On This Day, 5th May: Upton Park Swansongs for Brady & Tevez

West Ham 4-0 Wolves, 5th May 1990

Saturday 5th May 1990, exactly 30 years ago today – eleven days before the deaths of American entertainers Sammy Davis Jr and Jim Henson, Madonna was number one with ‘Vogue’ and Look Who’s Talking topped the UK box office as West Ham United rounded off the 1989/90 season with a 4-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in front of 22,509 at the Boleyn Ground.

The pre-match presentations for this final game of the campaign saw Trevor Morley voted in third place of the Hammer of the Year running, with Stuart Slater runner-up and captain Julian Dicks claiming the award for the first time. Liam Brady was also recognised by chairman Martin Cearns before the last game of a career which had taken in Arsenal, Juventus, Sampdoria, Inter Milan, Ascoli and, since March 1987, West Ham United. He had also won 72 caps for the Republic of Ireland.

The Hammers opened the scoring in the 18th minute – a move involving Steve Potts, Stuart Slater, Martin Allen and Kevin Keen ended with Allen dinking in a cross from the right for Keen to nod home a brave diving header against the club he would go on to join three years later. It was Keen’s 13th goal of the season. The Irons doubled their advantage six minutes before half-time – another move down the right involved Keen, Potts and Stewart Robson with Potts evading a two-footed lunge to cross for Morley (pictured below) to net a second diving header of the afternoon and his tenth of the campaign.

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The second half saw the Hammers’ ex-Arsenal midfield men come to the fore. First Robson broke from midfield to fire in the third with a blistering strike into the far corner from distance just two minutes after the interval – it was his only goal of an injury-hit campaign. Then, right at the end of the game, substitute Brady picked up the ball after good work from Tony Gale and a neat pass from Robson, and advanced to the edge of the Wolves penalty area before unleashing an unstoppable drive to bring down the curtain appropriately on a superb career. He was engulfed by delirious supporters in the then-customary end-of-season pitch invasion. My video below shows the presentations and goals from this game, as well as an interview with manager Billy Bonds.

Bonds’ Hammers would finish the 1989/90 Second Division season in seventh place, with Wolves ending up in tenth position. Leeds topped the Second Division, Liverpool won the title and Manchester United won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Ludek Miklosko, Steve Potts, Colin Foster, Tony Gale, Julian Dicks, Kevin Keen (Liam Brady), Martin Allen, Stewart Robson, Stuart Slater, Trevor Morley (Jimmy Quinn), Leroy Rosenior.

West Ham 3-1 Bolton, 5th May 2007

5th May 2007, exactly 13 years ago today: West Ham met Bolton at the Boleyn Ground, Beyonce featuring Shakira was number one with ‘Beautiful Liar’ and Next topped the UK box office.

Future Hammers boss Sam Allardyce had just left Bolton, leaving Sammy Lee to take charge of his first match for the Trotters. Jussi Jaaskelainen and Kevin Nolan were both in Lee’s starting line-up and would of course go on to represent West Ham later in their careers, while future Hammer Ricardo Vaz Te would also make an appearance from the bench.

The Hammers started brightly in front of a crowd of 34,404, with Hammer of the Year Carlos Tevez curling home a delightful free-kick after just nine minutes. It was 2-0 just over ten minutes later when Mark Noble released Luis Boa Morte who squared unselfishly for Tevez to tap home his second and send Upton Park into raptures. The Argentine then delivered a perfect cross to the back post for the onrushing Noble to thunder home a volley beyond the aforementioned Jaaskelainen to put the Irons three up with less than half an hour played. Tevez is pictured below, celebrating his second goal.

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The second half saw Bolton score a consolation when the late Gary Speed beat Robert Green with a left-foot shot in the 67th minute. It was a third successive win for the Hammers and took them out of the relegation zone for the first time since December; the goals from this match can be viewed on the WHTID social media pages. The Irons went on to secure their survival with a victory at Old Trafford against champions Manchester United the following weekend.

Alan Curbishley’s Hammers went on to finish the 2006/07 season in 15th place, while Bolton ended up seventh. Bobby Zamora would end the campaign as the Irons’ top goalscorer with 11 goals from 37 appearances. Tevez was voted Hammer of the Year with Zamora runner-up. Manchester United won the First Division title and Chelsea won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Robert Green, Lucas Neill, Anton Ferdinand, James Collins, George McCartney, Yossi Benayoun, Nigel Reo-Coker (Hayden Mullins), Mark Noble, Luis Boa Morte (Jonathan Spector), Carlos Tevez, Bobby Zamora (Marlon Harewood).

Bolton Wanderers: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Ivan Campo, Abdoulaye Meite, Lubomir Michalik, Ricardo Gardner (Stelios Giannakopoulos), David Thompson (James Sinclair), Gary Speed, Andranik Teymourian (Ricardo Vaz Te), Kevin Nolan, Nicolas Anelka, Kevin Davies.


On This Day, 2nd May: Cup Final Delight, Survival Secured & Frank's Farewell Hat-Trick

West Ham 3-2 Preston, FA Cup Final, 2nd May 1964

West Ham United met Preston North End in the FA Cup Final in front of 100,000 at Wembley exactly 56 years ago today, on the 2nd May 1964. The Searchers were number one with ‘Don’t Throw Your Love Away’, and Harry H. Corbett, Eric Sykes, Ronnie Barker and Richard Briers were in UK cinemas in the Galton and Simpson comedy The Bargee. The First Division Hammers emerged victorious against the Second Division Lilywhites with a 3-2 win. Preston had beaten Nottingham Forest, Bolton, Carlisle, Oxford and Swansea on their way to the final, while West Ham’s run to Wembley had seen them knock out Charlton, Leyton Orient, Swindon, Burnley and Manchester United.

Jimmy Milne’s underdogs took the lead after ten minutes when Jim Standen failed to hold a shot and outside-left Doug Holden beat John Bond to bundle home the loose ball. Johnny Sissons, the youngest player in the Hammers’ line-up at just 18, equalised just a minute later, shooting left-footed beyond Alan Kelly. Irish international Kelly had a son, Gary, who would later have a loan spell at West Ham as emergency goalkeeper cover in 1994, although he never played a first-team match for the Hammers. His other son, Alan Junior (another goalkeeper), played for Preston and Sheffield United and also represented the Republic of Ireland. Preston regained the lead in the match five minutes before half-time when Alex Dawson headed home from a corner.

Ron Greenwood’s Hammers were level within seven minutes of the start of the second half – Peter Brabrook’s corner was helped on by the head of Ken Brown and found Geoff Hurst whose header struck the underside of the bar before finding the net via the luckless Kelly. The favourites took the crucial lead in the dying seconds of the game when Peter Brabrook’s cross from the right was nodded home by Ronnie Boyce to claim West Ham United’s first peacetime FA Cup. Bobby Moore walked up the 39 steps for the first of three occasions in three consecutive years to collect the trophy.

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Preston’s Howard Kendall became the youngest player to play in a Wembley FA Cup Final, aged 17 years and 345 days. He retained this record until 1980 when, ironically, West Ham’s Paul Allen played in that year’s final at the age of 17 years and 256 days. Seven of the Hammers XI that day are still with us, although only three of the Preston line-up – Dave Wilson and goalscorers Holden and Dawson – are still alive today.

West Ham United: Jim Standen, John Bond, Ken Brown, Bobby Moore, Jack Burkett, Peter Brabrook, Eddie Bovington, Ronnie Boyce, Johnny Sissons, Johnny ‘Budgie’ Byrne, Geoff Hurst.

Preston North End: Alan Kelly, George Ross, Jim Smith, Nobby Lawton, Tony Singleton, Howard Kendall, Dave Wilson, Alec Ashworth, Alex Dawson, Alan Spavin, Doug Holden.

As an added bonus, I found this incredible colour footage of the bus parade, which is well worth a look:

West Ham 4-1 Chelsea, 2nd May 1988

2nd May 1988 – with S-Express at number one with ‘Theme from S-Express’ and Wall Street in UK cinemas, West Ham United met Chelsea for the final game at Upton Park of the 1987/88 season in front of 28,521.

Prior to kick-off, Stewart Robson was named Hammer of the Year, with Billy Bonds runner-up. The Irons, needing a win to secure top flight survival, broke the deadlock in the 16th minute – Mark Ward found Leroy Rosenior (pictured) who swivelled and fired beyond Kevin Hitchcock from just inside the area. The pair were involved again for the second goal 20 minutes later, Ward producing excellent work in his own half before sending Rosenior clear with a delightful ball in behind the Chelsea rearguard, the striker slotting past Hitchcock to double the lead.

Hammers defender Paul Hilton scored the third on 57 minutes after Tony Dorigo had blocked Rosenior’s header following Tony Gale’s flick-on from a corner. Rosenior turned from hero to villain when he lashed out at future West Ham assistant manager Steve Clarke and was sent off. Substitute Colin West reduced the arrears for Chelsea from a corner but Tony Cottee restored the three-goal advantage, making it 4-1 with a late header from a Ward cross. Cottee would be the club’s top scorer in 1987/88 with 15 goals from 44 matches. The goals, and end-of-season presentations, can be viewed in my video below.

The Hammers would finish 16th in 1987/88 while Chelsea would finish 18th. Liverpool won the league title and Wimbledon won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Tom McAlister, Steve Potts, Paul Hilton, Tony Gale, Julian Dicks, Mark Ward, Stewart Robson, Alan Dickens, George Parris, Leroy Rosenior, Tony Cottee.

Chelsea: Kevin Hitchcock, Gareth Hall, Steve Clarke, Steve Wicks, Tony Dorigo, John Bumstead, Micky Hazard (Colin West), Joe McLaughlin, Pat Nevin, Gordon Durie, Kerry Dixon.

West Ham 3-0 Nottingham Forest, 2nd May 1992

Finally today we travel back exactly 28 years, to the 2nd May 1992 – The Hand That Rocks the Cradle topped the UK box office, KWS were number one with ‘Please Don’t Go/Game Boy’ and UEFA awarded the 1996 European Championships to England three days later. Already-relegated West Ham United, meanwhile, secured a 3-0 victory over Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest in front of 20,629 at Upton Park.

Stuart Slater was in the West Ham side to make his 179th and final appearance for the club before moving to Celtic; Dean Martin made his only start for the club in what was to be his third and final appearance in claret and blue. Des Walker was playing his last game for the visitors before a summer move to Sampdoria – he would return to the City Ground later in his career.

The first half ended goalless and few could have anticipated the second 45 minutes that were to follow. Frank McAvennie had been named on the bench by manager Billy Bonds and was to leave the club on a free transfer that summer; with no sign that Bonds was going to put the Scottish striker on, midfielder Mitchell Thomas faked an injury at half-time and McAvennie replaced him. The 31-year-old marked his 190th and final appearance in claret and blue by scoring a second-half hat-trick, the only treble he scored in his two spells with the club. His first came when he latched on to Steve Potts’ lofted pass forward, controlled with his right foot before slamming home with his left. His second was a tap-in after a Mike Small pass and his third was a well-taken effort with his left foot after he’d controlled a long pass forward from Julian Dicks with his chest. McAvennie joined Aston Villa and enjoyed a brief spell with them in the first season of the Premier League.

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The Hammers ended up bottom and were relegated at the end of the 1991/92 season; Forest finished in eighth position. Dicks was voted Hammer of the Year for the second time, with Potts runner-up. Small was leading scorer with 18 goals in 51 matches, Leeds were First Division champions and Liverpool won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Ludek Miklosko, Steve Potts, Tony Gale, Alvin Martin, Julian Dicks, Martin Allen, Mitchell Thomas (Frank McAvennie), Ian Bishop, Stuart Slater, Dean Martin, Mike Small.


On This Day, 24th April: Speedie Sinks The Pirates & Happy Birthday Stuart Pearce

West Ham 2-1 Bristol Rovers, 24th April 1993

April 1993 saw the IRA bombing of Bishopsgate in the City of London, the murder of Stephen Lawrence and a false start forced the Grand National to be cancelled. George Michael & Queen with Lisa Stansfield were number one with ‘Five Live’ (a compilation of five tracks recorded at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at Wembley) and Body of Evidence topped the UK box office as West Ham United took on Bristol Rovers in a First Division encounter in front of 16,682 at The Boleyn Ground.

The Hammers were locked in an incredibly tight battle with Portsmouth for the second automatic promotion place, with Newcastle all but assured of the First Division title. Billy Clarke shocked Upton Park when he put Bristol Rovers, rock bottom of the division, ahead early in the second half, heading home a corner from the right flank. David Speedie had endured a mixed start to his Hammers career whilst on loan from Southampton, having missed two presentable late openings to claim the three points in a 2-2 draw with Millwall but gone on to score a brace in a 3-0 home win over Leicester. Speedie incurred the exasperation of the home crowd again when he was clean through to equalise against Rovers, but a poor touch allowed goalkeeper Gavin Kelly to easily gather the ball.

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Speedie, however, was to swiftly turn from villain to hero; his left-wing cross was blocked by a hand, and Julian Dicks (pictured above) thumped home the penalty to level the scores. Within two minutes, the Hammers had turned the game on its head; Mark Robson’s pass found Kevin Keen who in turn fed Speedie in the penalty area. The Scotsman’s ball across the face of goal was met by the outstretched right foot of Trevor Morley who had the goal at his mercy but the ball rebounded off the crossbar – Speedie bravely flung his head in amongst the flailing boots of the defenders around him, with his header nestling in the back of the net to secure a vitally important three points for the Irons. After a short period poleaxed on the turf, Speedie rose groggily to his feet to claim the applause of the Hammers faithful. The action from this match can be viewed on the WHTID social media pages.

Bristol Rovers ended up occupying bottom place, thereby filling one of the relegation spots in 1992/93, while the Hammers finished in second position and were promoted automatically on the final day by virtue of goals scored. Newcastle topped the division. Steve Potts was voted Hammer of the Year with Kevin Keen runner-up, Manchester United were the first champions of the Premier League and Arsenal won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Ludek Miklosko, Tim Breacker, Steve Potts, Tony Gale, Julian Dicks, Mark Robson (Ian Bishop), Martin Allen, Peter Butler, Kevin Keen, Trevor Morley, David Speedie.

Happy 58th Birthday Stuart Pearce

Stuart Pearce was born in Hammersmith on 24th April 1962 and attended Fryent Primary School, followed by Claremont High in Kenton and supported QPR as a boy. An electrician by trade, he started his career at non-league Wealdstone in 1978 before moving to Coventry in 1983. Two years later he was signed by Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest and he would make over 400 appearances for the club, winning the League Cup in 1989 and 1990.

Pearce, whose brother Ray was a Football League linesman, made his England debut at the age of 25 on 19th May 1987 in a 1-1 draw with Brazil at Wembley – he became the 999th player to appear for England. He scored his first goal for his country in a 4-2 friendly win over Czechoslovakia at Wembley on 25th April 1990 – ‘Ludo’ Miklosko, who had signed for West Ham two months previously, didn’t cover himself in glory for the goal, coming to collect a corner but failing to claim the ball with Pearce driving home the loose ball. Pearce was named in Bobby Robson’s squad for the 1990 World Cup in Italy and started all of England’s matches with the exception of the third-place play-off against the hosts. ‘Psycho’, as Pearce was nicknamed, saw his penalty in the semi-final shoot-out in Turin saved by the legs of West Germany’s Bodo Illgner.

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With Graham Taylor now in charge, Pearce captained his country for the first time in a friendly against New Zealand in Wellington on 8th June 1991 – Pearce marked the occasion by scoring his second goal for his country in a 2-0 win, a low drive from the edge of the penalty area after a John Solako cross. Pearce started all three of England’s games in the 1992 European Championships in Sweden but the Three Lions were knocked out in the group stage. Taylor named Pearce as captain on eight occasions and he scored two further goals under his stewardship, in a 4-0 World Cup qualifying win over Turkey on 18th November 1992 and a 3-0 win over Poland on 8th September 1993, both from free-kicks in World Cup qualifiers at Wembley. The latter strike came when Pearce was playing outside the top flight at club level following Nottingham Forest’s relegation.

Pearce scored his fifth and final England goal under Terry Venables in a 3-1 friendly win over Switzerland at Wembley on 15th November 1995, a deflected effort which flew into the net from the edge of the area following a short corner routine. He started all five of England’s games at Euro ’96, scoring in penalty shoot-outs against Spain in the quarter-finals and Germany in the semi-finals to lay the ghost of Turin to rest. His celebration after scoring from the spot against Spain showed the raw passion that embodied Pearce’s career and is an iconic moment, both for that tournament and in the history of the national team.

‘Psycho’ captained his country for the tenth and final time in a 2-1 win over South Africa at Old Trafford on 24th May 1997. Now 35 and playing under the management of Glenn Hoddle, Pearce was named in the squad for Le Tournoi, a tournament held in France to aid preparations for the World Cup there the following year. England won the competition, with Pearce starting the opening match against Italy, which England won 2-0.

Pearce turned down a move to the Hammers in 1997 to sign for Newcastle but did team up with Harry Redknapp two years later. While at Newcastle, Pearce was awarded an MBE for services to football. He made his Hammers debut in a 1-0 win over Tottenham on 7th August 1999, the opening day of the 1999/2000 season, and even made an England return in September 1999 at the age of 37 – he became the third-oldest outfield player to appear for England after Stanley Matthews and Leslie Compton. It had been over two years since Pearce had played for England, Kevin Keegan starting him in a 6-0 win over Luxembourg at Wembley on 4th September 1999 and a 0-0 draw in Poland four days later, both European Championship qualifiers. The match in Warsaw was Pearce’s last for England – he had captained his country on ten occasions, won 78 caps and scored five goals.

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Pearce made five league appearances in claret and blue before suffering a broken leg against Watford three days after his final England match – typically, he wanted to carry on playing! He made a return to action in February 2000 but only lasted three games before breaking the same leg.

2000/01 saw better times for Pearce though. He scored his first goal for the club direct from a free-kick in a 2-1 home defeat to Arsenal on 21st October 2000, with his second goal for the Irons being a typically thunderous strike in a 3-2 win at Southampton on 25th November 2000. His third and final goal for the Hammers was a stunning, low, driven free-kick to make it 1-1 in an FA Cup quarter-final with Tottenham at a rain-drenched Upton Park on 11th March 2001, a game the Irons would sadly lose 3-2. He was sent off for two bookable offences in a 2-0 home defeat to Everton on 31st March 2001. Pearce played in 34 of the Irons’ Premier League matches, with a further eight appearances coming in the domestic cups. Pearce ended the season as a 39-year-old but had played 42 matches during the campaign at the top level of English football. He was named Premier League Player of the Month in February 2001 and voted Hammer of the Year at the end of the 2000/01 season.

After being beaten to the vacant managerial post at Upton Park by Glenn Roeder in the summer of 2001, Pearce left east London after three goals in 50 appearances to end his playing days with Manchester City, who romped to the First Division title and promotion to the Premier League under Kevin Keegan. All of his goals for West Ham and England, plus those three penalties in shoot-outs for the Three Lions, can be viewed on the WHTID social media pages.

Pearce’s first stint as a manager had been as caretaker at Nottingham Forest in 1997. He became a coach under Keegan at Manchester City before becoming manager of the club in 2005. He became manager of the England Under-21 team in February 2007 whilst still in charge at City but was sacked by his club three months later, taking the England Under-21 job full time. He guided the Under-21s to the semi-finals of the European Championships in 2007 and the Final in 2009 – his captains at both tournaments were provided by the Hammers, Nigel Reo-Coker and Mark Noble respectively. He also worked as a coach with the England senior team under Fabio Capello and was temporary England manager between February and May 2012 after the Italian’s departure. Pearce also managed the Great Britain Olympic team at London 2012. He left his role as Under-21 manager in the summer of 2013 and spent seven months back in charge at Forest in the 2014/15 campaign.

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After a spell working at Portsmouth, Pearce joined former club West Ham as an assistant to new manager David Moyes in November 2017 – having played a role in ensuring the Hammers’ top flight survival ‘Psycho’, who turns 58 today, left at the end of the 2017/18 season after Moyes’ contract was not renewed.


On This Day, 21st April: One Gr-Eight Night & Two Relegation Rumbles

West Ham 8-1 Newcastle, 21st April 1986

April 1986 surely goes down as one of the most relentlessly exciting months in West Ham United’s history. Beginning with a 2-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest, the Hammers reinvigorated their title charge by winning eight of their next nine matches. The most outstanding and amazing game in this unforgettable run has to be the incredible 8-1 victory over Newcastle United.

It was Monday the 21st of April 1986 – 34 years ago exactly. George Michael was number one with ‘A Different Corner’, Jossy’s Giants made its TV debut two days later and Fright Night topped the UK box office. Newcastle’s very own ‘Fright Night’ began to unfold after just three minutes when Alan Devonshire’s floated free-kick from the left was prodded home by an unmarked Alvin Martin for his first on what would turn out to be a remarkable personal night for ‘Stretch’. It was 2-0 after 11 minutes as Mark Ward found Ray Stewart overlapping on the right wing – Tonka’s cross-cum-shot was fumbled over his goalline by the Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Thomas, who had been suffering from injury before the game. On 36 minutes Devonshire played a short pass to Neil Orr who hit a rasping 30-yarder which deceived Thomas in mid-air and found the net for the Hammers’ third. Shortly before half-time, Stewart’s long throw sparked a spot of head tennis in the Newcastle penalty area, which culminated in future West Ham manager Glenn Roeder flicking the ball off his heel and into his own net to give the Irons an ultimately unassailable 4-0 half-time lead.

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Thomas’ race was run and he was substituted at half-time with outfield player Chris Hedworth taking the goalkeeper’s jersey in his stead. Hedworth himself was soon injured in a collision with Tony Cottee but stayed between the sticks to see Martin (pictured above) notch his second of the game, and the Hammers’ fifth, after Tony Gale had flicked a cross into the path of his central defensive partner’s run. Hedworth succumbed to injury, with Newcastle consequently being reduced to ten men and Peter Beardsley becoming their third custodian of the evening. Hedworth never played for Newcastle again. Billy Whitehurst fired a consolation for the Magpies but the Hammers were soon back on the attack and grabbing a sixth. Devonshire and George Parris combined down the left, with Devonshire’s dinked cross to the far post being nodded in by the onrushing substitute Paul Goddard (who would go on to sign for Newcastle six months later). Goddard then released Cottee down the left and his cross was headed in by Frank McAvennie to make it seven. McAvennie would top the Hammers scoring charts with 28 goals from 51 matches in 1985/86.

There was still time for an eighth. Ward’s cross found Cottee in the area, the PFA Young Player of the Year-in-waiting being bundled to the ground by Roeder. With the majority of a buoyant Boleyn crowd of 24,735 chanting ‘Alvin, Alvin’, penalty king Stewart passed on responsibilities to his captain and the man of the moment… who didn’t disappoint, Martin completing a very unique hat-trick not just because it came from a defender, but because each strike was registered against a different goalkeeper. Cottee, who must have been desperate to add his own name to the scoresheet, hit the bar with a header late on, with the Hammers having to settle for just the eight goals. Cottee would be voted Hammer of the Year, with strike partner McAvennie runner-up. The action from this match can be viewed in my video below.

West Ham won their next four matches, keeping their title hopes alive until Liverpool clinched the championship with a win at Chelsea. In the final-game decider for the runners-up position, Everton beat the Hammers 3-1 at Goodison Park to leave the Irons in third place, still our highest ever League position. Unfortunately there was no prize of a European place in 1986/87 following the Heysel ban on English clubs in Europe. Liverpool would complete the Double by winning the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Phil Parkes, Ray Stewart, Alvin Martin, Tony Gale, George Parris, Mark Ward, Neil Orr, Alan Dickens (Paul Goddard), Alan Devonshire, Frank McAvennie, Tony Cottee.

Newcastle United: Martin Thomas (Ian Stewart), Neil McDonald, Glenn Roeder, John Anderson, John Bailey, Paul Stephenson, David McCreery, Chris Hedworth, Tony Cunningham, Peter Beardsley, Billy Whitehurst.

West Ham 1-0 Middlesbrough, 21st April 2003

The other two matches today were both single-goal home victories with the Hammers entrenched in relegation danger. The first features a 1-0 victory at Upton Park against Middlesbrough exactly 17 years ago, on the 21st of April 2003 in front of 35,019 spectators.

Room 5 & Oliver Cheatham were number one with ‘Make Luv’ and Johnny English topped the UK box office as the Hammers laboured to victory against the Teessiders. The visitors had future Hammer Robbie Stockdale in their matchday squad, and the right-back entered the fray as a substitute in the second half. The hosts, struggling desperately against the dreaded drop, were in trouble in the first minute when embarrassingly lax defending by Tomas Repka allowed Malcolm Christie in but Rufus Brevett was alert to intercept his cut-back for Massimo Maccarone. Joe Cole, Trevor Sinclair, Steve Lomas and Jermain Defoe were all denied by smart stops from Mark Schwarzer before Repka’s grotesque attempt at a clearance was turned over his own crossbar by David James. Cole then ran almost the entire length of the pitch only to shoot wide. Repka’s needless foul on Christie presented Juninho with a free-kick in a dangerous position which forced James into a double save before Ian Pearce cleared off the line from Maccarone.

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The second half saw Les Ferdinand’s header comfortably dealt with by Schwarzer before a deflected effort at the other end whistled past James’ upright; Lomas then hit the inside of the post with a volley on the turn inside the six-yard box. With thirteen minutes remaining, a nervy Upton Park finally breathed a huge sigh of relief – Edouard Cisse’s pass down the right flank found Glen Johnson who skipped away from his man and had the presence of mind to cut the ball back to Trevor Sinclair who fired low and into the far corner of the net. The goal from this match can be viewed on the WHTID social media pages. Manager Glenn Roeder collapsed shortly after the final whistle. The Hammers had three games remaining, of which they won two (against Manchester City and Chelsea) and drew one (at Birmingham).

The Hammers ended the 2002/03 season 18th in the Premier League and were relegated. Defoe finished the season as the club’s top scorer with 11 goals in 42 appearances – he was also runner-up to Cole in the Hammer of the Year voting. Middlesbrough were to finish 11th, Manchester United won the league and Arsenal won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: David James, Glen Johnson, Tomas Repka, Ian Pearce, Rufus Brevett, Joe Cole, Edouard Cisse, Steve Lomas, Trevor Sinclair, Les Ferdinand, Jermain Defoe.

Middlesbrough: Mark Schwarzer, Luke Wilkshire, Gareth Southgate, Colin Cooper, Ugo Ehiogu, Franck Queudrue (Robbie Stockdale), Juninho (Joseph-Desire Job), George Boateng, Jonathan Greening, Massimo Maccarone, Malcolm Christie (Michael Ricketts).

West Ham 1-0 Everton, 21st April 2007

21st April 2007: West Ham met Everton at the Boleyn Ground, Beyonce featuring Shakira was number one with ‘Beautiful Liar’ and Wild Hogs topped the UK box office.

The Hammers started brightly against David Moyes’ Toffees in front of a crowd of 34,945, with Nigel Reo-Coker firing wide early on. Bobby Zamora (pictured below) scored the only goal of the game on 13 minutes – the striker kept the ball in play himself on the right touchline, nodding the ball back to Lucas Neill. The Australian played a one-two with Yossi Benayoun before finding Zamora again, who returned the ball to the impish Israeli. Benayoun then rolled the ball back into the path of Zamora who took one touch before thumping an unstoppable left-foot drive into the top corner of Tim Howard’s net. Zamora would end the campaign as the Irons’ top goalscorer with 11 goals from 37 appearances. This goal can be viewed on the WHTID social media pages.

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Neill later fired an effort just past the post and Zamora lashed a shot over in the second half. Mikel Arteta shot wide for the visitors before blazing a shot over the bar when well placed. As with another featured match above against Middlesbrough, the Hammers had three games left and, this time, did enough to survive, winning all three against Wigan, Bolton and Manchester United.

Alan Curbishley’s Hammers went on to finish the 2006/07 season in 15th place, while Moyes’ Everton ended up sixth. Carlos Tevez was voted Hammer of the Year with Zamora runner-up. Manchester United won the First Division title and Chelsea won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Robert Green, Lucas Neill, Anton Ferdinand, James Collins, George McCartney, Yossi Benayoun, Nigel Reo-Coker, Mark Noble, Matthew Etherington (Luis Boa Morte), Carlos Tevez, Bobby Zamora (Carlton Cole).

Everton: Tim Howard, Tony Hibbert, Joseph Yobo, Alan Stubbs, Joleon Lescott, Phil Neville (Manuel Fernandes), Leon Osman, Mikel Arteta, Lee Carsley, Andrew Johnson (James McFadden), James Beattie.


On This Day, 19th April: Southampton & Watford Beaten, Birthdays For Behrami & Hart

West Ham 4-0 Southampton, 19th April 1952

19th April 1952 – Nat King Cole was number one with ‘Unforgettable’ and Ted Fenton’s mid-table West Ham United beat George Roughton’s Southampton 4-0 in a Second Division encounter in front of 18,119 at The Boleyn Ground.

This match was the Hammers’ last home game, and final victory, of the 1951/52 campaign – they would close the season with two away draws, at Brentford and Sheffield Wednesday. They came up against a side containing future Chelsea and England right-back Peter Sillett, while fellow full-back Bill Ellerington had already been capped by the Three Lions.

West Ham’s goals in this victory 68 years ago came courtesy of a brace from 32-year-old East Ham-born outside-right Terry Woodgate (pictured) and strikes from 21-year-old inside-right Jim Barrett Junior (the son of Hammers legend and England international ‘Big Jim’ Barrett) and 24-year-old Irish centre-forward Fred Kearns.

John Terence (‘Terry’) Woodgate had made his Hammers debut before the Second World War, on 7th April 1939 in a 2-0 Good Friday home defeat to Bradford Park Avenue. He won a regular place in the first team after the conflict having served for more than six years with the Essex Regiment and Royal Artillery. He scored a seven-minute hat-trick against Plymouth in a Football League South fixture at Upton Park on 16th February 1946. He bagged a total of 74 goals in 355 appearances in the claret and blue, making his final appearance in a 5-1 Essex Professional Cup defeat at Colchester on 22nd October 1953 before transferring to Peterborough in March 1954 following the emergence of Harry Hooper and Malcolm Musgrove as regular first-team contenders. He later played for March Town United, and went on to be the landlord of the Cock Inn pub in the Cambridgeshire town of March after his retirement from playing. Terry Woodgate died in the town of March, aged 65, on 26th April 1985.

West Ham went on to finish the 1951/52 season in 12th position. Bert Hawkins was the club’s top goalscorer with 15 goals from 37 matches. Southampton finished 13th, Sheffield Wednesday won the Second Division title, Manchester United won the league and Newcastle won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Ernie Gregory, George Wright, Harry Kinsell, Derek Parker, Malcolm Allison, Frank O’Farrell, Terry Woodgate, Jim Barrett Junior, Fred Kearns, Gerry Gazzard, Jimmy Andrews.

Southampton: Fred Kiernan, Peter Sillett, Billy Ellerington, Bryn Elliott, Stan Clements, Joe Mallett, Eric Day, Ted Bates, Walter Judd, Jimmy McGowan, Tom Lowder.

Watford 0-2 West Ham, 19th April 1986

John Lyall’s West Ham United arrived at Vicarage Road, the home of Watford, for a First Division fixture on 19th April 1986 in front of 16,696 while en route to a record-breaking third-place finish. George Michael was number one with ‘A Different Corner’ and Fright Night topped the UK box office.

The Hammers took the lead after 59 minutes when Alan Devonshire embarked on a run deep into Watford territory before playing a pass into the path of the on-rushing Tony Cottee who struck his 23rd goal of the season. The Hornets fell further behind when captain Alvin Martin’s ball forward found Scottish striker Frank McAvennie who rounded the goalkeeper before slotting into the net. The goals from this match can be viewed on the WHTID social media pages.

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Lyall’s West Ham would end the season in third position, while Graham Taylor’s Watford would finish 12th. Liverpool won a league and FA Cup Double and Cottee was voted Hammer of the Year, with McAvennie runner-up.

West Ham United: Phil Parkes, Ray Stewart, Tony Gale, Alvin Martin, George Parris, Mark Ward, Alan Dickens, Neil Orr, Alan Devonshire, Tony Cottee, Frank McAvennie.

Happy 35th Birthday Valon Behrami

Valon Behrami was born in Mitrovica, Yugoslavia (now Kosovo) on 19th April 1985 but moved to an Italian-speaking village in Switzerland when he was five. He began his career with Lugano in 2002 before moving to Italy a year later, signing for Genoa. An all-action midfielder who could also play at right-back, he spent the 2004/05 season on loan at Verona before joining Lazio permanently in 2005, initially in a co-ownership deal which was made outright in January 2006. Behrami also made his first appearance for Switzerland in 2005.

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In July 2008, the 23-year-old Behrami was signed in a £5m deal by Alan Curbishley as West Ham’s main summer purchase. He made his debut at right-back in a 2-1 home win against Wigan on 16th August 2008, the opening day of the 2008/09 season. Curbishley left the club just four matches into the campaign and was replaced by Gianfranco Zola – Behrami, now a fixture in midfield, scored his first goal under the Italian’s tutelage in a 1-0 win at Sunderland on 23rd November 2008. His only other goal in his first campaign came in a 2-0 FA Cup fourth round win at Hartlepool on 24th January 2009. His season was ended in March 2009 when he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in a home match against Manchester City – the injury would keep him out for six months.

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The Hammers struggled against relegation in 2009/10 with Behrami scoring just one goal, a crucial early strike in a 3-0 home win over Hull on 20th February 2010. Behrami was part of the Switzerland squad which exited the 2010 World Cup in South Africa at the group stage – he was sent off in a 1-0 defeat to Chile. He made just eight appearances in the first half of the 2010/11 season under Avram Grant but scored two goals – the first in a 2-2 draw at Birmingham on 6th November 2010, with his final goal for the club coming three weeks later in a 3-1 home win over Wigan. Behrami made his last appearance in claret and blue in a 5-0 defeat at Newcastle on 5th January 2011 – he had scored five goals in 60 appearances for West Ham United. These five goals can be viewed in my video below.

Behrami left West Ham for Fiorentina in late January 2011 but departed for Napoli the following year. He moved to Germany, joining Hamburg in 2014, before returning to the Premier League with Watford in 2015. He returned to Italian football in 2017, signing for Udinese. Behrami, who turns 35 today, signed for Genoa in January of this year, rejoining the club that first brought him to Italian football back in 2003. He has won 83 caps for his country, scoring twice.

Happy 33rd Birthday Joe Hart

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.

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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.

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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. 33 today, he is currently second-choice behind Nick Pope at Turf Moor.

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