Nostalgia

The Day Geoff Hurst Scored Six

Geoff Hurst

Recently there have been several requests for Geoff Hurst’s photo to be put on the WHTID site banner and I thought it fitting that we recall one of his best moments in a Hammers shirt. Whilst Sir Geoff has the honour of being the only player to score a hat trick in a World Cup final, he is also one of only two players to ever score a double hat trick in a first class match for West Ham. The other was Vic Watson in 1929.

The date was the 19th October 1968 and the Hammers were sitting in a lofty 6th place whilst Sunderland were 10th in the old First Division. Earlier that season the Hammers had put five past Burnley (the night of the famous “Knees Up” down Green Street), four against West Brom and seven against Bolton in a league Cup tie – all in successive games. However, leading into this match we had only scored one in three as teams had apparently worked us out.

From memory it was a mild day but the pitch was a touch soggy. Three goals in the first half saw our man get his hat trick and Bobby Moore had also scored for a 4-0 lead. When Hurst scored his fourth and West Ham’s fifth in the second half the crowd started to chant “we want six, we want six” and Sir Geoff duly obliged. The “we want seven” chant went up and the only surprise was that it was Trevor Brooking who this time granted the fans wish. Hurst was on five goals now and it was 7-0 as the crowd were singing for eight! Sure enough Hurst banged in his sixth and the Hammers eighth before the end and this time the chants of “we want nine” were not rewarded. Final score 8-0. The West Ham line up that day was; Ferguson, Bonds, Stephenson, Moore, J Charles, Redknapp, Boyce, Peters, Sissons, Brooking and Hurst.

Later that day Hurst admitted that his diving header for his first goal was not actually headed. He had punched the ball in with his fist. Sunderland’s goalkeeper who had such a bad day at the office that day was Jim Montgomery. Four and a half years later he would have a better day when he performed heroics to thwart Leeds in the 1973 FA Cup Final. Famously, the Sunderland manager Bob Stokoe would sprint from the touchline to hug his goalkeeper at the end of the game.

Geoff Hurst scored 41 goals from 49 league and cup games in that 68/69 season. Overall he scored 180 in 411 appearances in Claret and Blue. A true Hammers legend.

Note from Iain: Geoff Hurst’s image will indeed be added to the banner soon. It was a grievous oversight.


Transfer Gossip

Vaz Te: I Want to Leave

Ricardo Vaz Te has handed in a transfer request. He has given a statement to Sky Sports. This should set the fox among the chickens…

“In my 10 years as a professional football player I have never submitted a transfer request nor issued a statement. However, I am frustrated at West Ham United Football Club. Therefore it is with a heavy heart that I submit a transfer request and look to join a club where my approach to the game will be appreciated. Last season I was asked to change positions for the benefit of the team even though I had just scored 24 goals. The main objective was to finish top 10 in the Premier League and I followed my instructions to the best of my ability as the club always comes first. As a result even though I was injured for three months no other player made more assists than me and no other winger scored more goals than me. In addition, since I joined this football club on 31st January 2012 no other player has scored more goals than me in all official competitions to date. Statistics are evident to all, despite this, it has been made obvious to myself and my representatives that I am not in the manager’s plans. Therefore it is with a heavy heart that I submit a transfer request and look to join a club where my approach to the game will be appreciated.”

Boom!

That angry look towards the bench when he scored on Tuesday makes so much more sense now.

Even if he is sold before the transfer deadline, he is certainly not going to free up enough wages to enable us to sign someone like Ba or Defoe. He is rumoured to be on a maximum of £25k per week.


News

It's Cardiff City in the 3rd Round of the Capital One Cup and other musings!

West Ham have drawn Cardiff City at home in the 3rd Round of the Capital One Cup. It is a repeat of the opening day fixture, which the Hammers comfortably won 2-0. The tie will take place in the week commencing 23 September 2013 (exact date to be confirmed). Luck in the draw is necessary to help facilitate a good cup run and, it has to be admitted, that the draw could have been far worse. Having said that, the Blue Birds are not a push over (as Man City can testify!) and we will need to approach the match in the right manner to ensure further progress in the competition.

Roger Rojas

Elsewhere, there is a report on kumb that the proposed loan deal for Honduran striker, Roger Rojas has broken down. It is based on a tweet from the account attributed to Jack Sullivan, which states that the striker failed a fitness test and this has scuppered the deal. The kumb article claims that they have had confirmation of this from a ‘highly placed’ club source. So, apparently another potential striker deal ‘bites the dust.’ On the striker front, there are reports circulating that both Cardiff City and Notts Forest are to bid for Vaz Te before the window closes. At the time of writing there has been no confirmation of any such bids being received.

It was interesting that there were no West Ham Utd representatives in the recently announced full and U-21 England squads. At full England level, one would have thought the good early season form of Matt Jarvis, Joe Cole and Mark Noble might have been recognized. Its a fair bet that Andy Carroll would have been included but for his current injury absence. And Carroll may be the future key to England selection for his West Ham team mates, demonstrating how well they combine with the big centre forward. That is particularly true of Jarvis, Downing and Cole. At U-21 level, it is a similar story, with the claims of Morrison and Potts being overlooked. One could also ask why they have not recognised the potential of Elliott Lee, one of the top English striking prospects? At the end of the day, all the club’s English players can do is continue to play to the best of their ability in a West Ham shirt and give the Hodgson regime no option but to select them!

Finally, in some quarters questions have been asked about James Tomkin’s future at the club. The Collins-Reid central defensive partnership has been outstanding so far this season. That has left Tomkins on the substitutes bench in the PL so far this season. My view is that this is a squad game and it is crucial that we have strength in depth and competition in all positions. Talk of selling him is a nonsense, all that will do is weaken the squad and decrease competition for places. Tomkins must be ultra-professional, keep his focus and continue to work on his game. He played in the cup on Tuesday evening and his PL opportunity will come sooner, rather than later. When it does, Tomkins has to respond and make it difficult for Sam Allardyce to drop him again. Its all about competition and raising individual levels of performance. With Reid, Tomkins, Collins and Chambers we have real quality and strength in depth. Now they need to compete and strive for a starting spot!

In working on his game, Tomkins may wish to study Collins’ play in a number of key aspects. Tomkins is unquestionably the better technical player, but Collins does the straightforward defensive duties better. He also gives 100% on the pitch and is unafraid to put his body on the line to stop the opposition scoring. If Tomkins learns these lessons and adjusts his game accordingly then, with his greater natural ability, there is little doubt that he has a big future at the club.

SJ. Chandos.


Player Performance Results

Ravel Morrison the Clear Man of the Match

Well it’s not difficult to see who you were most impressed with last night. And a big pat on the back for Leo Chambers, who completed his first full first team game. By all reports he performed really well. It was also good to see one of my favourite players, James Tomkins, get a runout. I still think this boy will be an England regular one day. But how could you justify breaking up the Collins/Reid partnership?


Parish Notice

Is Ravel the old Joe Cole?

At the tender age of just 17, West Ham gave the much touted wonder kid Joe Cole his first team debut in 1999. Touted as the hottest property in English football it was reported that Manchester United had made a seven figure bid for him the previous year. The buzz around was that the Hammers had unearthed a new superstar. The kid had scored seven goals in one match against Spain in a youth match and the anticipation was growing as Hammers fans longed to see him play in the first team. Four years later he was captaining West Ham in a season where the club were relegated despite him being named “Hammer of the Year”. The inevitable happened and Joe was sold.

After a lengthy spell with Chelsea, followed by shorter stints at Liverpool and Lille, Joe returned to his football home last season, Upton Park. The return certainly seems to have had a positive effect on the player as he is visibly sleeker and fitter and playing well. There seems little doubt he is enjoying the sunset of his career back at West Ham. However, ten goals in 56 appearances for England is probably below what most of us expected of him back in 1999. Joe could only seem to fit into the Chelsea and England sides in a wide role where most people seem to think he is less effective? Back now at West Ham it seems that this is the only likely position he will hold down as well. Would Joe have been better served in a more central role? What else could have contributed to Joe not reaching his full potential? A good career should certainly have been a great one, or so we thought.

In 2002 I had a discussion with the late Eddie Baily, former chief scout at West Ham. I was drooling over the prospect of the young Joe Cole and I was surprised that Eddie was adamant that Michael Carrick would become the better player despite not being as gifted. At the time that seemed absurd. Even now trying to evaluate who has had the better career would bring different opinions to the table. However, without going into details, Eddie explained that Carrick had certain traits that would help him fulfil his true potential whilst Cole lacked some of the same characteristics and that would inhibit him from truly fulfilling his. In the end, Eddie was right (IMO).

So now again in 2013 do we have a new wonder kid in our realms? Sir Alex Ferguson believed Ravel was the “jewel in the crown” of his latest generation of starlets, but unloaded the youngster to West Ham as he became continually frustrated with the lad. Off field problems have been well documented and Sam sent Ravel off to Birmingham City for a loan spell. It is believed Kevin Nolan has taken the lad under his wing for some guidance and help. The question beckons – when Ravel does secure his first team place will he be used to his full potential, or will he be fitted into the side, and out of position, as Joe was for much of his career? Will this young prodigy make the most of his undoubted talent or will it be a case of “if only”?

Time will tell but one thing is for sure. The anticipation at West Ham is bubbling again.


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