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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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by brillo
09:40AM 29th Oct 2012
''Great memories of a bygone time. He will be sorely missed and I can only thank him for many hours of fun watching him do just those things right through the fifties and sixties. Paul, I watched from the Chicken Run as well and echo your sentiments. R.I.P.''

by G.N Southend
11:04AM 27th Sep 2012
''Lovely to read these warm testimonials to a great Hammer. I also remember the flighted free kicks to Noel Cantwell, his full back partner which were well rehearsed and often worked. I loved the fact that he never lost his North Essex burr no matter where he ended up. He was the epitome of the word 'cool' long before it became fashionable.''

by Peter Thake
04:36AM 27th Sep 2012
''I have just read of the passing of Muffin and although I have been living in NZ for 40 years I still make sure I keep up to date with all the news.

My father took me to Upton Park from the early '50s and we were regular spectators in the Chicken Run, it is always sad when people who gave you so much pleasure pass away but you always have those memories.

I can still remember attending the Cup Final of '64 and the European Cup Winners cup the following year. RIP Muffin.''

by Mannie Casha
12:15AM 27th Sep 2012
''This is sad news about John Bond. He managed to reach legendary status without living the glitz and glamour many other footballers attain as they rise in their career.

My friends and I followed his career in the late fifties and early sixties as he formed a formidable Hammers midfield which included the great Bobby Moore. Amazingly he often got in among the goals even from the midfield.

Some players are never fully recognised for their inspirational presence in a team. John Bond was a low key champion who will always remain in the hearts of Hammer supporters.''

by Haim Baram
11:52PM 26th Sep 2012
''A magnificent right back and a member of the great West-Ham side of the 1950s and 1960s. I still remember him from the Preston Final in 1964, elated like a small child after our victory. We cherish our tradition of honouring our genuine stars, and Bond was one of them. Our hearts are with his family.''

by hxamma
02:02PM 26th Sep 2012
''John Bond’s generation of West Ham player still means so much to so many of us Boleyn Old boys.

For those too young to remember, in my view ‘Bondy’ was the best right back never to get a full England cap. A giant of a man, he possessed a thunderous shot in either foot – 30 yards out was his territory. But he also had the ability to place the ball on a sixpence from his legendary chipped free kicks which brought so many headed goals from his fullback partner Noel Cantwell.

Bondy was one of the first to wear the new ‘low cut continental' boots. His shorts were possibly the shortest and he would more often walk off the Boleyn paddy field as clean as when he started. ‘Muffin’ was simply too cool. Suddenly, everyone in our Sunday morning park team wanted to play fullback.

When injury ruled out both Vic Keeble and Johnny Dick, it was Bondy who put on the number 9 shirt for the home match against the then mighty Everton. In those days players changed their shirt numbers if they were moved to another position. Result: West Ham 3 Everton 2, Bond hat-trick! That was a feat he later repeated in a 4-2 home win against Chelsea.

These days, people are asking about the origin of the phrase: ‘The West Ham Way’. For me, it began with Bond and his generation in the mid fifties.

He was my first football hero and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to tell him at a West Ham function a couple of years ago. I thanked him for getting us lads to try and play with a bit of style and added that it was his generation of West Ham player who set the pattern for the modern era at the club.

It clearly moved him and he shook my hand, thanking me for what I said. I felt a bit of a whalley at the time, but today I’m so glad I did it.''

by ian gibb
12:22PM 26th Sep 2012
''It's always that bit sadder when it's your favourite player from when you were a kid, who passes on.

I also have a favourite memory of Bondy, during a derby game with Fulham at Craven Cottage. He sent Fulham winger Tosh Chamberlain, himself a bit of a character, crashing into the turf over on the riverside just yards from me. Tosh, a diminutive fellow, got up raging, shaking his fist at this 6ft 2ins giant standing over him, hands on hips. How we laughed at the sight! Then they just got on with it as they did in those days.

And what a dead ball kick Bondy had on him, like a rocket, yet he could stroke a penalty kick into the net as coolly as you like. Never missed when I saw him. I was fortunate to get to know him better when he was Man City manager and I worked in Manchester as a sports reporter on The Sun.

A wonderful, wonderful character who stayed West Ham through and through all his life. RIP, Big Man. ''

by Kevin Mansell
11:16AM 26th Sep 2012
''I mentioned him to my son last night at the Wigan game after Jordan Spence took a potshot from 25 yards. He scored some of the greatest long range goals I ever saw at Upton Park when he played as a makeshift centre forward in the early 1960s, including one against Everton from 35 yards (left foot?) that I will never forget and a 25-yard free kick against Fluminense that almost broke the net. Not forgetting those beautifully flighted free kicks that Cantwell use to dash in at the last second and head in.

And Bondy always played with a smile on his face: the Chicken Run loved him. No-one deserved his Cup Final medal more. Muffin- as far as I'm concerned, you're one of the immortals of the game. RIP''

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