Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

Through the Lens: Photographs From Hammers History Part 4 The Ghost Match

With the talk of potentially playing the final games of the season behind closed doors, I though it would be interesting to look back at a match the Hammers played behind closed doors, but for very different reasons.

On the back on our fantastic victory against Arsenal in the FA Cup, Hammers entered the Cup Winners Cup the following season. Our first round tie was against Spanish side Castilla Club de Futbol, primarily a feeder club for Real Madrid.

The first league was away in the Bernabeu Stadium, in front of a crowd of 40,000, but the occasion got the better of the Hammers. After Cross put the visitors ahead in 17th minute, it looked as if we were going to hold on to the lead for the second league at home. But that was all turned on its head in 12 second half minutes, with the home side scoring 3 goals to end the first leg 3-1.

Leading up to the match, the Hammers hadn’t conceded in the previous 9 hours of football only to be torn apart after wasting several good chances to extend their lead. But, it wasn’t just the disappointment of the result that cast a shadow over the game.

Violence in the stadium by the visiting supporters lead to Spanish police removing 50 people from the crowd, and the trouble continued outside after the match with one fan losing their life after being hit by a bus.

UEFA came down with a fine of £7,750 and ordered West Ham play the next two home games 200km away from Boleyn Ground. At the time, the club worried they may be banned from the competition altogether and lodged an appeal. The appeal successfully lifted the fine and they were allowed to play at home, albeit behind closed doors.

Lyall was angry, saying “All our efforts that went into this game now mean nothing. We took every precaution possible and then this happens.”

Bonds, the captain who wrote an open letter to the fans before the match, said “Whatever we do, some don’t listen. The players were aware of what was going on, but I can’t that as an excuse.”

Despite over turning the fine and ban on playing at home for the second league, it wasn’t looking good for the Hammers. There were efforts to get the match shown live in cinema or another ground, but UEFA made it clear ‘behind closed doors meant no fans would be able to watch the game live.’

The rest is history. With an official attendance as 262, including players and backroom staff, the game played out behind closed doors was one to remember. Goals from Pike, Cross and Goddard, before Bernal’s 35 yard screamer leading to extra time. Cross sealed the 6-4 aggregate win with two more goals to record a famous hat trick.

West Ham progressed to the quarter finals, losing to the eventual CWC winners Russian side Dinamo Tbilisi.

You can watch the goals form that match here: https://youtu.be/I1I2HGJXeLI

Cross (arms raised) celebrating a goal in the 5-1 second leg win at an empty Bolyen Ground

Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

Player In Focus: Lukasz Fabianski

Lukasz Fabianski was born on 18th April, 1985 and began his professional career at Legia Warsaw before transferring to Arsenal in 2007, then joining Swansea in 2014, playing 150 matches before moving to West Ham United for £7m.

Fabianski has made 16 appearances in the Premier League this season, keeping 5 clean sheets, conceding 22 goals, being on the winning side 5 times and on the losing side 7 times. This season Fabianski has been hindered by injury after an excellent season before and he started strongly with the Hammers 5th in the league, keeping 2 consecutive clean sheets by the end of September 2019.

Replaced by Roberto after going down injured with a torn hip muscle at Bournemouth, Hammers form dipped immediately. Can we place our poor season form down to this injury? Remember Fab was voted player of the season at Swansea then the following season Hammer of the Year in 2019.

Returning to the squad on 28th December against Leicester Fab played the next two matches, going off after 15mins against Sheffield United in what looked like a repeat of the injury that sidelined him for months before. Would that be the end of the season for Fabianski? The season was going from bad to worse.

Returning on 29th January 2020 against Liverpool at the London Stadium, Fabianski has played in goal for the remainder of what is now an incomplete season. But, with the league position looking increasingly precarious for the Hammers, Fabianski has not been able to turn the tide in what was proving to be a miserable season for us.

With the loss of Fabianski in goal, the very poor form of Roberto and the drop in form of other players within the team, our season start imploding with the embarrassing defeat to Oxford United in the Carabao Cup at the end of September when our season was looking so good. Some would argue it was a false dawn and the eventual sacking of Pellegrini was inevitable given the criticism of the gaffer in terms of his team selections and tactics, in particular the choice of replacement goalkeeper and lack of ability to motivate the team out of the ongoing slump.

When in form, Fabianski is an excellent shot stopper, commands his area and is a great distributor of the ball, all of which builds confidence in the team from the defence to attack. Goalkeeping is one of many areas we need to have quality and Fabianski offers us that. The issue that has been especially highlighted for us this season is whether we have a good enough stand by to replace him if he suffers another major injury?

Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

Through the Lens: Photographs From Hammers History Part 3 Tony Cottee

Tony Cottee Debut at Upton Park 1st January 1983

Tony Cottee was born on 11th Just 1965 in Forest Gate, London. One of the most prolific goal scorers in English football during the 80s and 90s, scoring 293 goals in 712 games, in all competitions.

Playing on his debut aged 17, Cottee scores past Spurs and England goalkeeper Ray Clemence on 1st January 1983 in the English League One match at Upton Park.

Cottee went on to play 8 games that season, scoring 5 goals. Cottee secured a regular first team place in the following season scoring 18 goals – still on 18 years old. But, in 1984-85 season, Cottee scared 17 First Division goals and by the age of 20 had already managed 37 league goals.

Cottee went to his first match at Upton Park as a boy with his dad to in March 1972 to watch the Hammers beat Nottingham Forest 4-2, with Pop Robson scoring 2 goals. Cottee himself describes this as his ‘rite of passage’ and he has been connected to the club for almost 50 years.

Talking about his debut, Cottee describes how only the year before he was watching the team play from the stands and by the New Year he was in the first team playing with Martin and Devo – something he just couldn’t believe at the time!

For Cottee, and many others who have played for the club or followed the Hammers, Upton Park holds so many special memories and scoring “in a 3-0 victory against the old enemy. It couldn’t get much better than that.”

I love this photo, not only because its of Cottee scoring against Clemence in goal for Spurs, but its such a perfect shot, capturing the moment the ball leaves Cottee’s head, but a perfect rule of thirds composition. Depth of field is spot on with the crowd blurred in the background – but you can still make out some fans standing with their hands up in the air in celebration. The frame of the goal posts, the structure of the stand and the players creating a triangulated dynamic that leads your eye around the scene.

Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

Player In Focus: Michail Antonio

Born 28th March 1990 in Wandsworth, Antonio signed for West Ham United on 1st September 2015, making his debut on 19th September in the 60th minute in a win against Manchester City.

Antonio has scored some key goals in his career so far, notably against Southampton on 28th December with the Hammers 1-0 down, eventually winning 2-1. And who can forget Antonio’s homage to Homer Simpson after scoring on 27th February 2016 against Sunderland where he lay on the floor sideways, spinning round in a circle!

Also, Antonio scored the only goal as Hammers were the first team to beat Spurs in their new stadium on 29th April 2019.

Antonio started the 2016-17 season as a right back, but for the Hammers first Premier league match at the London Stadium, he was switched to winger and scored the only goal in a 1-0 win against Bournemouth.

Hit by injury this season, we have at times missed his pace and ability to stretch and unsettle defences. Apparently without Antonio in the team it takes the Hammers 27mins longer to score a goal.

His strength on the ball gives the team time, especially in forward play, but how often does he get caught surrounded by players unable to cross or pass the ball? Despite some key goals from Antonio, how often has he missed a sitter that is the difference between winning a losing? Antonio has missed 9 big chances this season, with a shooting accuracy of 43%.

Antonio can frustrate as much as he entertains at times, but the team, I would argue, has so much more when he is in it. Antonio runs down the wing, pulls defenders and offers us much needed attacking power. He can get in goal scoring positions and with a 70% tackling percentage so far this season he can break up play in midfield and get the team going forward.

Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

Through the Lens: Photographs From Hammers History Part 2 Trevor Brooking

Trevor Brooking Scores Only Goal to Seal 1980 FA Cup Final Win Against Arsenal

Sir Trevor Brooking CBE was born on 2nd October 1948 and began his West Ham United career on the 24th July 1965 as a young apprentice, turning down both Chelsea and Spurs. Trevors status is legend within West Ham history and reputation as a gentleman, both on and off the pitch and as an ambassador for football is beyond reproach.

There are a number of photographs of Trevor Brookings goal that sealed the FA Cup against Arsenal, showing the before and after on a hot, sunny 10th May in 1980. But this shot shows the moment the ball crosses the line, Jennings diving late and Trevor surrounded by Arsenal players which shows was a fantastic goal it was. Trevor had to bend down to get at the low shot, he was perfectly positioned as play revolved around the six yard box. Not only has Trevor bent down, he has managed to get the perfect angle to head the ball between defender and keeper. 1-0 and the stadium is rocking!

The build up to the goal came after a slow start to the match, the Hammers gained possession from a free kick after Brady was caught offside. Keeping possession in the 12th minute West Ham’s Devonshire broke down the left wing firing over a cross into the Arsenal 6 yard box. Cross’s shot was blocked by Young but Pearson had a shot at goal. As the ball went across the goal Trevor’s quick reaction left the Arsenal defence stranded and he flicked a header past Jennings in the 13th minute. Trevor’s goal decided the match as the Hammers sealed a famous victory at Wembley, which remains the last time a team from outside the top flight has won the FA Cup Final.

Looking at the replay of the goal its amazing to see the crowd of photographers either side of the goal – there must have been about 30 at least, and a few hands raise up in celebration as the ball hits the back of the net and therefore missing a shot of a lifetime. You can even see some of the photographers switching cameras as Devonshire makes his cross and Jennings gets a hand to ball. In some respects, sport photography is quite different these days. And this is what makes this such a wonderful photo. But given how many photographers there were either side of the net, someone was bound to get a great shot. There is just a split second to get it right.

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