Dan Coker's Match Preview
Blast from the past
Today’s blast from the past features a pre-war Second Division victory at the home of this evening’s opponents, Manchester United. It arrived on the 22nd of April 1933, a 2-1 win at Old Trafford in front of 14,958 spectators on the day Sir Henry Royce died at the age of 70 – car manufacturer Royce was the co-founder of Rolls-Royce.
The 1932/33 season was a tempestuous campaign in West Ham United’s history – it was the club’s first season back in the Second Division following relegation the previous campaign. The club were managed at the start of the season by Syd King but, two days after losing their ninth game of the season, King was sacked on 7th November 1932 having been reputed to have had problems with alcohol and having previously insulted a director at a board meeting after turning up drunk. King had taken the Hammers’ relegation the previous season so badly that it had affected his mental health and, a month after his sacking, he committed suicide by drinking alcohol laced with a “corrosive substance”. An inquest into his death concluded that he had been suffering from paranoia and that he had taken his life “whilst of unsound mind”.
A run of four wins in the last five games moved the club out of the relegation places with one game of the season remaining. This run included the Hammers’ only away win of the season, at Old Trafford against Manchester United. The winning goal in the 2-1 victory was scored by 24-year-old Arthur Wilson, a Newcastle-born inside-right, who many years later recalled the goal:
“It was a real belter from 30 yards. The ball hit the underside of the bar and struck the goalkeeper on the back of the neck before crossing the line. The force of the shot knocked him to the floor.”
Jackie Morton (pictured) scored the Irons’ other goal, while Neil Dewar struck for Manchester United. West Ham’s players were promised a continental tour if they managed to beat relegation – this did not materialise.
West Ham were by now under the management of Charlie Paynter – the second manager in West Ham’s history, Paynter first became involved with the club in 1897 and worked his way up from reserve-team trainer in 1902 to first-team trainer under King in 1911. Paynter remained West Ham manager for 18 years, from 1932 until 1950 when he was made an ‘ambassador-at-large’ and replaced as first-team manager by Ted Fenton.
The Irons finished 1932/33 in 20th place in the Second Division, just one point clear of relegation and having not been higher than 16th all season. Manchester United finished sixth but the Hammers’ Old Trafford triumph completed a double over the Red Devils after a 3-1 win at Upton Park the previous December. West Ham’s defence was also the poorest in the league, conceding 93 goals in 42 matches. The club’s top scorer was Vic Watson with 28 goals; 24 in the league and four in the FA Cup. The Irons did reach the semi-final of the FA Cup though, where they lost to eventual winners Everton. Stoke topped the Second Division and Arsenal won the league title.
Manchester United: John Moody, John Mellor, Henry Topping, Jimmy J Brown, Thomas Frame, Ernest Vincent, Tommy Manley, Ernest Hine, Neil Dewar, William McDonald, George McLachlan.
West Ham United: Pat McMahon, Alf Chalkley, Albert Walker, Joe Cockroft, Jim Barrett, Jimmy Collins, Jim Wood, Arthur Wilson, Vic Watson, Len Goulden, Jackie Morton.
West Ham United manager David Moyes returns to the club he managed for most of the 2013/14 season, while Manchester United coach Michael Carrick welcomes his first professional club to Old Trafford. A largely impressive list of players join the pair in having represented both West Ham United and Manchester United over the years. These include:
Goalkeepers: Roy Carroll, Les Sealey.
Defenders: Noel Cantwell, Patrice Evra, Fred Milnes, Jonathan Spector, Rio Ferdinand.
Midfielders: James McCrae, Bill McCartney, Paul Ince, Ralph Milne, Luke Chadwick, Ravel Morrison.
Strikers: Charlie Mackie, Billy Grassam, Stuart Pearson, Javier Hernandez, Ted MacDougall, Teddy Sheringham, David Bellion, Carlos Tevez.
In addition, Dave Sexton played for the Hammers before going on to manage the Red Devils. Lou Macari played for the Old Trafford club before managing the Irons.
Another ex-Hammers player to go on to manage Manchester United is the oldest living Hammer, Frank O’Farrell. Born in Cork on the 9th October 1927, O’Farrell dreamed of becoming a locomotive driver like his father Patrick and supplemented the wages he earned as a fireman on the Cork-Dublin main line by playing semi-professional football for Cork United. He replaced Tommy Moroney in the Cork side when Moroney joined West Ham in 1947 and later followed him to Upton Park – at the age of 20, O’Farrell was spotted by a West Ham scout named Ben Ives and signed for Charlie Paynter’s Hammers in January 1948.
After playing over 50 reserve matches, the 22-year-old O’Farrell made his debut for the Hammers on 28th September 1950 in a 2-1 win over Colchester in the Essex Professional Cup before making his league bow two months later under Ted Fenton in a 4-1 defeat at Notts County on 25th November 1950. A wing-half, he became a first-team regular in 1951/52, making 44 appearances as the Hammers finished 12th in the Second Division. His first goal for the Irons came in a 3-1 loss at Blackburn on 22nd December 1951. O’Farrell bagged his first Upton Park goal in a 2-1 FA Cup third round victory against Blackpool on 12th January 1952 and scored his first league goal in east London in a 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest on 22nd March 1952. He made his debut for Ireland on 7th May 1952 in a 6-0 defeat to Austria in Vienna.
The 1952/53 campaign saw West Ham drop to 14th, with O’Farrell making 42 appearances and scoring one goal, in a 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest on 18th October 1952. He also scored his first goal for his country as Ireland wreaked revenge on the Austrians by beating them 4-0 at Dublin’s Dalymount Park on 25th March 1953, O’Farrell scoring his side’s fourth with ten minutes to go. He scored his second and final goal for his country in a 5-3 defeat to France in Dublin on 4th October 1953.
O’Farrell married local East Ham girl Ann in 1954 in St Anthony’s Church in Forest Gate. He played 22 times without scoring in 1953/54 with West Ham finishing 13th, and made 29 appearances in 1954/55, scoring once in a 5-2 home thrashing of Bristol Rovers on 11th September 1954. The Hammers had finished eighth in 1954/55 but dropped to 16th the following season, with O’Farrell playing 47 matches. Both his goals that season were scored at the Boleyn Ground, the first in a 6-1 trouncing of Notts County on 3rd September 1955 and in a 3-0 Southern Floodlit Cup win against Crystal Palace on 10th October 1955.
O’Farrell’s final goal for the Hammers came in a 1-1 home draw with Liverpool on 3rd September 1956, with his last match for the club coming five days later in another 1-1 home draw, this time with Rotherham. Having scored eight goals in 213 appearances in all competitions for West Ham United, O’Farrell joined First Division Preston in November 1956 in a swap deal involving centre-forward Eddie Lewis. While at the club, he helped North End to the runners-up spot in the top flight in 1958; meanwhile in the same season, his former club finally achieved promotion back to the First Division.
O’Farrell made his ninth and final appearance for Ireland on 10th May 1959 against Czechoslovakia while he was a Preston player. He was forced to retire as a player due to injury in 1961 but swiftly became manager at Southern League outfit Weymouth. Four years later he took over the hotseat at Fourth Division Torquay and led the Gulls to promotion in his first season in charge before stabilising the club’s Third Division position in the following two campaigns. In December 1968 he was appointed as manager of struggling First Division side Leicester – he couldn’t arrest the Foxes’ slide though and the club were relegated but they did make a losing appearance in that season’s FA Cup Final, beaten 1-0 by Manchester City. Leicester missed out on an immediate return to the top flight by just two points the following season but O’Farrell led them to the Second Division title and promotion in 1970/71.
Following this achievement O’Farrell (pictured above on the left with his assistant at Old Trafford, and fellow former Hammer, Malcolm Musgrove) was appointed as manager of Manchester United. Since winning the European Cup in 1968, the Red Devils had finished 11th in 1969, leading to Sir Matt Busby stepping down to be replaced by Wilf McGuinness. United finished the following season in eighth place and Busby returned to the top job midway through the 1970/71 campaign as the club replicated their eighth position of the previous season. After initial speculation that Jock Stein would replace Busby, it was O’Farrell who was named as the club’s new manager in June 1971. He started well and United were top of the table at Christmas and held a ten-point lead at one stage before seven successive defeats brought the club’s season crashing down and they finished, again, in eighth position. The softly-spoken Irishman struggled to control the increasing excesses of George Best and team morale suffered as a consequence. O’Farrell has said of the brilliant but mercurial Ulsterman:
“George Best was like every other player except that he was much more in the public domain. George Best was big news. There were times when I didn’t know where he was. He would be away for a couple of days, and I’d ring his digs and ring his house, but no-one knew where he was. Eventually he would come back, and the other players got annoyed when I picked him because they would think ‘Why has he been picked when we have trained and he has been away?’ Well, quite simply I had to pick my best players and the rest of the team weren’t good enough without George. A half-fit George Best was better than a lot of the team and I owed it to the fans and to the team to pick the best players. Every time I had reservations about picking George, I would do it anyway because I knew he could win you a game.”
After failing to win any of the opening nine matches of the 1972/73 season, United’s form continued to be patchy at best until a 5-0 defeat at Crystal Palace in mid-December 1972 finally resulted in the end of O’Farrell’s tenure at Old Trafford and he was replaced by Tommy Docherty.
O’Farrell became manager of Cardiff in November 1973, but quit in April 1974 to take the manager’s post with the Iranian national team who he led to the 1976 Asian Cup. He returned to Torquay as manager in November 1976, moving upstairs to become General Manager in March 1977 when Mike Green was appointed as manager. He became Torquay manager again in June 1981 before once more returning to his General Manager post on the appointment of Bruce Rioch in June 1982. He remained in this role until 1983, when he retired from football but continued living in Torquay and occasionally worked as a scout for Everton and Bolton. He also ran a nursing home with his wife and has been active in church affairs. Now 92 years of age, O’Farrell still lives in Devon and celebrated 60 years of marriage with Ann in 2014. Interviewed last year, O’Farrell said:
“Although I’ve had to give up driving, I’m generally well for my age and can’t have any complaints about my career or my life. Well, maybe there’s only one small tinge of disappointment – I never got to drive that steam train!”
Wednesday’s referee is 39-year-old Paul Tierney. The Lancashire-based official has refereed the Hammers on seven previous occasions. His most recent Irons appointment was our 2-0 defeat at Everton in October. He also refereed our 2-0 home win against Norwich in August and was in charge for our 2-0 defeat to Everton in east London in March 2019. He also refereed our 3-0 win at Newcastle in December 2018.
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.
Manchester United are without Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe, while Luke Shaw is a doubt. Harry Maguire should be available. The Red Devils are still in the hunt for a top-four finish and will move into the top four should they avoid defeat; they have not ended a full round of fixtures in the Champions League places since mid-September.
West Ham United are without Robert Snodgrass while Ryan Fredericks is a doubt. The Hammers, who require one point to secure survival, have picked up just two points at Old Trafford in their last ten visits, stretching back to May 2007. West Ham are looking to complete their first league double over Manchester United since 2006/07 – the Irons won September’s reverse fixture 2-0. The Hammers have scored at least three goals in six different league matches in 2020, a joint high alongside Manchester City and Manchester United.
Possible Manchester United XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Williams; Pogba, McTominay; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial.
Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Johnson, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice; Bowen, Noble, Fornals; Antonio.
Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!