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Michail to escape Bonzo fate?

england-bond-1Michail Antonio sitting with his feet up waiting to appear against Slovakia – will have recalled Billy Bond’s England fate for many Irons fans who nearly 40 years ago missed out on becoming the best defender never to play for England.

Then general manager at the Irons, Greenwood brought in new faces for the World Cup qualifier. Victory for England would take them two points clear of Italy, but they had one more game against Luxembourg while the Italy game was England’s last.
Also with a -4 goal difference against the italians, England needed a big win to pressure Italy for their last game so in came Bonzo, Bob Latchford of Everton, and Man City’s Peter Barnes for the first England experience. Latchford and Barnes made the starting eleven, Bonzo was on the bench.
The history books say that Bonds never made it onto the pitch, and the fact it was the man who signed him and made him captain of West Ham, makes the decision harder to understand, because if any manager knew Bonzo it was Greenwood. 
To rub salt into his wounds, Greenwood earmarked Bill for England call up again, four years later in 1981 in an end of season friendly against Brazil, but a training ground collision with Phil Parkes of all people put Bill out of action and out of the squad, though young Alvin Martin would win his first of 17 caps.
Quite why Bonzo never made it onto the pitch in 1977 is probably best left unknown, though the fact that England needed a big win and both of Ron’s substitutions that night were attackers we could forgive Greenwood for denying one of West Hams greatest ever players the greatest ever accolade for any English player.
We really don’t see the same fate awaiting Michail but you can read all about Bonzo’s absence from the international scene in issue 3 of the  6 FOOT 2 fanzine at http://read.magazine.live/6-foot-/data/4148/reader/reader.html? t=636088854407376662#!preferred/0/package/4148/pub/4151/page/0/4151/page/0


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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

16 comments on “Michail to escape Bonzo fate?

  1. I’m not sure it was a training ground incident that put Bonds out of the Brazil game Hugh, I seem to remember it was the last game of the season (Sheffield Wed I think)

  2. I thought BB missed out because he got the flu…?? Whichever, whilst Bobby Moore is probably our greatest player ever, BB is my favourite….and holds the record for the most appearances…because he was SUPERMAN!!
    The greatest player never to have played for England IMO

  3. Sorry to be a pedant but Bonzo didn’t miss out on becoming the best defender never to play for England. He IS the best defender never to play for England.

    • Nice to know that I’m not the only pedant who reads these posts – but I do despair sometimes – well, just about every day, actually.

  4. Yes ! It was another Greek tragedy lol. I just committed a personal sin . I actually read the first 4/5 lines before pishing myself ! Were all doomed aaarrrgghhhh 😉

  5. It was also criminal that Alvin didn’t get more games, Bonzo is certainly the best defender never to play for England, even in those days the money men preferred mostly Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham players over ours… Seeing as we are one of the few clubs bringing through British talent that is another crime we can lay at the FA’s door. I hope Antonio doesn’t get the Bonzo/Noble curse and I doubt he will, time will tell COYI !!!

  6. Not only was Bonzo the defender ever not to play for England, he was the best midfielder and the best rb/lb not to play for England.
    If he put his mind to it he would be the best striker not to play for England, as well!!!

    • Loving that, Deef – It is always a massive lift for me when I hear people enthusing about BB! There’s a Facebook page “Name a stand after BB” – You might like it; check out the BB scooter – even BB on the BB scooter! It’s a classic; guaranteed to raise a smile for BB fans. For me he was best in midfield – remember that goal v Stoke in the league cup in the mud? Sheer guts…
      But also it was his superb defending that probably won us the Cup v Arsenal…
      Happy Days!!

  7. Don’t start me on the Bonzo story, or I’ll be going on all day.
    Actually in the period mentioned above Bonzo was already 30 years old. What about the previous 10 years under Revie and Ramsey.
    Absolute disgrace, and since 1973 I’ve never really supported the England team.
    Horrendous ( I think )

  8. Get over it guys lol.Im sure there are fans all over the country who have players they think were mugged off to never win a cap.

    • I’ll never get over it. I don’t want to get over it. I like not getting over it. Keeps how great he was alive….”6’2 eyes of blue…” etc – Love it!

    • I doubt any club in the country had anyone so good not picked for England

  9. OK, as fans we’re probably biased, but I seem to recall Bill Shankly, writing in the Daily Mirror I think, picking his team of the year. Yes he included our Bill, and he justified it by describing him as the best English *player* never to have played for his country. Not a bad judge was Bill Shankly.

  10. Of course we are biased,there is nothing wrong with that unless you turn it into a ott subject like some do.When is the official unveiling of the new site name ‘Fish & Hugh’.

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