Filed: Monday, 28th November 2011
By: Staff Writer
Back in 2004, readers of KUMB.com voted for their greatest West Ham moments. With seven years having passed since - during which we've witnessed a number of memorable occasions, matches and goals - we decided to revisit the list in order to include some of the more recent events.
We'll be bringing you the remainder of our top 100 over the course of the next few weeks; for now here's part four of our countdown - entries 70 to 61...
The Royal link with the east End was fortified during the Second World War when Queen Elizabeth (better known as the late Queen Mother) made frequent visits, despite the inherent dangers, to the heavily bombed area in order to boost morale. Like the Eastenders themselves, she had refused to run (to safety in Canada in her case) - a message of defiance that struck a chord with the people.
In 1966 - 21 years after the end of the war - the Queen Mother's daughter handed the Jules Rimet trophy to West Ham United's Bobby Moore at Wembley as England famously celebrated another win over Germany. The Windsor's association with West Ham and the east end was refreshed in May 2002 when, as part of her Golden Jubilee celebrations she visited the Boleyn Ground to officially open the new West Stand (aka Dr Martens stand) along with the Duke of Edinburgh. HM's visit was described by a gushing Terry Brown as 'a momentous day for the club' - and 'undoubtedly the most important non-footballing event in the history of West Ham United', no less.
It had been an extraordinary week at the Boleyn. Trevor Brooking, in for the stricken Glenn Roeder had steered his new charges to a 1-0 win at Man City that kept West Ham's slim hopes of Premiership survival alive. Meanwhile Paolo Di Canio - in his last season at the club - had spent the week waging war on the media, slamming them for their coverage of Roeder's illness - having himself spent the best part of three months undermining his boss through a series of public spats.
But Roeder's ill-fortune had been to the Italian's considerable benefit. Unfit and out of favour, he was back in the squad for the last home game of the season against high-flying Chelsea - albeit on the bench - after making his peace with Brooking, whose olive brach had been gratefully accepted. A tense Boleyn crowd erupted when Di Canio was introduced midway through the second half for a tiring Les Ferdinand with the game evenly poised at 0-0. With 71 minutes on the clock, a Trevor Sinclair cross was whipped into the six-yard box. Di Canio, showing his predatory instinct pounced, turned sharply before firing low into Carlo Cudicini's bottom corner to win the game for West Ham and prolong the club's hopes of survival for another game.
Brooking, with two wins out of two as a manager revealed after the game that "I had Paolo in the wings and I said to him that if we were level or behind he would get at least half an hour". Di Canio, reflecting on his last goal at the Boleyn added: "To me, it was much more than an emotional day on Saturday because I wanted to show people that I will love the West Ham shirt in my heart forever."
West Ham's double-winning team of the late 1990s are rightly recognised for being one of the club's greatest success stories at youth team level. However some 35 years earlier the seeds first sown by the likes of Ted Fenton and Malcolm Allison in the late 1950s were the first to bear fruit as West Ham's youth team won the FA Cup for the first time. However an easy task it most certainly was not; having played the first match in a two-legged affair at Anfield the Irons were comfortably beaten, going down 3-1 - despite enjoying a late revival during which they hit the post. Billy Droyden had scored United's goal but the odds against West Ham reversing the tie in the second leg were considered slim, at best.
The Irons - playing in front of a bumper crowd in excess of 25,000, not unlike in 1999 - got off to a flying start when Trevor Dawkins opened the scoring on the night to make it 2-3 on aggregate. But two quick goals for the Merseysiders silenced the crowd who, with the aggregate score at 2-5, must have thought that was it. But cometh the hour, cometh the man - and when big striker Martin Britt levelled the scores on the night shortly before half time a glimmer of hope appeared. On the hour mark Britt grabbed his second of the night to put West Ham 3-2 up and just one behind on aggregate, but despite their best efforts the Irons entered the last ten minutes a goal behind.
As the home fans rorared their team on a young Harry Redknapp beat his man on the flank and fired the ball into the near post - where it was perfectly met by Britt, who nodded it beyond Rodney Swindlehurst into the far corner to make it 4-2 on the night and 5-5 on aggregate. Extra time looked a certainty - until with just seconds of the game remaining, Redknapp beat his man once again before centreing his cross. Britt - who else? - was first to react and he bundled home his fourth, West Ham's fifth, and the goal that took the cup to the east end for the first time ever courtesy of a 6-5 aggregate win.
West Ham have been blessed with a series of more than capable 'keepers over the years, but rarely have any got close to matching Robert Green's awe-inspiring performance at the Emirates as the 2006/07 season reached its climax. Alan Curbishley's West Ham travelled to Arsenal deep in the mire with seven games of the season left to play where defeat almost certainly meant curtains for United's Premiership hopes. Green denied Arsenal with three outstanding saves inside the opening ten minutes; Curbishley responded by withdrawing Carlos Tevez into a midfield role, leaving Bobby Zamora alone up front.
Zamora scored on the verge of half-time with an audacious lob; Arsenal went on to record 30 efforts on goal (to West Ham's four) but Green somehow withstood the lot - albeit with the help of his woodwork once or twice.
It had been another torrid season spent at the wrong end of the table but when Chelsea visited the Boleyn Ground on 2nd May 1988, John Lyall's side knew that a win would be enough to guarantee Division One survival. Chelsea, in freefall having won just one of their last 25 games went into the game one place below West Ham in 17th: not so much a six-pointer, as a season decider.
Hammers fans need not have worried however as goals from Leroy Rosenior (2), Paul Hilton and Tony Cottee earned the Irons a comfortable 4-1 win - whilst two-goal hero Rosenior earned the first red card of his career having being dismissed for strangling Blues defender (and former assistant to Gianfranco Zola) Steve Clarke following an altercation. West Ham therefore retained their Division One status whilst Chelsea went on to draw their final game of the season and lose the ensuing play-off against Middlesbrough; a defeat that saw Chelsea relegated.
Hammers fans were given a late Christmas present in 1989 when Lou Macari - whose own short tenure as manager was to end prematurely just six weeks later - signed Trevor Morley and Ian Bishop from Manchester City in exchange for Mark Ward. Both proved to be worthwhile investments in the ensuing years however it is for an incident in March 1991 for which they are best remembered.
West Ham shockingly announced that Morley had been stabbed by his wife in a domestic incident; almost immediately rumours surfaced suggesting Mrs Morley had knifed her husband having found him in an compromising position with team mate Bishop. Both players continue to deny the rumours to this day; Morley - who readily admits that the idle gossip 'killed me for a while' - believes his estranged wife was responsible for the rumours surfacing having discovered that he was 'playing away from home' - with a member of the opposite sex.
West Ham and Chelsea served up a real Christmas feast in their final game before the holidays in December 1966. With United's three World Cup winners from five months earlier on the pitch, Ron Greenwood's side got off to a cracking start going 2-0 up within half-an-hour through goals from Peter Braybrook (24 mins) and Martin Peters (29). Six goals within 20 minutes saw Chelsea go 3-2 ahead - through Tommy Baldwin (40), Tony Hately (51) and Charlie Cooke (54) - before Johnny Sissons (55, 58) and Budgie Byrne (60) made it 5-3 to the visitors. With ten minutes left to play Bobby Moore felled Hately, giving away the penalty that Bobby Tambling converted to reduce the deficit to one - before the same player struck in the final minute to earn the home side a share of the spoils from a quite remarkable match.
The 1922/23 season was an historic one for West Ham United, who had risen from the ashes of Thames Iron Works FC 23 years earlier. Having started life in the Southern League and having subsequently spent the Great War years playing in the London Combination, United, now firmly established at their new ground in Green Street were given a place in the first post-war Football League 2nd Division (1919/20).
After finished 7th, 5th and 4th respectively in the intervening years, Syd King's side went into the final month of the '22/23 season with the club's very first FA Cup Final to look forward to and in pole position for the 2nd Division Championship. Sadly the double was prised from United's clutches when 1st Division Bolton proved too strong for King's side in the first and most famous Wembley FA Cup Final of them all on 28th April, which left the Irons just the league to go for.
With Leicester, West Ham and Notts County neck and neck for the title and two games left to play the Hammers - who prior to defeat in the Cup Final had enjoyed a 23-match unbeaten run - led the table on goal difference. A 2-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday in the penultimate round of fixtures kept West Ham top of the pile but with Leicester and County also winning, the title would be decided on the final day. It was lost when King's side were beaten 1-0 at home by Notts County, but promotion was achived nonetheless thanks to defeat for Leicester at Bury. To this day, the 1922/23 season remains the only one in which West Ham have finished runners-up in two competitions.
Having moved from Charlton in 1951, Malcolm Allison's promising playing career was cut short by a bout of tuberculosis which saw him lose a lung. Despite the obvious restrictions, the central defender bravely attempted a comeback, but was forced to call it a day after it became clear he'd never be able to reach the necessary fitness levels for professional football.
A keen tactician even as a player - his contempt at Charlton's training methods are cited as one of the reasons for his sale to West Ham - Allison was appointed first team coach by then-Hammers boss Ted Fenton and wasted no time in introducing his footballing philosophy, which he had developed from watching the great Hungarian sides of the early 1950s (whose revolutionary style he described as being "from another planet"). Allison famously held court at Cassateri's Cafe on the Barking Road during the 1950s and early '60s to teach his theories which were visualised with the aid of the cafe's salt and pepper pots.
The sessions, which were to continue at Cassateri's until well into the 1960s long after Allison had left were regularly attended by a number of West Ham's first team and up-and-coming stars - including a young Bobby Moore. Allison's legacy to West Ham would be the club's world-famous Academy whilst his influence was all over the FA Cup and Cup Winners' Cup-winning sides of the mid-'60s. Big Mal passed away at the age of 83 in 2010.
West Ham hadn't won at Goodison Park in seven years; delicately poised at 1-1 and with the game about to enter injury time Trevor Sinclair's cross found Paolo Di Canio in front of a gaping goal due to the absence of a prone Paul Gerrard, who had been felled in a collison moments earlier and lay injured yards from his goal line.
But instead of going for goal and possibly earning West Ham a valuable three points (though it wasn't quite as simple as that due to the presence of a couple of defenders), Di Canio astounded everyone by catching the ball and requesting assistance for the injured goalkeeper. The gesture earned the mercurial Italian an round of applause from the Goodison faithful and later, plaudits worldwide for a unique act of sportsmanship. Meanwhile, Harry Redknapp didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
comments powered by Disqus