A Pictorial History

FOOTBALL PROGRAMMES

WEST HAM UNITED

Steve Marsh & Stuart Allen

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1897-98 Thames Ironworks :

London League Division One

Season 1896-97 Season 1898-99

The start of the 1897-98 season saw several new signings – Simon Chisholm, a half-back, and two forwards, James Reid and Percy Mills. It was becoming increasingly difficult to persuade men to play for the team. A major problem was the fear of an injury that would result in them being unable to work for the Thames Iron Works Company. The club committee therefore decided to insure the players against loss of wages that might follow an injury sustained during league and cup fixtures. However, the club committee issued the players with a warning that anyone who had been injured in a match had to be home by 8.p.m. every evening. They were obviously concerned that they did not try to ease the pain by spending their time drinking in the local public houses.

Season tickets for the 1897-98 were fixed at 5 shillings (25p). Tickets for individual matches cost 4d. However, attendances at games were very disappointing. Around 300 were present to witness the opening friendly game with Northfleet. However, a week later there was an improved attendance of 1,000 for the visit of Brentford in the London League. New signing Jimmy Reid scored the Thames goal in a 1-0 victory.

The FA Cup began and Redhill were beaten 3-0 at home, with Chisholm scoring twice. Next up in the Cup was another home tie with Royal Engineers, who were beaten 2-1. Unfortunately further progress in the FA Cup was halted when Thames lost 2–0 to St Albans.

In the league in October, the 3rd Grenadier Guards were beaten 1-0 and local rivals Leyton were thrashed 4-0. During November and December the team remained unbeaten, with a 3-0 victory against Barking Woodville and the 2nd Grenadier Guards being beaten 5-1, following a hat-trick from Edwards. In the New Year the impressive league form continued with hat-tricks for Gresham against Stanley, who were beaten 3-0, and a further hat-trick for Edwards in the 7-3 victory over Bromley. By April there were only two clubs in contention to win the league, with Thames having just one more point than Brentford. The two teams met at Brentford before a crowd of 3,000, boosted by a party of 200 from Thames who had arrived by boat. It was a fast and furious encounter which saw Brentford triumph by 1-0. The final day of the season arrived with Thames at home to the 2nd Grenadier Guards. Despite an injury to Dove and having to play with ten men, Thames won 3-1. There were joyous scenes as the news came through that Brentford had been beaten, which meant that the Ironworks were London League champions.

BRENTFORD : London League Second Division

Memorial Grounds

1 - 0 (Reid)

11 September 1897

Att: 1,000

Furnell, Chalkley, Dove, Chisholm, Dandridge, Bird, Mills, Gresham, Hatton, Edwards, Reid

REDHILL : FA Cup (First Qualifying Round)

Memorial Grounds

3 - 0 (Chisholm 2, [og])

18 September 1897

Att: 1,000

Furnell, Chalkley, Tranter, Dove, Dandridge, Chisholm, Older, Hatton, Reid, Gresham, Edwards

ROYAL ENGINEERS TRAINING BATTALION : FA Cup (Second Qualifying Round)

Memorial Grounds

2 - 1 (Hatton, Reid)

25 September 1897

Att: 1,200

Furnell, Chalkley, Tranter, Dove, Dandridge, Chisholm, Older, Hatton, Reid, Gresham, Edwards

LEYTON : London League Second Division

Memorial Grounds

4 - 0 (Reid 2, Gresham, Hatton)

2 October 1897

Att: 2,500

Furnell, Chalkley, Neil, Dove, Dandridge, Chisholm, Denham, Gresham, Hatton, Reid, Edwards

ST ALBANS : FA Cup (Third Qualifying Round)

Clarence Park

0 - 2

16 October 1897

Att: 1,000

Furnell, Chalkley, Taylor, Dove, Dandridge, Gillies, Hird, Hatton, Reid, Gresham, Edwards

3rd GRENADIER GUARDS : London League Second Division

Away

1 - 0 (Reid)

23 October 1897

 

Furnell, Neil, Tranter, Dove, Taylor, Chisholm, Edwards, Hird, Gresham, Reid, Gillies

LEYTON : London League Second Division

Away

3 - 1 (Gresgam, Hird, Hounsell)

30 October 1897

Att: 3,000

Furnell, Neil, Tranter, Dove, Taylor, Chisholm, Gillies, Reid, Hounsell, Gresham, Hird

BARKING WOODVILLE : London League Second Division

Memorial Grounds

3 - 0 (Gresham 2, Reid)

13 November 1897

 

Furnell, Neil, Tranter, Dove, Taylor, Chisholm, Nicholl, Gresham, Hounsell, Reid, Gillies

Special thanks to John Powles and his excellent book  "IRON IN THE BLOOD : Thames Ironworks FC The club that became West Ham United" for allowing extracts to compile this feature. John Northcutt for his attention to statistical accuracy..

97_10_30 Leyton v. TIW 97_09_25 TIW v. Royal Engineers Training Battalion

NOVOCASTRIANS : London Senior Cup

Ponders End

3 - 1 (Cooper, Hounsell, [og])

27 November 1897

 

Furnell, Neil, Tranter, Dove, Dandridge, Chisholm, Edwards, Cooper, Hounsell, Gresham, Morrison

2nd GRENADIER GUARDS : London League Second Division

Memorial Grounds

5 - 1 (Edwards 3, Gresham, Hird)

2 December 1897

 

Furnell

Dove

Tranter

Gillies

Taylor

Chisholm

Hird

Reid

Hounsell

Gresham

Edwards

ILFORD : London League Second Division

Away

3 - 3 (Hird 2, Reid)

11 December 1897

 

Furnell, Neil, Tranter, Dove, Taylor, Chisholm, Hird, Gresham, Reid, Gillies, Edwards

13 December 1897

 

The club secretary wrote:

"The support we have received has not been so large as we should wish for, the gates not totalling near the number we might expect and certainly not so many as the quality of the play of our men should warrant."

The Ironworks met Novocastrians at their Ponders End enclosure in the London Senior Cup. The 'Novos' were unbeaten on their own ground at that time, but the peculiarities of their pitch may have had some bearing on that, for there was a distinct slope from one end to the other with a blanket of long grass covering a bumpy surface. Recent heavy rain caused muddy conditions however, and what with playing uphill against the wind the Irons had to be at their best to keep level until half-time. After the interval Thames had the last laugh when they were kicking downhill with an even greater wind behind them, and they eventually ran out winners, after going a goal down, by 3-1.

ILFORD : London League Second Division

Memorial Grounds

4 - 0 (Bone, Gresham, Reid, [og])

1 January 1898

 

Furnell, Neil, Tranter, Gillies, Taylor, Hickman, Edwards, Reid, Bone, Gresham, Foss

A crowd of over 3,000 turned up to see the rematch at Leyton's ground later that month. Henry Hird and Robert Hounsell gave the Irons a two goal lead. However, in the second-half, Leyton was awarded a dubious penalty which they converted. Hird, who was still disputing the decision after the goal had been scored, was sent off by the referee. This caused some crowd trouble but the 10 man Hammers held out and even added a third goal, scored by George Gresham, before the end of the game.

 

The match created a great deal of comment in the West Ham Guardian. The reporter at the game blamed the Hammers for the trouble. "Why will the Thames Ironworks resort to such shady tactics to ensure victory when every member of the team can play good sound football if he likes? Arthur Russell was so badly used by the Ironworkers... that he has since been confined to his bed under the doctor's orders... This roughness should be checked by the Ironwork's committee if they have any regard for the club's good name."

These comments angered supporters of the club and one wrote to the newspaper putting forward a completely different interpretation of the game: "Now as a common or garden onlooker, I emphatically deny that the roughness was all on one side. In the opening stages of the game one of the Leyton halves adopted very shady methods, and this in the main was responsible for the greater portion of the objectionable tactics. Then, too, the ordering off of the outside left (Henry Hird) was sufficient to drive the team to desperation."

STANLEY : London League Second Division

Memorial Grounds

4 - 2 (Gresham 3, [og])

8 January 1898

 

Furnell, Neil, Tranter, Gillies, Taylor, Chisholm, Hird, Gresham, Hounsell, Reid, Edwards

BROMLEY : London League Second Division

Memorial Grounds

7 - 3 (Edwards 3, Hounsell 2, Gillies, Gresham)

15 January 1898

 

Furnell, Neil, Tranter, Cox, Chisholm, Gillies, Hird, Edwards, Hounsell, Reid, Gresham

ILFORD : London Senior Cup

Memorial Grounds

1 - 3 (Gresham)

22 January 1898

 

Furnell, Neil, Tranter, Bird, Dandridge, Chisholm, Morrison, Gresham, Hounsell, Reid, Edwards

STANLEY : London League Second Division

West Brompton

1 - 3 (Gresham)

26 February 1898

 

Heath, Neil, Tranter, Taylor, Gillies, Chisholm, Hird, Reid, Fitzjohn, Gresham, Edwards

BARKING WOODVILLE : London League Second Division

Away

0 - 0

12 March 1898

 

Heath, Neil, Rooff, Chisholm, Taylor, Gillies, Hird, Gresham, Hounsell, Reid, Edwards

BROMLEY : London League Second Division

Away

5 - 1 (Reid 3, Hird, Hounsell)

19 March 1898

 

Heath, Neil, Rooff, Gillies, Taylor, Chisholm, Hird, Reid, Hounsell, Gresham, Edwards

GRENADIER GUARDS : London League Second Division

Memorial Grounds

3 - 1 (Hounsell 2, Neil)

1 April 1898

 

Heath, Neil, Tranter, Dove, Oxspring, Chisholm, Hird, Reid, Hounsell, Gresham, Edwards

BRENTFORD : London League Second Division

Away

0 - 1

23 April 1898

 

Heath, Neil, Tranter, Dove, Oxspring, Chisholm, Hird, Reid, Hounsell, Gresham, Woodcock

At this stage there were only two clubs in contention with Thames on 25 points and Brentford on 24, with the vital clash between the two to come on April 23rd 1898. With the fixture being away from home, travelling plans to the West London club turned out to be something of an innovation. There was no involvement of horse-brakes on this occasion as a party of two hundred supporters left aboard a boat from the Ironworks wharf around noon and set off along the Thames to Kew. This must have been one of the first, if not the very first occasion that a set of supporters had made a journey by river for an away match in this country. It was certainly appropriate considering the club's shipyard background. From there they boarded a train to Shotters Field to what was described as 'the pretty little town of Brentford.'

There was a great deal of interest in the game as Brentford needed a victory to put them on top, with one match remaining. If the Ironworks won then they would be champions, and with this in mind there was a healthy attendance of 3,000.

Naturally, it was a hard fought encounter with end-to-end play, but when Neil, Thames right back, conceded a free kick just outside the penalty area, Lloyd, who was to play for the Irons the following season, headed the ball into the net for the home side. Just before the break Woodcock, the Irons outside left, twisted a knee and took no further part in the match. What with playing a man short and with Hird having a goal disallowed for offside in the second half the Irons knew it was not to be their day, and they suffered their first league defeat of the season. Brentford were now top and had only to beat lowly Barking Woodville in their final match to take the title. Thames had to win against 2nd Grenadier Guards and hope that Brentford would suffer an unlikely defeat.

2nd GRENADIER GUARDS : London League Second Division

Away

3 - 1 (Hounsell 2, Gresham)

30 April 1898

 

Heath, Neil, Tranter, Dove, Oxspring, Chisholm, Hird, Reid, Hounsell, Gresham, Foss

An odd situation arose before that match actually took place, as the 2nd Grenadier Guards at that time were obliged to move barracks to Pirbright in Surrey and it was deemed more important to them to pull out of the fixture and concede the points. As the outcome would decide the title, the London League executive instructed the military outfit that the match had to be fulfilled, although the game, which should have been an away fixture, was switched to the Memorial Grounds. The 2nd Grenadier Guards were a very poor side, bottom of the table with only 3 points and nothing to play for, but to be fair they gave plenty of effort, but Thames had only ten men almost from the start when Charlie Dove received a bad injury, but they still ran out easy winners by 3-1.

 

Communications in those days were not exactly instantaneous like they are today, but when news filtered through that Brentford had amazingly been beaten by Barking Woodville in their final match, the players of Thames Ironworks were overjoyed that they had won their first league title.

THAMES IRONWORKS

London League Second Division Champions

Southern League Division Two

0129 TIW v. 2nd Grenadier Guards

2nd Genadier Guards:

Bellmore, Powell, Neal, Siddell, Shearyn, Mathers, Godfrey, Newton, Hooten, Burke, Cornenr