West Ham 2-1 Real Zaragoza, 7th April 1965
Today marks 55 years since the Hammers’ first European Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final first leg. Having knocked out Swiss side Lausanne in the quarter-final, the Hammers were paired with Spanish outfit Real Zaragoza in the last four. An official crowd of 34,864 supporters was recorded for, arguably, one of the Boleyn Ground’s highest-profile matches ever.
Unit 4 Plus 2 were number one with ‘Concrete And Clay’, The Sound of Music was in UK cinemas and Julie Andrews had just won an Oscar for her role in Mary Poppins. The Hammers raced into a 2-0 lead, Brian Dear opening the scoring on eight minutes before Johnny Byrne doubled the hosts’ advantage in the 28th minute. The Hammers’ two-goal cushion was halved though when Brazilian forward Canario, who had helped the great Real Madrid win the European Cup in 1960, struck in the 54th minute, ensuring that the Hammers would still face a tough task to make the final when they travelled to La Romareda for the second leg.
The other semi-final first leg result was Torino 2-0 1860 Munich.
West Ham United: Jim Standen, Joe Kirkup, Ken Brown, Bobby Moore, Jack Burkett, Martin Peters, Ronnie Boyce, Johnny Sissons, Geoff Hurst, Johnny Byrne, Brian Dear.
Real Zaragoza: Yarza, Cortizo, Luis Violeta, Santamaria, Reija, Eduardo Enderiz, Canario, Santos, Isasi, Marcelino, Lapetra.
Arsenal 0-1 West Ham, 7th April 2007
7th April 2007 – The Proclaimers featuring Brian Potter and Andy Pipkin were number one with their Comic Relief version of ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’, Mr. Bean’s Holiday topped the UK box office and ITV’s Grease Is The Word made its debut, searching for two actors to play Danny and Sandy in a new stage production of Grease. Meanwhile, Alan Curbishley’s West Ham United were sealing a 1-0 victory over Arsenal in front of 60,098 at the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger’s side’s last defeat at their previous ground, Highbury, had been at the hands of the Hammers and this was to be their first loss at their new stadium. The Hammers were largely indebted to their goalkeeper, Robert Green, for the victory as he gave one of the finest individual performances in the club’s history to keep a clean sheet and claim the points. Green’s busy afternoon began after just two minutes when he came out to block Cesc Fabregas’ effort and continued when he raced out to block Freddie Ljungberg’s attempt – Ljungberg was to join the Hammers a few months later.
The Irons took the lead right on half-time. Mark Noble intercepted Emmanuel Eboue’s pass and Nigel Reo-Coker made a break for the relative solace of the halfway line. He found Carlos Tevez who, in turn, laid the ball back for right-back Lucas Neill. The Australian’s lofted ball deep into Arsenal territory evaded Kolo Toure and fell perfectly into the path of Bobby Zamora who stretched to send the ball looping over the stranded Jens Lehmann and into the Gunners’ goal.
Arsenal laid siege to the Hammers’ goal in the second half. Green dived low to his right to divert Gilberto Silva’s shot wide before, arguably, the save of the lot when he sprung up his left arm to push away Emmanuel Adebayor’s point-blank header. When Green was beaten, Fabregas’ strike from distance hit the crossbar and Gilberto’s shot hit the outside of the post. The Brazilian midfielder also headed wide when well-placed. Luis Boa Morte had the chance to seal the points against his old club on a rare Hammers foray forward but his dinked effort went wide. My video below shows the action from the game, alongside interviews with goalkeeping hero Green and Irons centre-half James Collins.
The Gunners would finish fourth in 2006/07, while the Hammers would end the campaign safe in 15th following The Great Escape. Manchester United won the league and Chelsea won the FA Cup. Zamora would end the campaign as the Hammers’ top scorer with 11 goals from 37 matches. Carlos Tevez was voted Hammer of the Year, with Zamora runner-up.
Arsenal: Jens Lehmann, Emmanuel Eboue, Kolo Toure, William Gallas, Gael Clichy, Gilberto Silva (Abou Diaby), Cesc Fabregas, Freddie Ljungberg (Julio Baptista), Tomas Rosicky, Alexander Hleb (Jeremie Aliadiere), Emmanuel Adebayor.
West Ham United: Rob Green, Lucas Neill, Anton Ferdinand, James Collins, George McCartney (Jonathan Spector), Lee Bowyer, Nigel Reo-Coker, Mark Noble, Matthew Etherington, Carlos Tevez (Kepa Blanco), Bobby Zamora (Luis Boa Morte).