After an immediate dazzling sortie in which Paul Telfer became the first opponent to suffer the embarrassment of a nutmeg, we saw nearly as much of the second-half substitute on the ground as we did standing up. Yet the impact Futre had on a team seriously lacking ideas was palpable. Without him it was hard to see West Ham equalising.
They did so with 17 minutes remaining through a Marc Rieper volley. With Gary McAllister's header opening the scoring early it was from two unlikely sources that the side took their first points on the board while dimming the memory of first-day defeats.
McAllister's strike - his first since his summer switch from Leeds - promised to be decisive because without their foreign fancies the Hammers are an anaemic lot in front of goal. Harry Redknapp hopes his expensive Romanian, Florin Raducioiu will be available for the weekend but for now all the talk will centre on Futre.
"I might have to use him in short bursts like that but he showed what an exciting player he is," said the Hammers manager who again denied reports of a row with his star recruit. Intriguingly Futre wore 10 - the number originally attributed to John Moncur - and supposedly the subject of some dissension.
Coventry's number 10 might not have been bought for his heading ability though McAllister accepted the invitation posted by 18-year-old Andrew Ducros' immaculate right-wing delivery with ease after 11 minutes. Their advantage came under threat particularly from Julian Dicks though Steve Ogrizovic proved unbeatable before half-time.
Both Ducros and the Belgian defender Regis Genaux shaped up well on their debuts. Ron Atkinson made five changes after Coventry's three-goal defeat by Nottingham Forest and was repaid by a performance of improved commitment.
Ogrizovic was beaten when Dicks' cross from the left was only partially cleared and fell for Rieper to lash home a volley. In the final minute Michael Hughes extended the veteran goalkeeper again. Despite all the exotic names on show sometimes it is the old timers who have the final say.
West Ham United (3-5-2): Miklosko; Rieper, Bilic, Dicks; Breacker (Futre, 54), Slater, Williamson, Hughes, Lazaridis; Dowie, Jones (Bowen, 77). Substitutes not used: Rowland, Lampard, Mautone (gk).
Coventry City (4-4-2): Ogrizovic: Genaux (Borrows, 77), Shaw, Daish, Burrows; Telfer, McAllister, Jess (Williams, 85), Salako; Ducros, Dublin. Substitutes not used: Richardson, Strachan, Filan (gk).
Referee: S Dunn (Bristol).Reuse content