Wednesday, 27 February 2008

West Ham won the cup on 02.05.1964


I have done many things in my lifetime up to now, but between the years of about 1959 - 65 I was a very enthusiastic football fan. My dad grew up with West Ham United so the choice was obvious. Although my best friend at school (an all girls grammar school) was in the position that her father was a fan of Leyton Orient. She is still my best friend today and also godmother to my youngest - so we see each other at least once a year. Either she visits me in Switzerland or I see her when I visit my dad in London. To save money we would walk from Mile End, where my friend lived, to Brisbane Road along the River Lea. West Ham was a bit further so we took the underground to Upton Park. This naturally lead to the reason why, when I was younger, I was often to be found at Brisbane Road watching Leyton Orient - and another week my friend would accompany me to the Boleyn to watch West Ham United. We collected newspaper articles, we both had subscriptions of the Charlie Buchan football monthly, and every Christmas the Charlie Buchan football annual was on the list as a present. Unfortunately my scrap books and monthlys disappeared when my parents moved from Bethnal Green to Dagenham, but a few books remained which I found with some pictures.


The text speaks for itself under the photo. Actually I took the picture from an article about Dennis Law who was then the start of Huddersfield. I believe he went on to Manchester City afterwards and is still around today pulling his senior citizenship pension. This photo also shows Andy Malcolm and John Bond of West Ham United.

Noel Dwyer

My favourite of that time (I mean we women did not only look at the ball, but also other things) was definitely Noel Dwyer the Irish international goalie that played for West Ham. I think we didn't only stand behind the goal because it was cheaper but for other reasons as well. The manager of the team was Ted Fenton and I think he was at least 10 years with them. I remember he wrote a book "At Home with the Hammers" which I naturally bought, but I believe a year after he was no longer at home with the Hammers. I remember my dad telling me that Benny Fenton, his brother, went to his school at Bridge Road in Stratford, although I am not sure of the actual facts.

Talking of my dad's younger days, he did actually grow up in Stratford and on 03.05.1964, the day after West Ham had won the cup, he decided to go down to Stratford in the morning to see the team "bring the cup home" and naturally his daughter went with him. I was then 18 years old, but can remember it as if it was yesterday. There were crowds of people lining the road and an open coach came with the team proudly holding the cup. Afterwards they were to be seen on a balcony somewhere along the road. When the procession was over, my dad decided to use the opportunity to go to his former local pub and see if any of his friends were still around. So we went in the pub and my dad asked the barman whether this or the other was still here. The barman said if my dad would like to wait a few minutes they would turn up, and surely enough after the five minute wait I found myself in a circle of about 10 men with their wives all greeting my dad after so long, and all talking about the match - of course. They are sort of memories that stay with you.

Dwyer helpless

And yet another picture of Dwyer, this time watching as the ball goes in. Noel Cantwell tried to stop the ball going into the net, but with no success. Noel Cantwell was the other Irishman in the team at the time, also captain of the Irish National team, and a full back, together with Bond who is also watching helplessly.

Actually at that time football seem to be so logical. You had 11 men each one with a no. The goalie nearly always wore a green knitted pullover and had no no. on his back. He did not need one. You had two full backs, No. 2 on the right and No. 3 on the left. Then the half field, No. 4 on the right, No. 5 the center half (which I believe is now known as a libero) and No. 6 on the left. Nos. 7-11 were all in the front from right to left and No. 9 was the center forward. They were good days where you knew where they belonged. The Italians (or was it the South Americans) came along with a 4-2-4 and later even that got out of date, and to be quite honest I still like to watch a good match on the tv but now they run around with numbers on their back which seem to approach the 20's or the 30's. I supposed it is all for a good cause, but it is not like it used to be.
Noel Dwyer again
And who do we have here again. Dwyer laying in the mud watching the ball go in. I am not sure but that could be a young Bobby Moore (although I think it might be a player called Grice) also laying on the ground and definitely Ken Brown doing a delicate dance with the ball going past his behind part.


The SHP on the shirts were written on by me, my friend and I always did that on the photos because it meant "seen him play". These are 4 new players in the national team, probably around 1960. Ron Springett played a few games as goalie for England. He was with Sheffield Wednesday. I didn't know Ray Parry so well, but next to him is Ken Brown the West Ham centre half. On the right is Joe Baker who played for Hibernian, a Scottish team. If I remember rightly he was born just over the borders of Scotland in England, was a very good player and did not qualify for the Scottish team, being born in England. I think he was the only international that England had that spoke with a Scottish accent. Probably if he had been asked, he would rather have played for Scotland.

I think this is one blog that I could go on for ages about. A lot of memories have come flooding back. It was a good time for football, the players worked for their money, didn't get married to famous singers or film stars (except for Billy Wright who married one of the Beverly Sisters). They had a set wage of twenty pounds per week, probably with a few bonuses, but not the ridiculous sums that are paid today. Of course it was cheap labour, and a little bit more was ok, but you can go too far.

By the way did I mention that I saw Bobby Moore play his first game in the first team for West Ham. And when I would come home from games at school with my friend we used to walk pass the"The Spotted Dog", a pub around Essex way. They had a sports ground and Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters, who were just coming out of the junior team, were often seen having a football practice there. So I will now close my blog down football memory lane with a photo of West Ham team 1960.

West Ham team 1960

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