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A night of agony hits Hammers


CandH blogger Allen Cummings remembers


The late, great Gordon Banks was in no doubt.

His greatest ever save wasn’t the one from Pele during the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. It was the penalty save from our own Geoff Hurst in a League Cup Semi-final second leg at Upton Park in December 1972.

West Ham had beaten Stoke 2-1 at the Victoria ground in the first leg, but were losing 1-0 in the second leg when Banks upended Harry Redknapp in the penalty area, with just four minutes of the tie remaining.

A goal now would surely have sent the Hammers to Wembley. Who better to take the spot kick than Geoff Hurst, our own penalty king – lethal from the spot on any other occasion. But not this one!

Hurst strode up confidently, and in his customary style, smashed the ball as hard as he could. It looked a certain goal. But Banks took off and somehow managed to get an outstretched hand to Hurst’s thunderbolt, diverting it over the bar. It was possibly the save of the century, and ultimately the moment that broke our hearts.

The tie finished all square on aggregate, went to a replay – and then a second replay – which Stoke won in equally dramatic style. But that story is for another day.

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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

4 comments on “A night of agony hits Hammers

  1. You must get advertising revenue from posting absolutely anything yeah? And you come up with a headline that will make people click..

  2. Yeah i was there behind the goal in the north bank and at the first replay at hillsborough.
    Took four games to settle it and bobby moore ended up in goal.

  3. i have very fond memories of this game my whole family went my father mother sister and me i was only 12yo and my father had got tickets via the tout outside the main stand
    it was my mothers first game and we sat in the main stand near to the south bank end goal we are all from stratford and staunch west ham fans but my mothers knowledge of football is nil anyway during the game we were shouting for west ham but my mother kept saying good old banksy and drawing some odd looks when we explained to her that banksy played for the opposing team she couldnt believe it as it was only 18 months prior was we all shouting for banksy in the 1970 world cup finals she just didnt understand lol
    i love my family who have sadly all left me now RIP

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