On This Day: 19 February


Justin Fashanu
Date of birth: 19 February 1961
Clubs: Norwich City, Nottingham Forest, Southampton (loan), Notts County, Brighton and Hove Albion, Los Angeles Heat, Edmonton Brickmen, Hamilton Steelers, Manchester City, West Ham United, Leyton Orient, Toronto Blizzard, Torquay United, Airdrieonians, Trelleborg, Heart of Midlothian, Atlanta Ruckus, Miramar Rangers

Few former West Ham United players represented as many different clubs during their careers as Justin Fashanu. A striker who made his name at Norwich City and Nottingham Forest, the Hackney-born player would make just two appearances in claret and blue.

Fashanu, along with brother John, spent their formative years in a Barnardo's children's home before being fostered at the age of six. As an athletic youngster, he would excel as a boxer before deciding to pursue a career as a professional footballer.

After impressing with his goalscoring exploits at Norwich, Fashanu became England's first £1m black footballer when he joined Forest in August 1981. From there, however, his career took on a nomadic appearance, criss-crossing the Atlantic Ocean as Fashanu attempted to rediscover his best form.

Fashanu would arrive at the Boleyn Ground in November 1989, making his Hammers debut in the 1-0 League Cup fourth round win over Wimbledon. However, after two Division Two appearances, he was on his way again, joining Ipswich Town on trial. Fashanu died on 2 May 1998 at the age of 37.

Classic Match

Arsenal 2-3 West Ham United
League Division One
19 February 1977

The previous season, 1975/76, Arsenal had finished just one place above West Ham United in the Division One table. The 17th-placed Gunners and 18th-placed Hammers both tallied just 36 points from their 42 league matches, with both clubs only avoiding relegation due to their strong home records.

On to 1976/77 and West Ham were again struggling at the wrong end of the table, sitting in 21st place - inside the relegation zone - when they travelled to Highbury for a match that was screened live on television.

The match that took place was a classic five-goal thriller between two determined local rivals eager to get one over the other. Liam Brady, who would join West Ham ten seasons later, opened the scoring for Arsenal on 13 minutes.

Alan Taylor, the Hammers' 1975 FA Cup final hero, struck an equaliser on 23 minutes before Billy Jennings gave the visitors a half-time advantage. Frank Stapleton levelled matters again on 62 minutes before Taylor directed Frank Lampard's low cross past Jimmy Rimmer to secure the three points with 15 minutes to go.

West Ham would climb out of the bottom-three by beating Bristol City 2-0 at the Boleyn Ground in their next fixture, only to drop back in again by being thrashed 6-0 at Sunderland the following week. The Hammers would end the season in 17th-place, just two points above the drop zone.