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The quarter-final was replayed a month later on January 11, 2000. Aston Villa changed their strip from white shirts with blue shorts to turquoise shirts and black shorts which marked a change of fortune for the Villa Park club.
In another close encounter, West Ham took the lead early in the second half:
West Ham United 1-0 Aston Villa:
47 mins - Frank Lampard
The second half started explosively as Frank Lampard sprinted on to Lomas’ well-weighted through ball before curling a precision chip over the advancing James from the corner of the area.
West Ham United 1-1 Aston Villa:
79 mins - Ian Taylor
Unfortunately, Lampard’s opening goal was cancelled out by Aston Villa’s Taylor with just 11 minutes of normal time remaining. Again extra-time required.
The West Ham United history books record the club’s 1999-2000 Worthington Cup campaign as having reached the competition’s quarter-final before being knocked-out by fellow Premiership side, Aston Villa. But these plain facts hide a story which culminated in a catastrophic event for the Hammers.
West Ham won the December 1999 quarter-final tie at Upton Park on penalties after the game had ended all square following extra time.
The Hammers were pleased to have reached a League Cup semi-final for only the fourth time in the competition’s 28 seasons. But the bubble burst when two days later it was revealed that one of West Ham’s playing substitutes, Emmanuel Omoyinmi, was cup-tied.
The Football League declared the match void and ordered the two clubs to replay the cup-tie. Almost inevitably, the Hammers lost the replayed tie. The claret and blue dream faded and died due to a player's naivety and an unforgivable administrative oversight.
West Ham United 2 - 2 Aston Villa (HT 0-1)
After extra-time, West Ham win 5-4 on penalties
Wednesday December 15, 1999
West Ham United:
Lampard (72 mins), Di Canio (90+1 mins [pen])
Taylor (4 mins), Dublin (90 mins)
West Ham United:
Hislop, Ferdinand, Ruddock, Margas, Sinclair, Lomas, Lampard, Keller, Cole (Kitson 46mins), Di Canio, Wanchope (Omoyinmi 113 mins)
James, Ehiogu, Southgate, Barry, Watson, Boateng, Taylor, Wright, Merson (Stone 76 mins), Joachim (Vassell 111 mins), Dublin
Description of West Ham goals
(Source Hammers News, Daily Mail)
West Ham United 0-1 Aston Villa:
4 mins - Ian Taylor
Villa had taken the lead after four minutes when some lacklustre defending from Neil Ruddock, Javier Margas and Frank Lampard allowed Ian Taylor to dart through and open the scoring.
West Ham United 1-1 Aston Villa
72 mins - Frank Lampard
With 18 minutes left, the immaculate Ferdinand played in Paolo Di Canio down the inside-right channel and Frank Lampard arrived on cue to net the Italian’s clever cut-back from eight yards.
Administrative Error & Substitute’s Costly Seven Minutes
After the euphoria of the Wednesday evening had settled, the revelations began to seep out. The Football League only became aware of the problem once they had seen the submitted official teamsheets.
Football League Ruling Fallout
Not surprisingly the Football League applied their one-club rule for cup-ties. They recognised that the club had made a genuine administrative error and ordered the cup-tie to be restaged.
The decision they reached in all honesty was the right one. A monetary fine would have be insufficient justice to please the Villa Park club and to be chucked out of the competition would have been heartbreaking for both the West Ham players and more importantly the Upton Park supporters.
The restaged game was not the only repercussion from the Football League ruling, two days after their judgement West Ham United Company Secretary, Graham Mackrell resigned. Mackrell had only been at the club for six months after moving from Sheffield Wednesday.
Hammers' Football Secretary, Alison O’Dowd, also resigned her post with the club.
Mackrell said: "I thought it was the right decision to make. We acted upon information which was given to me that the player was eligible to play."
"It patently wasn't correct and as a result I'm responsible, and I felt the only honourable thing to do was to resign."
Consigned to Scunthorpe
The story of Emmanuel Omoyinimi’s notoriety, referred to as “Manny Gate”, starts at the innocuous settings of Gillingham's Priestfield Stadium and concluded with the player’s banishment from Upton Park.
Emmanuel Omoyinmi was a strong, pacey and skilful player. In 1986 the tongue-twister named player moved from the Nigerian capital Lagos to just a short corner kick from Upton Park in Plaistow, east London.
Worthington League Cup Second Round Draw
Forty-miles away in Kent, on-loan Omoyinmi's Gillingham were paired with Bolton Wanderers in a two-legged 2nd round clash.
The on-loan Hammer was making good progress at the Priestfield Stadium and was selected in Gillingham’s starting-eleven which faced Bolton Wanderers in the first-leg on September 14, 1999. Manny was even featured as the 'star player' on the front cover of the matchday programme.
However, on the field of play the match was a complete disaster for the Gill's as they lost 4-1 to the Trotters.
Two weeks later in the 2nd leg Manny played in the first half but the tie slipped further away as the Kent side lost 2-0 on the night and 6-1 on aggregate.
Emmanuel Omoyinmi returned to the Bolyen Ground in early November 1999 when his loan period expired.
Football League Statement
"The Football League confirmed this evening that, following discussions with both clubs, the Worthington Cup tie between West Ham United and Aston Villa will be restaged at Upton Park during the week commencing 10 January.
This follows a breach of cup rules by West Ham. The League paid tribute to the two clubs involved for their assistance in determining this matter, and for bringing about the most equitable solution to a very sensitive situation".
As for the main culprit, Omoyinmi was ushered out of the door very smartly. Five days after the calamitous match he was loaned out again, this time further away from east London in South Humberside. Though his shirt would remain claret and blue as his next port of call was Scunthorpe United.
Scunthorpe manager Brian Laws engineered his speedy departure from the capital to the outlands where he could lie low. Laws revealed that he had earlier tried to prise Omoyinmi away from the Boleyn Ground. “Harry Redknapp had already turned me down once but I rang back and suggested that Manny joining us would be the best thing for all concerned. It was a bit tounge in cheek and I thought he’d bite my head off but he agreed”
In his three months with the Lincolnshire club he made six appearances and scored a single goal. Needless to say, Omoyinmi never played for the West Ham United first team again and eventually he left the club at the end of the 1999-2000 season with a move to Oxford United.
What had started out as a promising cup campaign with a home win over AFC Bournemouth and an away victory over Birmingham City had turned sour.
December’s quarter-final newspaper headlines which read "Southgate's agony" and "Southgate messes up again" had to be rewritten to "Villa Joy" and "Hammers pay heavy penalty".
1999-2000’s League Cup Campaign
Replayed League Cup Quarter-final
West Ham United 1-2 Aston Villa:
94 mins - Julian Joachim
Four minutes into extra-time and Joachim put Villa in front. Though the Hammers missed a golden chance in the 100th minute to get back on level terms when a Di Canio penalty was pushed aside by David James in the Villa goal. It proved third time lucky for James. In the first game Di Canio had beaten James twice from the spot but his luck ran out on this third attempt. This miss was Di Canio’s only failure to score from the 13 spot kicks he took for the Irons.
West Ham United 1-3 Aston Villa:
118 mins - Ian Taylor
Aston Villa booked their semi-final place with a third goal from Taylor. A 3-1 defeat in this League Cup rematch meant the Hammers’ run of bad luck was complete.
Di Canio’s Missed Penalty
Jubilation inside Upton Park as West Ham United were through to their fourth League Cup semi-final with Wembley one hurdle away. Or, so they thought.
The youngster signed apprenticeship forms with West Ham United on June 11, 1994 and quickly became known as “Manny” to his team mates.
A product of Tony Carr's successful Youth Academy, he was a member of the side which won the South East Counties League title in 1995-6. Omoyinmi went on to sign full professional forms shortly afterwards on May 15, 1996.
To gain valuable experience, manager Harry Redknapp sent the then 18-year-old on a month's loan to his former club AFC Bournemouth in September 1996. An arrangement which was subsequently extended to two-months.
The little striker returned to the Boleyn Ground in November to continue his football education with the Hammers’ reserves in the Football Combination.
Omoyinmi progressed to the first eleven, making his Premier League debut against Leeds United in a 1-0 reverse at Elland Road on March 1, 1997. He went on to make his mark in the first team, scoring twice after coming on as substitute against Crystal Palace at the end of the 1997-98 season.
As he was not a first team regular, his education continued with loan spells at Dundee United, Leyton Orient and Gillingham.
West Ham's reluctant venture into the European twilight world of the Intertoto Cup kicked-off three-weeks before the official start of the 1999 - 2000 Premier League season. As in previous seasons the Worthington League Cup organisers allowed Premier League clubs competing in European competition a 2nd round bye to the 3rd round of the Worthington Cup.
Hammers' Worthington Cup Campaign
Fresh from their Intertoto Cup Final triumph over French side FC Metz, and their two-legged UEFA Cup win over Croatian side NK Osijek, the Hammers embarked on their Worthington Cup campaign. This started with a 3rd round 2-0 home win over AFC Bournemouth, followed by a 3-2 away win at Birmingham City to set up the controversial Quarter-final home game against fellow Premier League side Aston Villa.
An extra 30 minutes could not separate the two sides, and the match moved on to a penalty shoot-out. Although Trevor Sinclair and Villa's Alan Wright both missed their spot-kicks, it was still level at 4-4 after the first 10 penalties.
Hammers' Marc Keller’s sudden-death conversion put Gareth Southgate on the spot, Shaka Hislop’s courageous save left the Villain with his head in his hands.
For Southgate it was a repeat of his performance in the Euro 96 shoot-out between England and Germany. He missed!
Quarter-final Penalty Shoot-out
113th minute substitute
West Ham United 1-2 Aston Villa:
90 mins - Dion Dublin
Julian Joachin shrugged off an attempted challenge from Margas to whip in a shearing cross and Villa seemed to have won the tie as Dion Dublin’s magnificent right-foot volley flew into the roof of the net in the 90th minute
West Ham United 2-2 Aston Villa
90+1 mins - Paolo Di Canio [pen]
Now into stoppage time, the equally stunned Upton Park faithful headed for the exits, only to scramble back moments later when substitute Paul Kitson is brought down by a clumsy challenge from Alan Wright, referee Steve Lodge waited a couple of seconds before pointing to the spot.
He was immediately encircled by a cluster of furious Villa players but he shunned them before Di Canio, showing remarkable calm under intolerable pressure, stepped up to convert the spot-kick and force extra time.
With seven minutes remaining and the scores level at 2-2, manager Harry Redknapp introduced his second substitute of the evening. Manny Omoyinmi stepped onto the pitch to replace Paulo Wanchope. At the end of extra-time the scores remained 2-2 and moved onto a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
West Ham United took the first kick
Manny (far right) leads the celebration charge after Shaka Hislop's penalty save
Omoyinmi (No.27) congratulates Hislop
The analysis of the teamsheets by the Football League revealed that Emmanuel Omoyinmi was cup-tied and therefore the Hammers had fielded an illegible player. Three months earlier Omoyinmi had appeared for Gillingham in both legs of their League Cup 2nd round tie against Bolton Wanderers.
A basic rule of cup competitions had been infringed. This regulation state that a player can only play for a single club in the season’s competition. So when a player is loaned-out the terms and conditions of the contract between the host and loan club should state whether or not the player is permitted to appear in a cup competition.
When the loanee returns to his parent club suitable checks should be made to verify that the contract’s T's & C's have been honoured by both parties. It sounds straightforward.
When Emmanuel Omoyinmi, returned to West Ham United after his spell on loan to Gillingham, many felt he had some responsibility to know the cup-tie rule and recall his two earlier appearances for Gillingham in the competition.
The consequences proved to be far reaching and for Hammers’ fans, unforgiveable.
With the season of goodwill almost upon us there would be no Christmas cheer for the Hammers. On the evening of Saturday December 18, 1999 the Football League met to decide the Hammers' fate.
West Ham United 1 - 3 Aston Villa (HT 0-0)
Tuesday January 11, 2000
West Ham United:
Lampard (47 mins)
Taylor (79 & 118 mins), Joachim (94 mins)
West Ham United:
Hislop, Ferdinand, Stimac, Potts (Ruddock 91 mins), Lomas, Lampard, Foe, Minto, Cole, Di Canio, Sinclair (Keller 109 mins)
James, Ehiogu, Southgate, Barry, Watson (Thompson 67 mins), Taylor, Boateng (Calderwood 111 mins), Wright, Stone, Merson (Vassell 54 mins), Joachim
Match reports courtesy of Richard Miller
A semi-final place lost and a harsh administrative lesson learnt. An admin error which as far as we know has not been repeated in the domestic cups since West Ham United’s catastrophic experience on December 15, 1999.
As for Manny, all he asks for is forgiveness ....
Di Canio's frustration
Kent Messenger September 1999
Penalty nightmare for Gareth Southgate,
for Manny his nightmare is about to begin