Filed: Friday, 2nd December 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 new 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 five of our countdown - entries 60 to 51...
It's quite possible that Arsenal crop up on this list more than any other club - and here they are again at number 60. Billy Bonds' West Ham travelled to Highbury as massive underdogs on 2nd November 1991 - no surprise as the Gunners were reigning league champions whereas United were in their first season back in the top flight having been promoted from (the old) Division Two. Arsenal, facing a midweek European tie with Benfica decided to rest a number of players including England captain Tony Adams - and it showed, as they looked well off the pace. With sixteen minutes of normal time remaining, Mike Small - a £400,000 summer signing from Brighton - picked up the ball just inside the Arsenal centre circle. From some 35 yards, Small took aim, let one go and sent an absolute scorcher beyond David Seaman to record United's second away win of the campaign and stun Highbury (for the second time in three years, see entry 71).
Bobby Moore and Jimmy Greaves had been firm friends since they had been cast as roommates during England's 1962 World Cup campaign in Chile. Greaves, very much the more outgoing of the pair had been the international star during the early 1960s but since 1966, Moore was the name in English football. In 1969, a season before an aging Greaves joined West Ham as part exchange for Martin Peters, the two old friends clashed inadvertently as they lined up for a corner. Greaves and Moore immediately linked arms and began dancing an impromptu waltz, much to the amusement of the 50,000 crowd. One suspects Messrs Rooney and Terry are unlikely to ever be caught in such a compromising position.
Less than 12 months after grabbing the first four-goal haul of his career at Grimsby, David 'Psycho' Cross repeated his feat against a shell-shocked Tottenham at White Hart Lane - much to the surprise of the FA Cup holders and their two World Cup winning Argentineans Messrs Ardiles and Villa. In what was West Ham's first away game in the top flight for more than three years, the former Norwich and Coventry striker opened the rout from close range after just ten minutes, the only goal of the first half. His second arrived five minutes after the break and the hat-trick completed by a volley Cross chose as his pick of the bunch - even if TV replays confirmed it came off his shin. His fourth and final goal - a tap-in following a goalmouth scramble in the final minute of normal time that left Ray Clemence flapping at thin air - was the icing on the cake.
Often described as the game that had everything - including its own video release entitled 'The Day of Reckoning' - the February 2000 Premiership clash with Bradford City was possibly the most ridiculous ever seen at the BG too. Hammers 'keeper Shaka Hislop was forced off with a broken leg after just two minutes leaving Steven Bywater - goalkeeping hero of the 1999 double-winning youth team -to make his first team debut. Dean Windass put the visitors ahead from point-blank range on the half hour before 'Tricky' Trevor Sinclair levelled the scores five minutes later. West Ham went ahead through John Moncur two minutes ahead of the half time whistle but were pegged back in the final minute of the half by Peter Beagrie's penalty (naturally followed by customary somersault).
Young Bywater, who was having a nightmare debut fumbling and dropping everything that came his way, conceded two more goals in the first five minutes of the second half. The red-haired Lawrence scored both; the first coming from a Bywater fumble and the second a lob with the 'keeper stranded in no manís land, to leave West Ham 4-2 behind. Dean Saunders should have made it 5-2 but hit the post - and that signalled one of the most extraordinary comebacks ever witnessed at Upton Park.
If there ever was a game that perfectly encapsulated Paolo Di Canio's time at West Ham, this was it. Felled inside the box but ignored by referee Neil Barry, his pleas to be substituted by Harry Redknapp were ignored. After a penalty was given for O'Brien's lunge on sub Paul Kitson crazy scenes ensued as Di Canio literally wrestled the ball from Frank Lampard's grasp before slamming it into the bottom corner with 25 minutes to play. Joe Cole levelled the scores on 70 before Lampard finally got on the scoresheet to make it 5-4 with seven minutes of time remaining. Bywater was replaced for West Ham's next game (at home to Everton) by loanee Sasa Ilic, who was even worse.
With just ten minutes of the game remaining West Ham were in serious trouble at home to Manchester United in this Sunday afternoon, 1996/97 FA Carling Premiership clash. Goals from Solskjaer and Beckham had given the Champions League winners-in-waiting a commanding lead before Florin Raducioiu gave the Irons a glimmer of hope with his first league goal for the club (he only scored one more) with 78 minutes played. That strike was the catalyst for a desperate push by West Ham for an equaliser - and less than two minutes later, referee Jones was left with no option but to point to the spot following Schmeichel's near-assault on Michael Hughes, who'd beaten the Danish 'keeper to a through ball. Julian Dicks strode up to the spot, gave Schmeichel the eye then took several steps back before beginning his run up. His connection with the ball was pure and crisp, the penalty possibly the hardest ever seen at the BG. Schmeichel barely saw it, the net almost burst and Dicksy had salvaged a point as Man Utd came unstuck in east London. Again.
Goal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAVLpl88Bpw (scroll to 0:25)
Known as a gentleman on the pitch, Liam Brady's response to his match-winner against former employers Arsenal went against the grain. With West Ham leading 2-1 courtesy of a Tony Cottee brace in a game marred by crowd trouble - so much so that at one point the players had been led from the pitch by referee Dennis Hedges - the aging (yet still supremely talented) Irishman put the game to bed with a goal as good as any he scored throughout a long and thoroughly successful career. Picking the ball up outside the opposition's penalty area, Brady teased his markers before curling a wicked effort beyond 'keeper Rhys Wilmot. The Boleyn went crazy and Brady, who has been teased all night celebrated by 'gesturing' towards the away fans - an impetuous and uncharacteristic response that saw him booked by an eagle-eyed Hedges.
It had been more than 12 years since David Cross' virtuoso performance had single-handedly destroyed Spurs at White Hart Lane - and ten since the Hammers had won there full stop. Fortunately for Billy Bonds' side, Spurs had won just three of their previous 18 leading up to this Easter weekend clash, and none since the previous October. West Ham's form, erratic as always, meant that anything could happen. Caravan-dwelling Steve Jones gave West Ham a 37th-minute lead before Trevor Morley made it 2-0 from the penalty spot with an hour played. Teddy Sheringham's 66th-minute effort lifted the home crowd temporarily before Morley grabbed a second with 72 played. As Tottenham fans began draining out of the ground (long before the days of 'we can see you sneaking out' and 'is there a fire drill?'), Mike Marsh added a fourth to complete another comprehensive win for West Ham at the Lane.
As the 1970s wore on, West Ham began to flirt with relegation more and more often despite continuing to perform above and beyond the call of duty in cup competitions at both domestic and European level. When the 1976/77 season entered its final weekend John Lyall's side were not so much flirting with the dreaded drop but involved in a fully-fledged affair with it, being as they were one of seven teams who could fall through the trap door. West Ham's goal difference of -21 compared to Stoke's -22 was all that kept United out of the relegation zone - and with FA Cup finalists Manchester United to face at the Boleyn Ground, the Irons' prospects of survival looked slim. However their chances were boosted by the absence of Man Utd supporters, who were on a terrace ban.
Despite being played on a Monday night just five days before the Cup Final, there we no signs of the Reds taking it easy and Upton Park was stunned into silence inside 30 seconds when Gordon Hill put the visitors ahead - and West Ham into the bottom three (or at least they would have, had live league tables existed in 1976). Frank Lampard restored parity on the half hour mark with a 30-yard belter before Geoff Pike made it 2-1 with 53 played. A brace from 'Pop' Robson sandwiched Stuart Pearson's 67th minute effort and West Ham were safe - for another season, at least. Sunderland, who started the day in 16th were relegated - along with Stoke and Tottenham.
West Ham's passage to the Quarter Finals of the 1964/65 Cup Winners' Cup seemed virtually assured following a 2-0 second round first leg win at home to Spartak Prague (goals from John Bond and Les Sealey). When Johnny Sissons made it 3-0 on aggregate after just 14 minutes of the second leg in the former Czechoslovakia it looked like game over. However the Czechs had other ideas and in the end it was only a superb backs-to-the-wall rearguard action that prevented United from tumbling out. Jim Standen's well-judged dive to his left prevented Spartak from reducing the deficit via the penalty spot early on in the second half but the hero turned villain shortly after when he fumbled a tame effort allowing Mraz to score his first of the evening. With 20 minutes left to play Prague threw everything but the kitchen sink at West Ham and Mraz got a second with two minutes of time remaining. West Ham held on for the final, frantic few minutes - just - and the rest is history.
The Hillsborough tragedy and the resulting Taylor Report sounded the death knell for terracing in the upper echelons of English football; the atmosphere at top flight grounds has never been the same since. Clubs playing in the nation's top division were order to replace existing stadia with all-seater versions by the beginning of the 1994/95 season and, as a result, the Boleyn Ground's South Bank was replaced by the Bobby Moore Stand and the old North Bank by the Centenary Stand (now Trevor Brooking Stand) shortly after (the West Stand being the most recent upgrade when it was rebuilt in 2001). The final occasion upon which standing was permitted at the Boleyn was in May 1994 when the Hammers drew an entertaining last game of the season 3-3 against Southampton; season ticket holders were awarded certificates to confirm their presence on a day that marked the end of an era in Green Street.
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.
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