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John 'Muffin' Bond

Filed: Wednesday, 26th September 2012
By: Paul Walker

Paul Walker reflects on the passing of former West Ham United defender John Bond, who died today at the age of 79....

He will always be 'Muffin' to me, a child of the '60s who idolised the famous FA Cup winning side in 1964, of which John Bond was a major player.

When you are not really expecting something, to turn on the lap top and discover one of your boyhood heroes has passed away, comes as a shock.

I can still recite the ’64 cup heroes by heart; Standen, Bond, Burkett, Bovington, Brown, Moore, Brabrook, Boyce, Byrne, Hurst, Sissons. Now three are gone, Bond joining Bobby Moore and Johnny Byrne on high.

John Bond, who passed away today aged 79, acquired the Muffin nickname for his cannonball shot as much as his slightly awkward style. A big man, tough full back, he was never elegant.

But by God he could hit a shot. I recall standing against the wall of the Chicken Run, my old man just behind, the day Bond raced down the line and smashed a 30 yard angled shot from the touch line, high into the Sparta Prague net.

I was so close to him I could almost touch him. It was the second round of the European Cup Winners’ Cup tie with the Czech side, and we were not doing that well. We had struggled through in the first round against La Gantoise, 2-1 on aggregate, and we needed a shot in the arm against Prague.

Bond’s goal set us on the way to a 2-0 win, Alan Sealey - also now sadly departed - scored the other goal that night and although we lost the second leg 2-1 John Sissons, an old school mate of mine, scored our goal in a bruising match… We were through to the quarter finals.

But it was Muffin’s goal that was crucial. It kick-started our European campaign at a crucial moment, and although he did not play in the Final, he had done his bit for West Ham’s history.

John Bond closely followed by Bobby Moore, John Dick and Vic Keeble
© Robert Robinson

Bond was transferred to Torquay the following season, having played over 400 games for the Irons. He was one of the ’left-overs’ from the early '50s when things really started to happen at our club, and was to be replaced by Joe Kirkup as Ron Greenwood’s squad started to evolve.

Bond joined the club in 1951, having signed as an amateur from home town club Colchester Casuals, and he left a huge mark on West Ham.

Most of our younger fans will know Bond as a flamboyant manager at Norwich, Manchester City,, Bournemouth, Burnley, Swansea and Birmingham.

But to me he will be the giant full back who could liven up a drab day at the Boleyn with his commitment, strength and shooting.

RIP Muffin.

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   arrow   John 'Muffin' Bond [26th Sep 2012]
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