A Pictorial History

FOOTBALL PROGRAMMES

WEST HAM UNITED

Steve Marsh & Stuart Allen

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1907-08 Southern League : First Division

Manager: Syd King

SWINDON TOWN : Southern League

Kitchen

Wildman

Taylor

Allison

Piercy

Jarvis

Lindsay

Grassam

Stapley

Watson

Blackburn

Upton Park

1 - 2 (Grassam [pen])

2 September 1907

Att: 8,000

Swindon Town (H) 1907-08

During the game Frank Piercy got involved in a fist fight with the veteran centre-half Charlie Bannister. The Stratford Express described what happened between the two men:

 

"Most of the spectators must have been made angry by the game which took place between West Ham and Swindon at Upton Park on Monday evening. Incidents which reflected discredit on those taking part were frequent, and eventually the game resolved itself into a scramble. One incident - a very regrettable one - will be enough to indicate the kind of game it was. In the second-half Swindon were leading by two goals. One of the Swindon defenders handled the ball, and a penalty was given by the referee. Grassam, in semi-darkness, converted the kick. A West Ham player was walking towards the centre of the field, after the penalty goal had been scored. A Swindon man, who was following him, either accidentally or purposely trod on his heels. The West Ham player - most likely without thinking - turned round and retaliated with his fist. The Swindon man required the services of the trainer before the game proceeded. It is a pity that such unseemly conduct should prevail amongst players of the great national game, for nothing will do more to jeopardise its popularity. And this was not the only incident which occurred; the players were not always particular about their methods of tackling. While everybody likes to see a vigorous display, it is not well to be too vigorous. Whether the matter will go any further it is impossible to say, but it certainly should."

 

The Football Association agreed with the reporter from the Stratford Express. The referee cautioned Frank Piercy and Charlie Bannister during the game. However, the FA thought this was too lenient and Piercy was banned for four weeks. Bannister, who started the trouble, received a six week suspension.

The Yorkshire Post

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : Southern League

Match extracts from the excellent book "IRONS of the SOUTH West Ham United in the Southern League"

By kind permission of author JOHN POWLES and published by Soccer Data

The weather was unusually cold for the time of the year, and raining for most of the match which made it miserable enough, but the amount of violent charging and rough play from both sides could not have been worse. It was noticed that there was a considerable amount of sly tripping off the ball, mainly by the visitors and out of sight of the referee. That apart, the Hammers overall gave a poor display with the exception of new boy Archie Taylor at full-back who was a revelation, sliding in with last-minute tackles, but Dick Jarvis received a cut eye early in the first half, and took no further part in the game. With Swindon a goal up, West Ham fought back in the second half, and were awarded a penalty that the visitors hotly disputed. Then came a moment that epitomized the whole affair. After Billy Grassam had converted the spot kick, the players were walking back to the halfway line, when Bannister, who had handled the ball for the penalty, came behind Frank Piercy and kicked him in the leg. Frank immediately retaliated by turning round and giving Bannister a righthander that knocked his opponent out cold, Although Piercy was guilty of an offence there were many present who sympathized, but it meant a suspension for Frank. As for the final result, a 1-2 reversal meant it was the first time that the Hammers had lost their opening league match since 1903/04.

Kitchen

Wildman

Taylor

Allison

Piercy

Young

Lindsay

Grassam

Stapley

Watson

Blackburn

Upton Park

1 - 2 (Grassam [pen])

2 September 1907

Att: 8,000

Robert Young took the place of Jarvis who had not recovered from his cut eye, but that was the only change in the side. It would not be more than five minutes however, before the home team would be depleted again when William Wildman, after sustaining a knee injury, and appearing for a few minutes after treatment, hobbled off in obvious pain. Piercy moved to back, but 'Spurs took the lead through Reid, and to make matters worse, Taylor received a cut lip, with two teeth being knocked out in an accidental collision just before the half ended, and he also took no further part in the match. After the interval the Hammers lined up with four forwards, three halves, one back and a goalkeeper. With an obvious advantage the visitors pressed hard, but due to West Ham playing the 'one back' game 'Spurs were caught offside time after time. This was a very dangerous game to play, but the Boleyn boys played it to perfection, so much so that they had the determination to move forward themselves, and this resulted in Fred Blackburn sending in a dropping shot from the wing which went into the net off a post, much to the jubilation of the home crowd. Everyone in the side played their part especially Watson who fell back to the centre half position, and Robert Young whose tackling and distribution were outstanding on his debut. With only nine men for a long period, 1-1 was a fine result.

After finishing fifth in the previous campaign there was optimism that this would be a good season. Syd King appointed Frank Piercy as the new captain of West Ham United. He replaced David Gardner who had retired at the end of the 1906-07 season. The usual player movement during the summer saw five players leave with the only signing of note was Danny Shea who had been spotted by the West Ham coach, Charlie Paynter, playing football for the Builders Arms pub team in Stratford.

Other new recruits included full-backs Archie Taylor and James Gault, together with forwards William Brown, Alf Harwood and Tommy Lee. The opening home game was disappointing as the visitors Swindon Town won 2-1, with the Hammers’ Frank Piercy being sent off.

What followed was a run of seven undefeated games, which included five clean sheets. This consistency didn’t last as, during November, there was a fine 4-1 win at home to Brentford but the next home game brought a poor 2-0 defeat to lowly Leyton. This trend continued as on Christmas Day New Brompton, who finished bottom that season, won 2-1 at the Boleyn Ground. On Boxing Day Queens Park Rangers, who won the league that campaign, were beaten 3-0.

The FA Cup began with a visit from Rotherham Town. The Midland League side played well but a goal from Fred Blackburn took West Ham through to the next round. The second-round match saw the Hammers travel to Newcastle United, where a crowd of 47,000 were in attendance. West Ham gave a spirited display, with goalkeeper George Kitchen in fine form until he suffered a foot injury. Playing with ten men, the Hammers could not hold out and lost 2-0.

After beating Portsmouth and Bradford it was disappointing to lose 2-0 at home to Millwall and 4-0 at Brentford. The supporters were frustrated as the team continued to win two then lose two. There were five games remaining, with four of these being away from home. In the game at the Boleyn with Southampton, Billy Brown scored twice in a 4-2 victory. However, the away games were a disaster, with defeats in all four games without scoring. Among those was a poor 3-0 defeat at bottom club New Brompton. The campaign ended with a mid-table position of tenth being five places lower than the previous season.

MILLWALL : Southern League

Kitchen

Wildman

Taylor

Allison

Piercy

Jarvis

Lindsay

Grassam

Stapley

Watson

Blackburn

North Greenwich

0 - 1

26 October 1907

Att: 13,000

07_10_26 Millwall v. WHU cartoon

THE DENTIST: "Been eating too much iron again, Mr. Leo? Broken your teeth, I see.

These are the only ones I happen to have by me just now, but I hope they'll do.

You've got to thank ??? that the lot weren't broken".

SWINDON TOWN : Southern League

Kitchen

Gault

Taylor

Young

Piercy

Jarvis

Lindsay

Grassam

Brown

Watson

Blackburn

County Ground

1 - 1 (Grassam [pen])

14 September 1907

Att: 5,000

1907-08

West Ham United

1907-08

SORRY NO IMAGE

SORRY NO IMAGE

ARCHIE TAYLOR makes his Hammers debut against SWINDON TOWN at Upton Park

ROBERT YOUNG makes his Hammers debut against TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR at Upton Park

JAMES GAULT and WILLIAM BROWN both make their Hammers debut against SWINDON TOWN at the County Ground

The return fixture with Swindon at the County Ground was not, thankfully, the heated affair that took place at Upton Park, and although three penalties were awarded each one was for handball. The Hammers converted their one through Billy Grassam, but Swindon scored one, and missed the other when George Kitchen added one more spot kick save to his record, and the team came away with a point.

It was at this time that Swindon's Bannister thought fit to write to the editor of the 'East Ham Echo' regarding the fracas with Frank Piercy in the opening game of the season. Sir,

In your paper of September 6th appears a statement very injurious to me, andabsolutely untrue.   It says that   'Bannister went up behind Piercy and kicked him on the leg.' I emphatically deny I did anything of the kind. I made a remark to Piercy with reference to something in the game we did not like, and was struck in return unexpectedly.  The remainder of the remarks I pass over at present.

Yours Truly etc..

 

At the disciplinary hearing the above statement cut no ice at all, and Bannister as well as Piercy received a four-match ban.

CRYSTAL PALACE : Southern League

Kitchen

Gault

Taylor

Allison

Young

Jarvis

Lee

Grassam

Stapley

Watson

Blackburn

Upton Park

1 - 0 (Grassam)

21 September 1907

Att: 8,000

THOMAS LEE makes his Hammers debut against CRYSTAL PALACE at Upton Park

Although the Hammers gained a Southern League victory by a single goal over Crystal Palace at the Boleyn, the display was very disappointing, and the visitors must have felt very hard done by. The 'less than average' performance was not the fault of the defence, as it was quite solid, but the forward line, which at this stage was more or less the same as the previous campaign, was far from its best.  Harry Stapley in particular, came in for some heavy criticism - 'slow, dithering and too slight in stature for a centre-forward' was one observer's harsh opinion.

There was an incident that occurred in the Palace match that a section of the crowd found cruelly amusing. Needham, a visiting defender, accidentally booted the ball into the face of one of the crowd causing the poor man's mouth to bleed profusely. Whilst Needham made his apologies, the referee rushed up and gave the suffering individual his handkerchief to staunch the flow of blood!!

LUTON TOWN : Southern League

Kitchen

Young

Taylor

Allison

Stapley

Blackburn

Brown

Lindsay

Grassam

Lee

Watson

Kenilworth Road

3 - 0 (Stapley 2, Grassam)

28 September 1907

Att: 7,000

SORRY NO IMAGE

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Lionel Watson took up the centre half position in place of the suspended Frank Piercy. Lionel had twice 'stood in' for Frank in that position during the previous season. Tommy Lee deputised again for David Lindsay on the right wing. The Hammers gave a much-improved display and achieved a three goal victory. After Grassam had scored in the first half, Tommy Lee made a sensational start to the second by bursting down the right and crossing for Stapley to put the ball in the net. Late in the game it was Stapley again, when he scored a 'cracker' from twenty yards.

The encounter between West Ham and Brighton ended in a 0-0 draw, but for those travelling supporters it was a thrilling one, and the scoreline could well have read 4-4, as it was 'end to end' stuff with numerous chances for both sides.

BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION : Southern League

Kitchen

Gault

Taylor

Allison

Watson

Young

Lindsay

Grassam

Stapley

Blackburn

Lee

Upton Park

0 - 0

5 October 1907

Att: 7,000

SORRY NO IMAGE

PORTSMOUTH : Southern League

Kitchen

Gault

Taylor

Allison

Young

Jarvis

Lindsay

Grassam

Stapley

Watson

Blackburn

Fratton Park

2 - 0 (Blackburn, Watson)

12 October 1907

Att: 12,000

SORRY NO IMAGE

The situation in the Southern League was certainly looking a lot better. The visit to Fratton Park to meet Portsmouth resulted in a 2-0 victory. Although former West Ham forward Bill Kirby struck the woodwork twice for Pompey, the Hammers defence was outstanding. It was the fourth clean sheet in succession in this competition.

BRADFORD PARK AVENUE : Southern League

Kitchen

Gault

Taylor

Allison

Piercy

Young

Lindsay

Grassam

Stapley

Watson

Blackburn

Upton Park

0 - 0

19 October 1907

Att: 12,000

SORRY NO IMAGE

When the Yorkshire club visited the Boleyn enclosure for the first time the crowd of 12,000 gave them a warm welcome. Their team had a number of experienced players signed from other clubs, and one such was Charlie Craig, once of Thames Ironworks and West Ham United fame, playing as well as ever in his defensive role at the back. A situation arose in the game that typified Charlie. He came into collision with Harry Stapley, both receiving cuts to the head. Whilst Harry went off for a while and later returned with his head adorned with sticking plaster, Charlie took the sponge from his trainer, and whenever he felt it necessary he busily sponged the blood from his face. The match finished as a scoreless draw, but once again it was an encounter where both side sides had enough chances to have found the net.

SORRY NO IMAGE

A large number of supporters made their way across to Greenwich to cheer their favourites on against Millwall, but there was nothing to celebrate in a 0-1 defeat. Ex-Hammer Joe Blythe had a sterling game for the home side scoring the only goal of the game in the first half.  With no managers or coaches pitchside in those days it was the duty of the captain of the team to instigate any changes on the field, and late in the second period captain George Kitchen gave directions for Randall and Watson to switch positions which did make an improvement, but it was too little, too late.

BRENTFORD : Southern League

Kitchen

Gault

Taylor

Allison

Piercy

Jarvis

Randall

Grassam

Stapley

Kemp

Blackburn

Upton Park

4 - 1 (Stapley 2, Grassam, Randall)

2 November 1907

Att: 6,000

SORRY NO IMAGE

Both Watson and Lindsay were left out of the Southern League line-up against Brentford. Watson in particular, was really struggling with his form so far, and Kemp came in for him alongside Blackburn. Tommy Randall switched over to Lindsay's position on the wing, and Grassam came in after injury. Harry Stapley scored a brace in a 4-1 victory that put the Hammers into 6th position in the table.

Randall, despite being criticized for hanging on to the ball for too long, also scored his first goal for the club. The rapidly balding Tommy, still only twenty-one years of age, was to be a successful wing half within another year, but currently when picked, was in the forward line. He was barracked on occasions at this time for his slow, thoughtful approach to the game, and was nicknamed 'Old Mother Randall' but gradually over time, it would be forgotten.

BRISTOL ROVERS : Southern League

Kitchen

Gault

Piercy

Allison

Young

Jarvis

Randall

Grassam

Stapley

Kemp

Blackburn

Eastville

0 - 1

9 November 1907

Att: 10,000

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Frank Piercy was obliged to play at left back in the away fixture at Bristol Rovers due to Archie Taylor picking up an injury against Brentford, and Bill Wildman being out with a long-term injury (which ended his career). Jimmy Gault was Piercy's defensive partner at right back, but just before the break Jimmy was also injured and unable to take any further part. Robert Young fell back to take Gault's place and this unusual pairing did their best to keep the Rovers at bay. Having only ten men for half the game was a struggle against a decent side, and George Kitchen added another penalty kick save to his record, but Rovers eventually scored to take the points.

LEYTON : Southern League

Kitchen

Gault

Piercy

Allison

Young

Jarvis

Randall

Grassam

Stapley

Brown

Blackburn

Upton Park

0 - 2

16 November 1907

Att: 8,000

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A home defeat by local rivals Leyton by two goals was an a big disappointment. Kitchen, although his all-round performance was good, was at fault for the visitor's first goal, but the forwards were distinctly off colour, with William Brown, given a rare outing, and Tommy Randall, particularly poor. The result was Leyton's first away win of the season, and they would go on to add just one other before the campaign's end, and finish one from bottom in the Southern League.

READING : Southern League

Kitchen

Gault

Harwood

Allison

Piercy

Young

Lindsay

Grassam

Stapley

Watson

Blackburn

Elm Park

1 - 0 (Watson)

23 November 1907

Att: 6,000

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ALFRED HARWOOD makes his Hammers debut against READING at Elm Park

The Irons gave the left back spot to Alfred Harwood for the visit to Reading. He had been signed as a centre-forward from Leeds City where he had scored 40 goals for their reserve side, but he had now been converted into a full-back. He made a valuable contribution to the East Ender's 1-0 victory. This was a milestone in Reading v West Ham matches at Elm Park in the Southern League, as it was the first time that the Hammers had triumphed there in eight outings, (six of those being defeats).

WATFORD : Southern League

Kitchen

Gault

Young

Allison

Piercy

Jarvis

Lindsay

Grassam

Stapley

Watson

Blackburn

Upton Park

2 - 0 (Stapley, Watson)

30 November 1907

Att: 6,000

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For the visit of Watford, it was good for the home crowd to see the original five forwards Lindsay, Grassam, Stapley, Watson and Blackburn, who had performed so well in 1906-07. playing together again, (as they had done at Reading.) Watson and Stapley were the scorers in a 2-0 win over a Watford side that included former Hammers' goalie William Biggar, who played 8 games during the Memorial Grounds days in 1902-03, and Alf Hitch, who played for Thames Ironworks FC in 1898/99 before the club became West Ham United in 1900.

NORWICH CITY : Southern League

Kitchen

Gault

Young

Allison

Piercy

Jarvis

Lindsay

Grassam

Shea

Blackburn

Randall

Newmarket Road

1 - 1 (Grassam)

7 December 1907

Att: 4,500

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DANNY SHEA makes his Hammers debut against NORWICH CITY at Newmarket Road

Harry Stapley was unable to play in the Norwich fixture, as he was picked for the England amateur side to play against Ireland, and he scored three of England's six goals. Into the West Ham team came 20-year-old Danny Shea to make his debut. As an amateur he had been banging in the goals for local side Manor Park Albion in the South Essex League, but he was to become, without doubt. West Ham United's greatest legend in this pre-World War One period,

NORTHAMPTON TOWN : Southern League

Kitchen

Gault

Young

Allison

Piercy

Jarvis

Grassam

Shea

Stapley

Randall

Blackburn

Upton Park

1 - 1 (Stapley)

14 December 1907

Att: 4,000

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SOUTHAMPTON : Southern League

Kitchen

Gault

Taylor

Young

Piercy

Jarvis

Lindsay

Grassam

Robertson

Blackburn

Lee

The Dell

0 - 0

21 December 1907

Att: 6,000

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ROBERTSON makes his Hammers debut against SOUTHAMPTON at The Dell

NEW BROMPTON : Southern League

Kitchen

Gault

Harwood

Allison

Young

Jarvis

Lindsay

Grassam

Stapley

Watson

Blackburn

Upton Park

1 - 2 (Floyd [og])

25 December 1907

Att: 10,000

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Kitchen

Gault

Bourne

Horn

Young

Jarvis

Featherstone

Shea

Stapley

Grassam

Blackburn

Upton Park

3 - 0 (Grassam 2, Featherstone)

26 December 1907

Att: 17,000

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QUEENS PARK RANGERS : Southern League

There was a crowd of 17,000 for the visit of Quenns Park Rangers. Four forced changes were made as the injury list had grown. Those replacements that came in certainly made their mark, and it was significant that they were all local men. Stanley Bourne, an amateur, the only West Ham player to have played in spectacles, came in for his first appearance of the season at left back. George Horn came in at right half, Arthur 'Moppy' Featherstone took the right wing position and scored into the bargain, and Danny Shea also took the field after missing two matches.

It was appropriate that the match was on Boxing Day, as it was more akin to a bout of fisticuffs than a football match. Both sides lost their heads, and the game was continually stopped for players to receive treatment or as one correspondent put it:- 'the players received first aid from...... the gentleman who runs out from the pavilion with a Gladstone bag.' There was one humorous incident to lighten the proceedings when a visiting player's shorts were ripped from knee to waist, and he rose to retire to the dressing rooms holding the two ends together. However, as far as the home crowd was concerned it was the result that counted, and that was that QPR were defeated by three clear goals.

Kitchen

Gault

Bourne

Horn

Young

Woodards

Featherstone

Shea

Stapley

Grassam

Blackburn

Upton Park

1 - 1 (Shea)

28 December 1907

Att: 10,000

SORRY NO IMAGE

PLYMOUTH ARGYLE : Southern League

For the encounter with Plymouth, Dan Woodards replaced Dick Jarvis at left half, which meant that along with Harry Stapley there were six locals in the team for the 1-1 draw, and Danny Shea scored his first ever goal after beating two defenders.  It was described as an 'absolute beauty.' There was no doubt at all that one of the virtues of the West Ham club was their nurturing of local talent, something that has become an East End tradition.

CONTINUE 2

SECOND-HALF

07_11_02 WHU v. Brentford

1st HAMMER: Ah, yes! I think we can take this swarm , - eh?

2nd HAMMER: Yes. old fellow, and if you're careful it's four to one we shamm take the lot

07_11_09 Bristol Rovers v. WHU

The Hammers try Johnny Goodall’s Sauce, and after tapping the “Biggar” bottle, they find the sauce exceedingly palatable

07_11_16 WHU v. Leyton

DR. LEYTON : bless my soul, Mr. Hammer, this won’t do at all, you know! Just take a few of my patent “Goalscorer” pills, and while you’re about it, it strikes me you’d better take a complete change.