On this day - 20 January


Simon Webster
Date of birth: 20 January 1964
Clubs: Tottenham Hotspur, Exeter City, Norwich City, Huddersfield Town, Sheffield United, Charlton Athletic, West Ham United, Oldham Athletic and Derby County.

Webster was a commanding central defender who made just five appearances in three years with the club. After signing from Charlton Athletic for £525,000, he had to wait 16 months for his debut.

This was not down to his form, however, but the incredible bad luck of suffering a serious broken leg in pre-season training in July 1993 - just 14 days after signing for the club. It was the second time the Leicestershire-born player had to recover from a broken leg after sustaining one in his time with Sheffield United.

Webster battled back to fitness but suffered a further setback when his ankle had to be plastered again at the beginning of the 1994/95 season. He made use of his time out of the game, gaining an A-level in Human biology with a view to a career in physiotherapy when his playing days were over.

To aid his recovery, a loan move to Oldham Athletic followed and he was central to them turning their season around. Indeed, four wins from his first five matches helped the Latics move away from relegation danger.

The long wait was eventually over after 22 months as Webster made his West Ham United first-team debut as a substitute in 2-0 home win over Blackburn Rovers in April 1995. He went on to appear in the final five matches of the 1994/95 season as a sub, including an imperious display in the legendary 1-1 draw with Manchester United at the Boleyn Ground that denied the Red Devils the title.

Despite showing immense courage and bravery in battling back from his injuries, Webster was forced to retire from playing in November 1996. But, ever the fighter, he went on to complete his training as a physiotherapist and in 2000 was appointed one of the part-time physios at the West Ham United academy before gaining promotion to first-team physio in 2003.

Classic match

West Ham United 2-0 Aston Villa
First Division
20 January 1962

20,000 fans were in the Boleyn Ground to watch West Ham United secure a comfortable 2-0 win over Aston Villa.

United started strongly and never looked back as Phil Woosnam headed in a Tony Scott free-kick with just two minutes on the clock. Phil Dick - fourth in club's all-time leading scorers list - added a second 16 minutes later after Villa goalkeeper Nigel Sims came for - and missed - a Malcolm Musgrove centre.

The win would help the Hammers to a respectable eighth-placed finish that season, ironically level on points with the Villains who finished one place above them on goal difference.