A Pictorial History



Steve Marsh & Stuart Allen

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1905-06 Southern League : First Division

Manager: Syd King

In 1905 Syd King signed George Kitchen from Everton as a replacement for Matt Kingsley who had been sold to Queen's Park Rangers. An outstanding goalkeeper he was considered to be one of the best in England. He joined a defence that included Tommy Allison, Frank Piercy, David Gardner and Len Jarvis.

Syd King also persuaded Fred Blackburn to join the club from Blackburn Rovers. The previous year he had played for England against Scotland. A third signing was Billy Grassam from Manchester United. He had previously played for West Ham between 1900-1903.

The opening match of the season was against Swindon Town. West Ham won the game 1-0 in front of 10,000 supporters. George Kitchen became the first ever goalkeeper to score a goal on his debut. Kitchen was the team's penalty taker and he added three more that season. Despite this early victory, West Ham had a poor start to the season and lost 9 of their first 13 games.

The most significant signing that year was of Harry Stapley. A school teacher who had previously played amateur football he scored on his debut against Portsmouth on 23rd December 1905. He followed this with goals against Luton Town (1-1), Norwich City (6-1), Southampton (3-0), Northampton Town (4-1) and Queen's Park Rangers (1-0).

On 13 January 1906, West Ham played Woolwich Arsenal in the first round of the FA Cup. A crowd of 18,000 at Plumstead saw George Kitchen score a penalty to draw the game 1-1. West Ham lost the replay at the Memorial Grounds 3-2.

ARSENAL : FA Cup (First Round)

Kitchen, Milnes, Gardner, Allison, Jarvis, Piercy, Bridgeman, Bush, Hilsdon, Watson, Blackburn

Manor Ground, Plumstead

1 - 1 (Kitchen [pen])

13 January 1906

West Ham United of the Southern League and Woolwich Arsenal in the First Division of the Football League (having been elected to Division II in 1893} played this FA Cup game at the Manor Ground, Plumstead. Many Hammers' fans would have made their way south across the River Thames via the Woolwich Free Ferry or the pedestrian tunnel from North Woolwich to Beresford Square. 18,000 turned out for the first meeting on 13 January 1 906 (Receipts £485.18s.)

The 1 -1 score came as the result of two converted penalties. Goalkeeper Kitchen was Hammers' hero; he was also the penalty-taker, and tradition has it that after a team-mate put the ball on the spot, George ran the length of the field and hammered it first-time past his opposite number! At the other end Kitchen foiled all Arsenal's attempts except Sharp's spot-kick which nullified Hammers' half-time advantage. So it was off to Upton Park for the replay on the following Thursday afternoon with a 2.30 kick-off.


Incidentally, a colour-clash led to Arsenal playing in white shirts for the first meeting (in those days it was customary for the home team to change); but there is no mention of what "strips" were used in the replay.


Jimmy Ashcroft. Archie Cross, Jimmy Sharp, Jimmy Bigden, Percy Sands, Roddy MacEachran, Billy Garbutt, John ("Tim") Coleman, Andy Ducat. Tommy Fitchie (amateur), Bobby Tempteton.

ARSENAL : FA Cup (First Round replay)

Kitchen, Milnes, Gardner, Allison, Jarvis, Piercy, Wilkinson, Bridgeman, Hilsdon, Watson, Blackburn


Upton Park

2 - 3 (Bridgeman, Watson)

18 January 1906

There were two team-changes for the second meeting; F. Wilkinson replaced Bush in the home side, and Satterthwaite took over from Fitchie for Arsenal. The "gate" was 12,000. (Receipts £375).

There had been some hard tackling at Plumstead, and the "atmosphere" built up over the preceding days may have impelled the FA to change the referee, with A.J. Barker of Hanley taking the place of J. Adams of Birmingham.


To quote: "The recent heavy rains had left the Boleyn Ground in a very bad state, patches of mud and pools of water catching the eye every few yards. Notwithstanding this, the game was very fast and exciting and full of incident from start to finish."

Blackburn, Hilsdon and Bridgeman combined for the latter to put Hammers ahead, but Arsenal scored twice before the interval; Ducat equalised from a scrimmage after a 27th minute corner and then Garbutt swerved the ball past Kitchen to make it 2-1.

Freddie Blackburn's absence left Hammers with ten men to start the second half, but although he came back to the field of play later it was a handicapped side which conceded another goal as Satterthwaite easily scored.

Hammers' second counter was hotly protested. Watson shot, Ashcroft parried it, but the ref ruled it had crossed the line. "A lot of extra vigour was put into play after this and fouls were frequent". Arsenal won 3-2.


Jimmy Ashcroft. Archie Cross, Jimmy Sharp, Jimmy Bigden, Percy Sands, Roddy MacEachran, Billy Garbutt, John ("Tim") Coleman, Andy Ducat. Sattertwaite, Bobby Tempteton.