Tag Archives: West Ham United

Iconic Moments: An Argentine ownership opera at West Ham (August 2006)

The East End of London has seen some unbelievable drama down the years in the Premier League but even EastEnders would have struggled to have matched the ownership opera of two star Argentine players that could have had severe repercussions for West Ham United in 2006.

When West Ham signed South American superstars Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez on the August transfer deadline day from Corinthians, it was seen as a real coup. Both players had sparkled in the World Cup finals that summer in Germany and had been linked to leaving their home continent and joining one of the European superpower sides. It was even a surprise to Hammers manager Alan Pardew but he was never going to pass up the opportunity to sign these two players.

The club claimed they had agreements with the players’ representatives but there was suspicion seen by several of the Londoners rivals about the legality of the transfers. It came more to light in January 2007 when Mascherano left after an unhappy few months at Upton Park and joined Liverpool FC, initially on-loan before it became a permanent deal more than a year later.

Also that month, West Ham were asked to provide details of their agreement with the representatives of Tevez and Mascherano and this was something they failed to comply with. They were linked with Media Sports Investment, a company formerly run by Kia Joorabchian.

In March, West Ham were given two charges of breaching transfer regulations over third-party ownership which was strictly forbidden. In a statement, the Premier League said: “It is the board’s complaint that there were agreements in relation to both these transfers that enabled third parties to acquire the ability materially to influence the club’s policies and/or the performance of its teams in League matches and/or the competitions set out in Rule E10. The board’s view is this constitutes a breach of rule U18.”

A points deduction was expected. As they were 10 points adrift of safety before the charges were made, a docking of points would have seen the club all-but relegated. At this stage, Tevez finally clicked into form, scoring goals on a regular basis as West Ham began a late season surge towards safety. Before the season ended, West Ham pleaded guilty at a tribunal to the charges. They were given a hefty £5.5 million fine but escaped a points deduction. This infuriated their relegation rivals, Sheffield United, Fulham and Wigan Athletic. Ultimately, West Ham survived on the final day with a victory at Old Trafford and it was the Blades who were relegated to the Championship.

Tevez scored the winner that day at Old Trafford and would spend the next two years playing at the Theatre of Dreams and winning back-to-back titles. He was the driving force behind the Hammers’ escape act of 2006-2007 but it still remains one of the most controversial transfer dealings in Premier League history.

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Shock Results: Tottenham Hotspur 0-3 West Ham United (October 2013)

Goalscorer: Winston Reid 66, Ricardo Vaz Te 72, Ravel Morrison 79

Teams:

Tottenham Hotspur: Hugo Lloris, Kyle Walker, Kyle Naughton (Lewis Holtby 81), Michael Dawson, Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele, Paulinho, Andros Townsend, Christian Eriksen (Roberto Soldado 74), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Erik Lamela 63), Jermain Defoe

West Ham United: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Guy Demel, Razvan Rat, James Tomkins, Winston Reid, Mohamed Diame (James Collins 80), Mark Noble (Joey O’Brien 90), Ravel Morrison, Kevin Nolan, Stewart Downing, Ricardo Vaz Te (Carlton Cole 86)

Referee: Lee Probert, Attendance: 35,977

A win for Tottenham Hotspur in this match with London rivals West Ham United in October 2013 would have taken them joint-top of the table with Arsenal and Liverpool FC. West Ham began in the bottom three but a win would see them rise into 13th position in the table. As Andre Villas-Boas’ side had the joint-tightest defence in the Premier League going into this match, Spurs were expected to come out on top.

Sam Allardyce decided to name no recognised forward in his starting XI, with Ricardo Vaz Te and Ravel Morrison playing in the false no.9 positions. In a first half of precious few chances, it was West Ham who created the best moment. They won a free-kick in a dangerous position and rather than shoot, Mark Noble elected to chip the ball over the wall. Clearly a training ground routine, it nearly worked. Kevin Nolan’s shot went just wide from a tight angle.

Tottenham enjoyed 61% possession in the match but created precious little which was a sign of how their season was progressing. They were tight at the back but had only scored six goals in their first six league matches of the season – still struggling with the aftermath of the Gareth Bale transfer to Real Madrid.

Villas-Boas elected to start with Jermain Defoe over summer signing Roberto Soldado and Defoe did cause some problems at the start of the second half. He was twice denied by Hammers’ goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen. As the game entered its last 25 minutes, the outcome of the match was firmly in the balance.

It was at this moment when West Ham took the lead. Winston Reid met Stewart Downing’s corner but his effort was inadvertently blocked on the goal-line by Nolan. Fortunately for the east Londoners, the ball bounced back to Reid and he made no mistake on the rebound, striking past Hugo Lloris. He joined Oliver Giroud and John Terry in being only the third player to score in the league this season past Lloris.

Vaz Te would add his name to that list just six minutes later. Found by Noble, his shot was saved by Lloris but he followed up quickly and the ball went into the net off his knee. If there was fortune about West Ham’s first two goals, there was nothing lucky about their third. Morrison, who had been dangerous all afternoon, collected a flick-on from Mohamed Diame and ran with the ball. He beat both Tottenham central defenders, Michael Dawson and Jan Vertonghen before convincingly beating Lloris and finishing the match off as a contest.

It was the Hammers’ first win at White Hart Lane since 1999 and their first away victory in nine attempts. West Ham would win three encounters in the season with Tottenham but finished in the bottom half of the table. Spurs’ form dipped alarmingly after this loss and AVB was axed as manager in December 2013. Tim Sherwood took over and guided the club to a sixth-place finish at the end of the campaign.

Premier League Files: Bobby Zamora

Bobby Zamora’s career took its time to really get going but he represented all of his Premier League teams with great loyalty and desire to succeed. His best spell was with Fulham where he helped Roy Hodgson’s side to a UEFA Europa League final in 2010 and earned himself international recognition from Fabio Capello and England. A lifelong West Ham United fan, he would spend five seasons as a player for the club he grew up supporting and was often a scorer of some spectacular goals.

He started his Football League career as a trainee with Bristol Rovers in 1999 and made a few sporadic first-team appearances before going out on-loan to first Bath City, then Brighton & Hove Albion. He made an immediate impact at Brighton, scoring six goals in six matches during a three-month loan spell in 2000. This encouraged the Seagulls’ to sign him permanently for the 2000-2001 season. He would score 83 times in 136 appearances, breaking into the England Under-21 setup during this time and helping Brighton towards the second-tier of English football with back-to-back promotions.

Several Premier League clubs had been monitoring Zamora very closely, particularly Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs paid Brighton £1.5 million in July 2003 to take Bobby to White Hart Lane. He was one of Glenn Hoddle’s prime targets that summer. However, the manager was sacked in September 2003 after a poor start to the campaign which saw Tottenham winning only one of their first six games. Zamora struggled to settle too, scoring just once in 18 matches and that was in a League Cup victory over West Ham United. Had he just blown his big Premier League opportunity?

In January 2004, he dropped back down to the Football League but it was a move he needed for his career. Joyfully for Zamora, it was West Ham United where his next port of call would be as the Hammers struck a deal with Tottenham which allowed an unhappy Jermain Defoe to go in the other direction. Zamora struck an instant cord for West Ham supporters, scoring in his first two matches for the club as they narrowly missed out on an immediate return to the Premier League via the play-offs.

There was no play-off heartache in 2005. Zamora was the ultimate difference behind West Ham’s return to the top-flight. He scored four goals in the play-off matches, including the winner to defeat Preston North End in the final. He was heading back to the Premier League and it was with his boyhood club too. He made an important contribution to the 2005-2006 team under Alan Pardew that finished in 9th place and reached the FA Cup final. Bobby scored on the club’s final visit to Highbury which ended in victory over Arsenal but was one of the unfortunate victims to have a spot-kick saved in the FA Cup shootout defeat to Liverpool FC.

He started 2006-2007 in brilliant form with five goals in four matches but as the club hit a dreadful run of form, the goals also dried up for Zamora. Pardew was sacked and replaced by Alan Curbishley. Zamora did score some vital goals in the run-in which saw West Ham pull off a remarkable escape with seven wins in their last nine matches to avoid relegation. Among those goals was a winning goal at Arsenal which made West Ham the first away winners in the Premier League at The Emirates Stadium. In 2007-2008, he missed five months of the campaign because of tendinitis which restricted him to just 14 Premier League appearances and would leave Upton Park in the summer of 2008 to join Fulham.

Zamora struggled to find the net, scoring just twice in 35 league appearances over the 2008-2009 season and it looked set that his stay in the west of the capital would be just a sole season. Fulham agreed a fee with Hull City for Zamora to be sold in July 2009 to the Tigers. However, he turned down the move because he didn’t fancy moving away from London.

It was an inspired decision to stay. Zamora enjoyed his best-ever campaign in 2009-2010, scoring some vital goals in the run to the UEFA Europa League final as Fulham beat the likes of reigning holders Shakhtar Donetsk, Bundesliga champions VfL Wolfsburg and Italian giants Juventus. Fulham suffered heartache in the final, losing 2-1 to Atletico Madrid but finished a comfortable 12th in the Premier League table and he scored 19 goals in all competitions.

A late season injury ended his outside hopes of playing in the 2010 World Cup finals for England but he made his international debut in August 2010, featuring in a friendly victory over Hungary. Another injury meant he would figure just once more for the Three Lions – against Sweden in November 2011 which ultimately turned out to be Capello’s last match in charge of England.

He signed a new four-year contract at Fulham in September 2010 but just 24 hours after putting pen to paper on his new deal, he suffered a broken leg in a home match against Wolverhampton Wanderers. This would keep him out of action for over five months. He did return to action before the 2010-2011 season finished but fell out with new Fulham manager Martin Jol and would leave the Cottagers in January 2012 to join Queens Park Rangers.

He scored on his debut for the club which was a 2-1 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers and scored twice in 14 games as the club narrowly avoided relegation. He never hit the heights of his Fulham days at Loftus Road and experienced two relegations in three seasons. He did score a Goal of the Season contender against West Bromwich Albion in April 2015 and scored another play-off final winner over Derby County but by now, injuries had taken their toll.

In August 2015, he returned to Brighton & Hove Albion and scored seven times in 26 appearances before being released after Brighton missed out on promotion through the play-offs. He didn’t play any part in the campaign after March due to a hip injury and in December 2016, he decided to hang up his football boots. He scored 182 goals during his club career.

Zamora is currently pursuing business interests, including a social housing scheme with ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand and West Ham United midfielder Mark Noble.

On his day, Bobby Zamora was unplayable and certainly made an impact on many of his clubs. His best Premier League spell was with Fulham and he is still fondly remembered by Brighton supporters, who came up with the chant: “When the ball hits the goal it’s not Shearer or Cole, its Zamora,” to the tune of Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore.”

The Managers: Alan Curbishley

Premier League Clubs Managed: Charlton Athletic (1998-1999, 2000-2006), West Ham United (2006-2008)

Alan Curbishley enjoyed some notable success in his reign at Charlton Athletic. He ensured the Addicks became a solid, consistent mid-table Premier League side at the start of the millennium and enjoyed 14 seasons as manager of the Londoners. As soon as he decided to step down at the end of the 2005-2006 campaign, Charlton became a pale shadow of the strong sides he’d built up and they were promptly relegated the season after his departure.

Playing between London and the Midlands

As a player, Alan featured for five clubs over the course of an 18-year career which began with West Ham United in 1975, a club he would later spend a couple of chequered years as manager. He made 85 league appearances for the Hammers and often competed for a place in midfield alongside the likes of Billy Bonds, Alan Devonshire and Geoff Pike. After falling out with manager John Lyall, he transferred to Birmingham City in 1979, spending four seasons at St. Andrews. A controversial move to Birmingham’s bitter rivals, Aston Villa followed before his first spell as a player at Charlton Athletic began in 1984. He helped the Addicks to promotion from the First Division in 1986 and achieved a similar feat at Brighton & Hove Albion in 1987, only this time it was into the Second Division.

He returned to Charlton in 1990 in a player/coach capacity under the guidance of Lennie Lawrence and when Lawrence left the following season, Curbishley became joint-manager, working alongside Steve Gritt.

Between the two of them, they laid down the foundations for future success at Charlton, starting the careers of the likes of Lee Bowyer, Shaun Newton and Richard Rufus. They were also in command when Charlton played their first game back at The Valley in 1992 after several seasons away due to a financial dispute.

Gritt stepped down in 1995, enabling Curbishley to take sole control of the team. In 1998, the Addicks reached the First Division play-off final and would meet Sunderland at Wembley Stadium in what is still considered as one of the finest play-off matches ever seen. The game ended 4-4 after extra-time, with Clive Mendonca scoring a hat-trick. The match went to penalties and Curbishley couldn’t look at the drama any longer. When goalkeeper Sasa Ilic saved from Michael Gray, Charlton were promoted to the Premier League.

Learning lessons to be better

Charlton made a fabulous start to life in the Premier League. They thrashed Southampton 5-0 in their first home match in the division and earned creditable goalless draws away to Newcastle United and champions Arsenal. That meant Alan won the first Manager of the Month of that season. The 1998-1999 season would be a campaign of learning lessons for both manager and club.

Winter 1998 was not good. Charlton managed to lose eight successive matches and failed to win in 13 games before beating Wimbledon 2-0 in February 1999. Back-to-back victories over Liverpool FC and Derby County followed and another Manager of the Month award for this mini revival but the earlier run of form had done the damage to the club’s survival prospects. Despite an entertaining 4-3 away win on the penultimate weekend against Aston Villa, Charlton’s 1-0 home loss to Sheffield Wednesday on the final day confirmed their relegation back to the First Division.

The club stuck with Curbishley and their faith was rewarded. Charlton won 27 of their 46 matches back at second-tier and finished First Division champions in 2000, two points clear of Manchester City. A resounding 4-0 victory over City on the first day of the 2000-2001 Premier League campaign suggested Charlton had learned greatly from their first experience of the big league.

They beat Chelsea and Arsenal at home, held Manchester United to a 3-3 draw and recorded a league double over Manchester City. Charlton finished a fantastic ninth place, despite not having a prolific goalscorer with only Jonatan Johansson achieving double figures.

14th in 2001-2002 was slightly disappointing given the previous season’s highs but they were one of only three sides to beat Arsenal that season with a wonderful 4-2 victory at Highbury in November 2001. In early 2003, the club were sitting as high as sixth after five successive victories at the turn of the year which earned Curbishley his third Manager of the Month award. However, eight defeats in their last 10 matches saw the Addicks fade to a 12th place finish in 2002-2003.

A nice blend of youth and experience

Charlton’s best Premier League season came in 2003-2004. Curbishley’s development of youth and experience was proving to be a nice blend, with Scott Parker flourishing in the first part of the campaign before high-flying Chelsea came in with a £10 million bid which Charlton simply couldn’t turn down in January 2004. They were fourth going into the New Year and still finished a fine seventh, only narrowly missing out on a UEFA Cup place behind the richer resourced sides like Newcastle United and Aston Villa.

His excellent work at Charlton was always noted and Liverpool FC interviewed him for the vacant managerial position in the summer of 2004 which eventually went to the reigning La Liga championship-winning manager Rafa Benitez. He was also considered for the England job in 2006 and even received praise from the likes of Sir Bobby Robson. However, he missed out on this position too, with Steve McClaren taking over after the World Cup in Germany that summer.

By now, things had got slightly stale at Charlton. Solid, if unspectacular campaigns followed in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006. Both had their high points, including a four-game winning sequence at the start of 2005-2006 but both campaigns faded away into mediocrity. He was offered a new contract but declined the opportunity to stay. Moments before the club’s final home match of the season against Blackburn Rovers, he revealed that he was leaving at the end of the season.

He said: “It’s a time of mixed emotions, but it is the right time for me and right for the club. I have done 15 years and wanted a break. I want to freshen up and not do anything for a little while.”

He left after 720 games in charge of the Addicks. Charlton would experience relegation a season after his departure and haven’t been anywhere close a return to the top-flight since.

Masterminding an incredible turnaround at Upton Park

After a six-month break to spend more time with his family, Curbishley returned to the managerial dugout in December 2006, succeeding Alan Pardew as manager of West Ham United. They were in the bottom three and already facing an uphill task to stay in the Premier League.

There was an initial bounce, with a 1-0 victory over league leaders Manchester United in his first game in charge but a harrowing run followed, which included defeat at home to bottom-placed Watford and a 6-0 New Years’ Day mauling at the hands of Reading. When Tottenham Hotspur won a 4-3 thriller at Upton Park at the start of March, West Ham were 11 points adrift of safety. The situation looked incredibly desperate.

However, Curbishley masterminded an incredible turnaround. The club won seven out of their last nine matches, including 1-0 away wins at Arsenal and Manchester United. Helped by the goals of Carlos Tevez, West Ham stayed up on the final day with the victory at Old Trafford. There was huge controversy off-the-pitch with the club not being deducted points for breaking transfer ownership rules over the signings of Tevez and Javier Mascherano but Alan deserved great praise for turning around an almost hopeless scenario into one of the league’s greatest escapes.

A more calmer 2007-2008 season followed with the club finishing 10th in the final standings despite long-term injuries to the likes of Craig Bellamy, Parker and Kieron Dyer who had all been signed in the summer by Curbishley. Speculation increased about his future though at the start of the 2008-2009 season and unhappy about the departures of defenders George McCartney and Anton Ferdinand, he resigned three games into the campaign. He launched a case of constructive dismissal against the club a year later, winning £2.2 million in compensation from the east Londoners.

That was his last managerial role. He has since worked briefly as a technical director at Fulham and is occasionally seen as a TV pundit. In a world where managers get sacked far too often nowadays, we won’t see the likes of Alan Curbishley’s reign at Charlton in terms of duration anymore. He often maximised the resources he had available to him and deserves credit for what he achieved as a result.

Seasonal Records: 2002-2003

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2002-2003 Premier League campaign, as Manchester United claimed their eighth Premier League title and the first club slipped out of the league despite reaching the usual magical safety mark of 40 points.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester United 38 25 8 5 74 34 +40 83
2 Arsenal 38 23 9 6 85 42 +43 78
3 Newcastle United 38 21 6 11 63 48 +15 69
4 Chelsea 38 19 10 9 68 38 +30 67
5 Liverpool FC 38 18 10 10 61 41 +20 64
6 Blackburn Rovers 38 16 12 10 52 43 +9 60
7 Everton 38 17 8 13 48 49 -1 59
8 Southampton 38 13 13 12 43 46 -3 52
9 Manchester City 38 15 6 17 47 54 -7 51
10 Tottenham Hotspur 38 14 8 16 51 62 -11 50
11 Middlesbrough 38 13 10 15 48 44 +4 49
12 Charlton Athletic 38 14 7 17 45 56 -11 49
13 Birmingham City 38 13 9 16 41 49 -8 48
14 Fulham 38 13 9 16 41 50 -9 48
15 Leeds United 38 14 5 19 58 57 +1 47
16 Aston Villa 38 12 9 17 42 47 -5 45
17 Bolton Wanderers 38 10 14 14 41 51 -10 44
18 West Ham United 38 10 12 16 42 59 -17 42
19 West Bromwich Albion 38 6 8 24 29 65 -36 26
20 Sunderland 38 4 7 27 21 65 -44 19

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1000
European qualifiers Manchester United (UEFA Champions League), Arsenal (UEFA Champions League), Newcastle United (UEFA Champions League), Chelsea (UEFA Champions League), Liverpool FC (UEFA Cup), Blackburn Rovers (UEFA Cup), Southampton (UEFA Cup), Manchester City (UEFA Cup)
Longest winning run 7 games (Liverpool FC)
Longest unbeaten run 18 games (Manchester United)
Longest winless run 20 games (Sunderland)
Longest losing run 15 games (Sunderland)
Highest attendance 67,721 (Manchester United vs. Charlton Athletic)
Lowest attendance 14,017 (Fulham vs. Blackburn Rovers)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
PFA Young Player of the Year Jermaine Jenas (Newcastle United)
Football Writers’ Award Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
PFA Team of the Year Brad Friedel, Sol Campbell, William Gallas, Stephen Carr, Ashley Cole, Patrick Vieira, Kieron Dyer, Robert Pires, Paul Scholes, Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer
Manager of the Year Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United
Premier League Goal of the Season Thierry Henry (ARSENAL vs. Tottenham Hotspur)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Michael Owen Manchester City vs. Liverpool FC 0-3 28th September 2002
James Beattie Southampton vs. Fulham 4-2 27th October 2002
Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United vs. Newcastle United 5-3 23rd November 2002
Robbie Keane Tottenham Hotspur vs. Everton 4-3 12th January 2003
Thierry Henry Arsenal vs. West Ham United 3-1 27th January 2003
Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United vs. Fulham 3-0 22nd March 2003
Mark Viduka Charlton Athletic vs. Leeds United 1-6 5th April 2003
Paul Scholes Newcastle United vs. Manchester United 2-6 12th April 2003
Michael Owen (4) West Bromwich Albion vs. Liverpool FC 0-6 26th April 2003
Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United vs. Charlton Athletic 4-1 3rd May 2003
Jermaine Pennant Arsenal vs. Southampton 6-1 7th May 2003
Robert Pires Arsenal vs. Southampton 6-1 7th May 2003
Freddie Ljungberg Sunderland vs. Arsenal 0-4 11th May 2003

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United 25
2 Thierry Henry Arsenal 24
3 James Beattie Southampton 23
4 Mark Viduka Leeds United 20
5 Michael Owen Liverpool FC 19
6 Alan Shearer Newcastle United 17
7= Paul Scholes Manchester United 14
7= Robert Pires Arsenal 14
7= Gianfranco Zola Chelsea 14
7= Nicolas Anelka Manchester City 14
7= Robbie Keane Leeds United & Tottenham Hotspur 14
7= Harry Kewell Leeds United 14
13 Teddy Sheringham Tottenham Hotspur 12
14= Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Chelsea 11
14= Tomasz Radzinski Everton 11
16= Sylvain Wiltord Arsenal 10
16= Eidur Gudjohnsen Chelsea 10
16= Kevin Campbell Everton 10
16= Jason Euell Charlton Athletic 10
16= Dion Dublin Aston Villa 10
21= Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United 9
21= Milan Baros Liverpool FC 9
21= Damien Duff Blackburn Rovers 9
21= Marc-Vivien Foe Manchester City 9
21= Massimo Maccarone Middlesbrough 9

BIGGEST VICTORIES

West Bromwich Albion 0-6 Liverpool FC 26th April 2003
Arsenal 6-1 Southampton 7th May 2003
Charlton Athletic 1-6 Leeds United 5th April 2003
Chelsea 5-0 Manchester City 22nd March 2003
Newcastle United 2-6 Manchester United 12th April 2003
Manchester City 1-5 Arsenal 22nd February 2003
Newcastle United 5-1 Blackburn Rovers 22nd March 2003
Middlesbrough 5-1 Tottenham Hotspur 3rd May 2003
Manchester United 4-0 Liverpool FC 5th April 2003
Birmingham City 0-4 Arsenal 12th January 2003

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
8 Newcastle United 2-6 Manchester United 12th April 2003
8 Manchester United 5-3 Newcastle United 23rd November 2002
7 Arsenal 6-1 Southampton 7th May 2003
7 Charlton Athletic 1-6 Leeds United 5th April 2003
7 Arsenal 5-2 West Bromwich Albion 27th August 2002
7 Blackburn Rovers 5-2 Newcastle United 19th October 2002
7 Middlesbrough 2-5 Aston Villa 28th January 2003
7 Tottenham Hotspur 4-3 Everton 12th January 2003
7 West Ham United 3-4 Leeds United 10th November 2002
7 Bolton Wanderers 4-3 Newcastle United 26th December 2002
6 West Bromwich Albion 0-6 Liverpool FC 26th April 2003
6 Manchester City 1-5 Arsenal 22nd February 2003
6 Newcastle United 5-1 Blackburn Rovers 22nd March 2003
6 Middlesbrough 5-1 Tottenham Hotspur 3rd May 2003
6 Southampton 4-2 Fulham 27th October 2002
6 Bolton Wanderers 4-2 Birmingham City 1st February 2003
6 Charlton Athletic 4-2 West Ham United 22nd January 2003
6 Leeds United 2-4 Bolton Wanderers 17th November 2002
5 Chelsea 5-0 Manchester City 22nd March 2003
5 Manchester United 4-1 Charlton Athletic 3rd May 2003

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Wayne Rooney Everton 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur 16 years, 9 months, 24 days 17th August 2002
James Milner West Ham United 3-4 Leeds United 16 years, 10 months, 6 days 10th November 2002
Mat Sadler Birmingham City 3-1 Bolton Wanderers 17 years, 8 months, 7 days 2nd November 2002
Danny Livesey Bolton Wanderers 2-3 Liverpool FC 17 years, 8 months, 14 days 14th September 2002
Jay McEveley Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Blackburn Rovers 17 years, 9 months, 26 days 7th December 2002
Kieran Richardson Manchester United 5-3 Newcastle United 18 years, 1 month, 2 days 23rd November 2002
Robert Huth Fulham 0-0 Chelsea 18 years, 1 month, 5 days 23rd September 2002
Andrew Davies Middlesbrough 2-5 Aston Villa 18 years, 1 month, 11 days 28th January 2003
Osei Sankofa Manchester United 4-1 Charlton Athletic 18 years, 1 month, 14 days 3rd May 2003
Jamie Slabber Tottenham Hotspur 2-3 Liverpool FC 18 years, 2 months, 13 days 16th March 2003

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
David Seaman Sunderland 0-4 Arsenal 39 years, 1 month, 17 days 11th May 2003
Peter Schmeichel Manchester City 0-1 Southampton 38 years, 8 months, 11 days 11th May 2003
Nigel Winterburn West Ham United 0-3 Liverpool FC 38 years, 7 months, 19 days 2nd February 2003
Gudni Bergsson Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Middlesbrough 38 years, 6 months, 9 days 11th May 2003
Laurent Blanc Everton 1-2 Manchester United 38 years, 5 months 11th May 2003
Teddy Sheringham Tottenham Hotspur 0-4 Blackburn Rovers 38 years, 4 months, 19 days 11th May 2003
Gianfranco Zola Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool FC 38 years, 1 month, 24 days 11th May 2003
Martin Keown Arsenal 2-3 Leeds United 37 years, 4 months, 16 days 4th May 2003
Les Ferdinand Birmingham City 2-2 West Ham United 36 years, 9 months, 20 days 11th May 2003
John Moncur Arsenal 3-1 West Ham United 36 years, 6 months, 10 days 19th January 2003

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Brad Friedel Blackburn Rovers 15
2 Shay Given Newcastle United 14
3= Carlo Cudicini Chelsea 12
3= Jerzy Dudek Liverpool FC 12
5 Richard Wright Everton 11
6= Fabien Barthez Manchester United 10
6= Mark Schwarzer Middlesbrough 10
6= Paul Robinson Leeds United 10
6= Jussi Jaaskelainen Bolton Wanderers 10
10 Antti Niemi Southampton 9

Premier League Files: Shaka Hislop

Premier League Career: Newcastle United (1995-1998), West Ham United (1998-2002) (2005-2006), Portsmouth (2003-2005)

Shaka Hislop spent the best part of a decade in the Premier League and was a fine shot-stopper and an all-round strong goalkeeper. He had to see off competition from many goalkeeper rivals at all of his clubs and often prevailed too against the challenges. Hislop was part of the Newcastle United squad that finished runners-up to Manchester United in back-to-back campaigns during the mid-90s.

Hislop was a tall goalkeeper and this is why he was thrust into goal during his schoolboy days, despite wanting to play as a centre-forward. Shortly after graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering from Howard University in the United States, Hislop was signing professional forms with Reading. The Berkshire club came very close to a Premier League spot whilst Shaka kept goal at Elm Park but narrowly missed out; losing 4-3 to Bolton Wanderers in the 1995 First Division play-off final. He became a fans’ favourite though and after a slightly unconvincing first few months, he grew in stature and was voted Player of the Year by his colleagues twice.

Reading’s near-miss in 1995 meant a lot of their players moved on and Hislop was no different. He joined Newcastle United for £1.5 million. He immediately took the number one goalkeeping jersey off former regular Pavel Srnicek and kept clean sheets in three of his first four matches. An injury though away to Chelsea in December saw Srnicek thrust back into duty and even though Shaka regained fitness by the season’s conclusion, Kevin Keegan stuck with the Czech in-goal.

1996-1997 was almost a roles reversal. It was Srnicek who started the season between the posts but a number of high-profile mistakes, including against Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers saw him dropped in favour of Hislop. Newcastle’s 7-1 demolition of Tottenham Hotspur in December 1996 was only his second league start of that season. Yet, he stayed in goal through Kenny Dalglish’s early tenure as the Magpies’ beat Arsenal and Liverpool FC on the final day to second spot in the table and therefore earned qualification for the UEFA Champions League. Dalglish brought Shay Given into the club in the summer of 1997 and after a frustrating season playing second fiddle to the new arrival, Hislop left Tyneside on a free transfer in 1998 for pastures new at West Ham United.

His time at West Ham under Harry Redknapp was excellent and probably produced the best form of his career. Hislop won the club’s “Hammer of the Year” in his very first season and a stunning save from Chris Armstrong’s header at White Hart Lane in 1999 was one of 10 nominations for the Premier League’s Save of the Decade at the 10 Seasons awards. A broken leg in February 2000 stalled his career but he continued to produce strong performances on his return. In the summer of 2001, new Hammers’ manager Glenn Roeder snapped up David James from Aston Villa and it looked like Hislop’s time at Upton Park was over. However, James tore knee ligaments whilst on England duty in August, so Hislop would make another 12 appearances before David was ready to return in December 2001. Hislop would move to Portsmouth in the summer of 2002.

It was a drop down a division but he was reunited with Redknapp and was named in the First Division’s Team of the Year as Pompey won the title to win promotion to the Premier League. Hislop would hold down the goalkeeper’s position for Portsmouth’s first two Premier League campaigns, despite competition from the likes of Jamie Ashdown and Konstantinos Chalkias. He was released in June 2005 and rejoined West Ham United for one final Premier League season, featuring 27 times in all competitions and keeping seven clean sheets. He would also save a penalty from Sami Hyypia in the FA Cup final shootout but it wasn’t enough as Liverpool FC beat the Londoners on spot-kicks after their epic Cardiff final.

There was one final huge accomplishment for Hislop and that was to play in the World Cup finals. Trinidad & Tobago’s shock qualification for the tournament in Germany in 2006 meant he would represent his nation at the world’s festival of football. When regular first-choice keeper Kelvin Jack suffered a calf injury in the warm-up before their first match against Sweden, Hislop was called up to play and kept a clean sheet against the likes of Henrik Larsson and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Dortmund. In total, Shaka would play 26 times for the Twin Island nation, captaining them five times.

A back injury suffered whilst playing in the MLS would curtail his career. Hislop retired in August 2007. Since retirement, he has gone into the media industry, working mainly as a commentator for ESPN and has also written weekly blogs on the MLS for the Guardian website.

Often underrated throughout his career, Shaka Hislop was a calming and reliable presence between the sticks for all of the Premier League sides he figured for.

Great Goals: Andy Carroll – WEST HAM UNITED vs. Crystal Palace (January 2017)

This London derby was an important one for both sides. West Ham were still trying to find their feet at the London Stadium whilst Sam Allardyce was returning to one of his former clubs. He was also trying to stamp his authority on his new side, Crystal Palace.

West Ham were 1-0 ahead going into the final quarter of the match. They launched a breakaway and Michail Antonio, who had been battling the flu all week, lifted a cross into the box. Slightly behind him for a trademark header, Andy Carroll decided to improvise – in spectacular fashion.

He produced an incredible scissor kick that almost burst the net. Crystal Palace goalie Wayne Hennessey barely saw it. It was a moment of majestic skill and a wonderful way to win a London derby. This is what Carroll is capable of. Unfortunately, injuries have often interrupted a career that promised so much from the Newcastle United days.

Premier League Files: Robert Snodgrass

Premier League Career: Norwich City (2012-2014), Hull City (2014-2015, 2016-2017), West Ham United (2017)

Robert Snodgrass has been like a yo-yo in recent years, spending seasons in-between struggling Premier League sides and higher forces in the Championship. This season, the Scottish international is on-loan to Aston Villa after a disastrous five months at West Ham United.

To be fair to Snodgrass, his time at West Ham was not helped by a lack of research done by the club when they signed him in January 2017 from Hull City. Being asked to play outside of his natural position by then manager Slaven Bilic led to a rapid deterioration of his career at the London Stadium. On leaving, he revealed: “I went to West Ham and had a manager that played me out of position. To be honest with you, it was very tough to take.”

Born in Glasgow, Snodgrass began his playing days with Livingston after turning down an apprenticeship offer from Celtic. He spent four years in their youth ranks before graduating into the first-team setup in 2003. He scored 15 times in 79 games and impressed on a regular basis. He left the club in 2008 after deciding not to extend his contract.

Barnsley offered him a trial on his release from Livingston but it didn’t go well. Leeds United stepped in and took the player on for the 2008-2009 season. Snodgrass would spend the next four campaigns in Yorkshire, scoring 35 times in 168 league appearances. Highlights included being part of the Leeds side that won at Old Trafford in the FA Cup third round in 2010 and being made club captain in his final season by Neil Warnock. However, with Leeds stranded in the Championship, Snodgrass knew he’d have to move if he wanted to sample the joys of Premier League football.

That opportunity arrived in the summer of 2012, as Norwich City snapped him up on an undisclosed fee. His first goal was a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane with Tottenham Hotspur. He impressed as the season progressed and the Canaries finished a comfortable 11th in the table. The fans at Carrow Road quickly recognised Snodgrass’ strong form and he was runner-up in the club’s Player of the Season awards to central defender Sebastien Bassong.

Snodgrass had already produced a reputation of being a fine dead-ball specialist. His first goal of 2013-2014 was a cracking free-kick when Norwich beat West Ham United 3-1 in November 2013. A winning goal against Tottenham followed later in the season but the East Anglian side failed to build on their promising previous two seasons and were relegated to the Championship.

He stayed in the Premier League though, joining Hull City in June 2014. Fate would deal him a dreadful blow. He sustained a serious injury on the opening day of the 2014-2015 campaign when Hull won 1-0 at Queens Park Rangers. Tests later revealed a dislocated kneecap which would keep him on the sidelines for the entire campaign. In fact, he wouldn’t return to first-team action for 15 months. By that point, Hull had been relegated.

The Scot battled hard to return to full fitness and he scored four times on his return to action in 24 matches as Hull went straight back up to the top-flight through the play-offs. This gave Robert another opportunity to sparkle and he did so, scoring seven times in the first 20 matches of the 2016-2017 season. This included an opening day winner over champions Leicester City and a trademark free-kick at home to Everton in December.

By now, Marco Silva had arrived as Hull boss and wanted to bring in some players from the continent. Whilst he appreciated Snodgrass’ qualities, he saw him as an asset which the club could cash in on. Hull accepted offers of £10 million from Burnley and West Ham United. He would choose to move to the capital. It didn’t work out.

15 games later and without a goal, he was informed he could leave the club permanently or on-loan. The chance to work with Steve Bruce again at Aston Villa was an opportunity too good to turn down and Snodgrass decided to drop back down to the Championship. He has made himself a regular at Villa Park as the former European champions aim to return to the elite for the 2018-2019 Premier League season.

Premier League Files: Matt Jarvis

Premier League Career: Wolverhampton Wanderers (2009-2012), West Ham United (2012-2015), Norwich City (2015-2016)

Middlesbrough-born Matt Jarvis is now 31 and has experienced the highs of being capped by England in his career. Unfortunately, injuries and a bad career move to West Ham United in 2012 have seen his footballing spell hindered. He is still with Norwich City in the SkyBet Championship but his total of just 16 appearances in two and a half campaigns shows the battles he constantly seems to be having with the treatment table.

Jarvis got a decent upbringing before making his impact on the football field. His parents both were professional table tennis players and among the best in Britain at the time. With 10 GCSE qualifications, Matt excelled in his education but football was his pure love and he tried to make his mark at Millwall as a youth team player. It didn’t quite work out as hoped in London but Gillingham rescued him from the scrapheap, signing him initially as a trainee. The Kent-based club were forced to give him a first-team debut at the age of just 17 in the Football League when a flu bug crippled their senior players. He impressed enough to earn his first professional deal before the end of the 2003-2004 campaign.

He would make over 100 appearances for Gillingham and plenty of higher-profile clubs expressed an interest in his services. Nottingham Forest and Plymouth Argyle both had transfer bids rebuffed but Wolverhampton Wanderers were more successful and snapped him up in June 2007 with Matt stalling over a contract extension at the Priestfield Stadium. Hip and groin injuries delayed his debut for Wolves by three months but he quickly became a key player for the Midlands club and helped them win promotion back to the Premier League after a five-year exile in 2009.

Jarvis continued to shine in the Premier League, scoring three goals in 2009-2010 as Wolves avoided relegation with a strong second half of the campaign. His goals included an equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Hull City and the third goal in an impressive performance away at Upton Park. His form and goals ratio improved in the following season, even if the team continued to battle against survival. Jarvis’ highlight for the club in 2010-2011 was a winning goal in a local derby with Midlands rivals Aston Villa. However, his personal success came a few days after this winner at Villa Park. He was selected by Fabio Capello for the England international squad for games against Wales and Ghana. He was unused in Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium against the Welsh but came off the bench to feature at Wembley against the Africans. In doing so, he became the first Wolverhampton Wanderers player to feature for England since Steve Bull back in 1990. It would turn out to be his solitary international cap.

His best goalscoring season followed in 2011-2012, netting eight times including two goals in an entertaining 4-4 draw away at Swansea City. Unfortunately by this point, Wolves’ relegation back to the Championship had been confirmed and it was evident that he would have to leave Molineux to further his career.

West Ham United were the club who pursued him vigorously in the summer of 2012 and he eventually joined them in August for a club-record fee. The early signs were encouraging. Jarvis scored the opening goal in a 2-1 victory at Queens Park Rangers in October and he featured in 32 matches for Sam Allardyce. During the season, Matt made 171 open-play crosses in the Premier League which was the most for any outfield player in 2012-2013. The next two seasons were a real struggle though and he was loaned out to Norwich City for the 2015-2016 campaign. He scored on his Canaries’ debut in a 3-1 home triumph over AFC Bournemouth and quickly made the loan a permanent move. Norwich paid £2.5 million for his services which suggested a huge financial loss to West Ham, who had forked out over £10 million for the player three seasons earlier.

His last full game in professional football came in May 2016 when Norwich lost 3-0 on the final day of the 2015-2016 season to Everton. A knee ligament injury followed that pre-season which initially ruled the winger out for three months. Further setbacks have followed since which has restricted him to just one 90-minute appearance in the EFL Trophy last December against a Swansea City Under-23 side. It remains unclear whether he will play again at the top level.

Matt Jarvis is another example of a player who had plenty of talent which was shown at more unfashionable clubs but struggled when it came to replicating this for higher-profile teams. Whilst all hope he can bounce back from the injury niggles at Norwich, it is highly likely that he has already seen the best days in his career.

Premier League Rewind: 16th-18th December 2006

Results: Charlton Athletic 0-3 Liverpool FC, Arsenal 2-2 Portsmouth, Newcastle United 2-1 Watford, Reading 1-2 Blackburn Rovers, Wigan Athletic 0-1 Sheffield United, Aston Villa 0-1 Bolton Wanderers, Everton 2-3 Chelsea, Manchester City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United 1-0 Manchester United, Fulham 2-1 Middlesbrough

The Christmas programme in 2006 was about to get underway and already, the 2006-2007 title race looked to be a straight shootout between Manchester United and Chelsea. Going into the 16th-18th December weekend, it was the Red Devils who had a five-point advantage. By the end of the weekend, Jose Mourinho’s champions had whittled the lead down after a dramatic Sunday afternoon involving the title contenders.

The Blues’ kicked off first on Merseyside and were given a very tough game by David Moyes and his Everton side. Everton were only 10th going into the match but just four points off the coveted UEFA Champions League qualifying positions and they led Chelsea twice in this match. In fact, Chelsea trailed 2-1 going into the last 10 minutes before amazing goals from Frank Lampard and then, another long-range special by Didier Drogba steered the Londoners home to a nervy and exciting 3-2 victory.

Later that afternoon, Manchester United travelled to Upton Park where West Ham United were welcoming their new manager. Alan Curbishley had been appointed a few days earlier, replacing Alan Pardew who had been sacked following a 4-0 defeat at Bolton eight days earlier. West Ham went into the weekend in the bottom three and desperate for a victory. They collected three much-needed points as Nigel Reo-Coker scored the only goal of the match and gave Curbishley a winning start. The gap between the top two was now two points.

Arsenal and Portsmouth were holding the other two Champions League qualification spots at the start of the weekend and they met each other at the Emirates Stadium. Pompey were flying and when Matt Taylor scored a looping volley, they were 2-0 up and looking set to become the first Premier League team to win at Arsenal’s new home. Arsene Wenger’s frustrations got the better of him and he was sent from the touchline but he will have been pleased to see his team’s battling qualities. Emmanuel Adebayor and skipper Gilberto Silva scored to ensure the points were shared.

Their draw allowed Liverpool FC to cash in and take third spot. Liverpool kicked off in the Saturday lunchtime game at second-bottom Charlton Athletic and it was one of the most one-sided away games in Premier League history. Liverpool had 24 attempts on-goal against Les Reed’s gutless side but only had a Xabi Alonso third-minute penalty to their name, squandering a host of opportunities. Luckily, Charlton were so bad, it didn’t matter. Craig Bellamy and Steven Gerrard did find the back of the net in the last 10 minutes to ensure the score had a fairer reflection given the visitors’ dominance. Reed lasted just one more abject match before being sacked as Charlton manager.

Elsewhere, Bolton climbed into fifth spot after Gary Speed’s penalty beat Aston Villa at Villa Park. Blackburn Rovers came from behind to pick up a valuable 2-1 victory away to Reading with David Bentley scoring the pick of the goals. Middlesbrough’s 2-1 defeat at home specialists Fulham on the Monday Night Football meant Gareth Southgate’s side slipped to 17th and just outside the bottom three on goal difference.

What else happened in December 2006?

  • Leona Lewis wins the X-Factor, becoming the first female winner of the ITV talent show.
  • Forklift driver Steve Wright is charged with the murders of five women in Ipswich between the 30th October and 10th December. He is sentenced to life imprisonment in February 2008.
  • Aged 93, Gerald Ford dies after years battling ill health. He was the 38th President of the United States, serving in office from August 1974 to January 1977.
  • Actress Wendy Richard leaves EastEnders after her character Pauline Fowler dies on Christmas Day. She had been in Albert Square since the very first episode in 1985.
  • Equestrian Zara Phillips follows in her mother’s footsteps by becoming BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2006.
  • 2,300 jobs are lost when the Ryton car factory closes in Warwickshire and production of the Peugeot 206 is moved to Slovakia.
  • An oil pipeline explodes on Boxing Day in Lagos, Nigeria, killing at least 200 people.

Shock Results: Arsenal 2-3 West Ham United (February 2006)

Goalscorers: Nigel Reo-Coker 25, Bobby Zamora 32, Thierry Henry 45, Matthew Etherington 80, Robert Pires 89

Teams:

Arsenal: Jens Lehmann, Johan Djourou, Philippe Senderos, Sol Campbell (Sebastian Larsson 45), Kerrea Gilbert (Mathieu Flamini 27), Gilberto Silva, Abou Diaby (Dennis Bergkamp 71), Freddie Ljungberg, Robert Pires, Thierry Henry, Robin van Persie

West Ham United: Shaka Hislop, Paul Konchesky, Danny Gabbidon, Anton Ferdinand, Clive Clarke (Carl Fletcher 76), Hayden Mullins, Nigel Reo-Coker, Yossi Benayoun (Shaun Newton 66), Matthew Etherington, Bobby Zamora (Dean Ashton 73), Marlon Harewood

Referee: Mark Halsey, Attendance: 38,216

West Ham United’s last trip to Highbury would be a visit that their fans will always remember. They capitalised on a shoddy Arsenal defensive display to claim all three points in an impressive return to the Premier League fold.

The Hammers’ had beaten Fulham in their previous match and now had new signing Dean Ashton available, although he would begin on the bench. Arsene Wenger handed a debut to his January arrival, midfielder Abou Diaby. It was Arsenal who started the stronger. In the 7th minute, Robin van Persie’s trickery almost broke the deadlock. His close-range effort crashed against the upright after carving through the Hammers’ defence.

It was the away side though who took the lead on 25 minutes. Sol Campbell’s attempt at a clearance on the halfway life was nothing short of horrific. Nigel Reo-Coker was the beneficiary. He raced clear on goal and the skipper kept his nerve to slot past Jens Lehmann. Seven minutes later, it was 2-0 and again, Campbell had to take the responsibility. Bobby Zamora was a tough competitor to face but the way he shrugged off Campbell’s advances in the penalty area was surprising. With the defender on the floor, Zamora proceeded to curl his effort beautifully into the Arsenal net.

The home side needed a response and they grabbed a goal back right on the stroke of half-time. After a brief scramble, Robert Pires struck a low shot through a crowd of players and into the back of the net. Replays later confirmed that Pires’ effort did take a deflection off Thierry Henry. This goal gave the Frenchman the league goals record for Arsenal, overtaking Cliff Bastin’s total of 150.

Campbell disappeared at half-time and wouldn’t emerge for the second half. Wenger later confirmed that he had requested to be substituted as he wasn’t in the right frame of mind. He wouldn’t play for the first-team again until mid-April. It meant youngster Sebastian Larsson got a rare opportunity and more reshuffling was made to the defence.

Arsenal started the second half with the same command as they demonstrated in the first half but once again, it didn’t produce them with a goal. Pires and Freddie Ljungberg both wasted good chances and Van Persie constantly caused problems from set-pieces. It was West Ham again though who found the crucial goal and the timing was massive. Larsson was caught in possession and after some lax play from Phillipe Senderos; Matthew Etherington stretched the lead to 3-1.

Pires pulled a goal back as injury-time beckoned but the Hammers held on for a hard-fought victory and their first at Highbury since a Don Hutchinson winner in March 1995.

Great Goals: Gareth Bale – West Ham United vs. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (February 2013)

West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur have played out a bruising and enthralling contest at Upton Park which is locked together at 2-2. To win the game, it needed either a big mistake or a moment of utter brilliance. It received the latter from the untouchable Gareth Bale.

Bale might have gone onto win big silverware in Spain with Real Madrid but it was Tottenham who gave him the platform to become the world’s most expensive footballer until Paul Pogba transferred back to Manchester United in the summer of 2016. He begins this move with another of his slalom runs before being tackled. The ball breaks to Gylfi Sigurdsson who finds substitute Tom Carroll.

Bale is back on his feet and beckons the ball from Carroll. The youngster duly obliges. Bale is given the time to assess his options but West Ham defenders probably didn’t expect what he would do next. The Welshman hits a special curling effort that leaves Jussi Jaaskelainen completely stranded. Tottenham win the game and once again, Bale is the decisive difference.