The story

Frank Cannon : West Ham United

Frank Cannon : West Ham United



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Born: Hertfordshire (1885)

Signed: 1909

Position: Centre Forward

Appearances: 4

Goals: 1

Left: 1910

Internation Caps:

Died: 15th February 1916

Frank Cannon became a solicitor's clerk in Hitchin after leaving school. He also played football for Hitchen Town. Described as a "dashing player and good dribbler with a fine shot" he joined Queens Park Rangers in 1907. He continued to work as a solicitor and after getting married lived at 87, Walsworth Road, Hitchin. He played at centre forward and scored a hat trick in a game against West Ham United in April 1908. His performance impressed Syd King and in 1909 he was persuaded to join West Ham. Cannon made his debut against New Brompton on 1st January, 1910. He scored in his next game against Norwich. However, he was only to play in another two games for the club. On the outbreak of the First World War Cannon joined the British Army and quickly reached the rank of sergeant major. Cannon, a member of the Essex Regiment, was killed on the Western Front on 15th February 1916 and is buried at Potijze Cemetery in Belgium.


West Ham eye midfielder who terrorised Dortmund, club demands £20m

Premier League outfit West Ham United are looking at Ellyes Skhiri as Cologne look to raise about £20 million for the Bundesliga powerhouse, as reported by the Express.

There seems to be a trend developing here.

David Moyes’ Hammers have been linked with a number of central midfielders in recent weeks.

And, if you look a little closer, you’ll find the majority appear to be 6ft-something enforcers in the Tomas Soucek mould.

Coincidence? Or merely an attempt to replicate one of the most inspired signings in recent Premier League history?

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Yangel Herrera, Manchester City’s perennial loanee, is famed for his salmon-esque leap inside the penalty area.

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Cannon Street, 1866

In the Cannon Street Murder of 1866, the elderly housekeeper Sarah Millson was murdered inside a large warehouse in the City of London. The police found that she had been subjected to blackmail, and arrested the Eton never-do-well William ‘Bill’ Smith, who had been in the habit of extorting money from her, for the repayment of an old loan. A star witness from the crime scene identified Bill Smith as the man she had seen leaving the Cannon Street murder house, but it turned out that she had received some ‘help’ from the police in doing so. On trial at the Old Bailey for the murder of Sarah Millson, Bill Smith was defended by a crack legal team, who were able to prove a rock-solid alibi he was found Not Guilty and the murder was never solved. There is reason to believe, however, that Sarah Millson had more than one skeleton in her cupboard: she had married bigamously after her first husband had deserted her, and this may well have left her open to blackmail.

Great Coram Street, 1872

Harriet Buswell, a penniless London prostitute, lodged at No. 12 Great Coram Street. On Christmas Eve 1872, she went to the Alhambra Theatre in Leicester Square, where she was picked up by a foreign-looking man who spoke with a German accent. He bought her a bag of fruit and nuts, and came with her to her room in Great Coram Street. The following morning, Harriet was found in her blood-soaked bed with her throat cut from ear to ear. The murderer had been seen leaving the house by a housemaid, who described him as a rough-looking German laboring man with a blotchy complexion and long stubble, as did several witnesses who had seen Harriet with her sinister ‘customer’ on Christmas Eve. The police suspected an apothecary named Carl Wohllebe, from the German emigrant ship Wangerland that was undergoing repairs in Ramsgate Harbour. When an identity parade was arranged for the London witnesses to see him, with some other Germans from the Wangerland making up the numbers, the detectives were non-plussed when several of the witnesses instead picked out the ship’s chaplain Dr Gottfried Hessel! And indeed, Pastor Hessel had also gone to London on December 23, and the police found out that he had a bad reputation for various shady financial transactions in the past. A marathon set of police line-ups was held: some witnesses picked Hessel out as the man they had seen with Harriet, others thought he resembled the killer but could not swear to him, and an impressive number ruled him out completely. Hessel had been ill with bronchitis, and a number of hotel servants gave him an alibi for Christmas Eve. The Bow Street magistrate declared that Dr Hessel was certainly innocent, but the police still suspected him. The case against him had been stronger, however, if he had been known to visit London to seek the company of prostitutes. The ghost of Harriet Buswell is said to have haunted the murder house for decades.

“Darkness reigned among the shrouded streets of Bloomsbury that sinister Christmas night: as little children lay dreaming of reindeer, sleigh-bells and the delight of Christmas presents, and their parents dreamt of turkey, pudding and the delight of Christmas food, an invisible vortex of Evil, as silent as Death, surrounded the shabby lodging-house at No. 12 Great Coram Street, and the Devil waited, quivering, for Murder!”

Euston Square, 1878

In the late 1870s, the lease for the large terraced house at No. 4 Euston Square was held by the bamboo furniture maker Severin Bastendorff. When Miss Matilda Hacker, one of the lodgers in the house, disappeared in 1878, nobody bothered much since she was in the habit of frequently changing her lodgings. But the following year, when a coal cellar on the premises was cleared out, the mummified remains of Miss Hacker were found. Since she had clearly had been murdered, the country lass Hannah Dobbs, a former servant (and mistress) of the bushy-bearded Severin Bastendorff, was soon the prime suspect, since she had taken possession of various valuables stolen from Miss Hacker, and brought some of them to a pawn-shop nearby. Hannah Dobbs was tried at the Old Bailey for the murder of Matilda Hacker, but found Not Guilty due to lack of evidence. It seems likely that both Severin Bastendorff and his brother Peter knew more about the murder than they admitted in court, and that they used Hannah Dobbs to dispose of Miss Hacker’s worldly goods. The Euston Square murder house also became notorious for its persistent haunting.

West Ham, 1882 - 1899

In the 1880s and 1890s, a number of young girls disappeared in West Ham and its environs, some without trace, others being found murdered and raped. In all, there were seven victims from 1882 until 1899. The highest-profile case among the ‘West Ham Vanishings’ was the murder of Amelia Jeffs: this 15-year-old girl disappeared on January 31 1890, and was found murdered and raped in an empty house in the Portway two weeks later. At the coroner’s inquest, there was suspicion against Joseph Roberts, the builder who had constructed the terrace of houses in the Portway, and against his father Samuel, who served as night watchman on the premises, but there was not sufficient evidence for either of them to be charged with the murder. The West Ham Vanishings are likely to be the handiwork of a serial killer with a perverted liking for young girls, or possibly two killers from the same family. But whereas Jack the Ripper has become a household name for his sanguineous handiwork in Whitechapel, his West Ham counterpart has remained an obscure figure until now.


West Ham United

West Ham United
West Ham United U23
West Ham United U18
West Ham United Youth

This statistic shows which squad numbers have already been assigned in their history and to which players.

Number All players
1
Lukasz Fabianski
since 18/19
Darren Randolph (15/16 - 16/17), Jussi Jääskeläinen (12/13), Rob Green (07/08 - 11/12), Roy Carroll (06/07), Stephen Bywater (04/05), David James (01/02 - 03/04), Shaka Hislop (99/00 - 00/01), Ludek Miklosko (90/91 - 98/99), Tony Parks (91/92), Phil Parkes (79/80 - 88/89), Allen McKnight (88/89), Tom McAlister (81/82 - 87/88), Mervyn Day (73/74 - 77/78), Bobby Ferguson (67/68 - 77/78), Peter Grotier (69/70 - 72/73), Jim Standen (62/63 - 67/68), Colin Mackleworth (66/67), Alan Dickie (64/65 - 65/66), Lawrie Leslie (62/63), Winston Reid (10/11 - 19/20), Lucas Neill (07/08 - 08/09), Tomas Repka (01/02 - 05/06), Lionel Scaloni (05/06), Gary Charles (99/00 - 00/01), Rob Jones (99/00), Tim Breacker (91/92 - 98/99), Tony Gale (91/92), Kenny Brown (91/92), Colin Foster (91/92), Steve Potts (88/89 - 90/91), George Parris (87/88 - 88/89), Ray Stewart (79/80 - 87/88), Billy Bonds (67/68 - 87/88), George Cowie (82/83), Frank Lampard (67/68 - 79/80), Keith Coleman (73/74 - 76/77), John McDowell (70/71 - 75/76), Mick McGiven (75/76), John Charles (66/67 - 67/68), Jack Burkett (62/63 - 66/67), Alan Sealey (66/67), Eddie Bovington (64/65 - 66/67), Dennis Burnett (65/66 - 66/67), Billy Kitchener (66/67), Joe Kirkup (62/63 - 65/66), Ron Boyce (65/66), Jim Standen (65/66), Eddie Presland (64/65), John Bond (62/63 - 64/65), Jordan Hugill (17/18), Carl Jenkinson (15/16), Ricardo Vaz Tê (11/12 - 14/15), Nenê (14/15), Pablo Barrera (10/11 - 11/12), Carlton Cole (06/07 - 09/10), Matthew Etherington (03/04 - 04/05), Paul Kitson (00/01 - 01/02), Paulo Wanchope (99/00), Shaka Hislop (98/99), Keith Rowland (94/95), Tony Gale (93/94), Alvin Martin (91/92), Ian Bishop (91/92), Trevor Morley (91/92), Matthew Rush (91/92), Mitchell Thomas (91/92), Jimmy Quinn (90/91), Steve Potts (88/89), Kevin Keen (88/89), Paul Hilton (84/85 - 87/88), Paul Ince (86/87), Billy Bonds (86/87), Paul Goddard (84/85 - 85/86), George Parris (85/86), Neil Orr (82/83 - 85/86), Steve Walford (84/85), Alan Dickens (84/85), Dave Swindlehurst (84/85), Bobby Barnes (83/84), Tony Cottee (82/83), Nicky Morgan (80/81 - 82/83), Stuart Pearson (80/81 - 81/82), Geoff Pike (76/77 - 79/80), Paul Brush (79/80), John McDowell (77/78), Pat Holland (72/73 - 77/78), Kevin Lock (72/73 - 76/77), Alan Curbishley (75/76 - 76/77), Keith Coleman (75/76), Billy Jennings (74/75 - 75/76), Keith Robson (75/76), Alan Taylor (75/76), Clyde Best (70/71 - 75/76), Clive Charles (72/73), Johnny Ayris (72/73), Bobby Howe (71/72), Bobby Moore (70/71), Harry Redknapp (70/71), Sir Trevor Brooking (68/69 - 69/70), Ron Boyce (68/69 - 69/70), John Sissons (67/68 - 69/70), Roger Cross (68/69), Trevor Hartley (68/69), Peter Bennett (65/66 - 67/68), John Charles (67/68), Dave Bickles (66/67), Dennis Burnett (66/67), Trevor Dawkins (66/67), Eddie Bovington (65/66), Roberto (19/20), Adrián (13/14 - 18/19), Stephen Henderson (11/12 - 12/13), Manuel Almunia (11/12), Luís Boa Morte (08/09 - 10/11), Sven Andersson (01/02), Marc-Vivien Foé (98/99 - 99/00), Stephen Bywater (97/98), David Terrier (97/98), Gerry Peyton (93/94), George Parris (91/92), Keith Robson (75/76), Bobby Ferguson (75/76), Johnny Ayris (75/76), Pedro Obiang (15/16 - 18/19), Ravel Morrison (14/15), Matthew Taylor (11/12 - 13/14), Radoslav Kovac (08/09 - 10/11), John Paintsil (06/07 - 07/08), Chris Cohen (04/05 - 05/06), Wayne Quinn (03/04), Frédéric Kanouté (99/00 - 02/03), Ian Wright (98/99 - 99/00), Iain Dowie (97/98), Matthew Rush (91/92 - 94/95), Ian Bishop (93/94), Trevor Morley (91/92), Leroy Rosenior (91/92), Ray Stewart (90/91), Stuart Slater (88/89), Kevin Lock (75/76), Bobby Ferguson (75/76), Chicharito (17/18 - 19/20), Jarrod Bowen (19/20), Gökhan Töre (16/17), Joey O'Brien (11/12 - 15/16), George Moncur (13/14), Benni McCarthy (09/10 - 10/11), Luis Jiménez (09/10), Hayden Mullins (03/04 - 07/08), Raymond van der Gouw (02/03), Shaka Hislop (01/02), Nigel Winterburn (00/01), Stan Lazaridis (96/97 - 99/00), Michael Hughes (94/95), Steve Jones (93/94 - 94/95), Morgan Amalfitano (14/15 - 15/16), Mohamed Diamé (12/13 - 14/15), Papa Bouba Diop (11/12), Valon Behrami (08/09 - 10/11), Demba Ba (10/11), Kyel Reid (07/08), Rob Green (06/07), David Bellion (05/06), Richard García (02/03 - 04/05), Malky Mackay (04/05), Michael Carrick (99/00 - 01/02), Les Sealey (98/99), Ian Feuer (94/95), Sébastien Haller (19/20 - 20/21), Sam Byram (15/16 - 17/18), Angelo Ogbonna (15/16), Jussi Jääskeläinen (12/13 - 14/15), Henri Lansbury (11/12), Manuel da Costa (09/10 - 10/11), Tony Stokes (07/08), Elliott Ward (04/05 - 05/06), Andy Melville (03/04), Matthew Kilgallon (03/04), Les Ferdinand (02/03), Brent Rahim (02/03), Craig Forrest (97/98 - 01/02), Adrian Richard Whitbread (94/95), Colin Foster (93/94), Sead Haksabanovic (17/18), José Fonte (16/17), Diego Poyet (14/15 - 15/16), Stewart Downing (13/14), Alou Diarra (12/13), Ravel Morrison (11/12 - 12/13), Hérita Ilunga (09/10 - 11/12), Jimmy Walker (04/05 - 07/08), Sébastien Carole (03/04), Glen Johnson (02/03), Steve Potts (01/02), Adam Newton (00/01), Chris Coyne (99/00), Scott Mean (96/97 - 98/99), Keith Rowland (93/94), Ashley Fletcher (16/17), Carlton Cole (13/14 - 14/15), Frank Nouble (09/10 - 11/12), Jan Lastuvka (08/09), Christian Dailly (07/08), Mark Noble (04/05 - 05/06), Jon Harley (03/04), Rufus Brevett (02/03), Ragnvald Soma (01/02), Christian Bassila (00/01), Andy Impey (98/99), Samassi Abou (97/98 - 98/99), Michael Hughes (97/98), Paul Mitchell (93/94), Joe Hart (17/18), Doneil Henry (14/15 - 16/17), Stephen Henderson (13/14), Danny Collins (11/12), Junior Stanislas (10/11 - 11/12), Diego Tristán (08/09), Bobby Zamora (03/04 - 07/08), Anton Ferdinand (03/04), Édouard Cissé (02/03), Jermain Defoe (01/02), Kaba Diawara (00/01), Lee Hodges (97/98 - 98/99), Lee Hodges (97/98 - 98/99), Jeroen Boere (94/95), Lee Chapman (93/94), Jonathan Calleri (16/17), Manuel Lanzini (15/16), Roger Johnson (13/14), Péter Kurucz (09/10 - 11/12), Kyel Reid (06/07), Trent McClenahan (04/05), David Noble (02/03 - 03/04), Laurent Courtois (01/02 - 02/03), Hannu Tihinen (00/01), Darren Peacock (00/01), Sasa Ilic (99/00), Chris Coyne (96/97 - 98/99), Matthew Rush (93/94), Toni Martínez (17/18), Emmanuel Emenike (15/16), Raphael Spiegel (13/14), Marouane Chamakh (12/13), Marek Stech (09/10 - 11/12), Richard Wright (07/08), Lee Bowyer (07/08), Shaun Newton (05/06), Hogan Ephraim (05/06), Brian Deane (03/04), Titi Camara (00/01 - 02/03), Ian Feuer (99/00), Eyal Berkovic (97/98 - 98/99), Alex Song (14/15), Mladen Petric (13/14), Raphael Spiegel (12/13 - 13/14), Frédéric Piquionne (10/11 - 11/12), James Tomkins (07/08 - 09/10), Clive Clarke (05/06), Luke Chadwick (04/05), Rami Shaaban (03/04), Pavel Srnicek (03/04), Sébastien Schemmel (00/01 - 02/03), Javier Margas (98/99 - 00/01), Les Sealey (94/95), Edimilson Fernandes (16/17 - 18/19), Enner Valencia (14/15 - 15/16), Danny Whitehead (13/14), Wellington Paulista (12/13), Ruud Boffin (10/11 - 11/12), Jack Collison (08/09 - 09/10), Hogan Ephraim (07/08), David Bellion (05/06), Tony Stokes (05/06), David Forde (02/03 - 03/04), Ömer Riza (00/01), Xande Silva (18/19 - 20/21), Reece Burke (14/15 - 17/18), Elliot Lee (13/14), Gary O'Neil (10/11 - 12/13), Alessandro Diamanti (09/10 - 10/11), David Di Michele (08/09), Kieron Dyer (07/08), Moses Ashikodi (04/05), Stephen Bywater (99/00 - 03/04), Bernard Lama (97/98), Nathan Trott (17/18 - 20/21), Raphael Spiegel (14/15 - 16/17), George Moncur (13/14), Olly Lee (11/12), Robbie Keane (10/11), Luís Boa Morte (07/08), Shaka Hislop (05/06), Chris Powell (04/05), Clive Delaney (02/03), Grant McCann (01/02 - 02/03), Stevland Angus (00/01), Gary Alexander (97/98 - 98/99), Mike Marsh (93/94), Sam Westley (15/16), Marcus Browne (15/16), Sebastian Lletget (11/12 - 14/15), Matthias Fanimo (13/14), Callum Driver (12/13), Zavon Hines (08/09 - 09/10), Matthew Reed (05/06), Rob Burch (04/05), Jimmy Bullard (98/99),

The Bear of Highbury

“Always a case of if you need to ask, you don’t need to know. Publicity is, was, and never will be welcomed.”
Such was one particularly ominous Twitter response I received after putting out feelers on Dainton Connell, a.k.a. the Bear. Due to his connections with the notorious Arsenal firm the Herd in the late 1970s and 1980s, Connell was arguably the most recognizable face on the Highbury terraces, before finding fame as the Pet Shop Boys’ gregarious security guard. In an era when mass arrests, pitch invasions, abandoned games, and terrace wars inside crumbling stadiums were de rigueur, he was larger than life.

In October 2007, at age 46, in Moscow, Connell died in a car crash while on tour with the Pet Shop Boys. Among the thousands of mourners at his Holloway funeral (the service was held at St. Mary Magdalene Church) were former Arsenal stars Lee Dixon and Ian Wright, boxer Frank Bruno, English broadcaster Janet Street Porter, and comedians Matt Lucas and David Walliams, of Little Britain fame. Half of Holloway Road had to be closed. In the first home game following his death, a lunchtime contest with Sunderland, more than 1,000 Arsenal supporters wore black and joined a procession past Highbury Stadium and onto the Emirates. Dozens of cards and wreaths were left propped against the two bronze cannons outside Arsenal’s new ground.

In 2004, in a greasy spoon café near Arsenal’s old ground, I interviewed Connell for my book, Highbury: The Story of Arsenal in N5. I hoped to learn more about terrace culture at Highbury in the 1980s. He was charming, polite, and funny—a cuddly bear. The only time we remotely bickered was over who would foot the bill for breakfast he won that argument. But he gave little away about his controversial past as a football hooligan.

Even direct questions failed to elicit any kind of nuanced response. I asked why, unlike other “celebrity” hooligans—including Cass Pennant (West Ham) and Martin Knight (Chelsea)—he’d never seen fit to add to the growing “kick-lit” genre and tell his fascinating life story. A shake of his head, and we moved on. When pressed on specific incidents at Arsenal matches against Brighton and Millwall, he threatened to end the interview—albeit politely.

Connell had always sought to remain beneath the parapet when it came to his past. He took exception when Andy Nicholls—author of Hooligans—named him as “the main face” of Arsenal hooligans in the 1980s. He was furious when, in that book, Stoke fan Mark Chester recalled his side’s FA Cup clash with Arsenal at the Victoria Ground in 1990, claiming, “We had a bit of a shock when 400 game-as-fuck Gooners steamed us back into the paddock. ‘Where’s Denton [sic], the big black bastard?’ As he was singled out as their top lad.” Connell resented being named. “For him, all the terrace stuff was a long, long time ago, and the world had moved on,” recalls a former associate. But the stories persist.

Connell was born in Brighton in 1961 to parents who’d arrived from Jamaica. He moved to Wood Green and spent the rest of his life living and working in London. After leaving school at 16, he worked as a scaffolder until his late 20s, by which time he was watching Arsenal home and away. He loved “the whole feel of Highbury,” he told me, “and the sense of camaraderie in following your team. I also liked being on the terrace and the banter and the humor.”

He recalled attending Arsenal matches in the mid-’70s when the most notorious Highbury hooligan was Johnny Hoy. Six-feet-two and around 200 pounds, Hoy was an astute rabble rouser who organized Arsenal fans to fend off rival firms who tried to make inroads on the Highbury terraces. According to a Time Out article by Chris Lightbown in 1972, Hoy had more convictions for football violence than any other hoolie in London. Two of Connell’s associates claim that “everyone in that terrace scene at Arsenal was in awe of, and fully aware of, Hoy, and Dainton really looked up to him. The message was simple—you fight for Arsenal’s honor and defend your ground if you’re attacked.”

By 1977, Connell had his first brush with fame when he briefly spoke to English journalist and broadcaster Janet Street Porter about the fashion scene on the Kings Road for an ITV documentary. The interview not only demonstrated his interest in the music and fashion scenes, but also that, at 16, he was already confident, articulate, and had gravitas. He was arguably the most recognizable black face on the Highbury terraces.

By the late 1970s, a significant number of Afro-Caribbeans were attending Arsenal matches. Many, including Connell, were the children of parents who’d arrived in the United Kingdom during the immediate postwar era. Their experiences of visiting Highbury were mixed. Collins Campbell’s father arrived at Tilbury in 1953, and Collins, following bad experiences at both Stamford Bridge and Upton Park, visited Highbury: “There was more of an ethnic mix in the streets around the ground. My first time at Highbury coincided with Brendan Batson’s home debut against Sheffield United in March ’73. To be honest, I didn’t know anything about him before he ran out, so I was quite shocked to see him. I was also a bit nervous as to what reaction he’d get from the crowd. But again, the crowd was great. They chanted, ‘Batson, Batson,’ and he applauded them back. Everyone was really cool about it. He was our first black player and a big inspiration for many of us.”

Yet it would be an exaggeration to claim that racial harmony existed outside the ground. When I placed an ad in the Islington Gazette for information on aspects of Highbury history, I received three similar testimonies, citing problems at the exit to Arsenal tube station and in the maze of streets nearby. In the mid-’70s, National Front leader John Tyndall admitted, “We hope to swell our ranks by launching a recruitment campaign outside football grounds.”

The National Front made its presence felt around Highbury at the time, selling copies of Bulldog—the far-right magazine—and trying to recruit members. By the mid-’80s, their presence outside games—at least those at Highbury—had mostly ended. Collins Campbell explains, “Whilst it’s true that perhaps Arsenal fans as a whole were a little more open-minded than others—and that the police were proactive in a way they weren’t at other grounds—I know that Dainton was pretty handy at sorting these issues personally.”

Eyewitnesses recall Connell taking a hands-on approach with the far-right activists. Collins Campbell recalls, “On one occasion, he walked up to one guy and threatened him. The National Front guy shouted at him but backed off. Another time, Dainton grabbed the leaflets, laughed in a guy’s face, and walked off with them. It was hilarious, but there was a serious point behind what he was doing.” Another of Connell’s group recalled, “Out of respect to Dainton, you never would dream of using the N word in front of him. Because he was such a loyal friend and fan, a lot of the boys whom he knocked around with—who might have gone down that far-right route themselves—didn’t, mainly because of him. And they helped him keep the NF off the terraces, too. His influence was huge in that respect.”

Once in North London, Connell turned up to a National Front gathering with some mates from the Herd, barged his way to the front, and carried a Union Jack flag on a march. “That was his way,” recalled one of his friends. “He’d use irony, parody, humor—whatever—to calm what could be hugely tense situations. The look on blokes’ faces at those NF rallies when Dainton turned up was unbelievable. And of course Dainton would look at them as if to say: Well what are you going to do about it?, Their jaws hit the floor!”

Adept as he was with a joke and a smile, Connell was certainly no angel. He completed more than one prison stretch. A knife scar on his temple proved that the terrace battles often got seriously unpleasant. In an era when football hooliganism was described as the “English disease,” he was willing to wade in and use his fists and boots to make his point. In the early 1980s at Ashton Gate—home of Bristol City— he led a charge by the Herd that saw several City fans end up in hospital. One observer noted, the City fans “parted like the Red Sea.”

Afterward, there was a pitched battle on Bristol’s Westminster Road, which saw windows smashed and more fans taken to hospital. At Goodison Park, Connell used his fists and his boots during a battle with Everton fans, which exploded in the nearby streets. En route to away games, the Herd vandalized trains, urinated on floors, and screamed obscenities. A herd of animals—not cool, not clever. The list of Connell rumblings is almost endless. Winterslag away in 1981. Liverpool in 1983. What exactly happened? Connell replied, “Those that were there know, those that weren’t don’t need to know.”

Today he is held in higher esteem than other hooligans of that era. Perhaps it’s because in the aftermath he was the most garrulous of storytellers. “He could hold the attention of an entire carriage or pub,” recalls one Arsenal fan. “He’d get the whole place roaring with laughter. It was the way he delivered his stories—he had that much personality.” It’s also because Connell never sold out, unlike so many terrace fighters of his era. “It would have been so easy for him to have appeared on TV documentaries or whatever, given his celebrity connections, but Dainton valued friendship and loyalty more,” explains one of his friends. One member of the Herd says, “He was offered coin to do a book, but to make it a great book you have to name names, and he wasn’t a grass.”

A decade after his death, a mystique still surrounds him. On Mayday 1982, Arsenal prepared to take on West Ham at Highbury. For years, the Upton Park outfit’s notorious Inner City Firm (ICF) made it their business to infiltrate the North Bank. Before the latest clash between the Gunners and West Ham, word spread that the ICF was poised to launch another onslaught and that they were smuggling in potatoes stuffed with razor blades. The comparatively low attendance of 34,000 suggested that many people stayed away, fearing chaos. At 2:45, around 500 ICF members gathered at the top of the North Bank, ready to charge down the steps and join the throng. They unfurled a huge white banner, which had the hammers painted in claret and blue.

With trouble raging at the mouth of the North Bank, fighting broke out in the center, and on the wings. At 2:55, an enormous smoke bomb was detonated in the North Bank, engulfing the terrace for a good five minutes. The tabloids reported that West Ham fans were responsible in fact, Arsenal fans set it off. Rumors persist to this day that Dainton Connell was behind the explosion. One Gunners fan comments, “It was designed to show the West Ham fans that the North Bank belonged to Arsenal fans. Everyone said it was Dainton, although his associates insist he was at the Clock End.” There were other, conflicting accounts as to Connell’s whereabouts that afternoon. In any case, West Ham supporters never again launched a serious attempt to invade the North Bank.

After the match, an Arsenal fan was stabbed to death in Arsenal tube station. Football violence reached a new pitch at Highbury that day. Despite the history of terrace trouble on London derby day, this was the first—and last—time that the ultimate cost of hooliganism became apparent at Highbury. Increased policing and security cameras meant that from then on, fighting between rival firms was squeezed out onto the streets.

Connell remained high-profile through the 1980s, and was again at the forefront during a tear-up with Millwall supporters at the Clock End in January 1988. He is also credited with coining the term Gooner. In the 1980s, word spread that Tottenham fans, in a forthcoming North London derby, were going to mock their Arsenal counterparts by calling them goons. Connell pre-empted Tottenham’s verbal insult by adopting it for Arsenal hooligans. He admitted, “It was originally used by a group of us as our nickname, and although nowadays thousands of Arsenal fans describe themselves as Gooners and there is a fanzine called The Gooner, it certainly wasn’t a widely used phrase back in the day.” I pushed one last question his way, “So is it true that you invented the term Gooner?” “Oh,” he replied, “I wouldn’t say that.”

Connell mellowed as the 1980s came to a close. He continued to follow Arsenal, though, and when Michael Thomas grabbed Arsenal’s late and dramatic winner at Anfield in May 1989 to win their first league title in 18 years, he can clearly be seen pogoing up and down in the Arsenal end, his jester’s hat bobbing. By then, he’d been employed by the Pet Shop Boys to take care of their security, along with friend and fellow fan Peter Andreas. He used his charm and quirky humor (singing daft songs or semi-crushing would-be troublemakers in a bear hug) to prevent trouble.

Pet Shop Boys singer Chris Lowe recalls: “Dainton struck up friendships wherever he went, in any country. He was recognized everywhere, unlike Neil [Tennant] and me!” Whether at an Elton John fancy dress party in white tie and tails, or Matt Lucas’s 30th birthday bash as Dickens character Mr. Pickwick, Connell was happy to mix with anyone, from Brian Eno to former Sex Pistols frontman (and Arsenal fan) John Lydon. A natural showman, he performed with the Pet Shop Boys, appearing in their “So Hard” video from the 1990s and taking his place at the front of the stage in their “Somewhere” residency at the Savoy Theatre. Production artist Sam Taylor-Wood, who largely conceptualized the show, photographed him with a 360-degree camera for her 1998 artwork, Five Revolutionary Seconds X111, while he read a small book of poetry.

As the Pet Shop Boys toured less frequently, Connell juggled family life (he was father to three children) with security work and managing an Oxford Street luggage shop. On the night of the fatal accident in Moscow, he had enjoyed champagne and beluga caviar with the Pet Shop Boys and their entourage and was being driven to a club called The Roof, when the driver lost control and crashed into a tree, and the car plunged into a river.

His name divides opinion. After his death, Arsenal Football Club was criticized by his friends for refusing to allow the wake to be held in their hospitality rooms. Two years later, Islington Borough Council voted to remove a plaque to him on a roundabout near the Emirates Stadium. Yet hooligan-themed message boards (many password protected) are laden with (often) cryptic anecdotes about the Bear, and the Herd’s exploits.

Thirty-one years after the Sunday Times described football as “a slum sport played in slum stadiums increasingly watched by slum people,” the game has been changed beyond recognition by astronomical injections of cash from TV deals. Yet there remains an insatiable lust for tales of terrace battles, and for the camaraderie and the thrill of the fight from that era. The memory of Dainton Connell—loyal friend, freedom fighter, showbiz personality, Arsenal fan, and football hooligan—still looms large in the mind of anyone who crossed his path. And, I expect, it always will.

This article originally appeared in issue 10 of Eight by Eight. Learn more about the current issue here , and follow us on Instagram , Facebook , and Twitter .


A consummate finisher, some fans may associate Robbie Fowler more with a poaching finish than a long range one. But they would be mistaken, because the Englishman loved to hit balls really, really hard from a long way away. It was one of his favourite things, truly.

Akin to Fowler, Jermain Defoe may not immediately strike you as a long range shooter.

But then you recall that wonderful solo effort against West Ham, and that cleanest of volleys against Newcastle - which still gives you goosebumps, unless you're a Magpie - and it makes complete and utter sense.


Emmanuel Adebayor

The Togo striker has made himself quite a number of haters by his antics on the field and off it.

After being severely criticised by the Arsenal fans over his poor attitude and low work rate, the lanky striker left the Emirates and made a move to the Eastlands in a multi-million dollar deal. His actions culminating in his transfer made him perhaps one of the most hated Arsenal players of all time.

Thereafter, to add further fuel to the fire, he ran across the field to celebrate his goal against his former club, infuriating the already incensed fans in a match in which City humbled Arsenal 4-2. His actions led to the fans hurling objects into the field and knocking unconscious a steward.

The FA thereafter charged him with unsporting behaviour, handing him a two-match ban and 25,000-pounds fine.

Though Adebayor later made a public apology, he has not been forgiven, and with a decent number of haters against his name, the Togo man makes the list.


A 1908 Taddy & Co. QPR Cigarette Card from Series 2 – Frank Cannon

Taddy & Co. produced three sets of cards in their Prominent Footballer series 1907, 1908 and finally in 1913.

The first series has already been featured and this particular card is the fourth from the second series that was issued during 1908.

Once again the series included two different back designs, ‘Imperial Tobacco’ and ‘Grapnel Mixture’.

On the reverse side of this card it reads: ‘A ripe, full flavoured Pipe Tobacco, fine cut. In a good well-seasoned briar or a well-coloured meerschaum it will be found an admirable tobacco.’

Frank was born in Ware, Hertfordshire, on 8th November 1888 and began his playing career with Hitchin Town whilst working for a firm of solicitors.

He signed for QPR in 1907 after turning professional and made his debut at Millwall on 29th February 1908. Frank went on to make 29 1st team appearances, scoring 10 goals, before moving on to West Ham United in 1909.

After the outbreak of war, Frank joined the Bedfordshire Regiment. Later, he was transferred to the Essex Regiment and rose to the rank of Sgt Major.

Aged just 27, Frank was killed by shrapnel at Ypres on 15th February 1916 and left behind his wife Violet, and three children. He was buried at Potijze Burial Ground in Belgium.

Quarter Master Sgt J. P. Martin later described the circumstances of his death in a letter: ‘He was just ready to leave the trench when several shrapnel shells burst over him, wounding him and several others.

Although his wound was rather serious, he was wounded in the back. It was quite thought he would get back to England and recover, but I am sorry to say he died on his way to the dressing station about an hour after he was hit.’


4. West Ham United

Hooligan and talents

West Ham United have never won any league titles and are certainly a less famous team outside of England than Chelsea or Arsenal are. Since his, however, the team that has played for more than 100 years in Upton Park has a loyal fan base and a strong following among international fans.

The reasons for this estimate are many. On the one hand, the Hammers’ youth sector is one of the most prosperous in England, so much so that one of the nicknames with which the team is identified is The Academy of Football .

On the other hand, West Ham provided the most important nucleus of the English national team that won the 1966 football World Cup.

The history of West Ham, however, is not only marked by amiable fans who value burgundy and blue colors. Until the 1980s, in fact, the Hammers fans were perhaps the wildest in England, dominated by the hooligans of the Inter City Firm group.

Their story has been told in documentaries, books, and films, among which the best known is the 2005 Hooligans film, with Elijah Wood. This group was famous for how it accompanied the away team and especially for the rivalry with Millwall, another London team that we will talk about later in our five.

The origin of the rivalry with Millwall

The rivalry with Millwall, however, allows us to also explain the origin of West Ham. The team was in fact founded in 1895 as a job after the workers of a shipyard on the Thames. For this reason, two hammers still appear in the symbol and the nicknames often refer to iron or, precisely, to the tools of blacksmiths.

The team then evolved to professionalism, but remained tied to the port environment. In 1926, after a long tug-of-war between workers and builders, a general strike came, a strike that was carried out by the workers of North London (area, in fact, West Ham) but boycotted by those of Millwall.

So the hatred for the strikebreakers automatically turned into hatred for the opposing team, giving rise to one of the toughest and bloodiest English rivalries.

Today the situation in the stands of West Ham is very different, also because the historic Upton Park no longer exists. Since 2016, in fact, the London team has been competing in its internal competitions at the Olympic Stadium, built for the London 2012 Olympics.

The enduring coach

Until the 2000s, the club was famous for never firing its coaches: between 1902 and 2001, just 8 managers sat on the bench, on average once every 12 years.

One of the most loved coaches was Ron Greenwood, then also the coach of the National team, while the players cannot forget the legends Billy Bonds, Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, and Martin Peters.

A place of honor in the history of the club, however, also belongs to the Italian Paolo Di Canio, author of some memorable goals during his stay in the Hammers jersey, between 1999 and 2003.


WW2 Army Unit Records Research

The casualties suffered by a typical American infantry regiment serving in World War II were horrendous. For example, by the end of January, 1945, the 47 th Infantry Regiment (which fought in France and Germany) had lost well over 100% of their strength to battle casualties, where men were either killed, wounded, missing, or taken as prisoner of war. Other units had similar grim statistics.

Fortunately for modern-day researchers, the Army kept meticulous combat diaries and journals to record their battlefield activities for a given period of time. At a minimum, these records, prepared daily, describe the daily actions of the unit (typically a Division or a Regiment), including intelligence information on the enemy forces faced, the geography of the area, weather conditions, and the success or failure of the day’s fighting. Some of these reports, known generally as “After Action Reports” (AAR), may describe the day’s combat in as little as a paragraph, or across several pages. Similar reports are also called unit journals or diaries.

It is impossible to know what will be in a given AAR. However, AARs for smaller units, such as Field Artillery Battalions, Combat Engineer Battalions, Armored units, or Military Police outfits, tend to provide more detail in connection with the individual service of their collective soldiers.

An example of the “closer look” we can get from Unit Records is the case of Captain George Oliver. While one report of his death disclosed that he was killed by a “concussion”, the AAR for his unit provided far more detail. It turned out that Captain Oliver was working with a group of men to gather the remains of some of the men in their outfit that had recently been killed. Unfortunately, the bodies were strewn about a German mine field. Captain Oliver was, in fact, killed by a concussion, but the actual cause of his injury was that he that he stepped on one of the mines.

As a professional researcher and World War II historian, Bill Beigel provides research services to genealogists, historians, authors, and civilians who are looking for information found in WW2 military unit records. Unit records are useful in piecing together stories about a unit or group, as well as about individuals who served in them. Bill Beigel researches veterans who served and survived the war, as well as those who were WW2 casualties.

Please select any of the units below to submit a research inquiry to WW2 Researcher Bill Beigel. If you do not see the name of the unit you are searching for, you may click on any unit and type the correct name into the form that follows.


Watch the video: GOALS. EVERTON 0-1 WEST HAM UNITED (August 2022).