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To help raise money for Marc-Vivien Foé’s family, Olympique Lyonnais staged a benefit game in November 2003.
On November 11 the Cameroon international team faced an eleven comprising of players from three of Marc’s European clubs, Manchester City, RC Lens and Olympique Lyonnais.
Manchester City have had a fantastic 2017-18 season culminating in being crowned Premiership Champions. On Sunday April 29 Pep Guardiola’s side visit the London Stadium to play the Hammers expecting to gain more points and net more goals as they pursue several Premiership records. This end of season meeting between the two clubs is a reminder of a former West Ham player from nearly 20 years ago who also spent a season with Manchester City.
The player was Cameroon’s midfielder Marc-Vivien Foé who tragically died after collapsing during a FIFA Confederations Cup match in 2003. His collapse on the pitch shocked the football world and served as a reminder that even professional sportsman are not immortal.
Marc, a Cameroon international, was more of a solid defensive player rather than an attacking midfielder and he joined West Ham United in January 1999. In his 18 month east London stay he made 48 league and cup appearances netting a couple of goals.
During the 18 months at the Boleyn Ground he came close to transferring to another Premiership club but stayed to the end of season 1999-2000 when he moved back to France to join Olympique Lyonnais. Two years later he was loaned out to Manchester City for the 2002-03 season.
Born: Yaounde, Cameroon on May 1, 1975 Marc-Vivien Foé died in France on June 26, 2003 aged 28.
Record Transfer to West Ham United
Marc-Vivien Foé transferred to West Ham United on January 27, 1999 from the French club RC Lens, for a club record fee of £4.2 million.
Although the Cameroon international was relatively unknown in English football he was a target for Manchester United before an unfortunate leg break on the eve of the 1998 World Cup Finals in France.
Foé was manager Harry Redknapp’s seventh recruit that campaign behind summer signings Marc Keller, Shaka Hislop, Ian Wright, Neil Ruddock and Javier Margas, followed by non-league player Gavin Holligan in November and Scott Minto in the January transfer window.
To help time frame his transfer, it was in the same week as Paolo Di Canio joined West Ham United. The front page of the Hammers News publication (March 1999) carried a photo of the two embracing.
Days after the two signed they both made their West Ham debuts in the same Premiership match, the goalless draw against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park on January 30, 1999. Foé was in Redknapp's starting eleven with Di Canio coming as a on as 72nd minute substitute for rookie Joe Cole who was also just starting out on his Hammers' career.
In his first season, 1998-99, Marc must have made a positive contribution as the Hammers were lying 9th in the Premiership when he joined and by the end of the campaign finished a credible 5th. Marc appeared in 13 of the season’s last 16 league matches and picked up eight bookings along the way.
African Nations Cup Call-up
One of the Premiership games he missed was due to international commitments. Foé was called up for Cameroon’s visit to Mozambique for a crucial African Cup of Nations qualifier on April 11, 1999.
At the Estadio da Machava in Maputo, Mozambique, Foé helped his countrymen to a 6-1 victory. The Indomitable Lions' qualification was completed in June when Hammer-to-be Rigobert Song scored the only goal against Eritrea at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde.
The finals would be co-hosted by Ghana and Nigeria in January - February 2000.
A Near Transfer to Liverpool
Six months after joining West Ham it was reported in Hammers News (July & August 1999) that Foé was close to rejoining his former Lens manager Gerard Houllier at Liverpool with the two clubs agreeing a £4.6m fee. This was more than transfer speculation. The deal fell through as Foé and his agent could not agree personal terms with the Merseyside club.
Marc suffered further misfortune when at the end of his first season with the Hammers he was admitted to hospital after he contracted Malaria on a trip home to Africa.
Friendly v French Champions – RC Lens
Part of the January transfer negotiations were reported to have included a 1999-2000 pre-season friendly against the French champions RC Lens, in France. Though the match never materialised.
As Foe’s transfer to Merseyside was widely expected to happen, he missed the first week and a half of the new season. When the deal fell through he belatedly returned to the Hammers’ pre-season training preparations.
After achieving the club’s highest ever Premiership placing, Harry Redknapp’s squad must have been optimistic for the new season season. But form slipped and the Hammers eventually finished in 9th position. Marc played in 25 of the season’s 38 Premiership games and in his 7th game of the season he scored his one and only claret and blue Premiership goals. This was in the 4-3 home win over Sheffield Wednesday on November 21, 1999.
In addition to the Premiership appearances, he appeared in 10 domestic and European cup matches: three in the League Cup, one in the FA Cup and a further six in the UEFA Intertoto and UEFA Cups.
His European matches were split evenly between the two European competitions. The UEFA Intertoto Cup appearances were in the 1-0 second-leg semi-final win over Dutch side SC Heerenveen (August 4, 1999), and both games in the two-legged final victory over French side FC Metz (home 0-1 August 10, 1999), (away 3-1 August 24, 1999). The aggregate 3-2 win over FC Metz swept the Hammers into the UEFA Cup.
2000 African Nations Cup Finals
Foé became the first Hammer to win major international honours since Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters in 1966, when he was a member of the Cameroon side which won the 2000 African Cup of Nations.
Cameroon beat Nigeria in the final on February 13, 4-3 on penalties after the final finished 2-2. The decisive winning penalty was netted by future Hammer Rigobert Song, after Foe had missed the previous kick.
In the earlier rounds he scored a couple of headed goals. As many goals in the two week tournament as he netted in 18 months with West Ham!
Red Carded in Final Game
His claret and blue tenure finished as it started with a goalless draw. The occasion was also marked by his sending off for a wild kick at an opponent in the season’s last Premiership game, Upton Park’s goalless draw with Leeds United on May 14, 2000.
£6m Return to Olympique Lyonnais
It seems that Harry Redknapp was not convinced by Foé’s suitability for tough Premiership campaigns and was quick to sell him. A £6m offer from the French club Olympique Lyonnais was too good to turn down, especially as Redknapp was looking to raise funds to keep on loan striker Freddie Kanoute from the French club.
On May 17, 2000 a deal was struck between the two sides to swap players, Foé was valued at £6m with the 22-year-old Kanoute joining West Ham United a day later with a fee set at £3.75m.
From the Hammers’ accounting perspective the Foé transfer dealings were profitable especially taking into consideration that he would have been banned for the first part of the 2000-01 season, plus Cameroon’s World Cup qualifiers would also have taken their toll on claret and blue appearances.
The Foe Kanoute transfer dealing was without a doubt one of Harry Redknapp’s successful transfer wheeling and dealings.
A Season with Man City
After a couple of seasons with Olympique Lyonnais, the French club loaned Marc to Manchester City for season 2002-03. At Maine Road he linked up with former West Ham team-mates Eyal Berkovic and Paulo Wanchope, and Stuart Pearce who was a member of their coaching staff. It was the Mancunians first campaign back in the Premiership, and Marc helped establish them back in the top tier.
He appeared in 35 Premiership games scoring nine goals. The higher number of goals with City than with the Hammers was attributed to him being used more in set pieces.
Cameroon Match 2003
After Manchester City’s season had finished, Marc joined up with Cameroon for the FIFA Confederations Cup tournament in France. It was here that tragedy struck when playing for the Lions in their cup match against Columbia in Lyon, on June 26, 2003.
Cameroon faced Colombia in the semi-final, held at the Stade de Gerland in Lyon, France. In the 72nd minute of the match Foe collapsed in the centre circle, with no other players near him. After attempts to resuscitate him on the pitch, he was stretchered off the field, where he received mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and oxygen. Medics spent 45 minutes attempting to restart his heart, and although he was still alive upon arrival at the stadium's medical centre he died shortly afterwards.
Marc-Vivien Foé represented his country 56 times and scored eight goals. Nine of these international caps were gained whilst with West Ham United.
Date of Birth:
May 1, 1975
RC Lens (France)
38 Premier League
1 FA Cup
3 League Cup
3 Intertoto Cup
3 UEFA Cup
1 Premier League
1 Intertoto Cup
Scott Foé, the son of Marc-Vivien Foé is flanked by Rigobert Song, and Sonny Anderson before an All-Stars match in
memory of his father
2000 Africa Cup of Nations
Hammers debut against Wimbledon
A treble of appearances in the UEFA Cup included the two 1st round matches against the Croatian side, NK Osijek, and the first leg of the 2nd round tie versus the Romanians, Steau Bucharest. In the away leg in Croatia on September 30, 1999 he scored the Hammers' third goal with a 10 yard header in their 3-1 win. The first of his two claret and blue goals. Four more cup appearances were clocked in the domestic cups: three in the League Cup and a single FA Cup tie.
On the 10th anniversary of Marc's death, supporters from Manchester City and West Ham United paid tribute to their former player during their Premier League encounter April 27, 2013.
City displayed an image of Foe on the electronic screens at the Etihad Stadium in the 23rd minute of the game, in reference to his squad number during his time at the club, and fans of both sides joined in a minute's applause.
Manchester City v. West Ham United
10th Anniversary Tribute
Support material Hammers News
Cameroon players hold a picture of Marc-Viven Foé before the Confederations Cup final match against France June 29, 2003
Last Maine Road Goal By Man City Player
Marc has a permanent place in Manchester City's history. On April 21, 2003, 45 days before he died, he scored the last ever goal by a Manchester City player at Maine Road before the club moved to the City of Manchester Stadium. Marc scored a double in Manchester City's 3-0 win over Sunderland.
The Times Obituary