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.