Filed: Sunday, 12th February 2012
By: Staff Writer
Back in 2004, readers of KUMB.com voted for their greatest West Ham moments. With eight years having passed since - during which time 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.
Having brought you the first nine parts counting down entries number 100 to 11, we're delighted to finally bring you the club's definitive top ten greatest moments...
It had been 41 years since West Ham United had appeared in an FA Cup Final proper - the first at Wembley - when Ron Greenwood's Hammers faced the mighty Manchester United in the 1964 semi final at Hillsborough. The clear underdogs, Greenwood's side were facing the reigning cup holders (who beat Leicester 3-1 in the previous year's Final). [Matt] Busby's (new) Babes, who had beaten West Ham 2-0 at the Boleyn Ground just seven days earlier in a League Division One fixture had also been beaten finalists twice in the preceding decade.
In front of a capacity crowd of some 65,000 - on a pitch that loosely resembled a muddy swamp - a tentative first half failed to produce a single goal. Although Ron Greenwood's side had exerted the greater pressure, it was the northern United who went closest to breaking the deadlock when Georgie Best's dipping drive clipped the crossbar.
However the game burst into life eleven minutes into the second half when Ronnie Boyce put the Hammers ahead with a 25-yard drive that left the Reds' 'keeper David Gaskell clutching at thin air. Seven minutes later 'Ticker' doubled the Irons' lead and his own personal tally when converting a quickly-taken corner. Dennis Law gave Manchester hope with 12 minutes remaining when he nodded home from inside the six-yard box, but Geoff Hurst clinched the win for West Ham - and a place at Wembley - when he beat Gaskell in the same corner as Boyce had when opening the scoring 24 minutes earlier.
There have been some positively awful referees officiating West Ham's fixtures over the years, but none will ever match the notoriety of a certain Keith Hackett who was charged with overseeing second division United's 1991 FA Cup semi-final against first division Nottingham Forest. Almost exactly halfway through the opening period, Gale - who received only seven yellow cards in his entire 21-year professional career - felled Forest's Gary Crosby somewhere around the halfway line as the winger attempted to burst beyond West Ham's defensive line.
To the surprise and astonishment of Gale and everybody else packed inside a full-to-bursting Villa Park, Hackett delved into his pocket before producing a red card that left the Hammers a man short with almost seventy minutes left to play. That Billy Bonds' side kept the game goalless until the break was testament to their courage and endeavour, although their luck was to last just four minutes into the second period. Crosby scored the first of four second half goals as Forest ran amok - unsurprisingly given that their opposition were from a division below and left with a numerical disadvantage - although the real story of the day was to emerge well away from the playing area.
After Stuart Pearce had made it 3-0 to Forest with 20 minutes to go, a not unusual rendition of, "Billy Bonds' claret and blue army" began to ring out from the West Ham end of the ground as Hammers fans, resigned to the inevitable defeat that was to follow, began to pay homage to their heroes. Unique however was that this particular outburst of singing was to last for the remainder of the match which left both commentators and the following days' newspapers praising Ironsí fans for their unrelenting, noisy support - something which, to our knowledge, has never quite been equalled in the UK on the terraces to this day.
A fiery 1980 FA Cup semi final that saw Everton finish the game with only ten men after Brian Kidd has seen red for squaring up to Ray Stewart ended in a stalemate after Kidd's first half penalty - conceded by Alan Devonshire - has been cancelled out by Stuart Pearson' late equaliser at Villa Park. That, combined with Bryan Hamilton's late 'goal' being disallowed by Clive Thomas meant the two teams met again at Elland Road four days later for the replay, with the unfortunate Kidd replaced by Imre Varadi. As is nearly always the case with West Ham in FA Cup matches highlighted by our 100-strong list, John Lyall's second division side were the underdogs - with many commentators being of the opinion that the Irons had blown their best chance of meeting Arsenal in the Final having failed to dispose of the Merseysiders in the first match.
Ninety minutes later - during which Billy Bonds had emerged as something of a defensive colossus having almost single-handedly kept the Hammers in the tie with a wonderful display - the replay entered extra time. With both sides visibly flagging after their second highly-charged meeting inside 96 hours, mistakes were inevitable and inside four minutes of the restart, Alan Devonshire took advantage of some lax defending by the opposition to put West Ham ahead on the night and for the first time in the tie. United were just seven minutes from Wembley when Wright crossed from the right to allow Bob Latchford to score with a diving header at Phil Parkes' near post. A second replay seemed inevitable - that is, until an unlikely hero stepped up to the plate to send United through to the FA Cup Final for the second time in six seasons.
Trevor Brooking's cross to the far side of the penalty box was nodded back into the centre by big David Cross, who was to play a pivotal role at Wembley a month later. Out of nowhere right-back Frank Lampard, who had stayed up following an attack moments earlier dived forwards to head towards goal. Toffee's 'keeper Martin Hodge appeared to have it covered but Lampard's header took a single bounce before the ball, almost in slow motion, bounced over the line before nestling itself in the corner of the net. Without doubt the most important of the 22 goals he scored during his 674-game career, Lampard raced away towards the far corner flag before dancing a merry and impromptu jig around the corner flag. His celebration spawned a terrace chant, to the tune of Bing Crosby's 'White Christmas', in its honour and Lampard took his place in West Ham folklore as a result.
Having seen off the challenge of the vastly superior Manchester United in the semi-final (see entry number 10 above) some of West Ham's players could perhaps have been forgiven for thinking that they already had one hand on the Cup when it was ascertained that they would face second division Preston North End in the Final - West Ham's first FA Cup Final since the 1923 defeat against Bolton Wanderers and their first appearance at the Twin Towers since defeating Blackburn Rovers in the FA War Cup in 1940.
However by the time half-time arrived in the Final, there could have been no doubt as to the true size of the task that awaited Ron Greenwood's side if they were to win the Cup for the first time in their history, as expected prior to the game. Despite being a division below the Hammers, the Lilywhites went into the break 2-1 ahead after goals from Holden (10 minutes) and Dawson (40) had given them a narrow advantage. West Ham, comprehensively outplayed had however managed to score once - through Johnny Sissons (who, at only 18 was the team's youngest member) after 12 minutes - and it was that goal that was to eventually prove just enough for United to emerge victorious.
Having had the opportunity to regroup at the break, West Ham came out for the second half a different side - and they were back on level terms after only their second attack following the interval. A well-worked Peter Brabrook corner was nodded towards goal by Ken Brown and then headed against the crossbar by Geoff Hurst; Lady Luck stretched her vocal chords and the ball hit North End's unfortunate 'keeper Alan Kelly on the way out and trickled back over the line. But Preston were far from finished; spurred on by Howard Kendall - at 17, the youngest player to feature in an FA Cup Final at that point - the Lancashire side - who recorded 16 shots to West Ham's 13 on the day - went close to regaining the lead on several occasions. But in the end all their efforts were to be in vain when, with just seconds of injury time remaining, Ronnie Boyce nodded the winner that clinched the Cup for West Ham for the first time.
Just four days before Alan Pardew's West Ham were scheduled to face Middlesbrough in the FA Cup semi final at Villa Park on 23rd April 2006, the club was rocked by the news that legendary manager John Lyall had died following a heart attack. Lyall, who was 66, had managed United for 15 years between 1974 and 1989, having first joined the club as a youth played in 1955. His record - arguably the most successful of any Hammers manager in history - included two FA Cup wins, a Cup Winners Cup Final appearance and third place in the league in the 1985/86 season, the club's best-ever top flight finish. His passing was a double blow to the club who had lost Lyall's mentor, Ron Greenwood, just two months earlier.
The game had promised to be an emotionally-charged affair for West Ham and its supporters even before it was decided that the game would be preceded by a minutes' silence in honour of Lyall. Pardew, never one to miss a trick had already declared that his team would, "pay tribute to John's memory in a fitting manner" when taking on 'Boro, adding that the supporters would do the same. Which is exactly what happened, although nobody could have possibly envisaged the manner in which it did.
As the two teams lined up around the perimeter of the centre circle ahead of the planned silence, a deadly hush arose around the ground. Referee Mike Riley blew his whistle to announce the beginning of the tribute - but after just a few seconds, the silence was broken by a lone voice from the West Ham end. Brave, stupid or otherwise, a slow, mournful rendition of "Johnny Lyall's claret and blue army" was the individual's refrain - and within seconds, nearly all of the West Ham fans present had joined in to salute their former manager. Whilst the West Ham bench looked at each other not knowing quite how to respond and the 'Boro fans, not understanding what was happening began to boo, Riley blew his whistle some 20 seconds early. However that failed to detract from what was the most spontaneous and heartfelt tribute to Lyall that the club's supporters could have conjured up; one suspects that the amiable Lyall would have afforded himself a wry smile at what was a most unique and spectacular tribute.
Highlights: http://youtu.be/ZNAFcqR7uu0; Supporters' video: http://youtu.be/61fkXrxJ7nQ
Prior to the beginning of the 1985/86 season, the closest West Ham had got to winning the league title had been a couple of fifth-place finishes. But that was all set to change as John Lyall's side pushed the two Merseyside giants all the way before reluctantly relinquishing their unlikely claim to the Division One title in the final week of the season.
Ironically perhaps, the season couldn't really have started in worse fashion. Paul Allen, the former doyen of the terraces who had moved everyone with his tears following the 1980 FA Cup Final (more on that later) had joined Tottenham after refusing to sign a new deal at the Boleyn, whilst Paul Goddard's season was wrecked by a shoulder injury in the first game of the season (a defeat at Birmingham). However Goddard's misery was to be Frank McAvennie's considerable gain; signed along with Mark Ward at the beginning of the season, the Scot formed a lethal partnership with a young Tony Cottee that saw the pair net an incredible 52 goals between them that season.
With just one win from their opening seven games and teetering on the edge of the relegation zone, a first league Championship was far from the minds of anyone connected with the club by mid-September. However something extraordinary then happened as the Hammers went on an incredible run of 18 league games without defeat - a sequence that was finally ended at Tottenham on Boxing Day more than three months later with West Ham third in the Canon League Division One.
With three more defeats in the next five games - played out over the course of nearly THREE months due to an appalling winter - Lyall's side slipped to seventh. But just two more defeats in the next 12 games meant the Hammers went into the penultimate game of the season in second place, right behind leaders Liverpool. A 3-2 win at West Brom gave cause for hope, but Liverpool's 1-0 win at Chelsea - who had also been in with a shout of the title (and were thumped 4-0 at Stamford Bridge in one of the season's most memorable matches) meant that the title had gone. The final game of the season at Everton would decide who finished runners-up with the Hammers only needing a draw, but a 3-1 reversal resulted in a 1/2 for Merseyside. Despite that minor disappointment it had been a wonderful season for West Ham, the likes of which has never been repeated before or since.
Highlights: Chelsea v West Ham Utd http://youtu.be/Zsz9w-7hbbY; West Ham Utd v Newcastle http://youtu.be/DKV5VXikGww
West Ham United's 1976 Cup Winners Cup semi-final, second leg against crack German outfit Eintracht Frankfurt on 14th March 1976 is widely considered to be the greatest game ever to take place at the Boleyn Ground. When supporters talk about great performances under the lights at the Boleyn Ground, this is the game that they are often referring to. An eventful first leg had seen the Germans - who had won every game in the tournament both home and away prior to the second leg in Upton Park - snatch a narrow victory. Despite Graham Paddon giving United an early lead with an absolute belter inside the opening ten minutes (beating the unfortunately named Peter Kunter inside his near post) goals from Willi Neuberger and Wolfgang Kraus had given Die Adler/The Eagles a lead to defend when visiting London a fortnight later.
Minus top scorer Alan Taylor, who missed both ties with knee ligament damage, West Ham failed to break down a dogged German defence in the first half of the second leg and survived one or two major scares of their own. But the game, and the Boleyn Ground, erupted just four minutes after the restart when Frank Lampard's far-post cross was converted by the head of Trevor Brooking (a feat he would repeat four years later at Wembley). Frankfurt retaliated with wave after wave of attacks, whilst the Hammers were more than a touch fortunate not to concede a penalty for what appeared to be a clear hand-ball. But United stood strong and doubled their lead on the night when Keith Robson scored a screamer with 23 minutes of normal time remaining.
Trevor Brooking, having perhaps the greatest single night of his career put West Ham 3-0 ahead on the night and 4-2 up on aggregate on 78 minutes with a quite wonderful goal as he turned the Frankfurt defence inside out before squeezing his shot home to send the Boleyn, packed with almost 40,000 people, into bedlam. But with victory in their grasp and just three minutes of normal time remaining, Klaus Beverungen scored to make it 3-1 on the night - a goal that meant one more for the Germans would see them through on away goals. Frankfurt piled forward and desperate defending was the order of the day, but it was good enough - just - to see United through to the Final against Anderlecht 4-3 on aggregate.
Highlights: First Leg http://youtu.be/8IoKZ6TLBXk; Second Leg http://youtu.be/QgLvZb9o_LE
Whether we like it or not, the 1966 World Cup Final and West Ham United are, and always will be, intrinsically linked. All four goals on the day were scored by Hammers - one of whom remains the only player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup Final - and it was the three Irons, Moore, Hurst and Peters who contributed three assists and the captain of the team. It was a quite extraordinary achievement for a club that but seven years earlier had only just returned to Division One having spent the previous 27 years languishing in Division Two - the equivalent of today's Championship.
Geoff Hurst's hat-trick, Kenneth Wolstenholme's legendary commentary - "they think it's all over, it is now!" - and Nobby Stiles' joyous jig were particular highlights on a day that remains unequalled in English football. Yet one moment stood out above all others. As Barking and West Ham's very own Bobby Moore, captain of his victorious country, climbed the steps to accept the Jules Rimet trophy from the Queen having led his team to a 4-2 extra time defeat of arch-rivals West Germany, he paused briefly to wipe the sweat from his hands before accepting the golden cup. It was a touch of class that spoke volumes about Moore, a man of dignity and honour, who finally lifted the trophy to become the only Englishman ever to do so.
Quite why it is so remains a mystery, but West Ham United have always managed to produce their very best when the odds are firmly stacked against them. Never was that more apparent than on 10th May 1980, when the Hammers went head-to-head with First Division Arsenal - who had also reached the Cup Winners Cup Final - in the FA Cup Final.
An indifferent final third of the 1979/80 Division Two league campaign that produced just four wins from the final 15 games had left John Lyall's side facing a third successive season outside of the top flight. In stark contrast - and partly culpable for that inconsistent league form - had been the Irons' success in the two domestic cup competitions that had seen the Irons reach the quarter finals of the League Cup, plus the FA Cup Final courtesy of wins over West Bromwich Albion, Orient, Swansea, Aston Villa and Everton; the first time the club had ever reached the last eight of both competitions in the same season.
Long before the introduction of modern, counter-attacking systems such as those employed by the likes of Sam Allardyce, John Lyall played a tactical masterstroke in opting to play David Cross as a lone striker. It was a policy that served to confuse Arsenal's purportedly superior team, who despite enjoying long spells of possession often found themselves unable to find the gaps that a more familiar 442 system would have allowed for. The only goal of the game was to arrive after just 13 minutes through the most unlikely of sources - Trevor Brooking's head. Whilst renowned for his silky skills and uncanny ability to pick out a team mate almost instantaneously, Brooking's only previous headed goal of note had come four years earlier against Eintracht Frankfurt (see above). This time he ducked to convert Stuart Pearson's cross-cum-shot from inside the six yard box to score what would prove to be the most valuable goal of his entire career. Paul Allen, who became the youngest player ever to feature in an FA Cup Final was left in tears at the final whistle - and not because of Willie Young's disgraceful 'professional foul' three minutes from time when the youngster was free on goal with just Pat Jennings to beat.
West Ham United FC and the old Wembley stadium have shared some wonderful moments over the years. It was the Hammers who had featured in the first FA Cup Final held at the iconic new stadium way back in 1923, followed by FA Cup Final appearances in 1964, 1975 and 1980. It was also the scene of England's sole World Cup triumph back in 1966 in which United's Bobby Moore captained Alf Ramsey's team and fellow Hammers Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters provided the goals. But you decided that it was yet another appearance at the famous old Twin Towers, that were sadly demolished in 2000 to make way for a new state-of-the-art stadium that was West Ham United FC's greatest moment of all time.
Having firmly stamped his authority on the team following his appointment as successor to the departing Ted Fenton in 1961, Ron Greenwood already had one trophy (or two if you count the Charity Shield that had been shared with Liverpool) under his belt by the time his side returned to Wembley for a second time in 12 months in May 1965. It was that FA Cup win against Preston North End a year earlier that resulted in United's participation in the Cup Winners Cup for the first time - and an opportunity they took full advantage of by reaching the Final at the first attempt. Wins against La Gantoise (Belgium), Spartak Prague (Czechoslovakia), Lausanne (Switzerland) and Real Zaragoza had left United facing German side TSV Munich in the Final; the 'home advantage' of playing at Wembley was to be of considerable benefit as Hammers fans easily outnumbered supporters of the team from the Bavarian capital city.
Although Jim Standen has to be at his very best on the night to deny 1860 on at least three occasions when he found himself left one-on-one with an opponent, Munich's self-appointed 'best goalkeeper in the World' - Petar 'Radi' Radenkovic - was equal to anything the West Ham number one could produce. Time after time he denied the Hammers, who were always on top but unable to make the vital breakthrough. That was until Alan Sealey - a part-time first team player who made only 21 appearances in all competitions that season and had scored the last of his three previous goals of the campaign more than three months earlier - smashed home the opening goal with 69 minutes on the clock. Ronnie Boyce, who had hit the post earlier in the half stole the ball in midfield before squaring it to outside-right Sealey who fired home from an acute angle. Two minutes later and Sealey - who had married wife Barbara just a week before the Final - scored his second of the night when slotting home from close range after Martin Peters had made a mess of Geoff Hurst's free kick - a goal almost identical to Hurst's headed goal in the World Cup Final a year later (Bobby Moore providing the delivery on that occasion).
That goal was to prove too much for the Germans and the Hammers played out the rest of the game without reply. Indeed Johnny Sissons could have added a third late on but his thunderous effort crashed back off the crossbar to safety, with Radenkovic well beaten once again; the outstanding Brian Dear, who had been denied a number of times also saw a late effort chalked off for offside. Fortunately neither miss mattered as Bobby Moore went on to lift the trophy to become the first Englishman to do so (Tottenham, who had won the trophy two years earlier had been captained by Irishman Danny Blanchflower). It was an achievement that the club have failed to match since and, after all these years, a performance that has rarely been equalled by any English team, let alone West Ham United FC.
Highlights: Part One http://youtu.be/IDa51Ja7-DU; Part Two http://youtu.be/Z9w6qAClHDI; Part Three http://youtu.be/8GD32AiLZ68; Part Four http://youtu.be/pnbJYr_7pj4
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.
by The Collector
10:16AM 17th Feb 2012
''Who did you rope in to sing over Frank's goal at Elland Road? :-)''
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