A Pictorial History

FOOTBALL PROGRAMMES

WEST HAM UNITED

Steve Marsh & Stuart Allen

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1996-97 Avon Insurance Football Combination

LUTON TOWN : Avon Insurance Combination League Cup

96_08_28 Luton Town v. WHU Reserves 96_09_02 Crystal Palace v. WHU Reserves

CRYSTAL PALACE : Avon Insurance Football Combination

96_09_11 WHU v. Ipswich Town Reserves

IPSWICH TOWN : Avon Insurance Combination League Cup

96_09_25 Bristol Rovers v. WHU Reserves

BRISTOL ROVERS : Avon Insurance Football Combination

96_10_09 WHU v. Swansea City Reserves

SWANSEA CITY : Avon Insurance Football Combination

96_10_14 WHU v. Arsenal LC

ARSENAL : Avon Insurance Combination League Cup

96_10_21 Luton Town v. WHU Reserves

LUTON TOWN : Avon Insurance Football Combination

96_10_30 WHU v. Cardiff City Reserves

CARDIFF CITY : Avon Insurance Football Combination

96_11_06 Ipswich Town v. WHU Reserves

IPSWICH TOWN : Avon Insurance Football Combination

96_11_12 WHU v. Brighton Reserves

BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION : Avon Insurance Football Combination

96_11_28 Arsenal v. WHU Reserves

ARSENAL : Avon Insurance Football Combination

96_12_03 Norwich City v. WHU Res LC

NORWICH CITY : Avon Insurance Combination League Cup

96_12_11 WHU v. Bournemouth Reserves

AFC BOURNEMOUTH : Avon Insurance Football Combination

96_12_19 Southampton v. WHU Reserves

SOUTHAMPTON : Avon Insurance Football Combination

Victoria Road

3 - 1 (Cottee, Lampard, Moncur)

18 September 1996

Shilton (Finn)

Omoyinmi

Lazaridis

Ferdinand

Potts

Rowland (Hodges)

Lampard

Bishop

Jones

Moncur (Shipp)

Cottee

Once again we fielded a strong side for our second Avon Insurance Combination League Cup Group Three match against Ipswich Town at the Victoria Road Ground. Three goals in the opening 15 minutes virtually sealed the victory before the visitors had time to settle and in fact the margin could hawe been greater so much were we in command.

We opened the scoring in the sixth minute when Frank Lampard scored and then two goals in a minute from Tony Cottee and John Moncur effectivery put the game beyond the East Anglian side. Although continuing to dominate we were unable to add to our tally which could easily have been doubled with an extra slice of good fortune. At half-time we substituted Peter shilton for Neil Finn whilst Lee Hodges came on for a second successive Cup-tie as a replacement (this time for Keith Rowland) and Danny Shipp substituted for Moncur with a couple of minutes to go as the midfielder made his first appearance of the season in our colours following injury

Manager: Roger Cross

Kenilworth Road

3 - 0 (Raducioiu 2, Lampard)

28 August 1996

Shilton

Breacker

Brown

Whitbread

Potts

Ferdinand

Riches (Hodges)

Lampard

Raducioiu

Shipp

Dumitrescu

The Reserves began their Avon Insurance Combination season with a group League Cup match against LutonTown at Kenilworth Road on Wednesday 28th August. We fielded a strong team and by the end were comfortable

Taking control right from the start we finally went into the lead in the 27th minute through Florin Raducioiu who then added a second five minutes into the second-half. The game was wrapped up in the 62nd minute when Frank Lampard completed the scoring. Our former England international Peter Shilt6n was rarely tested in goal whilst Steve Potts had a second match as he returned to fitness following his recent injury. We had to substitute Lee Hodges for Australian triallist Steve Riches in the 80th minute when the midfielder was forced to leave the pitch following a clash of heads.

Plough Lane

0 - 0

2 September 1996

Mautone

Moore

Brown

Blaney

Whitbread

Partridge

Hodges

Lampard

Shipp

Jones

Omoyinmi

We started our League campaign with a visit to Plough Lane for an afternoon encounter with Crystal Palace. Only four of our previous starting line-up began the match as we fielded a number of our younger players. After a slow start proceedings brightened up as both sides began to create chances at either end. Although we had several opportunities to break the dead-lock the final result of a goalless draw, despite the fact of being a disappointment, was perhaps a fair reflection of the exchanges in a match where neither side was able to dominate.

For a third successive year the Football Combination is sponsored by the Avon Insurance Group of Companies - but there has been a radical change in the set-up of the League with a number of clubs; all of whom played in the Second Division last season; resigning their membership. This has resulted in the remaining three teams from that grouping - AFC Bournemouth, Cardiff City and Swansea City - joining an enlarged top division comprising 23 clubs.

As the League goes through a transitional period, during which it hopes to attract and recruit some additional new clubs to its numbers, a change in the format of the competition was proposed and agreed by the current member clubs.

For this season each club will play 22 League games - equally split between home and away matches - which means that we will only play each of the other teams once. Therefore, Cardiff City, Watford, Chelsea and QPR, etc. are at home but not away; and the reverse for Crystal Palace, Bristol Rovers, Ipswich Town, etc.

It was felt by the member clubs that playing in excess of 40 games on a home and away League basis during the current campaign - if the previous type of format had been continued with -  was not what they required or wanted and so this compromise was arrived at.

It was also decided to undertake a League Cup competition with the clubs divided into four groupings - two each of six clubs and two each of five. We have been drawn in one of the groups of five along with Arsenal, Ipswich Town, Luton Town and Norwich City. This means that we shall have at least another four fixtures and, more if we progress to the semi-final and final stages of the tournament.

Entry into the Cup competition was on a voluntary basis and only Chelsea decided not to partake in this additional venture.

The re-introduction of the Cup competition this season for the senior clubs after an absence of a number of years is an interesting  development and a chance once more for our Reserves to be involved in the cut and thrust of a Cup competition.

CONTINUE 2

SECOND-HALF

A mixed team of experience and youth travelled to YateTown F.C.'s ground for our second Avon Insurance Combination League match of the season against Bristol Rovers.

Despite dominating proceedings for virtually the whole of the match we failed to capitalise on our superiority and the numerous chances created and finally had to settle for a disappointing sharing of the points with our hosts.

We finally opened the scoring in the 40th minute when Chris Coyne headed home and maintained our advantage into the second-half. But Rovers levelled, much against the run of play, as a desperate clearance, under fierce pressure as we pressed forward, was forced upfield and volleyed home after the first bounce into our net.

Although continuing to dominate we were unable to add to our tally and had to be content with only one point when all three should have been ours but for bad luck and poor finishing. Three members of our Youth Squad (Chris Sains, Lee Goodwin and Gary Alexander) came on as second-half substitutes to make their first appearances in our Reserve team colours this season.

Two weeks later we began our home Avon Insurance Combination League campaign with an afternoon visit from Swansea City to the Victoria Road Ground with a rearranged fixture - the original date having been postponed from mid-September because of our home Southern Junior Floodlit Cup tie versus Portsmouth that same evening and our visit to Underhill for our Coca Cola League Cup match the next day.

Once again a team of experience and youth failed to impress their superiority and could not break down the Welsh visitors but our rearguard, despite being one of the youngest we have fielded this season, gained valuable experience under the direction of the ageless Peter Shilton who continues to command respect with his great enthusiasm for the game. It was pleasing to see Florin Raducioiu and Stan Lazaridis back after injury with both playing the opening 45 minutes before being substituted by Jason Moore and joe Keith.

For the visit of Arsenal for our Avon Insurance Combination League Cup Group Three fixture we decided to change the venue to Upton Park and move the kick-off time to 7pm and so give more of our supporters an opportunity to see what was envisaged as one of the most attractive games of the season.

Both clubs fielded teams who contained players with a lot of senior experience as well as a smattering of up-and-coming younger hopefuls.

Two first-half goals - one a superb long range effort from nearly 30 yards -from the Gunners were enough to take the points and enable them to join us at the top of the table with six points from three games, both of us having suffered one defeat.

Our Romanian striker Florin Raducioiu continued his progress to match fitness by playing die whole 90 minutes but his fellow countryman Hie Dumitrescu came off at the interval: Craig Etherington going on as substitute. Jason Moore replaced Finnish Youth international Mikko Nieminen with just over 20 minutes to go as die visitors continued their stranglehold on proceedings and dented us any clear cut chances to reduce die deficit.

For the visit to LutonTown our team included three of our international brigade. However, despite their efforts and those of their team-mates it was the Hatters who took the points to gain revenge for the Group Three Cup defeat we had inflicted on them at Kenilworth Road in our opening match of the season. Luton took the lead but Frank Lampard levelled the scores when he scored with a right-foot shot from just inside the box following a cross from the right-wing by Hie Dumitrescu after Paulo Futre had sent a pass through to the Romanian international. A second goal before the interval by the home side sealed the issue in their favour and despite our attempts to once again equalise they held on for the win that pushed them into the top six in the table.

The election of Cardiff City to the Avon Insurance Combination League during the close season meant that we would once again meet the Welsh Club in the competition after an absence of a number of years.

In the opening period the nearest we came to scoring was when Frank Lampard crashed a shot against an upright but a solid rearguard kept the visitors at bay as both teams failed to create any real clear-cut opportunities.

After the interval we adopted a positive attitude and took the lead in the 54th minute when Danny Shipp scored to open his goals' account for the first time this campaign. Youth team striker Gary Alexander once again proved to be on form when he added to our advantage with a well-taken goal with I I minutes of the match remaining.A second goal five minutes later from Shipp sealed the victory as we finally ran out comfortable winners.

A pleasing feature of the match was the return of central-defender Stuart Richardson to our colours when he came on as a substitute with ten minutes of the game remaining. For the tall, blond-haired former Youth team player it was a momentous occasion as it marked another step in his comeback programme after suffering a badly broken leg nearly two years ago.

The Reserves travelled to Suffolk for a League fixture with Ipswich Town. Included in our line-up was six of ourYouth squad players and another three were named as our substitutes.

A solitary goal scored in the first-half was enough for the East Anglian side to take the three points and avenge the defeat we had inflicted on them earlier in the season in our League Cup Group Three match. It also pushed them into third place in the table; a position they consolidated with their draw at Queens Park Rangers recently.

Although we chose to play seven of our youth-team regulars against Brighton and Hove Albion when they were the visitors to Upton Park, the final result was nevertheless a disappointing one as far as we were concerned.

Appearing in a Hammers' shirt for the first time in over a month was Manny Omoyinmi who has just returned from a loan spell with another South Coast club -AFC Bournemouth; whilst Florin Raducioiu was another returnee following his absence through injury. Casting aside the serious off-the-field problems which surround the Sussex Club, Brighton finally ran out convincing winners to inflict our second successive League defeat.

In the opening period honours were evenly shared as each side scored once; Chris Coyne netting for us in the ninth minute. The second-half saw the Seagulls take command as they scored three times. It was only a converted penalty-kick from Raducioiu, with ten minutes to go, that eventually resulted in our scoring a second goal to reduce the arrears.

For the second time this season; the previous was in our League Cup Group Three fixture, the Reserves were beaten by a strong Arsenal side when they travelled to Highbury on Thursday 28th November for our Avon Insurance Combination League game.

A Hammers' team of mixed experience was not strong enough to withstand the pressure that the Gunners exerted and after taking a one goal interval lead the home side went on to show their domination with a final comprehensive three goals to nil victory. Long term injury absentee Danny Williamson made a welcome return to our colours after an eleven week period whilst Mark Bowen also appeared for the first time in over a month. The strength of the Arsenal side was emphasised by the fact that they have remained undefeated since early in the season and their win against us put them into fourth place in the League table - just two points off the top spot.

After a spell of five Avon Insurance Combination League games the Reserves returned to League Cup Group Three action when they visited Carrow Road for their final fixture in the preliminary groupings of the competition. Amongst our starting line-up were Danny Williamson, who came through his second full 90 minutes in a week after his lengthy absence, whilst Steve Mautone and Steve Jones got their first run-outs after cartilage operations (Jones came on as a substitute at half-time) and Graeme Philson returned to our colours after missing the previous eight weeks of the season. Although playing well enough in the opening 45 minutes we were unable to create any real threat to the Canaries defence and break the deadlock but likewise our own rearguard remained in control to thwart the home attack.

The second-half saw Williamson's influence increase and we began to dominate. In the 75th minute we finally got the reward that our patience deserved when following a good build¬up Manny Omoyinmi broke clear to find Danny Shipp. who turned well to beat his marker and score with a left-foot shot,The solitary goal was enough for us to take the three points and keep us at the head of the table with three wins from our four games.We must now await the results of the final fixtures of both Arsenal (who are In second place in our group table) and Luton Town (in third) to see who progresses to the latter stages of the competition.

From the Hammers' viewpoint the highlight of the game against AFC Bournemouth, which had been moved from it's original venue to Upton Park, was a hat-trick scored by Danny Shipp with all three of his goals being headed home. Danny opened his account in the 38th minute with the first of his trio but just before half-time Bournemouth equalised through Watson to start the second period all square. Within a minute of the re-start, however we were back in front once again when Shipp headed home another centre from out on the left by Frank Lampard who got to the by-line before crossing. Continuing to press we might well have gone further into the lead as shots from Lampard and Manny Omoyinmi, as they burst through from midfield tested the opposing goalkeeper. In the 80th minute our continued assault on the Bournemouth goal was finally rewarded when Lampard collected a clearance and started a mazy run from the left hand side of the visitor's penalty-area in which he beat four defenders before sending over a left foot cross to the back post where Shipp was positioned to send his header into the corner of the net. As we continued to press in the next few minutes we could well have added to our total as Graeme Philson finished a fine run following his moving up after intercepting in midfield, with a right foot shot that went narrowly wide of the goalkeeper's left hand post whilst a left foot effort from Lampard went just over the crossbar. In the last few minutes the visitors pulled one back to reduce their arrears.

The Reserves' trip to The Dell for their Combination League encounter with Southampton was delayed by 24 hours because of the senior teams' Coca-Cola Cup replay at Stockport County which was scheduled for the same evening.

Despite having at least as equal a share of the exchanges as their hosts. Hammers were unable to turn the opportunities they created into positive results whilst the Saints were able to reap the rewards of their endeavours. Three goals in the first-half meant that we had an uphill task after the interval and although throughout the whole of the proceedings we sent in plenty of crosses, our front-men were unable to finish off the chances made and reduce our arrears. Our ill-luck continued when we hit the crossbar with a fine effort only to see the rebound cleared to safety.

The three goal advantage that Southampton obtained in the opening period somewhat flattered the narrow difference between the two sides and despite even more pressure in the later stages of the match, we could not penetrate their rearguard and subsequently fell further behind when they broke away and scored a fourth goal to inflict upon us our biggest defeat of the season.

Home games played at Victoria Road Ground - Dagenham and Redbridge

Lodge Road, Yate Town

1 - 1 (Coyne)

25 September 1996

Finn

Moore

Rowland

Potts

Whitbread

Coyne (Goodwin)

Lampard

Boylan (Alexander)

Nieminen (Sains)

Philson

Victoria Road

0 - 0

9 October 1996

Shilton

McFarlane

Lazaridis (Keith)

Coyne

Partridge

Philson

Etherington

Boylan (Alexander)

Shipp

Raducioiu (Moore)

Sains

Victoria Road

0 -2

14 October 1996

Line-up Unknown

Kenilworth Road

1 - 2 (Lampard)

21 October 1996

Finn

Moore

Rowland

Potts

Ferdinand R.

Blaney

Lampard

Brown

Shipp

Futre

Dumitrescu

Victoria Road

3 - 0 (Shipp 2, Alexander)

30 October 1996

Shilton

Blaney (Richardson)

Rowland

Ferdinand

Potts

Coyne

Brown

Lampard

Shipp

Alexander

Sains (Etherington)

Portman Road

0 - 1

6 November 1996

Shilton

Brown

Keith

Potts

Ferdinand R.

Goodwin

Etherington Moore)

Lampard

Shipp

Alexander (Bartley)

Sains

Chadwell Heath

2 - 4 (Coyne, Raducioiu [pen])

12 November 1996

Finn

Moore

Keith

Goodwin

Blaney

Coyne

Omoyinmi

Sains

Raducioiu

Etherington

Shipp

Highbury

0 - 3

28 November 1996

Maxinelli

Bartley (Henry)

Rowland

Partridge

Blaney

Coyne

Bowen

Williamson (Nieminen)

Shipp

Purches

Omoyinmi

Carrow Road

1 - 0 (Shipp)

3 December 1996

Mautone

Brown

Blaney

Philson

Coyne

Partridge

Omoyinmi

Sains

Shipp

Williamson

Etherington (Jones)

Upton Park

3 - 2 (Shipp 3)

11 December 1996

Sealey

Brown

McCann

Potts

Philson

Lampard

Omoyinmi

Fernley

Shipp

Williamson

Miller

The Dell

0 - 4

19 December 1996

Mautone

Brown

Blaney

Potts

Philson

Lampard

Omoyinmi

Hodges

Shipp

Partridge (Coyne)

Boylan