The first week of May in Hammer’s History includes the first two of West Ham’s FA Cup successes. Having waited almost 70 years for any sign of a major trophy, the duck was broken on 2 May 1964 when first division Hammers overcame the stubborn resistance of second division Preston North End to lift the famous trophy for the first time. West Ham were strong favourites going into the game but twice found themselves trailing to their lower league opposition. With the game looking destined for extra time Ronnie Boyce popped up to nod in the winner. A more comprehensive account of this memorable day has previously been featured in our Favourite Games series.
Standen, Bond, Burkett, Bovington, Brown, Moore, Brabrook, Boyce, Byrne, Boyce, Sissons
While in 1964 I had to make do with watching the game on a small black and white TV set, followed by attending the open-top bus parade the following morning, in 1975 I was thrilled to attend a first ever FA Cup Final in person. Once again it was first versus second division as West Ham took on Fulham in an all-London affair. There was an added fascination to the match in that all-time claret and blue hero, Bobby Moore, was now appearing in the white of Fulham. The final was not the greatest of spectacles and, personally, I have stronger memories of the sixth round win at Arsenal and the semi-final replay against Ipswich than I do of the final itself. Maybe the occasion got to me! Nevertheless, Alan Taylor put the seal on his fairy-tale season by scoring the two goals that once again saw the West Ham ribbons tied to the trophy.
Day, McDowell, Lampard, Bonds, Taylor, Lock, Jennings, Paddon, Taylor, Brooking, Holland
A year later and West Ham had unexpectedly made it to the final of the European Cup Winner’s Cup; a game against Anderlecht played at the notorious Heysel Stadium. Pat Holland put West Ham a goal up just before the half hour when he got on the end of a Billy Bonds knock down from a Graham Paddon cross. It looked like the Hammers would go into the break with the advantage until a misjudged backpass by Frank Lampard found its way to Rensenbrink to equalise. In the second period, the wonderful Frankie Van Der Elst (later to be a Hammer) gave Anderlecht the lead but a Keith Robson header, from a Trevor Brooking cross, restored parity. The game then turned on a very harsh penalty awarded for a foul by Holland. Rensenbrink converted from the spot and with West Ham committed forward Van Der Elst scored again to end the game at 4-2 in the Belgian side’s favour.
Day, Coleman, Lampard (Taylor), Bonds, Taylor, McDowell, Holland, Paddon, Jennings, Brooking, Robson
It was also the final weekend of the season in 1986 and probably the only time that West Ham have gone into it with a chance of winning the title. The Hammer’s did what they had to in a 3-2 win at The Hawthorns (against relegated West Bromwich Albion) but were let down by a Chelsea home defeat against ultimate Champion’s Liverpool.
The end of the 2011/12 season required third placed West Ham to participate in two Championship Play Off semi-final matches against Cardiff. West Ham came away as comfortable victors winning 2-0 away (Collison 2) and 3-0 at Upton Park (Nolan, Vaz Te, Maynard) to set up a final encounter with Blackpool.
Finally, and appropriately given Friday’s opponents, this week in 2006 was the setting for the famous Lasagna-gate game. Martin Jol’s Tottenham side visited Upton Park needing to match Arsenal’s result on the final Sunday afternoon of the season to claim their inaugural Champion’s League place. Following a Saturday night buffet of dodgy lasagna the Spurs players started going down quicker than Dele Alli in the penalty area. Despite desperate efforts to delay the game by several hours it was decided it had to go ahead as scheduled rather than asking supporters to spend several more hours in the pub. Carl Fletcher gave West Ham the lead only for Defoe to equalise but with the poorly Spurs players flagging, Yossi Benayoun struck with 10 minutes remaining to win the game for West Ham. Arsenal had won 4-2 against Wigan and so the Spurs dream lay in pieces at the bottom of the toilet bowl.
1 May Marc Vivien Foe d. 2003
5 May Yossi Benayoun 37
7 May Ian Perace 43
7 May Steve Potts 50