West Ham United's 100 Greatest Moments: Part Six (50-41)

Back in 2004, readers of KUMB.com voted for their greatest West Ham moments.

With several years having passed since - during which we've witnessed a number of memorable occasions, matches and goals - we decided to revisit the list - for a second time (the first being in 2011) - in order to include some more recent events.

Due to the vast size, we'll be breaking our countdown down into ten parts; here follows part six - that's entries 50 to 41. Please note the number in brackets represents the entry's previous position in our list.

The reigning KUMB Player of the Year and the 38th Hammer of the Year was well into his second season at West Ham when he produced a Maradona-esque piece of skill that might well be the greatest individual goal scored by a West Ham player.

And if ever there was a moment of individual ingenuity and pure brilliance that was categorically "worth the entrance fee alone", then Dimitri Payet's sizzling solo effort in the second half of this October Premier League meeting with Middlesbrough was it.

Having collected the ball wide on the left, with the Hammers trailing 1-0, Payet left two opponents in his wake with a clever turn and a drop of the shoulder before surging into the penalty box. From there, he twisted and turned, leaving three was valid.

The 1992/93 season had been a long and arduous one for Billy Bonds' West Ham. Relegated the previous season after finishing bottom of the old Barclays Division One - and therefore missing out on membership of the inaugural FA Carling Premiership - Bonds' side went into the final game of the season in a straight fight with Portsmouth, who had won 11 of their 12 games leading to the final day, for the second promotion slot behind runaway leaders Newcastle.

The premise was simple; Pompey, on the same points but with an inferior 'goals scored' tally (79-78 in West Ham's favour) needed to better United's result to claim automatic promotion. Just to add a little extra spice, West Ham's opponents at the Boleyn that day, Cambridge, needed a win in order to avoid relegation.

With West Ham 1-0 up through the on-loan David Speedie's 47th minute opener, news filtered through from Fratton Park that Grimsby were 2-1 behind against Portsmouth. The Hammers had already survived one scare when Cambridge's Chris Leadbitter had an effort chalked off for offside and as the game entered added-on time, West Ham were clinging on to the one-goal lead that would see them promoted on goal difference.

That was until Clive Allen banged in a second in the first minute of injury time, a goal that confirmed United's place in the Premiership for the first time and one that saw Allen carried around the Boleyn Ground shoulder high by the subsequent pitch invaders.

England were the defending World champions when they faced tournament favourites Brazil in the group stages of the 1970 World Cup Finals, staged in Mexico. Whilst the South American's had the World's best striker, Pele, in their team England would have to rely heavily on West Ham United's Bobby Moore, the World's best defender.

The game itself was no disappointment as the two greats went head to head, with both excelling. In the end, the game - later described by the 108-times capped Moore as the greatest international match he ever featured in - was won by a goal from Jairzinho when he finally managed to get behind Moore and England's defence.

However the abiding memory of the game is not one of Moore's plethora of inch-perfect tackles, nor Gordon Banks' 'greatest save ever' from Pele's header - but the warm embrace shared between Moore and Pele at the game's climax; two footballing superstars producing one of sport's most enduring and iconic images of all time.

Already doomed to relegation with three games still to play, the pressure was off Billy Bonds' team as they prepared to face title-chasers Manchester United at the Boleyn in April 1992. In stark contrast, the Red Devils went into the game knowing that only a win would be enough to keep them in the title race having lost at home to Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest earlier that week.
me still goalless, Stuart Slater set off down the left wing on one of his trademark forays into opposition territory. His cross was inadvertently diverted into the path of Brown who slammed home the game's only goal in front of his father, former Hammers great Ken, watching in the stands.

The goal gave West Ham three pointless points as they finished bottom of the table; meanwhile Manchester United had to suffer in silence as the title went to hated rivals Leeds United.

2-0 up at the break through a Woollett own goal and a typical Brian Dear effort, the Hammers were going for the jugular in this November 1968 Division One clash with a young Peter Shilton looking decidedly uneasy between the Leicester City sticks.

However there was little the future England stalwart could do about a strike later described by commentator Brian Moore as 'the goal of the season' (Match of the Day's 'official' vote didn't start until two years later in 1970).

World Cup-winning duo Peters and Geoff Hurst burst through the centre as West Ham hit Leicester on the counter; a deep, hanging cross from the left was met by a ferocious volley from Peters that nearly tore the net from its foundations.

It was one of those occasions that drew an audible 'wow' from the crowd, much like Paolo Di Canio's goal against Wimbledon many years later - and an example of exquisite skill from a player described by then-England manager Alf Ramsey as '10 years ahead of his time'.

West Ham were in a period of transition in March 1970 having sold Martin Peters to Tottenham in exchange for an ageing Jimmy Greaves and the princely sum of £200,000.

In their first game without the World Cup winner, Ron Greenwood's team faced a daunting trip to Maine Road where they would face a Manchester City side including luminaries such as Tony Book, Colin Booth and Franny Lee - but not Colin Bell or Mike Summerbee who were both sidelined through injury.

However Hammer fans worried at the prospect of life without Peters needn't have worried that day for the visitors turned in a five-star performance, thrashing City in the Manchester mud with a brace each from Geoff Hurst and debutant Greaves - continuing his record for scoring on his first appearance for every professional club he represented- and, most notably, Ronnie Boyce.

Straight from a goal kick with West Ham leading 3-1, 'Ticker' noticed that big Joe Corrigan had taken his eye off the ball - and thumped it straight back into the surprised 'keeper's net from the halfway line. Pick that one out of the onion bag...

West Ham's first foray into Europe since losing the 1976 Cup Winners' Cup final to Anderlecht had been an unmitigated disaster. Beaten 3-1 on the pitch at the Santiago Bernabeu, the supporters - some of whom were pictured in the following day's papers apparently urinating on home fans in the tier below - were battered by Spanish Police, whilst one travelling supporter lost his life after being crushed by a coach.

As a result of the disturbances, UEFA demanded that the second leg should be played at least 300 kilometres away from east London - before an appeal saw permission granted for the game to take place at the Boleyn Ground, albeit behind closed doors. Only essential staff and the media would be eligible to attend - all of which led to an incredibly eerie atmosphere as less than 450 people watched the two teams take to the field.

Fortunately for West Ham the game itself couldn't have gone much better. Geoff Pike's 19th minute strike brought West Ham to within a goal of Castilla - who were effectively Real Madrid's reserve team - before David Cross made it 3-3 on aggregate on the half hour mark. Paul Goddard's third shortly before the half time whistle put West Ham 3-0 up on the night and 4-3 ahead in the tie.

However Bernal's second half goal for Castilla saw the tie go to extra time, when a further two goals for West Ham by David Cross meant John Lyall's side went through to a second round tie with Romanians Poli Timisoara. Hilariously, false crowd noise was later added to TV highlights - although most at West Ham agreed that the lack of atmosphere and nerves in the crowd had actually helped them through the latter stages of the game.

Victor Martin Watson's tally of 326 goals for West Ham United is unlikely to ever be beaten - and it's therefore a crying shame that so few of them were recorded for posterity.

Possibly the steal of the century - Watson was signed from Wellingborough in 1920 for just ?50 as cover for club favourite Syd Puddefoot - the Girton-born goal-getter scored 13 hat-tricks and one double hat-trick (against Leeds in 1929) during his 16 years as a Hammer.

Although he remained at the club until three years prior to the outbreak of World War II, the very last of Watson's 326 goals in claret and blue came in a Division 2 fixture against Bury at Upton Park on Boxing Day 1934. Some 40,000 supporters packed the Boleyn Ground to its rafters to see Watson score the first of United's three goals, with Jimmy Ruffell grabbing the other two.

A succession of injuries saw Watson miss much of the remainder of the 1934/35 season - and West Ham missed out on promotion to Division 1 by goal difference. Capped just five times for England, for whom he scored four goals, there's little doubt that had Watson been available more often that season the Hammers almost certainly wouldn't have had to wait another 24 years before finally achieving promotion to the top flight.

It had been a hugely controversial move from Upton Park to Stratford - and remains so to this day - yet West Ham's official attendance record was smashed when the club hosted Slovenian side NK Domzale in this August Europa League play-off tie.

A capacity crowd of 54,000 watched the Hammers take on the Eastern European minnows in the opening week before in a pre-season friendly, when the stadium was officially opened to the public for the first time; West Ham going down 3-2 against the Italian giants that day.

Yet the first competitive encounter came in this European tie, which Slaven Bilic's side had qualified for by virtue of finishing seventh in the previous Premier League campaign - the last at the club's former Boleyn Ground home.

Goals from Cheikhou Kouyate, who scored twice and became the first player to register at the new stadium and Sofiane... official club record of 42,000, set against Tottenham in 1972.

Believe it or not, there was once a time when Paul Ince wasn't universally reviled in the east End of London - and never more so than the night in November 1988 when he almost single-handedly destroyed reigning league champions Liverpool at the Boleyn Ground.

Still just 19, the precocious teenager produced the kind of performance that suggested his long-term future may not lay at West Ham, as the mighty Liverpool - still in their pomp at the time - fell to their heaviest defeat since the Second World War.

Ince scored the first two of West Ham's four goals on the night - in the 21st and 24th minute - as Liverpool were simply brushed aside. An own goal from Steve Staunton and one from Tony Gale sent the Hammers through to the quarter finals where Aston Villa awaited.

Liverpool eventually finished runners-up in the league behind Arsenal whilst West Ham were relegated - and John Lyall was subsequently dismissed. Ince was to play just once in the second division for West Ham before moving to Manchester United and the less said about that, the better.

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