Today we are thumbing through the week 9 – 15 January in Hammer’s History and, to be honest, there is not a great deal to get excited about. Nevertheless we will start with the undoubted high which was a 6-0 annihilation of Barnsley in a 1998 Premier League fixture at Upton Park. At that time Harry Redknapp’s side were capable of some barnstorming and free flowing performances and this victory was their 9th at home so far that season. Goals from Lampard, Abou (2), Hartson, Moncur and Lazaridis made it a day to remember where the’ boos’ ringing out around the ground were in praise of striker Samassi Abou who, in addition to his two goals, also had a hand in several others.
Forrest, Potts, Lazaridis, Unsworth, Ferdinand, Pearce, Impey (Moncur), Lampard, Hartson, Berkovic (Alves), Abou
As FA Cup holders we started its defence in the 1964/65 season with a home 3rd round tie against Birmingham City. Goals by Hurst (2), Byrne and Sissons in a 4-2 victory were enough to send the Hammers into the 4th round draw.
Some years later in 2011 Birmingham were once again cup opponents but this time in a League Cup semi-final. The first leg at Upton Park between two of the leagues struggling sides (both of whom would go on to be relegated) ended in a 2-1 win to give West Ham the advantage and dreams of Wembley. Mark Noble volleyed the Hammers ahead in a one-sided first half but we were unable to convert any of the numerous further chances before the break. In the second period an improved Birmingham performance saw Ridgewell equalise and when Victor Obinna was sent off it looked like it could be game over. However, Carlton Cole (on as a replacement for Piquionne) scored with a trademark scuffed shot from a Spector cross to notch an unlikely winner. There was intense speculation at the time that defeat in this game would cost manager Avram Grant his job but football moves in mysterious ways and he was able to survive to steer us on to relegation (but not to Wembley).
Talking of the League Cup this week also hosted the replayed 5th round encounter against Aston Villa in January 2000. The match which had to be played again as a result of the Mannygate debacle saw West Ham go a goal up through Lampard Junior, Di Canio have a penalty saved by David James, and Villa score twice in extra time to win the day.
We round of the week with two of those embarrassing banana skin FA Cup defeats. In 1974 we had drawn our initial home tie with 3rd division Hereford and so made the trip to Edgar Street four days later for the replay. West Ham took the lead through a Clyde Best header before Keith Coleman gave away a penalty that led to the Hereford leveller. With about a quarter of an hour to play Hereford scored again to prompt wild scenes by the home crowd; the match ending 2-1.
Day, Coleman, Lampard, Bonds, Taylor, Wooler, McGiven, Paddon, Lutton, Holland, Best
Ironically, the same largely uninspiring West Ham line-up managed to beat Manchester United 2-1 at Upton Park on the following Saturday (Bonds, Holland) in a season where the Red Devils were ultimately relegated to Division 2 with ourselves just above the drop zone.
In the 3rd round of 1979, second division West Ham were away to 4th division Newport County in a game that was postponed on Saturday due to bad weather and re-scheduled for midweek. With the core of the team that would win the Cup the following year the Hammers suffered a humiliating 2-1 reverse which I believe John Lyall once described as the low point of his managerial career; Pop Robson scoring our goal.
Day, Lampard, Brush, Bonds, Martin, McDowell, Taylor, Devonshire, Cross, Brooking, Robson