With the impending arrival of Alvin Martin’s son, David, he will then add the two of them to the select band of father & sons to have been at the club, & I’m sure David hopes to play for the club as well to then be a fully paid-up member of the father & son club.
The first members of this select club were Jim Barrett & his son, also named Jim. Both were proper West Ham born & bread and actually played a reserve or A team game as it was called back then, together in 1946. Big Jim, as the father was fondly known, possibly qualifies as a legend of the club, playing over 500 games in his 20 years making his debut in 1925 and playing his last game in January 1945 just 6 days before his 38th birthday. Upon retiring Big Jim then joined the coaching staff at the club, a true one-club man.
Jim Jnr joined the Hammers from school but had to wait four years before starting his first game. He would play just under 100 times before signing for Nottingham Forest in 1954. He retired aged just 29 but returned to the club as a youth coach assisting the youngsters as they won the FA Youth Cup in 1963, the first time the club had won that trophy. He also continued playing in the A team up to 1967 where his last appearance was as a substitute for a certain Tony Carr.
Next up is Bill Lansdowne and son Billy. Bill Snr was part of the team that gained promotion to the first division in 1958 but Injury curtailed his appearances as did the emergence of a certain Bobby Moore. Senior would play 67 games in total, scoring 5 goals, but he did not leave the club on retiring, he also joined the coaching staff, progressing up to Youth Coach where he helped bring through a Billy Lansdowne.
I must admit I get a bit misty eyed when I think of Billy Jnr (no, not like that) as 1 night in October 1979 Billy scored a hat-trick against Southend in a league cup replay that the Hammers won 5-1. A couple of weeks before Bill had scored in the league against Burnley. Sadly that sums up Billy Jnrs time at West Ham as he only managed 14 games including sub appearances in total, scoring just those 4 goals, but for the 9-year-old me, he was a hero, if only for just 3 weeks.
Strange thing is, I remember was that his last game wasagainst Swansea in November 1979. It was my only time standing on the West terrace for a first-team game, My cousin took me to the game and he preferred standing rather than use my uncle’s seating season tickets. Billy moved on to Charlton and Gillingham before forging a career in Sweden.
In 1991 Billy Bonds signed Kenny Brown Jnr from Plymouth and thus he and his dad, Ken Brown, would be the third entrants to the Father-son club. Ken senior was born In Forest Gate and would play over 400 games for his local club, another player where the word legend could be attributed to him. He scored though only 4 goals which Kenny Jnr would surpass in playing only 79 appearances. He scored six times though, none more celebrated than his shinner against Man United in 1992 that infuriated Fergie as United’s title charge was stopped at Upton Park.
Next up are the two Frank Lampards, Senior was a club legend born and brought up in the area and played more times for the club than any other player apart from Billy Bonds.
Frank left to spend a season at Southend playing and assisting Bobby Moore and was brought in to assist Harry Redknapp when he was elevated to become manager, even though Frank had not been in football for nearly 10 years. While assisting Harry, though, they brought through Frank Junior, part of a Golden generation of youth players the club would bring through but not see the best of. Frank Jnr still is sung about by the fans though I’m not sure he appreciates the sentiments.
Aged just 17 when making his debut, Dan Potts, son of another club Legend Steve, broke the cycle of the father & son club being exclusively for those that shared the same name. Dan, though, didn’t make the same impression as his father, He managed only 13 appearances without scoring. Steve Potts, of course, is famous for the fact he played over 400 times scoring just 1 goal, against Hull, which in truth the keeper should be embarrassed about as he let it through his legs. He was the Hammer of the year twice, 1993 & 1995, and runner up in 1992 and 1994.
Dan is now at Luton Town where strangely enough he plays with not one but two other members of the club. Elliot Lee, son of Plaistow born Rob Lee and George Moncur son of John. Neither of those really troubled the club statisticians with Elliot making 7 appearances scoring just the once, and George gaining just 2 outings.
As we know, the father’s achievements at West Ham outweigh anything their sons have managed and David Martin will never get near achieving what his dad did but for me I always welcome a returning son to the club. Surely when growing up David was a West Ham fan and as such we can forgive him for his dalliance with Millwall. In fact, we could take some glee in that his last gift to Millwall was dropping the ball into the goal allowing Brighton to equalise in this season’s cup quarter-final and allowing Brighton to then knock them out on penalties denying our old enemy a trip to Wembley.
There are some near misses in regards to the Father-Son club as well. Lou Macari brought with him his son Mitch, who was a youth player for a couple of seasons, also Gianfranco Zola’s son, Andreas, was with us as well appearing in reserve games. Of course, both fathers never played for the club but If the sons had made it into the first team I’m sure we could have allowed them in.