On Monday the Hammers gained another octogenarian as Bill Lansdowne, former player and coach celebrated his 80th Birthday.
Bill was born in Shoreditch in 1935 but after returning from being evacuated during the war his family settled in the Loughton area and it was playing for Loughton he was spotted by Wally St Pier the chief scout and after completing his national service at Bill was able to sign on for us.
Bill made his debut in 1956 and had his best season as the club returned to top flight in 1958 playing alongside Stars of the club Noel Cantwell, John Bond Vic Keeble, and Frank O’Farrell, – the oldest surviving ex Hammer.
Bill’s career though was hampered by injury and it was after being out injured in September 1958, a certain youngster, Bobby Moore,was given his chance of first team football.
Bill’s appearances were limited, possibly due to Moore’s emergence and after a short run in mid 1960 he wouldn’t appear again after 1962 before retiring through injury in 1965 after only 57 appearances and 5 goals in 9 years.
Ron Greenwood had now replaced Ted Fenton as manager and recommended Bill for the managers job at Eastbourne, but not for long as when Ron needed a youth coach he asked him to return to the club in 1968.
Bill would remain on the coaching staff until leaving in 1979, but not before seeing his own son Billy progress through the youth teams to break into the first team thus writing both of them into the West Ham history books as only the second father & Son to represent the first team, Jim Barrett snr and Jnr were the first to do so.
I’m sure all at Claret & Hugh would like to wish a good club servant a very Happy 80th Birthday for Monday just gone (9-11)
Happy Birthday Bill.
Words and pics from CandH historian and lifelong fan Nigel Kahn
Follow Nige @mywhufc