As I peruse the results from the week 16 – 22 January in Hammer’s History (and I am only looking at games played since our promotion to Division 1 in 1958) my impression is that this has been a generally bad week for West Ham. On further inspection it is not really the case with the 59 games played ending in 19 victories, 25 defeats and 15 draws. The reality is that it is a week with very few matches that stand-out; particularly those that ended in our favour.
On two occasions this week has witnessed dreams of League Cup glory being dashed in two unsuccessful semi-final appearances. One being of the contractual obligation variety in 2014 where, already losing 6-0 from the first leg, we went on to gift Manchester City a 9-0 aggregate win. The other, in 1967, was a repeat of the previous year’s League Cup final with the Hammers up against West Bromwich Albion. The final of the 1966/67 tournament would be the first to be played in a one-off match at Wembley but it was to be a dreadful night at The Hawthorns with Albion romping to a 4-0 first leg lead.
In FA Cup action West Ham did record a thumping 6-1 victory against 4th Division Aldershot – but only after a replay. Aldershot had given up home advantage after the draw was made and both games were played at Upton Park. The initial tie ending in a 0-0 stalemate but the replay was a routine affair with goals from Morley (2), Slater, Parris, Bishop and Quinn doing the damage for West Ham with Aldershot’s reply courtesy of a rare Miklosko blooper.
Miklosko, Breacker, Parris, Gale, Robson (Bishop), Hughton, Keen, Slater, Quinn, Potts, Morley
Not nearly as impressive was FA Cup replay exit at the hands of Wrexham in 1981 as we defended the trophy won the previous May. This was not really a giant killing act as both teams were competing in Division 2 at the time but it still came as a surprise given our overall performances that season. Defeat eventually coming in extra time of the second replay at the Racecourse Ground following two earlier drawn games.
A league game that sticks in the memory was one from the 1971/72 season which saw West Ham entertain Brian Clough’s Derby County side. Derby would finish the season as champions in one of the closest title races that I can recall with four teams separated by a single point. In the run-in Derby had completed their fixtures while both dirty Leeds (going for the double) and Liverpool could be crowned champions if either won their remaining game. In the event, Liverpool drew and Leeds lost (at Wolverhampton) amid claims that manager Don Revie had tried to bribe the Wolves players.
When they visited Upton Park in January 1972 Derby were in 4th place and West Ham in 12th and there was plenty of entertainment for the 31,000 crowd. Derby opened the scoring taking advantage of a Tommy Taylor slip before a Frank Lampard pile-driver evened things up at half-time. Pop Robson struck to give the Hammers the lead after the break only for Derby to scramble an equalizer of their own with the ball appearing to go in through Bobby Moore’s legs. A fine Trevor Brooking goal looked like it would be enough to secure all (two) points but Derby were not to be denied and the game ended all square at 3-3. A nice comedy moment in the game when two teenage girls ran onto the pitch to mob Harry Redknapp instigating a chase by the local plod that ended with one of their number toppling into the crowd.
Ferguson, McDowell, Lampard, Bonds, Taylor, Moore, Redknapp, Best, Hurst, Brooking, Robson
This Week’s birthdays:
16 January Bobby Zamora (36)
18 January Steve Lomas (43)
19 January Robert Green (37)