Dan Coker's Match Preview

Welcome to the second in a series of articles designed for international weekends – a look back at former Hammers players who wore the Three Lions of England.

Today, as England prepare to face Scotland at Hampden Park, we look back at a true legend of West Ham United Football Club – Sir Trevor Brooking. Sir Trevor was born in Barking on 2nd October 1948 and was the son of a police officer – he left Ilford County High School with 11 O Levels and two A Levels. His first visit to the Boleyn Ground was as a nine-year-old on 19th April 1958 to witness a 1-1 draw with Liverpool. He trained with Chelsea, Tottenham and West Ham and was offered apprenticeships by all three clubs – only the Hammers would allow him to stay on at school to finish his qualifications and so, despite Chelsea offering his parents £500 and a car, Brooking signed on with the Irons on 24th July 1965.

The 20-year-old Brooking made his debut for Ron Greenwood’s Hammers in a 3-3 draw at Burnley on 29th August 1967 and made his first appearance at Upton Park four days later, as a substitute in a 3-1 home defeat to Manchester United in front of 36,562. He scored his first goal for the club in a 4-2 home win over Leicester on Boxing Day 1967, the first of three goals in three games. Trevor made 28 appearances in 1967/68, scoring nine goals (including the only hat-trick of his career in a 5-0 home win over Newcastle) and played alongside the likes of Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Sir Geoff Hurst as West Ham finished 12th in the First Division.

Brooking made increasingly fewer appearances over the following three seasons (37 in 1968/69, 23 in 1969/70 and 20 in 1970/71) – injury and the signing of Peter Eustace led to Brooking considering his future before the purchase of Tommy Taylor did lead to a transfer request. The disappointing form of Alan Stephenson at centre-half led to Taylor being pushed back into defence and Brooking secured a more regular place in 1971/72 – he made 54 appearances that season, scored seven goals and was voted Hammer of the Year for the first time. Meanwhile, in June 1970, Trevor had married Hilkka, a Finnish au pair – the couple went on to have two children, Collette and Warren.

Trevor notched 11 goals in 1972/73 (the only time he would hit double figures in the top flight) as the Hammers finished in sixth place in the First Division and his creativity was crucial in many of Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson’s 28 goals during that campaign. Derby manager Brian Clough had a combined offer of £400,000 for Brooking and Moore rejected by Greenwood in 1973, while Brooking himself turned down a £425,000 move to Tottenham in 1974 as he was unsure of the club’s stability with Bill Nicholson nearing the end of his reign at White Hart Lane. Brooking went on to make his England debut in a 0-0 draw against Portugal on 3rd April 1974.

Brooking would win the FA Cup with the Hammers in 1975, scoring in a 2-1 fourth round replay win at Swindon en route to the Final against Fulham at Wembley. One of his finest moments in claret and blue would arrive in the Semi-Final second leg of the European Cup Winners’ Cup the following campaign – his two-goal salvo in a 3-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on the evening of 14th April 1976 helped John Lyall’s Hammers to the Final against Anderlecht. The Irons would be defeated in the Final but that semi-final against the Germans stands as one of Upton Park’s most cherished memories. Trevor would be voted Hammer of the Year for the second time at the end of the 1975/76 season, having made 49 appearances and scored nine goals.

This would be the first of three consecutive Hammer of the Year Awards for Brooking, as he topped the supporters’ vote in 1977 and 1978 – this was a bleak period for the Hammers though and the club were relegated at the end of the 1977/78 campaign. Ron Greenwood, by now England manager, assured a concerned Brooking that his England place would be safe despite Second Division football which ensured the midfielder remained in East London. Promotion would take three years to achieve but Brooking’s finest hour in claret and blue would arrive on 10th May 1980, when he stooped to conquer Arsenal in the FA Cup Final.

Brooking had three nicknames during his extensive playing career with the Hammers: ‘Cyril’ after Cyril Lord the carpet salesman, as Ron Greenwood told him “you’re always on the floor” after being muscled out of challenges in his younger days; ‘Hadleigh’, after an upper class television detective, a reference to Brooking’s exemplary and gentlemanly conduct; and ’Boog’, after a slow baseball player by the name of Boog Powell who the team had witnessed during a tour of the United States, a reference to Trev’s lack of pace .

Brooking hit ten goals as the Hammers secured promotion back to the top flight in 1981 and followed the success of 1980/81 by scoring two goals in Hungary to help England qualify for the 1982 World Cup. His nine goals in 41 appearances helped the Hammers consolidate their First Division status and the 1981/82 campaign was followed by a brief appearance at the World Cup – Brooking and Kevin Keegan had been suffering from injury throughout the tournament and both made late substitute appearances against hosts Spain in what would transpire to be England’s last match of the tournament and both players’ final appearance for their country.

An injury-hit 1982/83 campaign saw just one appearance for Brooking back at West Ham. Trevor would return in 1983/84 to play 43 matches and score six goals – he retired at the end of the season, his memorable West Ham United career ending with a solo lap of the pitch after a 1-0 home defeat to Everton on 14th May 1984. He was voted Hammer of the Year for the fifth time in 1984, a record that still stands today. Sir Trevor Brooking scored 102 goals for the club and made 643 appearances – four matches behind Bobby Moore and fourth in the all-time list which is topped by Trev’s great friend Billy Bonds, with Frank Lampard Senior in second.

Regular readers of my match previews may be aware that, over the last season, I have started creating my own videos to add to the Blast from the Past and Club Connections sections. Here is my latest video, a compilation of some of Sir Trevor’s finest and most important goals for West Ham United and England:

Trevor was appointed an MBE in 1981, elevated to CBE in 1999 and knighted in 2004. Since retiring from the game, he has worked extensively as a co-commentator and pundit on BBC television and radio, and was chairman of Sport England between 1999 and 2002.

Brooking was a non-executive director at West Ham when he took over as caretaker manager after Glenn Roeder was taken ill with a brain tumour in April 2003. Struggling desperately against relegation with a team of young and talented starlets, Brooking recorded two 1-0 wins (at Manchester City, managed by his former England team-mate Kevin Keegan, and at home against Chelsea) to take the battle to the final day. The Hammers had to better Bolton’s result but, with the Trotters winning, West Ham’s 2-2 draw at Birmingham was meaningless.

Roeder was sacked three league games into the 2003/04 season and Brooking again took up the reigns while the appointed replacement, Alan Pardew, was on gardening leave from Reading. Trevor took charge of 11 games in his second spell in charge (ten in the league, one in the League Cup), winning seven, drawing three and losing just one. His overall record as manager over both caretaker spells was: Played 14, Won 9, Drawn 4, Lost 1 – a win percentage of 64.3%.

Brooking joined the Football Association as Director of Football Development in January 2004, a role which gave him total control of coaching and development in English football, as well as a role in appointing England managers. The seeds that he sowed are now bearing fruit, with England winning the Toulon Tournament last summer and reaching the Under-20 World Cup Final this week. In 2009 the Centenary Stand at Upton Park (formerly the North Bank) was re-named the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand. I had the good fortune to meet Sir Trevor in 2014 – referring to me when talking to my Dad shortly before this photograph was taken, Trev quipped that he “wouldn’t like to mark him at a corner kick”. Brooking, now 68, has the South Stand at the London Stadium bearing his name.

Scotland v England

England face Scotland this weekend in a World Cup 2018 qualifier – it will be the 114th meeting between the two nations. Brooking was the star of the show in a previous match at Hampden Park on 24th May 1980, just two weeks after his FA Cup Final heroics. Johnny Logan was number one with ‘What’s Another Year’, The Empire Strikes Back had just been released in UK cinemas and Joy Division singer Ian Curtis had committed suicide just six days earlier.

Ron Greenwood’s England took the lead in the eighth minute courtesy of Brooking. Liverpool centre-forward David Johnson’s deep cross found Ipswich striker Paul Mariner at the back post and his header back across goal was perfect for Brooking to steer left-footed beyond Partick Thistle and Scotland goalkeeper Alan Rough. It was the second of his five England goals, in the 37th of his 47 caps.

Brooking turned creator for England’s second in this 2-0 win, setting up Manchester United winger Steve Coppell who saw his initial shot saved before taking the ball past Rough and firing home.

England: Ray Clemence (Liverpool), Trevor Cherry (Leeds), Phil Thompson (captain, Liverpool), Dave Watson (Southampton), Kenny Sansom (Crystal Palace), Steve Coppell (Man Utd), Ray Wilkins (Man Utd), Terry McDermott (Liverpool), Trevor Brooking (West Ham), David Johnson (Liverpool), Paul Mariner (Ipswich).

Sub: Emlyn Hughes (Wolves) for Mariner.

Scotland: Alan Rough (Partick Thistle), Danny McGrain (Celtic), Paul Hegarty (Dundee Utd), Alex McLeish (Aberdeen), Willie Miller (Aberdeen), Iain Munro (St Mirren), Roy Aitken (Celtic), Archie Gemmill (captain, Birmingham), Gordon Strachan (Aberdeen), Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool), Joe Jordan (Man Utd).

Subs: George Burley (Ipswich) for Munro; Andy Gray (Wolves) for Aitken.