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West Ham eclipsing tradition

Blind Hammer looks at a previous Genk clash.

For all my life I have supported a club that tends to look backwards rather than forward

This may finally be about to change.

Ironically we need to look back just one more time to understand why.

In the historic 1964 European Cup Winners campaign West Ham coincidentally faced last week’s opponents Genk.
Then it was a much more hard-fought affair.

A 1-0 away victory meant that a 1-1 draw at Upton Park was sufficient to allow the Hammers to progress. A Martin Peters own goal was cancelled out by a Johnny Byrne equaliser.

In goal was stand-in keeper Alan Dickie but apart from that, the side reads like a Who’s who of West Ham greats.

John Bond
Bobby Moore
Ken Brown
Eddie Bovington
Martin Peters
Ronnie Boyce
Johnny Sissons
Peter Brabrook
Geoff Hurst
Johnny Byrne

Including Johnny Byrne and Peter Brabrook, 5 of these 10 were either current or future England internationals
This West Ham side went on to memorably lift the trophy, only the second English side since the 1955 start of European Competition to do so.
West Ham then reached a global audience when the core of that side produced a Captain, a hattrick hero and midfield poacher in the World Cup Final.

Yet Ultimately this legendary side failed to realise the promise their talent offered.
West Ham never grew the big club structure to regularly compete in the league. We were the 4th club in London and occasionally had even this threatened by a Rodney Marsh and Gerry Francis inspired QPR.

This may, however, be about to change. 56 years ago The faithful roaring on West Ham against Genk numbered only 24,101.
In contrast, the numbers packing in at the London Stadium last week was 45,980. Nearly twice as many.

Our current season ticket allocation dwarfs the biggest crowds possible even with packing in standing supporters in those days.

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West Ham is growing before our eyes, obvious to even a blind man like me.

Each week we succeed in Cup competitions we draw in new supporters, outside of our season ticket base.

Each time we achieve the excitement of a European night under lights at the LondonStadium we win more hearts to the cause.

This side has won nothing yet but just maybe, this is not another false dawn.

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About David Griffith

My Father, born in 1891 was brought up in the shadows of the Thames Ironworks Memorial Ground. I remember as a child jumping over the settee when Alan Sealy scored in our 1965 European Cup Winners triumph. My first game was against Leicester in 1968, when Martin Peters scored what was adjudged by ITV’s Big Match as the Goal of the Season. I became a season ticket holder in 1970. I was registered blind in 1986 and thought my West Ham supporting days were over. However in 2010 I learnt about the fantastic support West Ham offer to Blind and other Disabled Supporters. I now use the Insightful Irons in-stadium commentary service and West Ham provide space for my Guide Dog Nyle. I sit on the West Ham Disabled Supporters Board and the LLDC Built Environment Access Panel. David Griffith aka Blind Hammer

3 comments on “West Ham eclipsing tradition

  1. In actual fact six of the ten were existing or future England internationals : Brown, Moore, Peters, Brabrook, Byrne and Hurst.

    • Thanks for the correction. I checked John Bond but completely forgot about Brown. Unfortunately I think it is probably too late to meaningfully make an edit to the main article now but I will remember for the next time.

  2. My thoughts entirely, David. This West Ham feels different because our understanding of what a manager should be has changed. There are manager’s and Manager’s, and we have got the best type and the type that this club has always needed.
    David Moyes’s fingerprints are all over every aspect of this club as he has connected the dots and has removed the dysfunction on so many levels. Moyes now has the first team playing alongside the Academy U23’s, which means that he now has a close eye on the prospects within the Academy and likewise, the prospects can see the path to the first team now, which gives them added incentive to impress. The clear lines of progression are there for these youngsters.
    Along with his assembled coaching team, he now has a Top Director of Football at the club in Rob Newman.
    Bit by bit and pragmatically Moyes has built structure along with a footballing ethos at this club and in such a relatively short space of time. I do hope that he is here for a very long time, as there are very few managers that are builders of clubs and Moyes is one of them. Along with team performance has come repeated shock and surprise for all of us long and medium-term supporters, but I believe that what is happening here at this club is creating new supporters by the week, the lifeblood of any football club.

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