On This Day - 2 January



Tomas Repka
Date of Birth: 2 January 1974
Birthplace: Slavicin Zlin, Czechoslovakia
Clubs: Banik Ostrava, Sparta Prague, Fiorentina, West Ham United, Sparta Prague

Tomas Repka (pictured) was born in Slavicin Zlin in what is now the Czech Republic on this date 38 years ago. The defender earned cult status during the 184 games he played for the club. Family commitments forced him to return to his homeland on 23 January 2006, but not before an emotional farewell at the Boleyn Ground in the previous night's game against Fulham which left the tough player leaving the field in tears.

Capped 46 times by his country, Repka began his career at Banik Ostrava before joining Czech giants Sparta Prague in 1995. There, he came to the attention of Europe's leading clubs, leading to a transfer to Serie A side Fiorentina in 1998. After three seasons in Italy, Repka moved to West Ham United for a club record £5.5million fee in September 2001. He would go on to make 188 appearances in claret and blue before returning to Sparta Prague four-and-a-half years later. Despite turning 35 today, Repka is still a regular member of the Czech side's defence.

Famous Match

West Ham United 4-1 Exeter City
Southern League First Division
2 January 1915

Sydney Puddefoot was one of West Ham United's first goalscoring legends.

That fact was never better illustrated than on 2 January 1915, when the player notched a hat-trick in a 4-1 Southern League First Division win over Exeter City at the Boleyn Ground. Born in nearby Bow in 1894, Puddefoot would score 64 goals in 103 league games for the Hammers, including his memorable treble against the Grecians.

Following that game, a newspaper report explained the impact 'Puddy' had in front of goal: "Some fourteen minutes elapsed before Puddefoot, who completely outshone every other forward on the field, opened the scoring for his side, and ten minutes later he was again successful in finding the net."

West Ham's other goal would be scored by Albert Fenwick, but it was Puddefoot, who was discovered playing for London Juniors against Surrey Juniors by United manager Syd King, who stole the show. Aside from his fine league scoring record, Puddefoot also notched around 100 goals in 126 appearances in the war-time London Combination after the First World War halted the Southern League.

Puddefoot left West Ham for Falkirk in a £5,000 deal in February 1922 before later joining Blackburn Rovers, with whom he won the FA Cup in 1928. Following his playing career, he would manage Northampton and Turkish giants Galatasaray before returning to the south of England to retire in Southend, where he worked as a part-time scout for Southend United. He died after a short bout of pneumonia in Rochford at the age of 77 on 2 October 1972.