Chelsea 2 West Ham 3 September 28 2002

September 18, 2007 at 4:53 am | Posted in Games In My Travels, Hammers | 3 Comments

This match was enormously entertaining and gratifying.  Some of the players on view were stunning to watch, and I have to say Paulo Di Canio won the match all on his own.  Gianfranco Zola also played and set Stamford Bridge alight.   Di Canio scored 2 goals, and Zola scored one from 30 yards out into the top corner on a free kick. 

Stamford Bridge is a classic English football stadium with seats rising steeply from a few yards from the touchline.   It feels like sitting with 40,000 people in an open box.  There was a sea of blue in the stadium.  Rather than putting the away fans in the seats behind the goal, the West Ham fans were in the best seats in the house near the center line.   These were the days of Claudio Ranieri, who was clearly very popular among the Chelsea faithful of the day.  His mere appearance in the tunnel during warm up was enough to garner applause from the early shows.

Di Canio had a reputation of loving to play at home but coming down with injuries as an excuse not to play in away games.  There was no evidence of such a reputation in this game because he was in the mood right from the start.  The Hammers went down early to a penalty kick which was put in by Hasselbank.  Di Canio was every where on the pitch, and if he didn’t have the ball he was nearby screaming for it.  He took every throw in, corner kick and free kick. 

 My uncle Peter once attended a West Ham members meeting in which Harry Rednapp said that Di Canio was uncoachable.  He just went out there and did what he wanted.  It was trememdous to watch because he was the catalyst that won the game for West Ham.  I have always had a fondness for WHU but this game made me a definite fan of the team.  

Di Canio scored a screamer from 30 yards on a full volley.  The ball corkscrewed in the air so much that it fooled Cudicini and flew into the top of the net.  It was a breathtaking piece if skill from one of the finest players in the game in recent memory.  To be able to see such talent on the pitch was a real pleasure: Di Canio, Zola, Lampard, James, Defoe, Gudjonsen, Carrick, Cudicini et al.  It was one of the best live matches I have seen…  Di Canio scored the winner in the 85th minute or so with a typically brilliant finish…  I miss him terribly.   One of the best ever to play in a Hammers shirt. 



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  1. Fantastic article, it nearly made me cry to think of such wonderful times at West Ham, he truly is a idol at West Ham!!
    Can i copy this article for my blog?, obviously i will leave you as the Author and the blog URL.

  2. Great article

    Yes what a fantastic game. Can you beleive that just before half time I went to get a pie and Di Canio scored that incredible volley. Luckily there was a tv at the pie stand. Phew!


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