In the seventh edition of our Classic Match series, we dig deep in the archives to relive a clash from nine years ago against tomorrow’s visitors to the London Stadium in Newcastle United.
Cast your minds back to the late summer of 2008, at the very top of the British Music Charts was “Sex on Fire” by Kings of Leon and the death of legendary American Actor Paul Newman star of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” was about to be announced.
Meanwhile, in the world of Football, the 17th season of the Premier League was around a month old and had already produced its fair share of tantalising action.
More specifically, in East London, the Gianfranco Zola era was just getting started after the departure of former Manager Alan Curbishley, after six points from four games and a loss at the Hawthorns, the Hammers sat seventh heading into a mid-September home clash with Newcastle.
The visiting Magpies, under the guidance of Caretaker Manager Chris Hughton after the departure of the popular Kevin Keegan, had only taken four points from the opening stages of the campaign, were looming close to the bottom three in 15th place after being defeated at home by Hull City.
On a sunny afternoon in E13, the game that was played out would be a memorable one for members of the Claret & Blue Army and one to forget in a hurry for the travelling Toon.
At the announcement of the two starting line-ups, it was clear to see that both sides had potential match-winners in their ranks, for the hosts, these included the likes of midfielder maestros Scott Parker and Mark Noble, while the duo of Carlton Cole and David Di Michele posed a serious threat to goal up-front.
Whereas, the away team presented a star-studded Xl with names such as Nicky Butt and Michael Owen in midfielder and attack, whilst veteran goalkeeper Shay Given was surely going to prove hard to beat between the sticks.
With the Boleyn Ground volume turned up to the full, the encounter could begin, and it would do so in dream circumstances for those so very vocal hoe fans that lined the Stadium.
After just seven minutes, Di Michele, the Italian International, grabbed his first Hammers goal by popping up to get the better of Given, the goal was also the first scored under new Manager Zola.
If his maiden strike was something to marvel at, when he doubled the advantage on 37 minutes, it would be even better.
Being played through by Noble, the forward managed to somehow get around the keeper before turning excellently to beat a defender and firing the ball low through the legs of Given under a ruck of bodies.
Exciting English winger Matthew Etherington was on hand to seal three points on a historic day at Upton Park just after the break, before iconic striker Owen netted a consolation for the Magpies a short while later.
The Irons would hold onto that winning margin with ease to ensure glory for the former Chelsea star turned West Ham Boss as he couldn’t have got off to a better start to life in East London.
But, on the flip side of things, Newcastle Interim Boss Hughton was soon relieved of his short-term duties after that, Joe Kinnear coming in on a permanent basis, not even club legend Alan Shearer was able to keep them from falling down to the Championship that season in the end.
While, Zola would continue his fantastic run, guiding the Hammers to a ninth-place finish, unlucky not to clinch European Qualification, it would always be remembered as one of their better seasons.
But, will David Moyes be able to match that result when Rafa Benítez’s Magpies make the trip to Stratford tomorrow afternoon? Stay right where you are to find out with a Live Blog, including exclusive build-up, live text commentary and reaction from the crucial matchup, live from the London Stadium Press Box.