This week in Hammer’s history begins on 27 September 1997 where a run of 4 straight defeats was brought to end with a fortuitous 2-1 home victory over a Liverpool side including Paul Ince and David James. Both West Ham goals were the result of combination play between John Hartson and Eyal Berkovic who would come together in a less collaborative manner at the training ground later in the year.
Five years and one day later, West Ham secured their first league win of the season with the Paolo Di Canio inspired 3-2 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. I was tempted to have this as the featured game but the less I think about that Glen Roeder season (the worst football manager ever) the better. You can, however, re-live the match below!
It has been a good week to play Chelsea and on 2 October in consecutive years we managed to stuck the blue flag firmly into the appropriate passage. The very average pre-money-laundering Blues being beaten 1-0 at Upton Park in 1993 (Morley) and 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in 1994 (M Allen, Moncur).
If beating Chelsea has been feature of this week over the years then so has losing to Arsenal including the time that they put 4 past Allen McKnightmare in 1988. There was also a time when a heavy defeat at Goodison Park was never too far away and September 2001 was no exception with a 0-5 reverse for Roeder and the boys. There being no game the following week it allowed the Hammers to work on their defending before the next game; a 7-1 pummeling by Blackburn. Difficult to believe the season ended with a 7th place finish.
For the featured game we return to European Cup Winners Cup and the second leg tie with Castilla. You may recall that due to crowd disturbances at the first game in Madrid, West Ham were forced to play the return behind closed doors. The game was so eerily silent, in front of 262 spectators, that it could have been played at Highbury. Within 30 minutes goals from Pike and Cross brought the tie back to 3-3 on aggregate and before half time the Hammers were ahead through a Paul Goddard strike. There was just the one goal in the second period, a thunderbolt from Castilla’s skipper, Bernal, to level the tie once more at 4-4. Into extra time and a goal in each half by the original Psycho, David Cross, made it 5-1 to West Ham on the night and 6-4 on aggregate.
Parkes, Stewart, Lampard, Bonds, Martin, Devonshire, Holland (Brush), Goddard (Morgan), Cross, Brooking, Pike
Notable West Ham birthday’s this week:
26 September: Alan Stephenson (72)
Tommy Taylor (65)
27 September: Me
28 September: Geoff Pike (60)
30 September: John Sissions (71)
2 October: Trevor Brooking (68)
Jack Collison (28)
Ashley Fletcher (21)