No contest between the ’86 Hammers and today!
FORMER West Ham winger Mark Ward has no doubts who would triumph in a battle between the current Hammers and the 1986 team he was a part of - we d murder them! he shouted. The scouse star made over 200 appearances for West Ham between 1985 and 1989, be
FORMER West Ham winger Mark Ward has no doubts who would triumph in a battle between the current Hammers and the 1986 team he was a part of - 'we'd murder them!' he shouted.
The scouse star made over 200 appearances for West Ham between 1985 and 1989, before signing for Manchester City in a �1million deal, but he is quick to point out that it was the Upton Park team that were the best he played for.
"When you look at it," he explained. "West Ham was probably the only team I've ever played in where before the kick off at Upton Park, it was not 'can we win today?', it was, 'how many goals are we going to win by?' - I've never had that anywhere else.
"It is a bit like what they have at Manchester United now. You know they are going to win at Old Trafford and they must be saying, 'can we win by three or four today?' That was the same confidence that we had at the time."
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Ward attended West Ham's final match of the season against Middlesbrough last week, and though he accepted that the Hammers were missing some key players, he was certainly not too impressed.
"I thought the first half was a bad performance," explained Ward. "Obviously Middlesbrough were there to win and those sorts of games are always tight.
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"But in the second half I thought they played some great stuff, though it was always to feet, there was no threat in behind for the whole game."
So how does the 1986 team compare to today's West Ham side?
"When I was watching the game, I just thought if our team got out there against this West Ham team we would have murdered them - murdered them!
"Frank McAvennie would have been too quick for someone like Upson, and that's not being biased. Cottee against Lucas Neill? Devonshire against Spector? No contest.
"Why we would have beaten them though is because they would never have scored. They play everything into feet and that would have been easy for Alvin Martin and Tony Gale, so that's it, and that's a team from over 20 years ago."
He may consider his Hammers to be the superior side, but Ward still has time for plenty of the West Ham players.
"I think Rob Green has been exceptional," he said. "Upson had a commanding game against Boro, he is a good player, but I think they missed Parker.
"If they can get the spine of the team right, they've got half a chance, but they were very poor up front. They need Ashton back, because he was brilliant when he first came."
Ward played under John Lyall at West Ham, but he still has plenty of time for a coach like Gianfranco Zola.
"I would have loved to have played under someone like Zola," he insisted, "But I just think that the sort of football they play to feet is so predictable.
"We were a bit more direct as a team because we had pace, up front at least.