Dan Coker's Match Preview

Blast from the past

22nd November 1952 – West Ham United recorded a 1-0 win at Huddersfield, Al Martino was number one with ‘Here In My Heart’, George Cole was in UK cinemas in British comedy Top Secret and, three days later, Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap started its run at the New Ambassadors Theatre in London – it is still running in London 65 years later, having transferred next door to St Martin’s Theatre in 1974.

25-year-old Irish centre-forward Freddie Kearns (pictured) scored the only goal of the game at Leeds Road in front of 22,267, Ted Fenton’s Hammers securing our second (and most recent) league win away to the Terriers. The Irons’ only victory at Huddersfield since came in the FA Cup in 1969.

The Hammers went on to finish the 1952/53 Second Division season in 14th place, while Andy Beattie’s Huddersfield ended up second and were promoted. Kearns was the Irons’ top goalscorer with twelve goals from 23 appearances. Sheffield United topped the Second Division, Arsenal won the First Division title and Blackpool won the FA Cup in the ‘Matthews Final’.

West Ham United: Ernie Gregory, George Wright, Malcolm Allison, Harry Kinsell, Frank O’Farrell, Derek Parker, Terry Woodgate, John Gregory, Freddie Kearns, Albert Foan, Ken Tucker.

Club Connections

A small number of players have worn the shirts of both West Ham United and Huddersfield Town. 2008 Hammer of the Year Robert Green is currently on the Terriers’ books but is yet to make an appearance for them. Others who have represented both clubs include:

Defenders: Kenny Brown, Dickie Pudan, Archie Taylor, Simon Webster, Elliott Ward, David Unsworth.

Midfielders: Peter Butler, Diego Poyet, Mark Ward.

Strikers: Dave Mangnall, Jack Foster, George Crowther.

Lou Macari managed both clubs, while Chris Powell played for West Ham and managed Huddersfield. Sam Allardyce played for the Terriers and managed the Hammers.

Today’s focus though falls on a former Hammers defender who had a loan spell at Huddersfield. Steve Walford was born on the 5th January 1958 in Highgate and began his career as a centre-back at Tottenham in 1975. After struggling to make it at White Hart Lane, Walford became part of a select club to swap Tottenham white for Arsenal red when Terry Neill signed the 19-year-old for £25,000 in 1977. He featured as a late substitute in the 1979 FA Cup Final, when the Gunners beat Manchester United 3-2. Walford signed for former Hammer Ken Brown’s Norwich for £125,000 in March 1981 and experienced relegation and promotion with the Canaries.

After just over two seasons at Carrow Road, the 25-year-old Walford signed for John Lyall’s West Ham United in the summer of 1983 for £160,000. He made his debut at left-back in a 4-0 home win over Birmingham on 27th August 1983 and scored his first goal for the club in his next appearance two days later, the winner in a 1-0 victory at Everton. Walford made it two goals in his opening four appearances in claret and blue when he netted in a 3-1 home win over Leicester on 6th September 1983 but this would prove to be his final league goal for the club, despite this early flourish. The Hammers’ early season form in 1983/84 saw them top the First Division table throughout September but the club would fall away to finish ninth.

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Walford would only score two more goals for the club, both in the League Cup second round tie against Bristol City in 1984/85 – he scored in the 2-2 first leg draw at Ashton Gate before netting again in the 6-1 second leg win at the Boleyn Ground. His goal in the first leg can be viewed in the video below.

Walford would make 33 appearances in the famous 1985/86 campaign, with 27 of these games coming in the league as the Hammers claimed their highest ever league finish of third. The emergence of George Parris put Walford’s position under threat however and he only made 13 league appearances in 1986/87. Walford’s final appearance for the Hammers was on 7th March 1987 in a 2-1 First Division defeat at Charlton but he would remain at the club until 1989, by which time Julian Dicks had arrived from Birmingham and made the left-back berth his own – first-team football did arrive for Walford though through a two-month loan spell at Huddersfield in 1987, for whom he made twelve appearances. Walford also had loan spells at Gillingham in 1988 and West Brom in 1989. After registering 147 appearances for West Ham United, and scoring four goals, the 31-year-old Walford moved to Lai Sun in Hong Kong.

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Walford returned to England to play for Wycombe under Martin O’Neill the following year and, after a brief spell at Wealdstone, returned to Wycombe as O’Neill’s assistant. He has since worked with the Northern Irishman at Norwich, Leicester, Celtic, Aston Villa and Sunderland and has won the English League Cup twice, the Scottish Premier League three times, the Scottish Cup three times and the Scottish League Cup once. Walford, who turned 60 last Friday, is currently assistant manager of the Republic of Ireland (he is pictured above at Euro 2016) and also had a brief spell doubling up as Neil Lennon’s assistant at Bolton.


The referee on Saturday will be Jonathan Moss. The Yorkshire-based official has sent off a player in six of his last nine appointments involving the Hammers – the 4-3 defeat to Bournemouth in August 2015 saw Carl Jenkinson sent off, while the 2-1 win over Chelsea last October saw Nemanja Matic dismissed (then-Blues manager Jose Mourinho was also sent to the stands). Moss issued a red card to Jordan Ayew of Aston Villa in February with the Hammers going on to win 2-0 while, going further back, Burnley’s Michael Duff was also sent off by Moss in our 1-0 home win over the Clarets in May 2015.

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Moss also issued a red card to Cheikhou Kouyate in the 5-1 FA Cup fifth round win at Blackburn in February, although this was later rescinded. Arguably the 47-year-old’s most controversial Hammers appointment was the 2-2 draw at Leicester in April 2016 when he sent off Jamie Vardy and awarded two penalties, the second arriving deep into stoppage time as the Foxes rescued a precious point. Moss’ most recent match in charge of the Hammers was last month’s goalless draw with Arsenal at London Stadium.

Possible line-ups

David Wagner is likely to be missing centre-backs Martin Cranie and Jon Stankovic, left-back Chris Lowe and strikers Elias Kachunga and Collin Quaner. New loan signing from Monaco, Terence Kongolo, could start in the centre of defence.

David Moyes could have Aaron Cresswell, Reece Oxford and Marko Arnautovic available but Jose Fonte, Edimilson Fernandes and Diafra Sakho are injured. Winston Reid and Michail Antonio are doubts, while James Collins is back in training but may not be risked. Sam Byram is also nearing a return.

Possible Huddersfield Town XI: Lossl; Smith, Zanka, Kongolo, Malone; Mooy, Williams; van La Parra, Ince, Lolley; Mounie.

Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Zabaleta, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku; Noble, Obiang, Lanzini; Arnautovic, Carroll.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!