In the new spirit of optimism that has swept into West Ham since the victory at Palace on Saturday I have decided to ignore any defeats in this week’s review of the week in Hammer’s history. The latest win completed a hat-trick of away victories at Selhurst Park and came almost a year after the previous success where goals from Jenkinson, Payet and Lanzini saw West Ham climb to 4th in the table.
Saturday also brought a welcome clean sheet courtesy of solid defending, some fine Adrian saves and Christian Benteke. The passing years have witnessed several high scoring, clean sheet performances which includes two thrashings of our next opponents, Sunderland. Most know of the 8 goal rout in 1968, famous for Geoff Hurst’s six-goal haul, but there was also a 5-0 victory in a second division clash in 1989 (two from Eamon Dolan). Ironically, Sunderland were promoted through the Play-offs that season despite losing the final when their victors, Swindon Town, were denied promotion due to irregular payments to players. West Ham meanwhile had finished in 7th place.
Other notable wins were a 4-0 European Cup Winner’s Cup second round tie against Poli Timisoara in 1980 and a 3-0 win in a bad tempered affair against Bolton Wanderers in 1997.
Dipping into the 1985/86 season it was during October that the season really started to pick up steam. We went into the month in 13th position with 13 points from 10 games (which is what winning our next two games would give us) and by the end had climbed to 7th following three wins and a draw.
On 19 October 1985 West Ham entertained Aston Villa in front of just 15,034 spectators at the Boleyn Ground. With no football on TV in the early part of the season I am relying on memory and I believe that we went 1-0 down to a Simon Stainrod goal before a brace each from McAvennie and Cottee secured a 4-1 victory. The two prolific front-men had by then scored 19 or the Hammer’s 23 league goals between them and went on to contribute 46 by the end of the campaign.
During the season a total of 9 players went on to start in 38 or more of the 42 league games played. One of these, Alan Dickens, was missing from the lineup against Villa: Parkes, Stewart, Walford, Gale, Martin, Devonshire, Ward, McAvennie, Parris, Cottee, Orr
One game to mention from this week that West Ham didn’t win was the 2-2 draw against Tottenham in 1970; a game that will always hold the record for the highest (official) attendance at the Boleyn Ground of 42,322. (As a teenager back then we would often go two people through the same turnstile click so I was always a little sceptical of the official attendances.)
The 1970 season was not one of the most memorable as we finished one place off of relegation. The match saw the debut of Tommy Taylor who I remembered as playing some nice football while being a little suspect defensively. Hurst and Eustace scored the West Ham goals: Grotier, Bonds, Lampard, Eustace, Taylor, Moore, Ayris, Lindsay, Hurst, Greaves, Dear
Birthdays this week:
18 October Peter Grotier (66)
21 October Paul Ince (49)
23 October Christian Dailly (43)