A Pictorial History

FOOTBALL PROGRAMMES

WEST HAM UNITED

Steve Marsh & Stuart Allen

Copyright © 2019 All rights reserved

theyflysohigh logo 97_01_15 Norwich City v. WHU Reserves 97_01_15 Norwich City v. WHU REPORT 97_01_28 Millwall v. WHU Reserves

NORWICH CITY : Avon Insurance Football Combination

MILLWALL : Avon Insurance Football Combination

97_02_11 WHU v. Chelsea Reserves

CHELSEA : Avon Insurance Football Combination

97_02_25 WHU v. QPR Reserves

QUEENS PARK RANGERS : Avon Insurance Football Combination

97_03_04 Wimbledon v. WHU Reserves

WIMBLEDON : Avon Insurance Football Combination

97_03_18 WHU v. Portsmouth Reserves

PORTSMOUTH : Avon Insurance Football Combination

97_03_26 Bristol City v. WHU Reserves

BRISTOL CITY : Avon Insurance Football Combination

97_04_08 WHU v. Swindon Town Reserves

SWINDON TOWN : Avon Insurance Football Combination

97_04_16 WHU v. Tottenham Hotspur LC Semi

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : Avon Insurance League Cup (Semi-Final)

97_04_21 WHU v. Charlton Athletic Reserves

CHARLTON ATHLETIC : Avon Insurance Football Combination

97_04_25 Tottenham Hotspur v. WHU Reserves

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : Avon Insurance Football Combination

Upton Park

0 - 3

25 April 1997

O'Reilly

Moore

Keith

Mean (Sains)

Coyne

Rowland (Wells)

Quinn

Prior

Boylan

Bartrley

McFarlane

97_04_29 WHU v. Oxford United Reserves

OXFORD UNITED : Avon Insurance Football Combination

WATFORD : Avon Insurance Football Combination

97_05_07 WHU v. Watford Reserves 1995-96 Reserves 1997-98 Reserves Season 1996-97

1996-97 Avon Insurance Football Combination

Despite the FA Cup Third Round tie at Upton Park on Wednesday 15 January being postponed due to fog, our reserve-team were able to complete their away Combination match against Norwich City, after travelling to Norfolk the same evening despite the match originally being called off as well. The circumstances in which the fixture was finally completed however, proved to be almost stranger than fiction. The referee, Mr. Bill Jordan, declared at 7 p.m.; 30 minutes before the scheduled kick-off time; that the match would not take place due to the possibility of fog coming down before the final whistle and left to go home. As the pitch was in good condition and both goals and all four comer-flags could be seen, as well as both clubs being desperate to play the game because of the long lay-off due to the Christmas break and then postponements resulting from the freezing weather conditions of early January, they mutually agreed; with the permission of the Secretary of The Combination who was present; to play the match.  Mr. Neville Chamberlain, the Combination Secretary, did say that the match might have to be classified as a friendly but subsequently it has been agreed that it stands as a Combination League fixture. Norwich City therefore called upon a local referee and two assistant referees to officiate to the delight of about 1,000 fans who had turned up to watch.

At 7.50 p.m. the game finally kicked-off and we found ourselves two goals down after 29 minutes; both goals being scored by the Canaries in a ten minute spelf by their Swedish triallist, striker Ulf Ottosson.Within a minute we had pulled one back when a move down the left resulted in a square ball from Rio Ferdinand reaching Lee Boylan who scored with a right-foot shot from close in.

After the interval we gained more possession by cutting out the errors that had marred an otherwise competent performance with the result that after 69 minutes we equalised. Lee Hodges broke from midfield and sent a defence splitting pass through to Ferdinand who coolly drew the goalkeeper before scoring. With two minutes to go before the final whistle a long ball out of defence was headed on by Ferdinand to Boylan. Our Republic of Ireland Youth international himself nodded on the pass to outpace the Canaries rearguard before, crashing a first time volley into the top comer of the net from the edge of the penalty-area. As Coach Tony Carr said afterwards; "It was one of the finest goals I've seen for a long finish the game. It  crowned a great recovery by our lads to take the points." Amongst our starting line - up were eight members of our youth squad; and a further three were on the subs, bench - two of whom made second-half appearances.

After two weeks without a game, the Reserves travelled to South London on Tuesday 28th January for their away Avon Combination League match against Millwall.

'Comprised mainly ofYouth squad members, our team found themselves two goals down at the interval against much stronger and more experienced opponents.The Lions then went further ahead as they netted for a third time before our youngsters fought back with two late goals to give the home side a scare as we nearly grabbed-a point.

In a spirited late rally. Lee Hodges put a through ball into Craig Etherington who moved between two defenders before scoring in the 80th minute. Five minutes later, Hodges himself worked his way into the opposing penalty-area and was brought down. From the resulting spot-kick Lee Boylan fired home to reduce the arrears. It was the Irish Youth international's third successive successful penalty conversion.

With just a minute left before the end, a move down the flank resulted in a centre being flashed across the face of the Millwall goal which only required a touch to net the equaliser, bu: unfortunately the ball eluded everybody before being cleared to safety.

Chelsea were the visitors to Upton Park in another League match put back from the 21st January. The most notable feature of the game as far as the Hammers' supporters were concerned, was the debut of recent signing Paul Kitson. Our capture from Newcastle played for 62 minutes in order to get some much-needed match practice, before his proposed senior debut against Derby County. Our goalkeeper Neil Finn was required to make a number of good saves in the first-half in order to keep us on level terms at the interval. He then made an excellent reflex save at the start of the second period to once again deny the visitors.

Unfortunately 15 minutes into the second-half, Neil had no chance to intercept a cross knocked into our penalty-area, following a move down the Chelsea left after we lost the ball in midfield.This resulted in the Blues scoring at the far post as the ball was crashed into the roof of the net from just inside the six-yard box. Finn then made another fine stop when he parried away a flashing 25-yarder following a move down the opposite flank. Although we had a number of opportunities from then on, as Lee Hodges, Keith Rowland and Manny Omoyinmi probed the Chelsea rearguard, we were unable to create a clear cut chance or finish with a shot on target to bring us back on terms. Finn once again was called upon to block another Blues' effort as he sped off his line when a chip over the top of our defence left a Chelsea forward in the clear. The victory enabled Chelsea to secure three valuable points which pushed them into second place in the table.

Over the last couple of weeks the Reserves have played twice in the Avon Insurance Combination League, both fixtures being against opposition from the metropolis.

The game against Queens Park Rangers due to be played on the afternoon of Tuesday 25th February at Dagenham was finally switched to Upton Park with the kick-off time put back to a 7pm start. For two of our long term injury absentees it proved to be an opportunity for them to finally return to our colours after many months spent recuperating from one or more operations.

Sidelined since before the start of the current campaign with a nagging foot injury Richard Hall played for 80 minutes before being substituted whilst Scott Mean played for only five minutes less as he made an appearance in a Hammers' shirt for the first time.We opened the scoring through Hugo Porfirio in the 37th minute and went two up when Ian Dowie scored in the 75th minute following his first appearance since going into plaster for a hairline leg fracture in early December. Five minutes before the final whistle Lee Hodges added a third, his first of the season, to round off a comfortable victory.

Seven days later Hall, Mean and Dowie were again on duty for the afternoon visit to Plough Lane and a match against title contenders Wimbledon. A goal down at half-time we substituted central defender Hall as a precautionary measure before drawing level when Dowie netted for the second game running.The Dons, however, once again took the lead which proved to be enough for them to take all three points and further enhance their Championship pretentions.

Avon Insurance Combination League leaders, Portsmouth, showed exactly why they are currently topping the table when they visited Upton Park on the afternoon of Tuesday 18 March.

Although our young squad did well in holding the visitors goalless until the 70th minute or so Pompey, with former Hammers Martin Allen and Adrian Whitbread in their side; then broke the deadlock, following a defensive mix-up. Eight minutes later they added a second and increased their tally even further when they intercepted a back-pass and ran on to slot the ball home for a third time. By the final whistle they were four goals in front to run out worthy winners on the day and consolidate their position at the top.

For England Youth goalkeeper Luke Weaver, on loan from Leyton Orient, it was an unhappy conclusion to his first game in our colours. Before Portsmouth had scored their first goal, Luke had made a number of good saves.

Eight days later we once again fielded another young side for our visit to the West Country and a fixture with Bristol City. Seven of our starting line-up were current members of our Youth Squad whilst the more experienced Hall and Mean were joined by two other of our more senior players, Stan Lazaridis and Manny Omoyinmi.

Once again a goalless first-half meant that the teams changed ends all square but goals from two of our youngsters; Chris Coyne (53 mins) and a second of the season from Craig Etherington with just four minutes to go; meant that we took maximum points despite Bristol scoring themselves.

We were forced to field a team that was comprised entirely of members from our Youth Squad for the visit of Swindon Town. Although our youngsters did well in holding the visitors for most of the first-half - as well as taking a twelfth minute lead - the West Countrymen finally proved too strong and ended the match as winners. As early as the 10th minute Danny Bartley might have put us into the lead but our lads finally got a well deserved boost two minutes later. Bringing the ball out of defence we attacked down our left flank and Robert Miller floated a pass over the Swindon rearguard for winger Grant McCann to run onto before he lobbed his shot over the visitor's goalkeeper from just outside the penalty area. Swindon Town then came more into the game and Alex O'Reilly our 17-year-old goalkeeper was called upon to make a couple of good saves. Continuing to press the visitors finally levelled things up five minutes before the interval when a defensive slip-up resulted in Miller losing out in a challenge and the ball was crossed into our penalty box before it was fired home.

The opening minutes of the second-half once again saw O'Reilly in action but he was unable to prevent the Wiltshire side taking the lead as a left-foot cross from their right flank was headed home in the 54th minute. Exchanges became more end-to-end and our best opportunity of an equaliser fell to Bartley whose shot brought a good save from the visiting 'keeper. With under ten minutes to go Swindon extended their margin to 1-3 to seal the points and, in the end, it was a disappointing finish to what had been a bright start from our young XI.

Once again circumstances dictated that we were forced to field a team that was comprised almost entirely of members from our Youth Squad.

A much stronger Spurs side took the lead in the fifth minute but our youngsters did well in holding the visitors for most of the rest of the conceding a converted penalty two minutes before the interval. Staging a fight-back we then reduced the deficit six minutes into the second period when following a free-kick from just outside the left hand side of the penalty area to the back post Chris Coyne chested the ball down before crashing home a right foot shot.

Coming more into the game we eventually pulled a second goal back when Chris Sains got down our right flank into open space and crossed into the middle where one of the Spurs defenders in attempting to clear spectacularly crashed the ball into his own net. After such good and hard endeavours in getting back into the game our lads were completely devastated as they once again fell behind when Coyne turned from hero to the villain of the afternoon. Taking a free-kick just inside his own half near the centre circle our central defender had his attempted pass out to the right wing intercepted and with our defence pushing up the Spurs player simply had to run on into our goal area before slotting the ball past the advancing Alex O'Reilly. A further defensive error led to a fourth Tottenham goal in the 75th minute. With six minutes to go the Spurs attack once more were able to break through our rearguard down their left and rounded off the proceedings with a fifth and final strike when scoring from just outside our six-yard box.

 

With the importance of our Premiership match at Filbert Street two days later very much in mind, circumstances dictated that once again we were forced to field a team that was comprised almost entirely of members from our Youth Section (the only exception being Scott Mean who is still gaining match fitness after his long absence with a serious leg injury),when Charlton Athletic provided the opposition for our Avon Insurance Combination League game at Upton Park on the afternoon of Monday 21st April.

Charlton took the lead in the opening period but 1st Year YTS striker Gary Alexander struck back in the 20th minute to give us a well deserved equaliser before we conceded a second goal to turn around at the interval 1-2 in arrears. A couple of further goals in the second period gave the visitors a comfortable victory although we might ourselves have got a couple of additional goals with a little more luck.

Four days later we played our final away match of this campaign - at Upton Park. The game - against Tottenham Hotspur - had originally been scheduled for the previous week at St. Albans City's ground where Spurs play their reserve-team fixtures, but had to be postponed from Monday 14th April as our Combination Cup semi-final tie with the North Londoners which was scheduled for the 16th, took priority. As they could not offer a new date for the League fixture at home they conceded ground advantage in order that we both might fulfil our commitments before the end of the season.

As in our semi-final encounter nine days previously, the Tottenham team proved to be too strong for our side which included a couple of triallists from Liverpool. We found ourselves struggling to make an impression on the North Londoners who were in fourth place in the table at the start of the proceedings.

A goal up at the half-time interval Tottenham added another two in the second 45 minutes.

Carrow Road

3 - 3 (Boylan 2, Ferdinand)

15 January 1997

Finn

Purches

McFarlane

Coyne

Philson

Partridge

Ferdinand (Nieminen)

Sains

Boylan

Omoyinmi (Etherington)

Hodges

The New Den

2 - 3 (Boylan [pen], Etherington)

28 January 1997

Mautone

Moore

McFarlane (Alexander)

Philson

Coyne

Partridge (Bowen)

Hodges

Sains (Purches)

Boylan

Omoyinmi

Etherington

Upton Park

0 - 1

11 February 1997

Finn

Potts

Rowland

Philson

Coyne

Lanpard (Goodwin)

Omoyinmi

McFarlane

Kitson (Purches)

Newell (Boylan)

Hodges

Upton Park

3 - 1 (Dowie, Hodges, Porfirio)

25 February 1997

Line-up unknown

Selhurst Park

1 - 2 (Dowie)

4 March 1997

Line-up unknown

Upton Park

0 - 4

18 March 1997

Weaver

McFarlane

Miller

Hall

Bowen (Henry)

Partridge

Mean

Etherington

Purches (Fernley)

Boylan

Bartley

Ashton Gate

2 - 1 (Coyne, Etherington)

26 March 1997

Finn

Moore

Wells

Coyne

Hall

Partridg

Etherington

Mean

Bowen (Fernley)

Omoyinmi

Lazaridis

Victoria Road

1 - 3 (McCann)

8 April 1997

O'Reilly

Moore

Miller (Keith)

Henry (Wells)

Coyne

Partridge

McFarlane

Purches (Alexander)

Boylan

Bartrley

McCann

Upton Park

2 - 5 (Coyne, [og])

16 April 1997

O'Reilly

McFarlane

Moore

Bowen

Coyne

Wells (McCann)

Sains

Etherington (Alexander)

Boylan

Omoyinmi (Fernley)

Mean

Upton Park

1 - 4 (Alexander)

21 April 1997

O'Reilly

Moore

Keith

McFarlane

Coyne

Sains

Etherington

Mean

Boylan

Alexander

McCann (Bartley)

Victoria Road

3 - 2 (Goalscorers unknown)

29 April 1997

Line-up unknown

Upton Park

3 - 3 (Bartley, Miller, [og])

7 May 1997

McAlpin (O'Reilly)

Moore

Keith

Wells

Coyne

Partridge

McFarlane

Philson

Alexander (Fernley

Bartrley

McCann (Miller)