Appropriately in a week where we have a League Cup fourth round tie scheduled this week in Hammer’s history is dominated by various encounters across the years in the Cinderella competition. Arguably, the easiest competition to win but one in which we remain complete virgins.
True to form there have been the expected disasters where the dreaded banana skins have fulfilled their slippery potential and sent us skidding towards the exit door. Notable among these were a 3-2 defeat to 4th division Darlington in the inaugural 1960/61 competition and 2-1 reverse to Chesterfield in 2006.
For the Darlington game a crowd of 17,057 (paying record gate receipts of £2,179 16s 9d) packed into the Feethams Ground and witnessed the hosts take the lead after just 20 seconds despite West Ham having kicked off. Dave Dunmore grabbed an equaliser to make it all square at half time before Darlington scored two midway through the second half to race into a 3-1 lead; the second of these goals following a poor backpass by full-back John Lyall. John Dick did manage to reduce the arrears with 20 minutes to play but that was as good as it got before the long trip back from the North-East. Rhodes, Bond, Lyall, Malcolm, Brown, Moore, Grice, Woosnam, Dunmore, Dick, Musgrove.
Wednesday’s match with Chelsea will be the third League Cup meeting during this week in history with the spoils standing at one a piece to date as 1-0 advantages have favoured the home side on each occasion. We can eagerly look forward to history repeating itself in the coming days.
A particularly memorable match for me was the fourth round tie against Liverpool in 1971. With a crowd of over 40,000 and one of those electric nights under the Boleyn lights there was the elation of a late Pop Robson winner to seal an exciting 2-1 victory. I was convinced our name was on the trophy that season but the campaign was ultimately thwarted at the end of the epic semi-final series against Stoke City. Victory over Stoke would have interestingly set up a final tie at Wembly with Chelsea.
To finish on a high we will remember a second round second leg tie from 1983. Already leading 2-1 from the first leg West Ham welcomed 4th Division Bury to Upton Park on a cold Tuesday night. The crowd of just under 11,000 were rewarded for their tenacity and endurance with a 10-0 victory (a joint competition record) including a 4 goal haul for the 18 year old Tony Cottee. So impressed were West Ham by Bury’s defending that they signed the Shaker’s centre half Paul Hilton shortly after.
Take a look at the video (the date incorrectly states the 25 August) to re-live the evening along with a laconic Irish commentator and his unusual references to Bill Bonds.
There are no birthdays of note this week.