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This competitive pre-season test was a successful afternoon for Devonshire. The 12,613 attendance contributed an estimated £60,000 to his testimonial fund.
A description of the game’s four goals is as follows:
West Ham 1- 0 Crystal Palace
58 mins: Mark Ward, about to be replaced by Liam Brady, broke the deadlock with a spectacular effort. He saw Palace’s goalkeeper, Perry Suckling, off his line and unleashed a dipping shot from 40 yards which dropped below the cross-bar to beat the back-tracking Suckling.
West Ham 2 – 0 Crystal Palace
60 mins: A couple of minutes later and a Stuart Slater shot was saved and the Palace defence had to clear off the line. Though they were unable to prevent Frank McAvennie from following up to double the lead.
West Ham 2 – 1 Crystal Palace
65 mins: Palace came back into the game when Ian Wright found Eddie McGoldrick on the right and his cross was perfectly headed past substitute keeper Alan McKnight by Mark Bright.
West Ham 3 – 1 Crystal Palace
87 mins: To fit the occasion, the main man netted West Ham’s third and the final goal of the afternoon. Following a foul on Stuart Slater by Palace’s John Pemberton the Hammers were awarded a penalty. Up stepped Alan Devonshire to convert the spot-kick.
West Ham United:
Phil Parkes (Allen McKnight), George Parris, Julian Dicks (Steve Potts 75 mins), Tony Gale, Alvin Martin (Gary Strodder), Alan Devonshire, Mark Ward (Liam Brady), Frank McAvennie, Stuart Slater (David Kelly) Kevin Keen, Paul Ince (Billy Bonds)
Suckling, Pemberton, Dennis, Gray, Hopkins, O’Reilly, McGoldrick, Pardew, Bright, Wright, Barber
Saturday February 28, 2015 the Hammers’ Premiership opponents are Crystal Palace which is a reminder of an earlier visit from the Glaziers for a more congenial fixture. This was a pre-season friendly for the Alan Devonshire Testimonial game held on Sunday August 13, 1989.
After a distinguished career covering 448 competitive first team games and 32 goals Alan Devonshire was justifiably granted a testimonial game. The Upton Park tenure of the £5,000 signing from Southall ran for 14 seasons commencing in October 1976 and ending with his final appearance in February 1990. But for a serious knee injury sustained in January 1983 his first team career would have been significantly longer.
Following Crystal Palace’s Championship play-off win at the end of the previous season, the Glaziers visit for this friendly was as Premiership opposition. Though in 1989-90 the Hammers were languishing in The Championship.
Crystal Palace’s visit was appropriate as Alan’s father, Les, was a former Palace player and the friendly served the dual purpose of a testimonial and a pre-season first team test.
To mark the occasion the teams competed for the “Coral Trophy” and the West Ham team wore a special claret and blue shirt with a woven “Alan Devonshire Testimonial Match” badge
Paul Ince and Tony Gale battle it out in the air with John Pemberton.
Both the local East London newspaper and the Croydon Advertiser’s match report commented on how the teams treated the game seriously. It may have been a pre-season rehearsal but both teams wanted a serious test.
The Croydon Advertiser (August 18, 1989) explained “The second half was played in a very competitive spirit and the Palace defence was stretched on occasions.”
Steve Coppell, the Palace manager, was quoted
Paul Ince finds room in the Palace area and Mark Bright can only hope his header goes wide
For the record West Ham beat Crystal Palace 3-1
Devonshire with the 'Coral' trophy
We did okay for an hour, but we were disappointing after going behind. We crumbled. But it was a test we wanted. The other games (Palace’s other pre-season fixtures) were not really tests. West Ham are Premiership pedigree and hopefully playing them will have done some good.
Did You Know:
Like most sporting estabishments around this period, to get around the strict Sunday trading laws a limited number of 'Team sheets' were given out to supporters at the turnstiles.
On Sundays, there can be no admission fee to public events. In essence supporters were paying for the team sheet.
28 August 1994 the Sunday Trading Law was legalised.
The 1970s and 1980s were a busy time for West Ham players’ testimonials with eight and seven benefit games being staged at Upton Park in the respective decades. These years reflect the pre-Bosman era and a time when players typically served their clubs for a longer time than post-Bosman.
A review of the 1980 FA Cup winners shows that eight of the XI enjoyed testimonials. Alan was the sixth member of that victorious team after Lampard, Brooking, Bonds, Pike and Martin to benefit. Phil Parkes’ and Ray Stewart’s testimonials were a year and two years after Devonshire’s respectively.
Eight of 1980 FA Cup Winners Granted Testimonials
Newspaper coverage courtesy of Richard Miller
Crystal Palace's Ian Wright in the thick of the action against Alan Devonshire (above) and George Parris (right)
"Dev" shows his class
George Parris also makes an impression as the Hammers sparkle in the sun
As a footnote, the Crystal Palace side included three players who would later join the Hammers.
These were Perry Suckling who joined the Hammers on loan four months later to play six league games, Ian Wright (1998-99) and future manager Alan Pardew.
West Ham United : Coral Cup Winners