement for another former Hammer, David James, in that match. January 2009 saw Hart lose his starting place at City to new signing Shay Given, although he would go on to represent England Under-21s in the 2009 European Championships, a tournament which saw Mark Noble captain the Young Lions. Hart saved, and scored, a penalty in the semi-final shoot-out against Sweden but was booked for leaving his goalline during the shoot-out and was suspended for the Final, which England lost 4-0 to Germany. Hart won 21 caps for England at Under-21 level.

Embed from Getty Images

Hart joined Birmingham on loan for the 2009/10 season and was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Season at the end of the campaign. He was named in Capello’s England squad for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, alongside former Hammer James and then-West Ham custodian Robert Green. Hart was chosen ahead of Given for the 2010/11 season by Roberto Mancini; he won the FA Cup at the end of the season and was again voted into the PFA Team of the Season as City won the Premier League title in 2011/12. Hart helped England to the quarter-finals of the European Championships under Roy Hodgson in 2012 and kept the highest number of Premier League clean sheets for the third consecutive season in 2012/13, a campaign which again saw him play in the FA Cup Final. Hart again won the Premier League under current Hammers manager Manuel Pellegrini in 2013/14 and was England’s first-choice goalkeeper at the 2014 World Cup, a tournament which saw the Three Lions exit at the group stage.

Hart also represented Manchester City in the Champions League, being described as a “phenomenon” by Lionel Messi in February 2015 after a performance against Barcelona in which he produced a record-breaking ten saves during the match. Hart’s performances at Euro 2016 played a part in him losing his place under new manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and he joined Torino on loan for the 2016/17 season, becoming the first English goalkeeper to sign for a Serie A club since the league’s inception in 1929.

Embed from Getty Images

The 30-year-old Hart joined Slaven Bilic’s West Ham United on a season-long loan in the summer of 2017 and made his debut in a 4-0 defeat at Manchester United on 13th August 2017. He went on to keep six clean sheets in 23 appearances. Hart won four caps for England whilst he was with the Hammers, three in 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia. In October 2017, Hart was targeted in his car by thieves in Romford, who stole his watch, wallet and mobile phone while he was at a petrol station. His most recent England appearance came during his time as a Hammer, in a goalless draw with Brazil at Wembley on 14th November 2017, his 75th senior cap in total for his country (he has also twice captained his country).

Despite this international clean sheet, Hart lost his domestic place to Adrian under new manager David Moyes the following month when the Spaniard came in to replace him against Manchester City, Hart’s parent club. Hart did play in a League Cup quarter-final defeat at Arsenal and played all three of the Irons’ FA Cup matches in 2018, including two ties against hometown club Shrewsbury. He won his starting place in the league back in March 2018 and kept a clean sheet in a crucial 3-0 home win over Southampton; he also particularly impressed in a 1-1 draw at Chelsea the following weekend. Hart’s 23rd and final appearance for West Ham came in a 4-1 loss at Arsenal on 22nd April 2018. He was not named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. After his season in east London, Hart joined Burnley in a permanent move in the summer of 2018. Now 32, he is currently second-choice behind Nick Pope at Turf Moor.

England v Bulgaria

England face Bulgaria today in a Euro 2020 qualifier – it will be the 11th meeting between the two nations. Hart played in the previous Wembley match between the two – a 4-0 win for England in a Euro 2012 qualifier in front of 73,246 on 3rd September 2010. Taio Cruz was number one with ‘Dynamite’, Grown Ups topped the UK box office and GMTV aired its last edition after 17 years on air.

Former Hammers Glen Johnson and Jermain Defoe joined Hart in Fabio Capello’s starting line-up – it was to be a night to remember for Defoe, in particular, as he became the first England player to score a hat-trick at the new Wembley. The 27-year-old Tottenham striker was off the mark after just three minutes, slamming home a cut-back from Ashley Cole.

With just over an hour played, a save from Hart led to an England counter, with Wayne Rooney finding Defoe who tucked a left-footed shot into the corner for his second. Rooney was again the provider for England’s third with seven minutes of the contest remaining, finding substitute Adam Johnson on the right – the 23-year-old Manchester City winger cut inside before arrowing his first goal for his country into the net. Defoe completed his hat-trick on 86 minutes for his 15th goal in his 44th international appearance, Rooney creating the chance and Defoe firing left-footed into the far corner.

England: Joe Hart (Man City), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Michael Dawson (Tottenham), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Steven Gerrard (captain, Liverpool), Gareth Barry (Man City), James Milner (Man City), Wayne Rooney (Man Utd), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham).

Subs: Gary Cahill (Bolton) for Dawson, Adam Johnson (Man City) for Walcott, Ashley Young (Aston Villa) for Defoe.

Bulgaria: Nikolay Mihaylov (Twente), Stanislav Manolev (PSV Eindhoven), Ilian Stoyanov (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Ivan Ivanov (Spartak Vladikavkaz), Zhivko Milanov (Vaslui), Stanislav Angelov (Steaua Bucharest), Stiliyan Petrov (captain, Aston Villa), Chavdar Yankov (Rostov), Ivelin Popov (Gaziantepspor), Martin Petrov (Bolton), Valeri Bojinov (Parma).

Subs: Dimitar Rangelov (Maccabi Tel Aviv) for Bojinov; Veselin Minev (Levski Sofia) for Manolev, Georgi Peev (Amkar Perm) for Popov.

The previous articles in the series are:

Vic Watson
Jack Tresadern
Billy Moore
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
Stewart Downing


Dan Coker's Match Preview

West Ham's Bulgarian Connection

Ahead of England’s European Championships qualifier tomorrow, here’s a look back at West Ham United’s Bulgarian connection.

Svetoslav Todorov

Svetoslav Todorov was born in Dobrich on 30th August 1978 and began his professional career with local side Dobrudzha Dobrich in 1996 before moving to Litex Lovech the following year. Todorov made his Bulgaria debut in 1998 and scored his first goal for the national team in a 4-1 win over Belarus in Sofia in March 2000.

After trials with Preston and West Ham, Todorov joined the Hammers in January 2001 for a fee of £500,000, rising to £2 million depending on appearances – he was one of the players bought by Harry Redknapp using the proceeds from the sale of Rio Ferdinand, alongside Rigobert Song, Christian Dailly, Ragnvald Soma and Titi Camara. The 22-year-old made his debut in a 3-0 defeat at Liverpool on 3rd February 2001 and scored his first goal for the Irons on his home debut in a 3-2 FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Tottenham at the Boleyn Ground on 11th March 2001. Todorov made seven substitute appearances before making his first start in a 3-0 home win against Southampton on 5th May 2001 – Redknapp’s final game in charge of the Hammers.

Embed from Getty Images

With Glenn Roeder taking caretaker charge for the final game of the 2000/01 season, Todorov scored his second and final goal for the Hammers in a 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough on 19th May 2001. Roeder was given the job permanently that summer and Todorov started the opening two matches of the 2001/02 season in the absence of Frederic Kanoute. His final appearance for the club came as a substitute in a 3-2 defeat to Chelsea in an FA Cup fourth round replay at Upton Park on 6th February 2002. Having made 17 appearances for West Ham, scoring two goals, Todorov moved to Portsmouth, where Redknapp was Director of Football, in March 2002. Both of his Hammers goals can be viewed in my video below.

With Redknapp taking the manager’s job at Portsmouth in the summer of 2002, Todorov topped the First Division’s goalscoring charts with 26 goals as Portsmouth won promotion and the First Division title in 2002/03. He returned to the Bulgaria squad and scored a crucial goal in a 2-2 draw with Belgium to help his country eventually qualify for Euro 2004. Disaster was to strike for Todorov, however, when a training ground accident days before the opening of the 2003/04 Premier League season resulted in the striker damaging his cruciate knee ligament – he made his comeback at Liverpool in March 2004 but this was his sole appearance of the campaign. Further surgery on his knee was required, causing Todorov to miss Euro 2004 and the entirety of the 2004/05 Premier League season.

Embed from Getty Images

Todorov returned to action in the 2005/06 season, scoring against West Ham as Pompey won 4-2 at Upton Park in March 2006, a game which saw West Ham manager Alan Pardew rest members of his first team with his priority being an upcoming FA Cup quarter-final with Manchester City. He was part of Portsmouth’s Great Escape as they avoided relegation at the end of the season, and he started 2006/07 with two goals from his opening three games. He joined Wigan on a season-long loan later in August 2006 but the switch was unsuccessful and he returned to the South Coast in January 2007.

Having fallen down the pecking order at Fratton Park, Todorov joined newly-relegated Charlton in the Championship in the summer of 2007. He injured his knee in October of that year and was ruled out for the rest of the 2007/08 season. He returned to make 13 appearances in 2008/09, scoring once, before moving back to Bulgaria and Litex Lovech in July 2009. Having won the Supporters’ Player of the Year award in 2010, Todorov moved to Ukrainian side Hoverla Uzhhorod in the summer of 2012. He left the club in January 2013 and later announced his retirement. He had won 41 caps for Bulgaria between 1998 and 2007, scoring seven goals for his country.

Todorov returned to hometown club Dobrudzha Dobrich as manager in 2013 before departing the following year. He coached Bulgaria’s Under-19 side from 2015 to 2016 and briefly took over CSKA Sofia’s reserve side in 2017 before becoming manager of Botev Galabovo, also in 2017. He has also coached at Crystal Palace’s academy. Now 41, Todorov was appointed first-team coach at Southend earlier this summer – Shrimpers manager Kevin Bond was one of Todorov’s coaches during his time at Portsmouth. The Bulgarian replaced Kevin Keen at Roots Hall, when Keen returned to West Ham to manage the Hammers’ Under-18 side.

Finally, congratulations to Ian Fowler who is the Manager of the Month for August in The Official WHTID Fantasy League!


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Norwich

Blast from the past

Today’s blast from the past features a 4-2 victory at home against this weekend’s opponents, Norwich City; it arrived on New Year’s Day 1974 in front of 32,259 spectators. Slade were number one with ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’, Paul Newman and Robert Redford were in UK cinemas in The Sting, New Year’s Day was celebrated as a public holiday for the first time and The Three-Day Week was introduced by the Conservative government as a measure to conserve electricity during the period of industrial action by coal miners, lasting until 7th March. Two days later, the Jimmy Perry and David Croft sitcom It Ain’t Half Hot Mum made its debut on BBC television.

Less than a month prior to this encounter with the Canaries, Graham Paddon and Ted MacDougall had swapped clubs, Paddon moving to the Hammers in exchange for MacDougall and £30,000 – the deal was rated at £170,000. Both Paddon (pictured below) and MacDougall bagged a brace apiece against their former employers in this match – for the 23-year-old Paddon, these were the first of his 15 goals for the club in a stay which would last until November 1976, when he was transferred back to Norwich for £110,000 after making 152 appearances for the Irons. With both clubs struggling at the foot of the First Division table, the points were crucial and, added to Paddon’s double, further goals from Bobby Gould and Trevor Brooking ensured the Hammers picked up a vital 4-2 victory.

Embed from Getty Images

The Canaries ended up bottom and were relegated at the end of the 1973/74 season. The Hammers finished in 18th position, avoiding relegation by two places and one point. Billy Bonds was voted Hammer of the Year for the second time and was joint-leading scorer with Clyde Best on 13 goals, Leeds were First Division champions and Liverpool won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Mervyn Day, John McDowell, Tommy Taylor, Bobby Moore, Frank Lampard, Mick McGiven, Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking (Keith Coleman), Graham Paddon, Bobby Gould, 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 welcomes his former club to east London, while Sam Byram returns to the club he left in the 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, Billy Linward, 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, 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.

This week’s focus though is on a player who spent his early twenties with the Hammers before representing the Canaries later in his career. Keith Robson was born on the 15th November 1953 in Hetton-le-Hole, County Durham, and began his career with Newcastle before moving to Ron Greenwood’s West Ham United in 1974 for £60,000. His arrival, alongside that of Billy Jennings from Watford, sparked an extraordinary scoring spree with the Hammers netting a remarkable 20 goals in just four games during a ten-day period. The 20-year-old Robson made his debut against Tranmere on 18th September 1974 in a 6-0 League Cup second round replay win at the Boleyn Ground. He scored his first Hammers goal in his next match just three days later, a 6-2 home victory over Leicester and notched another in a 3-0 win over Birmingham in the following game. His first goals away from Upton Park soon arrived as he bagged a brace in a 5-3 win at Burnley. Robson made it five goals in four games with another in a 2-2 home draw with Derby on 5th October 1974.

The aggressive forward also scored with a header in a 3-0 win over Middlesbrough at the Boleyn on 2nd November 1974 and followed that with a point-earning strike in a 1-1 draw at Liverpool three weeks later. A Boxing Day goal secured a 1-1 draw with Tottenham at Upton Park before he scored in a 2-1 defeat at Leeds on 11th January 1975. Two more goals followed before the end of the season, one in a 2-1 home win over QPR which secured a quarter-final place in the FA Cup and another in a 2-1 home win over Burnley. A thigh injury sustained in March was to end Robson’s season however, keeping him out of the FA Cup semi-final and the Wembley victory over Fulham in the Final. Robson had scored 11 goals in 30 appearances for the Hammers in the 1974/75 season, none more important than that FA Cup fifth round winner over QPR, a looping header over future Hammers goalkeeper Phil Parkes.

Robson (pictured), a skilful but temperamental player who had his fair share of flare-ups with opponents and referees, put that disappointment behind him early the following season – he did make a belated Wembley appearance, as a substitute in the 2-0 Charity Shield defeat against Derby, and scored the winner in a 1-0 home victory over Tottenham on 25th August 1975. He scored in a 3-0 European Cup Winners’ Cup first round second leg triumph over Finnish side Lahden Reipas at Upton Park on 1st October 1975 and continued his 1975/76 cup exploits by bagging another goal in a 3-0 League Cup third round home win over Darlington a week later. The following round of the Cup Winners’ Cup saw the Hammers paired with Soviet side Ararat Erevan and Robson was on the scoresheet again, converting a back-post header in a 3-1 home win in the second leg on 5th November 1975. His goal against Coventry, again at the Boleyn, secured a 1-1 draw three days later and lifted the Hammers to the top of the First Division table.

Robson was sent off two days after Christmas 1975 in a 2-1 home defeat to Ipswich; already booked for a vicious sliding tackle on Clive Woods, he punched George Burley after being fouled from behind and was dismissed. He went over five months without a goal as the Hammers plummeted in the league but arguably his finest hour in claret and blue was to come on 14th April 1976 – in one of the great Upton Park nights under the lights, Robson’s scorcher from distance was crucial in helping the Irons to a 3-1 European Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final second leg victory over Eintracht Frankfurt, overturning a 2-1 first leg deficit to win 4-3 on aggregate. Still on a high, Robson made it two goals in two games three days later in a 2-2 home draw with Aston Villa.

Robson’s final goal for West Ham was scored in the Cup Winners’ Cup Final against Anderlecht at the Heysel Stadium on 5th May 1976 – his first goal away from Upton Park for 16 months. His near-post header levelled the match at 2-2 but the Belgians, inspired by future Hammer Francois Van der Elst, would go on to win 4-2. It was Robson’s eighth goal in his 49th appearance of the season.

Robson’s 1976/77 campaign was disrupted by injury as he made only ten appearances, without scoring. His disciplinary record again came under the spotlight as he was publicly criticised by chairman Reg Pratt after being booked in a League Cup loss to QPR in October 1976. He played his last game for the Hammers in a 6-0 defeat at Sunderland on 5th March 1977, a game later described by manager John Lyall as one of the worst team performances in his time at the club. Following a loan spell with Team Hawaii, and after scoring 19 goals in 89 appearances for West Ham United, Robson was sold to Second Division Cardiff in August 1977. Six of these 19 goals can be viewed in my video below.

After just six months at Cardiff, the 24-year-old Robson returned to the top flight, signing for John Bond’s Norwich in February 1978 for £25,000. Reunited with former Hammers team-mate Graham Paddon, Robson was also later joined by familiar faces in the shape of John McDowell and Alan Taylor, while West Ham legend Martin Peters was also already at Carrow Road when Robson signed. Three mid-table finishes (13th, 16th and 12th) were recorded under Bond’s management after Robson’s arrival but, after another former Hammer Ken Brown took over in October 1980, the Canaries were relegated at the end of the 1980/81 season, swapping places with the Hammers who stormed to the Second Division title that season. Robson scored 14 goals in 71 appearances for Norwich but left the club in September 1981, signing for Second Division Leicester.

Embed from Getty Images

After a spell on loan to Carlisle, Robson moved to Hong Kong to play for the South China Athletic Association. He returned to Norfolk in 1983, playing for Norwich Busmen, Corinthian-Casuals and Wroxham, where he became assistant manager in 1993/94. He also worked as a machinist at Impress Metal Packing Co. Now 65, Robson is a visitor to London Stadium and has also guested at events run by Any Old Irons, the West Ham United Foundation programme providing free events for over-65s.

Referee

Saturday’s referee is 38-year-old Paul Tierney. The Lancashire-based official has refereed the Hammers on five previous occasions. His most recent Irons appointment was our 2-0 home defeat to Everton in March. He also refereed our 3-0 win at Newcastle in December.

Embed from Getty Images

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. 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

West Ham United are without Winston Reid and Michail Antonio but Javier Hernandez is available.

Norwich City could be without centre-halves Christoph Zimmermann and Timm Klose as well as winger Onel Hernandez but centre-forward Josip Drmic may be available. Norwich have a win and two defeats from their three Premier League matches so far and were knocked out of the League Cup by League Two Crawley this week. Striker Teemu Pukki has five goals from his first three games of the season.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Rice, Noble; Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Anderson; Haller.

Possible Norwich City XI: Krul; Aarons, Hanley, Godfrey, Lewis; Trybull, Leitner; Buendia, Stiepermann, Cantwell; Pukki.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!


Copyright © 2019 Iain Dale Limited. Terms and conditions. Cookies.
Website by Russell Brown.