The first week of January brings with it the 3rd round of the FA Cup. Once one of the most eagerly awaited weekends in the football calendar it doesn’t now have quite the same appeal, at least for the top clubs, but continues to offer romance to those further down the pyramid and remains one of the best opportunities of silverware for mid-table Premier League clubs such as West Ham.
Before we get into some of the more memorable FA Cup encounters there are two League Cup ties to mention. The first was the first semi-final replay in 1972 against Stoke City; a game that was played at Hillsborough on a miserable Wednesday night. This was a match that I remember bunking off school for to take a football special which deposited us at the largely abandoned Wadsley Bridge station in Sheffield a few minutes before kick-off. The game had started by the time that we made it into the ground but it was a very uneventful game despite Clyde Best having an excellent opportunity to send the Hammers through to Wembley thwarted by Gordon Banks.
The second League Cup semi final that took place this week was the first leg tie in 2014 against this weekend’s FA Cup opponents, Mancheter City. Fat Sam had prioritised this game over the preceding weekend’s FA Cup tie at Nottingham Forest and the game, played at the City of Manchester Stadium, saw the debut for West Ham or Roger ‘The Relegator’ Johnson. It was an awful night for the Hammers and a Alvaro Negredo hat-trick featured in a 6-0 demolition in a tie that we were to lose 9-0 on aggregate.
On to the FA Cup and we will start with a few of those banana skin defeats. Because we were already in 2014 the first stop is tie that took place a few days prior to the League Cup thrashing by City; Fat Sam fielded a team of kids against League 1 Nottingham Forest that ended in an embarrassing 5-0 defeat. The lineup included a host of players who were never heard from again such as Daniel Potts, Callum Driver, Danny Whitehead, George Moncur, Sebastien Lletget and Ravel Morrison (where is he now?) plus substitute appearances from Matthias Fanimo, Blair Turgott and Reece Burke. What a dark day for the club that was.
January 1971 witnessed the 4-0 hammering by struggling Blackpool. The game is famous for what later emerged concerning an early hours drinking session in boxer Brian London’s Blackpool nightclub involving Bobby Moore, Jimmy Greaves, Brian Dear, Clyde Best and club physio Rob Jenkins. Despite there being no Twitter at the time the players were still dobbed in by a disgruntled fan and were subsequently disciplined by manager Ron Greenwood.
In January 1990 West Ham, then in Division 2, visited 4th Division Torquay for a 3rd round tie at Plainmoor. A team that included Parkes, Potts, Dicks, Martin, Gale and Bishop suffered a humiliating 1-0 defeat to the lowly Devon club.
We published an article previously on West Ham’s cup encounters with non-League sides and this week included the 1992 1-1 draw with Farnborough Town and the narrow 1998 2-1 victory over Emley.
West Ham have won the FA Cup on 3 occasions and each of those occasions the journey to success kicked off with a hopeful 3rd round tie. The 1964 road to Wembley started with comfortable 3-0 home win against 2nd division Charlton Athletic with goals from Brabrook, Hurst and Sissons. In 1975, an away draw resulted in a 2-1 victory at The Dell against 2nd division Southampton; Frank Lampard and Bobby Gould the scorers; and in 1980 it was 2nd division West Ham drawn away to 1st division West Bromwich Albion. The first match at The Hawthorns ended in a 1-1 draw; Stuart Pearson scored the Hammer’s goal but the hero of the hour was Phil Parkes who pulled of a string of outstanding man-of-the-match saves to keep us in the tie. The replay took place just 3 days later where Pearson and Trevor Brooking scored the goals at Upton Park to record an excellent 2-1 victory and progress to Round 4.
1964 v Charlton: Standen, Bond, Burkett, Bovington, Brown, Moore, Brabrook, Boyce, Byrne, Hurst, Sissons
1974 v Southampton: Day, Coleman, Lampard, Bonds, McDowell, Lock, Jennings, Paddon, Gould (Hooland), Brooking, K. Robson
1980 v WBA: Parkes, Stewart, Lampard, Bonds, Martin, Devonshire, Allen, Pearson, Pike, Brooking, Neighbour (Brush replaced Bonds in the replay)
Notable birthdays this week:
2 January Tomas Repka (43)
3 January Adrian (30)
6 January Ron Boyce (74)
6 January Andy Carroll (28)