Tag Archives: Paolo di Canio

Premier League Rewind: 28th-30th September 2002

Results: Leeds United 1-4 Arsenal, Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Southampton, Charlton Athletic 1-3 Manchester United, Chelsea 2-3 West Ham United, Everton 2-0 Fulham, Manchester City 0-3 Liverpool FC, Sunderland 1-0 Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur 0-3 Middlesbrough, Birmingham City 0-2 Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Blackburn Rovers

Still undefeated at the start of the season, champions Arsenal were looking in irresistible form at the end of September 2002. The Gunners travelled to Elland Road to face Leeds United, aiming at more records and this performance demonstrated the growing gulfing gap that was emerging between the two sides.

Kanu’s opening goal after nine minutes ensured Arsenal had now scored in 47 successive top-flight matches, breaking a record that had stood for 71 years that had been held by Chesterfield. Kolo Toure’s header and a trademark Thierry Henry strike made it 3-0 just after half-time. Although Harry Kewell did pull a late consolation back for the hosts, Kanu’s second of the afternoon ensured a 4-1 win for Arsenal who blew Leeds apart. Terry Venables’ side had lost four of their first eight matches, whilst Arsenal maintained their two-point lead at the top.

Like the men from north London, Liverpool FC were still unbeaten too and they responded later that afternoon with their own masterclass away from home. Manchester City had no answer for the Reds and in particular, Michael Owen. Owen had made an indifferent start to the 2002-2003 campaign, scoring just once and that was from the penalty spot against Newcastle United. However, he rediscovered his scoring touch on Liverpool’s last league visit to Maine Road. Owen scored a hat-trick in Liverpool’s 3-0 victory.

In total, there were seven away victories across the weekend, making a complete mockery of the term ‘home advantage.’ One of the most impressive performances came from Middlesbrough who ran out convincing 3-0 winners at White Hart Lane over Tottenham Hotspur. Massimo Maccarone, Geremi and Joseph Desire-Job all scored and Boro had quietly asserted themselves into the Premier League’s top three. Having topped the table themselves in August, Tottenham had dropped to sixth and lost three of their last four matches. It looked set to be another inconsistent season for Glenn Hoddle and his troops.

Although they hadn’t found their peak form yet, Manchester United were just six points off the early pacesetters. They recovered from a Claus Jensen blockbuster to defeat Charlton Athletic 3-1 at The Valley and record their first win away from Old Trafford in the season. Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Ruud van Nistelrooy were all on-target for the visitors.

Chelsea dropped to fifth after losing their first Premier League match of the season. Once again, Paolo Di Canio was the man who caused them problems. Di Canio had taken a real liking to playing Chelsea throughout his career and he was at it again at Stamford Bridge, spearheading West Ham United to a 3-2 victory and their first win of the season. The maverick Italian scored twice, including the winner of September’s Goal of the Month but it wasn’t enough to lift the Hammers off the foot of the Premier League table.

Southampton remained in the bottom three after eight games after conceding a 90th minute equaliser to Youri Djorkaeff of Bolton Wanderers in a 1-1 draw between the sides at The Reebok Stadium. Lastly, Sunderland achieved a rare victory as David Bellion’s 70th minute goal defeated Aston Villa 1-0 at The Stadium of Light. The win would turn out to be Peter Reid’s final home match as manager. He parted company with the club 10 days later.

What else happened in September 2002?

  • The first anniversary of the September 11th 2001 attacks is marked by many services and memorials across the United States.
  • The body of the abducted British schoolgirl Amanda Dowler is found in remote woodland near Hampshire.
  • An earthquake is felt in Dudley which causes minor structural damage but no injuries. It is the biggest earthquake to strike the UK in 12 years, registering 4.7 on the Richter scale.
  • Switzerland becomes a full member of the United Nations.
  • Serena Williams and Pete Sampras win the singles’ events at the US Open. In Sampras’ case, his win over Andre Agassi is his 14th Grand Slam – the last of his phenomenal career.
  • Team Europe claims back The Ryder Cup from the United States at The Belfry in the first tournament of the 21st century. It had been postponed in 2001 due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
  • ‘Top of the Pops’ airs its 2000th edition.
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The Clubs: West Ham United

All data correct upto 23rd April 2018

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
840 273 220 347 1006 1209 -203 1039 22

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Mark Noble 314
Carlton Cole 216
Steve Potts 204
James Collins 187
Robert Green 177
Trevor Sinclair 177
John Moncur 175
Ludek Miklosko 169
Winston Reid 166
James Tomkins 164

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Paolo Di Canio 48
Carlton Cole 41
Mark Noble 36
Trevor Sinclair 36
Andy Carroll 33
Freddie Kanoute 29
John Hartson 24
Frank Lampard 24
Tony Cottee 23
Julian Dicks 21

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
West Ham United 6-0 Barnsley 10th January 1998 1997-1998
West Ham United 5-0 Coventry City 22nd April 2000 1999-2000
West Ham United 5-0 Charlton Athletic 26th December 2000 2000-2001
Derby County 0-5 West Ham United 10th November 2007 2007-2008
West Ham United 5-1 Sheffield Wednesday 3rd May 1997 1996-1997
West Ham United 5-1 Derby County 17th April 1999 1998-1999
West Ham United 4-0 Middlesbrough 16th May 1999 1998-1999
West Ham United 4-0 Derby County 26th December 2001 2001-2002
West Ham United 4-0 Aston Villa 12th September 2005 2005-2006
Tottenham Hotspur 1-4 West Ham United 4th April 1994 1993-1994

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Manchester United 7-1 West Ham United 1st April 2000 1999-2000
Blackburn Rovers 7-1 West Ham United 14th October 2001 2001-2002
Everton 6-0 West Ham United 8th May 1999 1998-1999
Reading 6-0 West Ham United 1st January 2007 2006-2007
Sheffield Wednesday 5-0 West Ham United 18th December 1993 1993-1994
Liverpool FC 5-0 West Ham United 2nd May 1998 1997-1998
Everton 5-0 West Ham United 29th September 2001 2001-2002
Newcastle United 5-0 West Ham United 5th January 2011 2010-2011
West Ham United 1-5 Leeds United 1st May 1999 1998-1999
Chelsea 5-1 West Ham United 20th January 2002 2001-2002

 

Managers

Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Billy Bonds 1 10th August 1994
Harry Redknapp 7 9th May 2001
Glenn Roeder 2 24th August 2003
Alan Pardew 2 11th December 2006
Alan Curbishley 3 3rd September 2008
Gianfranco Zola 2 11th May 2010
Avram Grant 1 15th May 2011
Sam Allardyce 3 24th May 2015
Slaven Bilic 3 6th November 2017
David Moyes 1  

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
West Ham United 0-2 Manchester United 2nd January 2017 56,996 2016-2017
West Ham United 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur 5th May 2017 56,992 2016-2017
West Ham United 1-0 Burnley 14th December 2016 56,990 2016-2017
West Ham United 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur 23rd September 2017 56,988 2017-2018
West Ham United 1-0 Sunderland 22nd October 2016 56,985 2016-2017
West Ham United 0-4 Liverpool FC 14th May 2017 56,985 2016-2017
West Ham United 3-0 Crystal Palace 14th January 2017 56,984 2016-2017
West Ham United 1-2 Chelsea 6th March 2017 56,984 2016-2017
West Ham United 2-2 West Bromwich Albion 11th February 2017 56,983 2016-2017
West Ham United 0-4 Manchester City 1st February 2017 56,980 2016-2017

 

Intro

This is West Ham United’s 22nd Premier League season and the Hammers have often been in the headlines. They finished in fifth place in 1999 under the wise guidance of Harry Redknapp and narrowly missed out on a top six finish in 2016. They left behind Upton Park to move into The London Stadium in time for the 2016-2017 season but it has been a tricky time since the change in stadium. David Moyes is the current manager and looks to have guided them to another season of Premier League football for 2018-2019.

 

1993-1994

It was Billy Bonds who guided West Ham United into the Premier League and they finished a creditable 13th in the table, without ever looking like being dragged into a relegation battle. It was veteran Clive Allen who scored both goals in their first Premier League victory over Sheffield Wednesday but Trevor Morley led the goalscoring charts with 13 goals. Highlights included a 2-0 victory away at Blackburn Rovers in September and 4-1 thrashing of Tottenham Hotspur in April.

 

1994-1995

There was a change in management just days before the season started. Fearing that their assistant manager Harry Redknapp was about to return to AFC Bournemouth as manager, the directors promoted him to the manager’s post at Upton Park. Billy Bonds resigned acrimoniously and Redknapp immediately had a point to prove to the supporters.

Re-signing the likes of Tony Cottee and Julian Dicks helped but the Londoners spent a good portion of the season in the bottom four. Just one defeat in their last 11 games though steered them to safety and a 14th place finish which including impressive home wins over Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool FC.

 

1995-1996

West Ham achieved their first top-half finish since promotion to the Premier League. A 10th place result saw a best finish for the club in the top-flight since coming third in 1986. Left-back Julian Dicks was joint-top scorer with 10 goals alongside the experienced Tony Cottee and the season also saw Premier League debuts for future title winners, Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard.

 

1996-1997

There was plenty of excitement in pre-season about the arrival of Romanian forward Florin Raducioiu. However, he scored just twice and walked out on the club mid-season. It was a season of struggle and in early February, West Ham looked in genuine danger of being relegated. Redknapp then went into the transfer market and the double striker arrival of Paul Kitson and John Hartson took them clear of trouble. West Ham finished 14th with Kitson scoring an impressive eight times to finish top scorer despite not being with the club for over half the campaign.

 

1997-1998

A quantum leap forward was made in the 1997-1998 season as West Ham wound up in an excellent 8th place. John Hartson was the top goalscorer with 15 goals and young defender Rio Ferdinand won his first international call-up as his rise through the ranks continued. A 6-0 victory over Barnsley in January 1998 remains their biggest-ever Premier League victory.

 

1998-1999

There was another busy summer at Upton Park with the likes of Shaka Hislop, Neil Ruddock and Arsenal goalscoring great Ian Wright all arriving at the club. West Ham made a brilliant start to the season and a 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at the end of November took them into the dizzying heights of second position in the table.

Whilst the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea eventually overtook the Hammers, West Ham’s final finish of 5th place ensured UEFA Cup football and a return to European action for the first time in 19 years. This was despite selling John Hartson in January 1999 to Wimbledon for £7 million.

 

1999-2000

For the third successive season, West Ham United finished in the Premier League’s top 10 with a 9th place finish. Joe Cole and Michael Carrick were another two players from the famed academy to make the breakthrough into the first-team. Having arrived halfway through the previous season, Paolo Di Canio scored 16 times including winning Goal of the Season for a spectacular volley against Wimbledon in March.

West Ham were also involved in one of the games of the season, beating Bradford City 5-4 in February, despite trailing 1-0, 3-1 and 4-2 during the match. They did lose 7-1 to Manchester United in April which is their joint-biggest defeat in Premier League history.

 

2000-2001

This turned out to be Harry Redknapp’s final season as West Ham manager and one of his toughest. The sale of Rio Ferdinand in November 2000 to Leeds United for £18 million strained relations between the board and manager and Redknapp left just before the season ended. He fell out with owner Terry Brown over transfer funds for the forthcoming season. Youth coach Glenn Roeder would take over on a permanent basis in the off-season.

 

2001-2002

The Glenn Roeder reign got off to a dreadful start. West Ham won just one of their first seven matches and suffered back-to-back heavy thrashings at the hands of Everton and Blackburn Rovers in the autumn. So, he did brilliantly to steer the club away from trouble and they finished an impressive 7th in the final standings. Frank Lampard was sold in pre-season to Chelsea but Paolo Di Canio stayed despite nearly joining Manchester United in January and Freddie Kanoute was top scorer for the second successive season with 11 goals.

 

2002-2003

Despite having the likes of Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Jermain Defoe, David James and Paolo Di Canio among their squad, West Ham United were relegated at the end of the season, despite achieving 42 points which normally guarantees Premier League safety. West Ham made a wretched start again, not winning until late September and spending Christmas Day bottom of the table.

They didn’t win at Upton Park until a 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers in January. Football didn’t matter in late April though when manager Glenn Roeder collapsed shortly after a victory against Middlesbrough. Roeder was diagnosed with a non-malignant brain tumour which was successfully operated on.

That meant club legend Trevor Brooking took charge of the final three games. He got them important wins over Manchester City and Chelsea and a final day draw with Birmingham City. However, the form of other sides at the wrong end of the table was just as impressive and that meant West Ham’s 10-year tenure in the top-flight ended.

 

2005-2006

After two years in the wilderness of the Championship, West Ham United returned to the Premier League in 2005-2006 with Alan Pardew as the manager. They made a good start and sat fourth at the end of September with 11 points from their first six matches. There were excellent victories away at Highbury against Arsenal in February and on the final day at home to Tottenham Hotspur. West Ham finished a very satisfying ninth in the table and reached the FA Cup final where they lost on penalties to Liverpool FC.

 

2006-2007

On transfer deadline day, West Ham shocked the football world with the signings of Argentine duo Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano. It would ensure for a dramatic season in the East End of London. Both players failed to sparkle and Mascherano would move on-loan to Liverpool FC in January. By this point, Alan Pardew had been sacked as the Hammers slipped into the bottom three. He was replaced by Alan Curbishley but form continued to elude the club.

They received a 6-0 mauling from Reading on New Years’ Day and when Tottenham Hotspur produced a dramatic fightback to snatch a 4-3 victory at Upton Park in March, West Ham were bottom and 10 points adrift of safety with just nine games to play. Relegation looked all but a formality. However, Tevez suddenly discovered his scoring touch, putting in some magical displays and West Ham won seven of their last nine matches to climb off the bottom and out of the relegation zone. On the final day, Tevez scored the winner at Old Trafford to ensure the club’s safety amidst high controversy.

The signings of Tevez and Mascherano breached Premier League rules regarding third-party ownership of players. West Ham pleaded guilty to the charges and rather than a points deduction, were given a hefty fine, much to the chagrin of relegation rivals Sheffield United, Fulham and Wigan Athletic.

 

2007-2008

Alan Curbishley’s first full season as West Ham manager was unremarkable to say the least. The club finished in 10th place, well clear of relegation danger but not strong enough to create a challenge for the European qualifying positions. Dean Ashton was top scorer with 10 goals after recovering from a broken ankle that had ruled him out of the whole of the previous campaign.

 

2008-2009

Despite winning two of their first three games, Alan Curbishley resigned as manager after stating not having full control over transfers. He was annoyed to see defenders Anton Ferdinand and George McCartney sold to Sunderland without his knowledge. He was replaced by Chelsea playing legend Gianfranco Zola. Despite winning just three of his first 14 Premier League matches, a 4-1 victory on Boxing Day over Portsmouth started an excellent sequence that took West Ham into the top half.

They finished in ninth spot, despite losing Craig Bellamy in the January transfer window to Manchester City and Dean Ashton to retirement.

 

2009-2010

An opening day victory away at Molineux hinted at another encouraging campaign but Zola found the going very tough and West Ham went winless until a late Zavon Hines goal defeated Aston Villa in early November. November was the club’s best month of the season, with seven points from four games.

There was a change in the boardroom in January with the former Birmingham City owners, David Gold and David Sullivan succeeding cash-strapped Icelandic owner Björgólfur Gudmundsson. They immediately identified Zola as the wrong man for the job and sacked him at the end of the season. West Ham finished a disappointing 17th, narrowly avoiding relegation after a 3-2 victory over Wigan Athletic in late April.

 

2010-2011

Avram Grant was appointed as Zola’s successor following Portsmouth’s relegation from the Premier League. It didn’t seem like an inspired choice and losing their first four matches put the Hammers on the backfoot for the entire campaign. Bottom on Christmas Day, there was a brief revival over the festive period with victories over Fulham and Wolverhampton Wanderers, along with a draw against Everton. However, West Ham won just three games in 2011 and after throwing away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to Wigan Athletic on the penultimate weekend, the club were relegated.

Grant was sacked pretty much straight after the game and replaced in the off-season by Sam Allardyce. The one crumb of comfort for supporters was the sensational form of Scott Parker. The midfielder won the Football Writers’ award, despite playing for a relegated side.

 

2012-2013

Sam Allardyce guided West Ham back into the Premier League at the first attempt via the play-offs. He strengthened the squad with the arrivals of experienced players like Jussi Jaaskelainen, Mohamed Diame and James Collins, who returned for a second spell after a stint at Aston Villa. Allardyce also managed to bring Andy Carroll into the club on-loan after he fell out of favour at Liverpool FC.

After winning four of their first eight matches, West Ham sat sixth in the table and never looked in any relegation danger. 14th was the lowest position they’d occupy all season which was after a defeat to Chelsea in March. In the end, a 10th place finish was a good season for all parties with skipper Kevin Nolan ending as top scorer. His 10 goals figure was helped by a final day hat-trick at home to Reading.

 

2013-2014

Sam Allardyce’s third season as West Ham United manager was his toughest as the Hammers struggled to find any consistency. The Hammers won just three games in the first half of the season, although one of those victories was a notable 3-0 away triumph at White Hart Lane over Tottenham Hotspur. After heavy cup defeats in early January to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup and a League Cup loss to Manchester City, there was big pressure on Allardyce from supporters.

16 points out of a possible 21 followed which guided the club away from trouble and West Ham eventually finished 13th but apart from a league double over Tottenham, there weren’t many highlights for the fans to remember.

 

2014-2015

After the general struggle of 2013-2014, West Ham were flying high in the early part of the 2014-2015 season. Liverpool FC and Manchester City were among their victims at Upton Park and the club sat in fourth place going into Christmas. Unfortunately, only another three victories followed against Hull City, Sunderland and Burnley. West Ham slipped to 12th place by the end of the season which was slightly disappointing considering how high they were earlier in the campaign.

Moments after the season concluded with defeat on Tyneside to Newcastle United, the board confirmed Allardyce’s contract would not be renewed and he would leave to take a break from football management. Aaron Cresswell was voted Hammer of the Year after an impressive debut campaign.

 

2015-2016

Former player Slaven Bilic was chosen as the man to lead West Ham through their final season at Upton Park. They began with a marvellous hat-trick of away victories at The Emirates Stadium, Anfield and The Etihad Stadium. A 2-1 victory over Chelsea at the end of October had the Hammers into the top three.

An injury to star player Dimitri Payet in early November started a dreadful run of eight games without a win which dropped the Londoners into the reaches of mid-table. However, a 2-1 victory over Southampton in late December started an excellent second half of the season that took the club onto the cusp of Champions League football. A run of four successive draws ended those aspirations but West Ham finished with 62 points (a new PL best) and finished seventh in the table.

Payet was top scorer in all competitions and football ended at Upton Park with a memorable 3-2 victory over Manchester United. Winston Reid scored the final-ever goal at The Boleyn.

 

2016-2017

West Ham’s first season in their new home at The London Stadium was always going to be tricky and despite a winning start, as Michail Antonio’s header beat AFC Bournemouth, heavy defeats to Watford and Southampton highlighted how hard life would be in their new surroundings.

Dimitri Payet scored a majestic solo goal in a home draw with Middlesbrough but he wouldn’t stick around. In January, he told Slaven Bilic that he wanted to leave and refused to play for the club again. He eventually got his move back to Marseille. West Ham eventually finished in 11th position but with few fireworks on-the-pitch and some heavy beatings to the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool FC.

There was a 1-0 victory right at the end of the campaign against Tottenham Hotspur which effectively ended Spurs’ title aspirations and made the fans very happy.

 

2017-2018

The conclusion of the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships meant West Ham couldn’t play any home matches until early September. Despite the arrivals of Joe Hart on-loan, Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic, there was a lack of rhythm. Three straight defeats left them pointless at the end of August.

A Friday night horror show at home to Brighton & Hove Albion in October put the pressure on Bilic and he lost his job a fortnight later with the club languishing in 17th spot. David Moyes was his successor and a 1-0 victory over champions Chelsea in December started an impressive run of form which took the club away from danger.

A 3-0 defeat at home to Burnley in March saw some unsavoury scenes inside the stadium with some fans running onto the pitch and owners David Gold and David Sullivan being asked to leave the directors box for their own safety. It looks like West Ham will stay up this season but testing times seem to lie ahead for one of the Premier League’s regular members.

Iconic Moments: Sporting class from di Canio (December 2000)

Paolo Di Canio had attracted the wrong kind of headlines in September 1998 when he lost his temper and shoved referee Paul Alcock to the floor whilst playing for Sheffield Wednesday. Now at West Ham United, Di Canio could still have moments of madness. However, he won plenty of friends on Merseyside for this sporting gesture in December 2000.

Everton were playing West Ham at Goodison Park and the score was evenly poised at 1-1 when Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard charged out of his goal and got injured in the process. Trevor Sinclair played on and crossed the ball and all Di Canio had to do was put the ball into an empty net and win the game for the Londoners.

However, he chose to catch the ball rather than score so the physios could come on the pitch to treat Gerrard. He received a round of applause from all four corners of the ground in what has to be considered as one of the best acts of sportsmanship seen in the first 25 years of Premier League football.

This gesture saw him win the FIFA Fair Play Award for 2001.

Premier League Files: Paulo Wanchope

Premier League Career: Derby County (1997-1999), West Ham United (1999-2000), Manchester City (2000-2001, 2003-2004)

Costa Rican Paulo Wanchope was an enigmatic forward who could do amazing things one minute, then completely frustrate you the very next. However, he will still go down as having one of the most amazing debuts in the Premier League.

He joined Derby County in March 1997, costing the club £600,000. His debut would come at Old Trafford against current champions and league leaders Manchester United. Unless you really knew your football, few would have heard of the name Paulo Wanchope at kick-off. It was a completely different story by the full-time whistle.

Derby were already 1-0 up when Wanchope took possession inside his own half. He went on to beat no fewer than four Manchester United players with a gangling, but decisive run through their backline before calmly placing the ball beyond the advancing Peter Schmeichel. It was a moment that Derby supporters would never forget and was actually voted the greatest goal in the club’s history during their 125th anniversary celebrations.

Part of an impressive attacking line-up under Jim Smith’s tenure at Derby, Wanchope combined brilliantly with the likes of Dean Sturridge, Stefano Eranio and Francesco Baiano. He scored another 21 Premier League goals for the club, including a goal to send Arsenal to their first defeat of their 1997-1998 title-winning campaign.

In July 1999, Derby decided to cash in on Wanchope as his form had started to dip in the final months of the previous season. He joined West Ham United for £3.5 million and formed a formidable partnership with the charismatic Paolo di Canio. Between them, they scored 31 times in the Premier League as West Ham United finished ninth. In 1999-2000, Wanchope scored 12 league goals but the Hammers faithful never quite took to him as the supporters did at Derby.

When Freddie Kanoute and Davor Sukur both arrived at Upton Park in the summer of 2000, Wanchope was sold to newly-promoted Manchester City for £3.65 million and made a swift impression for his new side, scoring a hat-trick in their 4-2 victory over Sunderland. This was in Manchester City’s first top-flight game at Maine Road in over four years. He added another six goals but couldn’t prevent Joe Royle’s side slipping out of the top-flight after just a single season back amongst the elite.

He stayed with the Citizens in the First Division and despite injury setbacks; he scored 12 times in just 15 appearances to help them to the title and an immediate return to the Premier League. Unfortunately, a knee injury was now hurting his career. He spent the entire 2002-2003 season on the treatment table and was a bit-part player on his return with Kevin Keegan having the services of Nicolas Anelka and Robbie Fowler on his books.

Nevertheless, Wanchope still scored six times in 2003-2004, including a crucial winning goal at home to Newcastle United that effectively kept the club in the Premier League after severe threats against relegation. He moved to La Liga in the summer of 2004, signing for Malaga. Further spells came in Qatar, Japan and the United States before retiring in November 2007, citing his knee problems as the decisive factor in not being able to demonstrate his best form.

He moved into coaching and even had a spell as national team manager of Costa Rica but resigned in 2015 after video footage emerged of him hitting a match steward.

When fit, Paulo Wanchope had an excellent goalscoring pedigree and Derby County supporters will never forget that incredible debut bow in April 1997 at Old Trafford.

Premier League Files: Matt Ritchie

Premier League Career: Portsmouth (2010), AFC Bournemouth (2015-2016), Newcastle United (2017-PRESENT)

After the briefest taste of Premier League football with Portsmouth in 2010, Matt Ritchie was part of AFC Bournemouth’s historic first campaign at this level and is back in the top-flight this season as he looks to play a role in keeping Newcastle United away from relegation.

Ritchie got his big break with Portsmouth. A part of their academy since the age of 13, Ritchie made his Premier League in April 2010. It was largely down to the club’s crippling injury list and the huge financial strain they were in too. He played 79 minutes in the defeat to Wigan Athletic and admitted it was a dream come true to make his debut for the club where he’d done all of his education with.

It looked like he was set for a bright future at Fratton Park but soon had a disagreement with new manager Steve Cotterill and was frozen out of his plans. He was loaned out to Swindon Town, making 16 appearances before the Robins’ agreed to make the loan move a permanent deal. Although Swindon were relegated to League Two at the end of the campaign, he was awarded the club’s Player of the Season award.

Ritchie remained a Swindon player until January 2013 and worked under Paolo di Canio, who was the club’s manager. His performances raised eyebrows with higher-profile clubs and AFC Bournemouth were among those admirers. Di Canio insisted he would not be sold, claiming he was worth £2 million. In March 2012, Ritchie won the League Two Player of the Year and was one of Swindon’s two players in the PFA Team of the Year.

Bournemouth eventually got their man in January 2013, after Swindon’s board decided their offer was too good to turn down. Di Canio was furious with the hierarchy and ultimately, Ritchie’s departure would turn out to be the catalyst for his exit from the County Ground. Ritchie joined a team in peak form and his first goal for the club in a 4-1 win over Bury starting a run of eight successive victories, shooting the club towards the Championship.

In 2014-2015, Matt won international recognition from Scotland. Despite being born in Gosport, Ritchie qualified to play for the Scots through his Scottish father and he made his debut in a friendly match against Northern Ireland. In club football, he had a sizzling campaign, scoring 11 times and setting up 13 further strikes for his teammates. Bournemouth went up as champions and would be playing Premier League football for the first time in their history – just six years after being close to relegation to the Conference.

His first top-flight strike was a venomous volley to help the Cherries beat Sunderland 2-0 in September 2015 and earn them their first home win in the Premier League. A month later, Ritchie scored the club’s fastest goal of the season, netting inside a minute against Tottenham Hotspur although it ended in a horrid 5-1 home defeat.

Bournemouth finished 16th in their first Premier League campaign, with Matt chipping in with four goals, so it was a surprise to see him drop down a division to Newcastle United in July 2016, signing a five-year deal to move to Tyneside. He scored 16 goals in all competitions, only being outscored by Dwight Gayle as Newcastle comfortably earned promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt.

As of January 2018, Ritchie has featured 23 times for Newcastle in the Premier League and has created more chances for his teammates than any other Magpies’ player this season. He has the quality to change matches with dangerous crosses and inch-perfect passes. However, he hasn’t scored yet this season and it will help Rafa Benitez out in their relegation battle to see him rediscover his goalscoring touch as the season progresses.

Iconic Moments: Di Canio shoves Alcock (September 1998)

There’s no doubt that Italian Paolo di Canio was a character on the football field. He was fabulously gifted at times but also frustratingly infuriating at other occasions. He represented Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham United and Charlton Athletic during his Premier League playing days and had an explosive reign in charge of Sunderland during 2013. The lowest point of his career came in September 1998.

Sheffield Wednesday were playing the reigning champions Arsenal at Hillsborough and the game was goalless when the match blew up spectacularly. Patrick Vieira and Wim Jonk had a scrap in the middle of the pitch. Vieira didn’t like the challenge and over-reacted, pushing over the Dutch player. Other players started piling in, with di Canio and Martin Keown getting into a heated confrontation, whilst others were trying to play peacemaker.

Referee Paul Alcock took his time before brandishing the red card in di Canio’s direction. What happened next was inexcusable on di Canio’s part. He shoved Alcock to the ground. Whilst the referee made the absolute most of the contact, di Canio had no right to behave like he did. The FA took a dim view to the incident and handed him an 11-match ban. Sheffield Wednesday suspended him immediately after the incident and he would never play for the club again. He moved to West Ham in January 1999.

For the record, Keown was also sent off in the incident and Sheffield Wednesday ended up winning the game 1-0 with a late winner from Lee Briscoe.

It was a sour incident and whilst some do feel Paul Alcock definitely over-exaggerated his fall, showing physical contact to a referee was simply unacceptable. For all the brilliance of di Canio’s career, including that brilliant goal against Wimbledon in March 2000, these incidents are just as fondly remembered for the wrong reasons.

Seasonal Records: 1999-2000

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 1999-2000 Premier League campaign, which saw the biggest margin of victory between the top two in Premier League history.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester United 38 28 7 3 97 45 +52 91
2 Arsenal 38 22 7 9 73 43 +30 73
3 Leeds United 38 21 6 11 58 43 +15 69
4 Liverpool FC 38 19 10 9 51 30 +21 67
5 Chelsea 38 18 11 9 53 34 +19 65
6 Aston Villa 38 15 13 10 46 35 +11 58
7 Sunderland 38 16 10 12 57 56 +1 58
8 Leicester City 38 16 7 15 55 55 0 55
9 West Ham United 38 15 10 13 52 53 -1 55
10 Tottenham Hotspur 38 15 8 15 57 49 +8 53
11 Newcastle United 38 14 10 14 63 54 +9 52
12 Middlesbrough 38 14 10 14 46 52 -6 52
13 Everton 38 12 14 12 59 49 +10 50
14 Coventry City 38 12 8 18 47 54 -7 44
15 Southampton 38 12 8 18 45 62 -17 44
16 Derby County 38 9 11 18 44 57 -13 38
17 Bradford City 38 9 9 20 38 68 -30 36
18 Wimbledon 38 7 12 19 46 74 -28 33
19 Sheffield Wednesday 38 8 7 23 38 70 -32 31
20 Watford 38 6 6 26 35 77 -42 24

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1060
European qualifiers Manchester United (UEFA Champions League), Arsenal (UEFA Champions League), Leeds United (UEFA Champions League), Liverpool FC (UEFA Cup), Chelsea (UEFA Cup), Leicester City (UEFA Cup), Aston Villa (UEFA Intertoto Cup), Bradford City (UEFA Intertoto Cup)
Longest winning run 11 games (Manchester United)
Longest unbeaten run 16 games (Chelsea)
Longest winless run 11 games (Sunderland & Watford)
Longest losing run 8 games (Wimbledon)
Highest attendance 61,629 (Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur)
Lowest attendance 8,248 (Wimbledon vs. Sheffield Wednesday)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Roy Keane (Manchester United)
PFA Young Player of the Year Harry Kewell (Leeds United)
Football Writers’ Award Roy Keane (Manchester United)
PFA Team of the Year Nigel Martyn, Ian Harte, Gary Kelly, Sami Hyypia, Jaap Stam, Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira, David Beckham, Harry Kewell, Andy Cole, Kevin Phillips
Manager of the Year Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
Premier League Goal of the Season Paolo di Canio (WEST HAM UNITED vs. Wimbledon)

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Michael Bridges Southampton vs. Leeds United 0-3 11th August 1999
Andy Cole (4) Manchester United vs. Newcastle United 5-1 30th August 1999
Kevin Phillips Derby County vs. Sunderland 0-5 18th September 1999
Alan Shearer (5) Newcastle United vs. Sheffield Wednesday 8-0 19th September 1999
Kanu Chelsea vs. Arsenal 2-3 23rd October 1999
Marc Overmars Arsenal vs. Middlesbrough 5-1 21st November 1999
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (4) Manchester United vs. Everton 5-1 4th December 1999
Nick Barmby West Ham United vs. Everton 0-4 26th February 2000
Stan Collymore Leicester City vs. Sunderland 5-2 5th March 2000
Steffen Iversen Tottenham Hotspur vs. Southampton 7-2 11th March 2000
Dwight Yorke Manchester United vs. Derby County 3-1 11th March 2000
Paul Scholes Manchester United vs. West Ham United 7-1 1st April 2000
Dean Windass Bradford City vs. Derby County 4-4 21st April 2000

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Kevin Phillips Sunderland 30
2 Alan Shearer Newcastle United 23
3 Dwight Yorke Manchester United 21
4 Michael Bridges Leeds United 19
5 Andy Cole Manchester United 18
6 Thierry Henry Arsenal 17
7 Paolo di Canio West Ham United 16
8= Niall Quinn Sunderland 14
8= Chris Armstrong Tottenham Hotspur 14
10= Tony Cottee Leicester City 13
10= Steffen Iversen Tottenham Hotspur 13
10= Marian Pahars Southampton 13
13= Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United 12
13= Kanu Arsenal 12
13= Dion Dublin Aston Villa 12
13= Paulo Wanchope West Ham United 12
13= Hamilton Ricard Middlesbrough 12
13= Kevin Campbell Everton 12
13= Robbie Keane Coventry City 12
20= Michael Owen Liverpool FC 11
20= Gary McAllister Coventry City 11
22= Harry Kewell Leeds United 10
22= Emile Heskey Leicester City & Liverpool FC 10
22= Tore Andre Flo Chelsea 10
22= Nick Barmby Everton 10

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Newcastle United 8-0 Sheffield Wednesday 19th September 1999
Manchester United 7-1 West Ham United 1st April 2000
Tottenham Hotspur 7-2 Southampton 11th March 2000
Chelsea 5-0 Manchester United 3rd October 1999
Derby County 0-5 Sunderland 18th September 1999
West Ham United 5-0 Coventry City 22nd April 2000
Newcastle United 5-0 Southampton 16th January 2000
Everton 5-0 Sunderland 26th December 1999
Wimbledon 5-0 Watford 4th December 1999
Manchester United 5-1 Everton 4th December 1999

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
9 Tottenham Hotspur 7-2 Southampton 11th March 2000
9 West Ham United 5-4 Bradford City 12th February 2000
8 Newcastle United 8-0 Sheffield Wednesday 19th September 1999
8 Manchester United 7-1 West Ham United 1st April 2000
8 Everton 4-4 Leeds United 24th October 1999
8 Bradford City 4-4 Derby County 21st April 2000
7 Leicester City 5-2 Sunderland 5th March 2000
7 Middlesbrough 3-4 Manchester United 10th April 2000
7 Coventry City 3-4 Leeds United 11th September 1999
7 West Ham United 4-3 Sheffield Wednesday 21st November 1999
6 Manchester United 5-1 Newcastle United 29th August 1999
6 Manchester United 5-1 Everton 4th December 1999
6 Arsenal 5-1 Middlesbrough 20th November 1999
6 Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 Wimbledon 2nd October 1999
6 West Ham United 2-4 Manchester United 18th December 1999
6 Tottenham Hotspur 2-4 Aston Villa 15th April 2000
6 Newcastle United 4-2 Arsenal 14th May 2000
6 Everton 4-2 Watford 1st April 2000
6 Southampton 4-2 Newcastle United 15th August 1999
6 Manchester United 3-3 Southampton 25th September 1999

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Gary McSheffrey Sunderland 1-1 Coventry City 17 years, 16 days 29th August 1999
Jonathan Bewers Tottenham Hotspur 2-4 Aston Villa 17 years, 7 months, 5 days 15th April 2000
Joe Cole West Ham United 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur 17 years, 8 months, 30 days 7th August 1999
Carlos Marinelli Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 Middlesbrough 17 years, 9 months, 12 days 26th December 1999
Jordan Stewart Leicester City 1-3 West Ham United 17 years, 10 months, 19 days 22nd January 2000
Adam Murray Derby County 0-1 Bradford City 17 years, 11 months, 26 days 25th September 1999
Michael Carrick Bradford City 0-3 West Ham United 18 years, 1 month 28th August 1999
Graham Barrett Leicester City 0-3 Arsenal 18 years, 1 month, 28 days 4th December 1999
Steve Brooker Watford 2-3 Wimbledon 18 years, 2 months, 17 days 7th August 1999
Robert Betts West Ham United 5-0 Coventry City 18 years, 4 months, 1 day 22nd April 2000

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Steve Ogrizovic Coventry City 4-1 Sheffield Wednesday 42 years, 7 months, 24 days 6th May 2000
Neville Southall Bradford City 1-2 Leeds United 41 years, 5 months, 25 days 12th March 2000
Dave Watson Everton 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur 38 years, 1 month, 26 days 15th January 2000
Richard Gough Leicester City 1-1 Everton 38 years, 3 days 8th April 2000
Barry Horne Sheffield Wednesday 4-0 Leicester City 37 years, 11 months, 26 days 14th May 2000
Stuart Pearce West Ham United 2-0 Southampton 37 years, 10 months, 13 days 8th March 2000
Steve Bould Sunderland 2-1 Everton 37 years, 4 months, 9 days 25th March 2000
Raimond van der Gouw Aston Villa 0-1 Manchester United 37 years, 1 month, 20 days 14th May 2000
John Dreyer Bradford City 1-0 Liverpool FC 36 years, 11 months, 3 days 14th May 2000
David Seaman Arsenal 3-3 Sheffield Wednesday 36 years, 7 months, 20 days 9th May 2000

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Ed de Goey Chelsea 16
2 Sander Westerveld Liverpool FC 14
3 Nigel Martyn Leeds United 13
4 David James Aston Villa 12
5 Mark Bosnich Manchester United 11
6 Paul Gerrard Everton 10
7= Thomas Sorensen Sunderland 9
7= Mark Schwarzer Middlesbrough 9
7= Magnus Hedman Coventry City 9
7= Mart Poom Derby County 9

Great Goals: Paolo di Canio – WEST HAM UNITED vs. Wimbledon (March 2000)

The enigmatic Paolo di Canio is one of the league’s most charismatic players and also, one of the best players ever to have played for West Ham United. His array of skills, combined with the Italian flair and short temperament line meant life was never dull with di Canio around.

This goal against Wimbledon in March 2000 was simply breathtaking. I will even go as far to say it is my favourite all-time goal in the Premier League. Marc-Vivien Foe and Trevor Sinclair both played their part in the build-up. It is Sinclair who produces a delightful pass across the field and over defender Kenny Cunningham. Di Canio watches the entire sequence and incredibly, launches both his feet off the ground. He is in orbit when he connects with the ball and it flies past Neil Sullivan’s despairing dive.

West Ham won this London derby 2-1 and Wimbledon would be relegated two months later from the Premier League. However, they were beaten by a moment of striking excellence in this match from di Canio.

Referees in the Middle: Paul Alcock

Premier League Career: 1995-2000

First Premier League Match: Coventry City 2-1 Manchester City (23 August 1995)

Final Premier League Match: Liverpool FC 0-0 Southampton (7 May 2000)

Born in 1953, Paul Alcock spent over 20 years in professional football and was a Premier League referee from 1995-2000.

Originally from Surrey, Alcock became a linesman in the Football League in 1982 and spent six seasons running the line at many English grounds. He joined the Premier League referee list in 1995 and his first game in charge was on the first midweek round of fixtures in the 1995/1996 season. Dion Dublin scored a late header in Coventry City’s 2-1 win over Manchester City at Highfield Road.

He is most famously known for a dramatic incident in a match at Hillsborough between Sheffield Wednesday and Arsenal in September 1998. The trouble began a minute before half-time when Patrick Vieira reacted angrily to a sly challenge from Petter Rudi. Paolo di Canio got involved and as players from both sides attempted to break things up, di Canio kicked out at Martin Keown.

This was spotted by Alcock who sent the charismatic Italian off. Di Canio’s response was to thrust his hands into Alcock’s chest and push him to the ground in a complete moment of madness. He was then involved in a further confrontation with Nigel Winterburn before being ushered from the field of play. Sheffield Wednesday suspended their maverick almost immediately.

At an FA hearing a month later, Di Canio was banned for 11 matches and fined £10,000. Alcock considered quitting the game after the incident and he wasn’t happy with the punishment, saying: “I am concerned that the message being sent out by the FA can be interpreted as being lenient.”

Alcock continued refereeing in the Premier League until May 2000 before dropping back into the Football League for two seasons. His final match was a Division One game between Norwich City and Stockport County in 2002.

After hanging up his whistle, Alcock went into the retail industry, becoming the shopping centre manager of the Malls Chequers in Maidstone. He retired from that role in 2014 and has also held roles with the Maidstone Leisure Trust, along with still being a football referee assessor in the Championship.

In March 2017, he admitted in a newspaper interview that he was battling cancer for a third time. Initially diagnosed in 2015, I would like to wish him well in his battle to beat the cruel disease once more.

UPDATE: (30th January 2018) – It is with great sadness to have discovered that Paul Alcock lost his brave battle with cancer, aged 64 on Monday 30th January 2018. My thoughts are with Paul’s family and friends at this tough time.