Saturday 23 August 2014

West Ham-Crystal Palace XI: The pick of former players

As the mighty Hammers of East London prepare for the short trip across to their South London neighbours at Crystal Palace, it's a huge match for both clubs after both endured disappointing defeats on the opening day fixtures. For Palace, matters are further complicated by the on-going issue of finding a new manager after the sudden departure of Tony Pulis. However, for some the fixture will provoke mixed emotions, including those players who have played for both clubs. Here, we consider the finest players to have served for both Eagles and Hammers-the West Eagles XI.

Steve Mautone. Selected mostly because he is the only 'keeper to have played for both with a single appearance for West Ham versus Notts Forest in September 1996 and a massive two league appearances for Palace in 1999. Now back in his native Oz as a coach with Melbourne Victory.

Paul Brush: A Plaistow lad who emerged from Hammer's famed academy system and went on to make over 150 appearances over a nine year spell before switching to Palace where he added another useful three years and 50 appearances.

Tony Gale: Silky centre back who made 300 appearances for the Hammers before a brief but Premiership-winning spell at Blackburn. Just two appearances for Palace at the end of a super career. 'Galey' is a busy football pundit who pops up on TV, radio and in the print media with his reflections on all things footie.

Neil Ruddock: Hilarious! Talented player who always played on the edge of legality. Multiple clubs 'enjoyed' his services in a long career - 'Razor' had a two year spell at the Boleyn and a further year after that at Palace. The one major blemish on his copybook is the two appearances for Millwall  back in 1988-9. Hard to miss his sizeable presence as a popular pundit on TV these days.

Chris Powell: Mr Charlton Athletic actually started life at Palace and his highest appearance tally is for the Shrimpers at Southend! Excellent and very competitive left back, Powell also had a useful spell at West Ham during our promotion campaign of 2004-5 where he (probably) learned the skills that have made him such a successful team manager at Charlton. Recently linked up with the Hammers again as the mighty Premiership side signed last year's player of the year at Charlton, young Diego Poyet.

Michael Hughes: 'Cheeky' was a firm favourite at the Hammers and always remembered for a certain final day of the season goal against Man United. Hughes arrived from FC Strasbourg in 1994 before the move was made permanent by virtue of a Bosman ruling in 1996. The diminutive (five foot six) midfielder made up for his lack of stature with his all-action style and a tasty left foot. Had a lengthy spell at Palace making 126 appearances and also acting as team captain for a year.

Hayden Mullins: Tactically savvy defensive midfielder who learned his trade under Terry Venables at Palace where he made over 200 appearances before moving to the Boleyn. Had to endure losing a play off final for West Ham against his former Eagles in 2004. Amasses 180 appearances for the Hammers before moving to Portsmouth and now at Notts County.

Carl Fletcher: A combative midfielder, he arrived at the Boleyn in 2004 after a lengthy spell at Bournemouth. He managed 44 appearances over two seasons with his last game in the FA Cup final draw with Liverpool. He moved to Palace where he was installed as club captain and enjoyed three seasons. He recently returned to Bournemouth as youth team coach after a disappointing spell at Plymouth Argyle as manager.

Ray Houghton: What were West Ham thinking when they let the young Houghton leave after a single appearance as a substitute! He went on to have a stunning career at Liverpool and Villa and is eternally famous for his goal for Ireland against England at the European Championships of 1988. Palace got a decent run out of him at the end of his career. A busy pundit with RTE sport.

Iain Dowie: Popular forward, albeit more hardworking than prolific! Enjoyed two spells at his beloved Hammers and is perhaps best remembered for a stunning headed own goal in dreadful conditions away to Grimsby! Had a prolonged spell a Southampton before a short stint at Palace and then back to West Ham. Forthright management style has had some successes and include a spell at Palace that ended acrimoniously with a legal case. Most of his time is taken up with punditry for Sky Sports these days but  return to management is more than possible.

Ian Wright: Talented athletic striker who started at Palace as part of the Wright-bright partnership. Then endures seven seasons with the Gooners before a 15 month spell at West Ham. Famously vandalised the referee's room at Upton Park after being sent off! Prolific just about everywhere he went but remembered by most fans for his accuracy with the Gooners. Top pundit who never fails to entertain, Wrighty doesn't do boring!

Substitutes: Freddy Sears   /   Marouane Chamakh   /  Clive Allen  / Matthew Upson / Danny Gabbidon  / Paul Kitson.
It is interesting that most of these players went to Palace after West Ham has dispensed with their services rather than vica versa.

So there we have it - in their heyday this side would probably have thumped either of today's West Ham or Palace sides!

We fancy West Ham to get revenge for last year's defeats against Palace with a 1-0 smash n grab raid.



  1. Midfield's a bit light - even Nolan could cut it with Mullins and Fletcher. Let's hope Kouyate continues where he left off last week.

  2. are they striker figures?
    what a crap game - subbuteo rules!


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