A Pictorial History

FOOTBALL PROGRAMMES

WEST HAM UNITED

Steve Marsh & Stuart Allen

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1908-09 Southern League : First Division

Manager: Syd King

In need of new players, the club signed three forwards: David Waggott, Walter Miller and right-winger Herbert Ashton. To bolster the defence they bought full-back Fred Shreeve and half-back Bill Yenson. The Hammers made an excellent start after beating current Southern League champions Queens Park Rangers 2-0 at the Boleyn. Jack Foster scored one of the goals and he scored again at Brighton in a 3-2 defeat. Luton Town were beaten 4-0 at home, with another two goals from Foster. He was certainly the man in form as Portsmouth came to the Boleyn and were defeated 3-1, with Foster claiming a hat-trick. It was the same old story again as the Hammers were winning their home games but losing away. They were leading 3-1 at half-time at Norwich but finished up losing 6-3. By Christmas the away record was one draw and nine defeats, so it was crucial to keep winning at home. On Christmas Day a goal from Fred Blackburn ensured a 1-0 home win over Southampton, but on Boxing Day, before a crowd of 20,000 at Leyton, the team slumped again and lost 1-0. It was back to the Boleyn for the visit of Plymouth Argyle, which saw Danny Shea score all four goals in the 4-0 victory.

The FA Cup began with a trip to Queens Park Rangers where the teams drew 0-0, with the Hammers winning the replay 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Danny Shea. The next round brought another away tie at Leeds City. This was drawn 1-1 and in the replay it was Danny Shea again who scored twice in a 2-1 win. In the third round it was First Division Newcastle United who travelled to London. It was a hard-fought game that ended goalless, with the replay being played before an attendance of 36,500. Despite another goal from Shea, West Ham were beaten 2-1.

In between the cup games there had been four away defeats, with the Hammers losing 4-1 at Portsmouth and suffering a 6-0 defeat at Northampton. Luckily the home form continued, with Shea scoring a hat-trick against Swindon in a 4-2 win. This was followed up with two more home wins against Southend (4-0) and Exeter City (4-1). The season ended with two more away defeats at Reading and Exeter, which gave a final placing of seventeenth.

The campaign began on September 1st, which was a Tuesday, with a late afternoon kick off, It was an attractive opening fixture against the reigning champions Queens Park Rangers. The West London club had put themselves in a very awkward position during the close season as they had resigned from the Southern League in anticipation of joining the Second Division of the Football League. Tottenham Hotspur, who had finished 7th in the table were elected instead, and QPR had to go back 'cap in hand' to the Southern League Committee to rejoin. Constitution and fixtures had already been arranged without them, but the club were allowed back providing they played all their games in mid-week, other than in special circumstances.

The Hammers made a great start to the season by beating the current champions by 2-0. Bill Yenson came in at right half against his old club, but it was the forward line that had a 'new look' about it. Ashton and Dyer were the right wing pair with Jack Foster in the centre. Partnering 'old boy' Blackburn on the left was Jack Burton. Foster scored with a cracking solo goal, and the second goal was set up buy Ashton, who sent the ball over and Foster hit the goalkeeper with his shot, but Blackburn put in the rebound

QUEENS PARK RANGERS : Southern League First Division

Kitchen

Gault

Taylor A.

Yenson

Piercy

Jarvis

Ashton

Dyer

Foster

Burton

Blackburn

When Crystal Palace came across the river from South London the match should have been billed as West Ham United v Johnson, as the Palace 'keeper saved shot after shot in defence of his goal, but even so the visitors still found time to nip to the other end, and with a forward unmarked, drive the ball into the net.

Upton Park

2 - 0 (Blackburn, Foster)

1 September 1908

Att: 7,000

BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION : Southern League First Division

Kitchen

Gault

Taylor A.

Yenson

Piercy

Jarvis

Ashton

Dyer

Foster

Burton

Blackburn

Goldstone Ground

2 - 3 (Burton, Foster)

5 September 1908

Att: 6,000

Supporters who travelled down to the South Coast to the match at Brighton were hoping that that the reasonably good away form of 1907/08 (with the exception of the final four matches) would at least be maintained, but defeat by the odd goal in five gave it a bad start, although new boys Burton and Foster both scored for the Irons.

 

Template programme

CRYSTAL PALACE : Southern League First Division

Kitchen

Gault

Taylor A.

Tirrell

Piercy

Young

Frost

Shea

Yenson

Dyer

Blackburn

Griffin Park

0 - 1

19th September 1908

Att: 6,000

BRENTFORD : Southern League First Division

Kitchen

Gault

Taylor A.

Yenson

Piercy

Jarvis

Frost

Shea

Foster

Waggott

Blackburn

Upton Park

0 - 1

12th September 1908

Att: 10,000

The visit to Griffin Park to play Brentford was very much like the encounter with Palace in reverse as George Kitchen was at his absolute best, making save after save from the home forwards, and he was ably assisted by Archie Taylor at full-back who was playing against his old team. Unfortunately there was a different outcome for it was not the Hammers then went down and 'nicked' the winner, but the home side who eventually squeezed the ball past Kitchen to take both points.

Text and 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

LUTON TOWN : Southern League First Division

Kitchen

Taylor A.

Harwood

Yenson

Piercy

Tirrell

Ashton

Shea

Foster

Burton

Blackburn

Upton Park

4 - 0 (Foster 2, Ashton, Piercy)

26th September 1908

Att: 3,000

The Southern League fixture with Luton Town was significant in that the directors of the club, perhaps with the team's poor start in mind, gave Syd King entire responsibility for team selection, something that the Board, with minor occasional input from the manager, had previously undertaken themselves. Although such a statement was made at the time, it must be taken 'with a pinch of salt' as Syd King certainly did not always have full responsibility. Often it was joint, and on some occasions he had no input at all. It was not until Charlie Paynter became first team trainer in 1912 that the two together had some influence on team selection.

WATFORD : Southern League First Division

Kitchen

Taylor A.

Harwood

Yenson

Piercy

Tirrell

Ashton

Shea

Foster

Burton

Blackburn

Cassio Road

1 - 2 (Shea)

30th September 1908

Att: 3,000

In the Luton match, those players that were picked certainly gave an all-round display. Ashton was responsible for the first two goals with an excellent cross for the opener, converted by Foster, and another cross direct to Blackburn, who in turn found Piercy who banged the ball into the net, much to the crowd's joy. Ashton scored the third himself. All three goals came in the first half, and virtually sunk the visitors. Foster scored his second after the interval for a 4-0 victory.

With just a couple of changes to the side, the Irons were on the road for their next two fixtures, but both were lost, 1-2 at Watford and by three clear goals at Swindon. Whoever had taken the responsibility for team selection had not yet found the right blend.

The Hammers paid their first ever visit to Roots Hall, Southend, for the club's next away fixture. Southend United had been formed as recently as 1906, but won the 2nd Division of the Southern League in 1907/08 and were promoted. Would the East End club finally gain their first away win in this competition? A draw was the next best thing, and it was a 0-0 draw at that. It was a fair result, but Foster came close with a couple of well directed shots which Charlie Cotton the ex-West Ham 'keeper confidently saved. It was good to see Ashton back after injury, performing well on the right flank, and proving himself to be a great signing.

 

Coventry City was another club new to the division, and the Irons met the Midland side for the first time at the Boleyn ground. City were struggling in their first season and West Ham, with the same line-up that played at Southend, won quite comfortably by two goals to nil.

 

It was fortunate that those two points were picked up, because there were three consecutive away matches to follow. No upturn on the club's travels arrived:- Bristol Rovers 1 WHU 0, Plymouth Argyle 2 WHU 0, and Norwich City 6 WHU 3. In the latter game the Hammers were 3-1 up at half time, but fell to pieces in the second half. After these results the club stood 5th from bottom of the table.

 

Tommy Allison was now in his 6lh season with the club, and he became the first West Ham player to be granted a benefit match. The occasion chosen was a Western League fixture against Portsmouth at the Boleyn ground, but sadly this was a most unfortunate choice. The team's performances in this league were even worse than those in the Southern, which did not give supporters much of an incentive to attend, although had the weather been better it might have improved the size of the crowd. Unfortunately it was a wet and miserable Monday afternoon in mid December, and less than 2,000 hardy souls turned up. It was rumoured that the club were to approach the FA to allow them to make a grant to Allison for the player's loyalty. As a postscript, the result was as gloomy as the day - 4-2 to Pompey.

 

It was at this time that Middlesbrough came in for Robert Young. Since his acquisition from St Mirren he had proved himself to be an accomplished defender playing both in the full-back and half¬back positions, and it was a great pity the club accepted Middlesbrough's offer. He went on to make 34 appearances for the North East club before he joined Everton for a £1,200 fee, which was a substantial amount at the time. After 38 starts there, he went on to Wolves where he appeared on 67 occasions.

 

With Young off to pastures new, Tommy Allison came back into the side for his first Southern League outing of the season. Shea, who had missed the two away matches at Plymouth and Norwich was also back on duty. With such an appalling record 'on the road' (one draw and nine defeats), it was essential that games at the Boleyn ground had to be won to keep the club away from the very bottom of the table.

 

So it was that Reading were defeated 2-1, but the cards were shuffled again on Christmas Day with Allison excluded in favour of Bill Yenson, and a debut was given to an amateur centre-half signed from Custom House FC, by the name of George Chalkley. The switches paid off as the Hammers won by a single goal scored by Fred Blackburn.

 

Before a huge crowd of 20,000 at Leyton on Boxing Day however, the team continued their miserable away record in the Southern League with another defeat, although the vital goal came inside the final 5 minutes.

 

A 4-0 home triumph in the match against Plymouth Argyle, with Danny Shea scoring all four, was overshadowed by some extraordinary events at the Boleyn enclosure on the holiday Monday. The original referee Mr Peers, of Liverpool, was unable to fulfil his engagement, and a Mr E.J. Cooke, one of the linesmen, took his place. With the encounter only five minutes old, the new referee awarded a penalty to West Ham for hands against an Argyle defender. With the visiting players surrounding the referee, arguing fiercely against the decision, the 'discussion' went on for three or four minutes. Then the Plymouth captain called up George Kitchen, the West Ham captain, who was obviously in agreement with his counterpart, and with the referee's permission left the field to consult the officials of the club. Meanwhile Home, the visiting goalkeeper, and a West Ham player practised penalty kicks, which amused the crowd. Kitchen and Clark returned, obviously with instructions to 'get on with it', and the ball was placed on the spot. The West Ham captain turned to Foster, with an apparent remark, gave him the ball to take the kick. His shot along the ground, which went past the post, was more like a deliberate pass. And everyone thought that was it.

 

But there was more to come. A few minutes later a Plymouth player had an argument with the deputy linesman over a decision, during which the linesman dropped his flag, and was pushed over by the same player, but the referee appeared to take no action. That was not all. West Ham's Waggott, in the side in place of Burton, was kicked by an opponent. His retaliation was a 'straight arm' response. In the ensuing confrontation a spectator jumped over the fence and tried to join in, but some home players forced him back into the crowd. At half time two FA Councillors who happened to be present, were invited by club officials into the referee's dressing room. Serious allegations were made by some Argyle players, but the referee demanded an apology, which was forthcoming.

 

In the second half, the players, with the knowledge that the FA Councillors were still in the stand, were on their best behaviour, It did not hide the fact that the 'man in the middle' was weak and had no control at all over the incidents in the first half, even cautioning one player twice when the first offence was worthy of a dismissal.

 

Contrary to what some believe, players of this period did not always take kindly to the authority and decisions of the match officials. It is not difficult to imagine similar scenes in the modern game, although the award of a penalty would have been gratefully accepted these days, with the chance to take the lead not deliberately thrown away. The referee, of course, would be brandishing red cards into the bargain, whether he was 'weak' or not.

 

It was a pity that Danny Shea's four goals were overshadowed in the Plymouth fiasco, as the Hammers scraped just a draw in the last minute when Brighton & Hove Albion were the visitors. The second away point of the season followed at Crystal Palace when the teams shared four goals.

 

All the West Ham faithful were looking forward to the excitement of the first round proper of the FA Cup, and the visit to Queens Park Rangers at their Park Royal ground. The Great Western Railway had made special arrangements for their trains to run from both Bishopsgate and Aldgate, and changing at Praed Street or Westbourne Park for Park Royal station. The fare was to be 7d return. 'Specials' were also running from Paddington. On the day, the travelling fans, and there were several thousand of them, could be seen all around the ground and in the stands. (No segregation in those days). There were groups together of 30 or 40 sporting the colours of claret and blue, (described at the time as 'the red, white and blue) creating not only a vocal noise, but there were muffin bells, burglar alarms (!) and musical instruments, creating a continuous din along with cries of 'Come on you Irons'. These were the early days of the motorbus, and a party of supporters from the Boleyn Castle Social Club took that mode of transport to the game.

 

As for the match itself, it was a very even and exciting encounter with both teams having a number of chances, but it finished scoreless, which meant a replay at Upton Park. In defence Shreeve had an excellent game, and the half-back line of Yenson, Chalkley and Tirrell were outstanding, with Yenson, against his old team, consistently breaking up QPR's left wing of Drake and former Hammer Billy Barnes. Although Danny Shea did not score, he was now showing in his all round play what a magnificent prospect he was becoming. His shooting and goalscoring ability, and his undoubted skills on the ball were never in question, but he was now adding an understanding of the advantages of teamwork to his repertoire, something that had been lacking in his general play.

 

Being a midweek reply the attendance did not reach that of the previous Saturday (17,000), but for an afternoon kick off in January it was respectable enough at 11,400. Another very even game followed, but Shea nipped in for the winner after 15 minutes, and so it remained with George Kitchen pulling off some important saves in the second half, putting West Ham through to the next round.

 

The good home record of nine wins and two draws from eleven matches in the Southern League continued with a comfortable 3-0 victory over a poor Brentford side that would eventually finish in bottom position. Miller scored the first with a superb twenty-yard strike, Waggott notched the second with a strong header from a cross by Frost, and Frost himself from close in.

 

Also in January, the club held their half-yearly shareholders meeting at East Ham Town Hall. Mr Grisdale the club's chairman, pointed out that gate receipts for the half year had averaged £250 compared with £245 for the same period last season, and the reserve team gates had risen to £38 from £21. The total receipts had amounted to £3981. As for expenses, he stated that wages had shown an increase of £600.

 

The statement made earlier in the season that Syd King would have full control of team selection was brought into doubt after some lengthy discussion (for it was obvious that he did not) and there were also questions over the training of players. Some shareholders were keen to move the club forward, and the Board were questioned over what the policy was regarding the possibility of the formation of a third division of the Football League. It was something some members felt strongly about.

 

When the Hammers visited Luton and were on the end of a 0-1 reverse their minds may well have been on the forthcoming cup-tie against Leeds City at Elland Road. For those supporters that travelled it was a four-hour journey to a Yorkshire town that was full of excitement at the prospect of the North/South clash. It was the London lads who fairly stormed into the first half, and were good value for their 1-0 lead at the interval from a shot from Miller, who put the ball well out of the reach of Naisby in the Leeds goal. Anxious to equalise, it was all Leeds in the second period, but the defence, particularly Archie Taylor and the half¬backs, kept Kitchen's goal well guarded. The 'keeper also played his part,

 

and when the home side were awarded a penalty, Kitchen threw his cap into the corner of the goal, and kept the taker waiting whilst he rolled up his sleeves. This Edwardian form of 'gamesmanship' paid off as Gemmell struck the bar with the spot kick. George also made two good saves, but was beaten with just three minutes left, for Leeds to force a replay.

 

For the subsequent replay there was an attendance of 13,000 at the Boleyn ground. Once again, as in the previous game, it turned out to be an encounter where both sides had their dominating period. With the visitors it was the first half, as they took the lead as early as the second minute. Applying steady pressure, it appeared that Leeds were intent on settling the game as early as possible, but once the Hammers survived that spell they opened out the play, and took it to their opponents. Nevertheless, it was the Northern side that looked the most dangerous in their attacks, and Kitchen, on one occasion, shook Tirrell's hand vigorously after the left half had cleared the ball off the line.

 

It was West Ham's turn to press after the interval as they tried manfully for the equaliser, which came after the Leeds 'keeper had saved Blackburn's shot and Shea hit in the rebound. Both teams then went for it from then on, but extra-time was needed. There were just three minutes left when Danny Shea got the winner. Contrary to what is often thought about goal celebrations of many years ago being made with 'a shake of the hand1 this was not always the case, especially in cup matches. Danny was said to have been 'almost hugged to death' by his colleagues. This triumph put the club into the 3rd round (now the 5th) for the very first time, and when the draw was made Newcastle United were to be the club's opponents, as they had been in the 2nd round the previous season.

 

On the same evening, both teams visited the East Ham Palace, which was situated adjacent to East Ham station, where pictures of the match were shown on the bioscope screen. An early form of 'Match of the Day'.

 

Perhaps the exertions of the replay affected the team's performance for the visit to the South Coast to play Portsmouth. Ashton returned on the right wing after his long injury, and Jarvis took the centre half spot from George Chalkley, but it was the same old story away from home, Pompey running out easy winners by 4-1.

 

Despite the West Ham directors doubling the cost of admission to the ground for the cup-tie visit of Newcastle United, a crowd of 17,000 assembled at the Boleyn ground. Whether this increase was a wise move is debatable, as crowds for league matches that followed appear to have been adversely affected, but that could have been due to the relatively poor league season the club were experiencing. The cup match was a vigorous affair, with the visitors not producing the quality of football expected of a Football League First Division side. Maybe this was due to Newcastle not being allowed any time on the ball whatsoever and this surprised them, and it was in this first period that the home side should have capitalised in front of goal, but good chances were not taken and Miller was the main culprit. Mention must be made of Archie Taylor at full-back, for he played probably his best game in West Ham's colours. Always calm and collected, his tackling, passing and covering of his colleagues was first class, especially as the visitors had their fair share of chances late on. As it was, the game finished in a goalless draw, which meant a replay.

 

So it was on to St James' Park, where the Hammers lost the toss and the game began with a very strong wind blowing against them. Combined with an onslaught by the home side, this meant a gruelling first half for the defence, with the forwards not getting over the halfway line more than half a dozen times. When Newcastle's Veitch missed a penalty just before the break, there was a sigh of relief from the small band of Hammers' supporters. But the second half proved to be a big disappointment. Not from a performance angle, as the team now had the benefit of the gale force wind with the 'Geordies' forced back on the defensive. West Ham's downfall came about through two controversial refereeing decisions. The first occurred after a long clearance downfield by the Newcastle defence. Shreeve's reaction was to head the ball across to his totally unmarked colleague Taylor, who controlled the ball on his chest with a view to passing the ball forward. Much to everyone's surprise, friend and foe alike, the referee awarded a penalty for handball to the home side and Shepherd converted.

 

The decision spurred the visitors on, and Danny Shea equalised just three minutes later. With the Hammers now on top further attacks were made, but Newcastle broke away and an enormous cross-field pass found Anderson, who was clearly yards offside when the pass was made. Left on his own Anderson duly scored. Despite protests the goal stood, and the Hammers were out of the cup.

 

The party of West Ham officials dined out at the Metropole Hotel in Newcastle that evening, and revived their 'spirits' after the disappointment of the afternoon.

 

Three days later several changes were made for the trip to high-riding Northampton Town, a team heading for the Southern League championship come the end of the season. The Hammers were overrun to the tune of 6-0, and it could have been more. David Clark in goal, Gault and Harwood the full-backs, did not play in the first eleven again. Gault, since his earlier club suspension, had been in and out of the side.

 

The large number of changes to the eleven throughout the season had certainly affected the form of the team, and although injuries were a factor it has to be said that not all changes were enforced.

 

With George Kitchen still unavailable due to an injury, a local lad from Barking by the name of Dawson was brought in to keep goal, and after recently swapping Jack Foster for Frank Costello of Southampton, the ex-Saints man was included in the side against New Brompton. Frank had previously score 13 goals in 48 matches for the South Coast side. The appalling ground conditions on the day were not conducive to any player trying to impress on his debut, and the small crowd of 3,000 enjoyed die mudlarking on the quagmire of a pitch more than anything else. Either side could have gained the points, but it was the Kent side that were victorious by a single goal. The Hammers were both literally and metaphorically slipping and sliding towards the bottom of the division.

 

The team redeemed themselves on the Monday following against a good Swindon side. Shea and new boy Costello worked well together and between them they were responsible for all the Hammers' goals in a welcome 4-2 victory. Shea scored two penalties, one awarded for a foul on Costello, and then completed his hat-trick with a solo goal. When Costello scored it was as a result of a perfect cross from Shea. Making a welcome return to the team was Frank Piercy, who had been out of action for 16 league and cup games with torn leg sinews that necessitated the wearing of a plaster cast to help heal the problem.

 

The visit to Greenwich to meet local rivals Millwall resulted in a 0-3 reverse, but the Lions were flattered by the scoreline. Sadly, it meant a fourth from bottom placing, and the club's awful away record stood at two draws and 14 defeats in sixteen games.

 

Syd King gave a young player from the Birmingham area by the name of Atkins a run-out at centre-forward against Southend United at the Boleyn ground. The crowd had no knowledge of his identity at the time as he was marked in the programme as 'A.Centre' Although he scored a goal from a 'tap in', his display was less than average and it is a puzzle as to why this position could not have been filled from the existing players at the club. George Kitchen returned from injury for this game, but he was not as busy as his counterpart in the 'Shrimpers' goal ex-Hammer Charlie Cotton. Frank Piercy headed a rare goal from a corner, and Shea and Costello scored the others in a 4-0 victory.

 

After a defeat at Coventry by 3 goals to one, with Atkins making a really anonymous contribution, Sid King turned to the club's reserve side, which had an important fixture in the South Eastern League against Fulham. The Hammers stood proudly at the top of the table, but needed a victory to be certain of the title. The game finished in a 2-2 draw, but King could not have failed to notice the performance of George Webb, a young local lad at centre-forward. He scored West Ham's first goal, and his general all-round display of speed and skill, combined with a powerful physique, fairly frightened the life out of the opposition.

 

The manager, however, tried Walter Miller as the main striker once more for the visit of Exeter City, and he scored twice in a 4-1 victory. This was the third home match in succession that the Hammers had scored four goals. Why could the team not reach this standard on their travels?

 

Miller however, missed several opportunities to score when Bristol Rovers visited, and the West Country side scored twice and went away with both points. Whilst West Ham had such a poor away record such home defeats were a disaster, and with another two fixtures at Upton Park, King, with the agreement of his directors, gave the centre-forward spot to George Webb.

 

The first of these encounters was on Good Friday against local rivals Leyton, and George did not disappoint. When Whitbourne, the Leyton 'keeper was not quick enough to clear a ball from a shot, George, with his hefty frame, charged him, ball and all, into the net for the only goal of the game. On the following day, Easter Saturday, with only one change of Yenson for Piercy, the Hammers entertained Watford, and with all the forward line combining well, came out on top by three goals to one, with Danny Shea scoring another two.

 

A 2-2 draw at the Dell against Southampton meant an unbeaten Easter period. The highlight of the game was a run from the halfway line by George Webb past several of the opposition players, and a shot into the corner of the net for West Ham's second goal. George obviously had a good footballing future.

 

By the time that the Hammers met Norwich City for the last home game of the season Coventry City were at the bottom of the table with 30 points, Norwich and Brentford both had 31, Watford had 33 and there were no less than five teams on 34 points including West Ham. However, there was no threat of relegation for all those clubs this year, as promotion and relegation had been carried out on something of an irregular basis up until then. It was not until 1909/10 onwards that the bottom two would be automatically relegated. So it was then, that with West Ham in their current position 5th from the bottom, finishing out of the bottom few was really a matter of pride. Unfortunately, in the Norwich fixture both teams played out the game in an 'end of season' mood. The scoreline ended in favour the Hammers favour by 2-1.

 

There was obviously no sense of pride in the final two matches, which were both away from home. Both were lost, which meant three draws and seventeen defeats from 20 away games. History now has it that from the club's humble beginnings as Thames Ironworks in 1895, 1908/09 has been the only season that the club failed to win an away match in their major league competition. Fortunately that is a record that has not been equalled since.

 

SWINDON TOWN : Southern League First Division

Kitchen

Taylor A.

Gault

Yenson

Piercy

Jarvis

Ashton

Shea

Foster

Burton

Blackburn

 

County Ground

0 - 3

3rd October 1908

Att: 6,000

PORTSMOUTH : Southern League First Division

Upton Park

3 - 0 (Foster 3)

10th October 1908

Att: 8,000

QUEENS PARK RANGERS : Southern League First Division

Park Royal

0 - 3

17th October 1908

Att: 6,000

NORTHAMPTON TOWN : Southern League First Division

Upton Park

2 - 1 (Shreeve, Tirrell)

24th October 1908

Att: 9,000

Kitchen

Taylor A.

Harwood

Tirrell

Young

Jarvis

Eastwood

Shea

Miller

Burton

Blackburn

 

 

 

Without Ashton in the side the writer went on to remark on another player;-

 

'He (Ashton) can badly be spared just now, as Frost is far from being a success. The latter gives one the idea that he has never forgotten his accident-at Newcastle, was it not? (in 1906/07) for at times there is an absence ofthrustfulness in his work.'

 

The official club programme at the time never did 'beat about the bush'. There was nothing patronising in its approach. Should the writer wish to criticize a certain player or even a poor team display he never failed to do so, and it was refreshingly honest. Reading a copy, without all the nonsensical features diat are included in all the modern top league issues today, is ajoy.

 

In the absence of Ashton, out through injury, the right wing spot was given to Harry Eastwood, a young Clapton amateur, who although capable gave a nervous start when Portsmouth were the visitors. Despite some good defensive play, especially from Archie Taylor who was outstanding, it looked like another Southern League defeat with Pompey one goal up with just ten minutes left for play. Foster then amazingly hit a hat-trick before the final whistle which gave the score a lopsided look, as a fairer result would have been a draw.

Memories were stirred up at the club regarding the case of Peter Kyle back in the season of 1901/02. This was the player, it will be remembered, that despite possessing undoubted ability, was averse to training, and the club were obliged to dispense with his services. Now the club were faced with a similar problem. Jimmy Gault, the Scottish full-back signed for 1906/07 was failing to turn up for training. In the West Ham United club programme for the match against Portsmouth the following diatribe appeared:-

About a fortnight ago, a hint was thrown out that if an alteration was not made the Directors would have to take drastic measures. I am sorry to say that the Directors on Monday were obliged to suspend Gault for one month for breaches of the training regulations which order that a player should keep himself fit. A months loss of wages is a severe punishment, but Gault has no one to blame but himself, for he has refused to take heed of more than one admonition. The old Aberdeen player during the present season has never given any such display as he did last year, when he was looked upon as one of the best backs in the South. Possibly when he comes back in November he will have learnt his lesson, and will again thrill us all with more dashing displays.'

Kitchen

Taylor A.

Harwood

Tirrell

Young

Jarvis

Eastwood

Shea

Miller

Burton

Blackburn

 

 

 

Kitchen

Shreeve

Taylor A.

Tirrell

Piercy

Jarvis

Eastwood

Grassam

Foster

Shea

Blackburn

 

 

There were enforced changes for the visit to Queens Park Rangers when both Foster and Piercy picked up injuries, and Miller and Young deputised. With Jack Burton coming in for Bill Brown the team had an unfamiliar look about it, and it showed when Rangers gained an easy 3-0 triumph.

NEW BROMPTON : Southern League First Division

Priestfield Stadium

1 - 2 (Miller)

31st October 1908

Att: 6,000

Kitchen

Shreeve

Taylor A.

Tirrell

Piercy

Young

Eastwood

Randall

Miller

Shea

Blackburn

MILLWALL ATHLETIC : Southern League First Division

Upton Park

1 - 0 (Foster)

7th November 1908

Att: 14,000

Kitchen

Gault

Taylor A.

Young

Piercy

Jarvis

Eastwood

Randall

Foster

Grassam

Blackburn

W : Southern League First Division

C

Score

Date

Att:

K

 

 

W : Southern League First Division

C

Score

Date

Att:

K

 

 

The season was definitely becoming a 'win at home, lose away' campaign as the Hammers defeated Northampton Town at the Boleyn ground by two goals to one. Billy Grassam came into the side for his first game of the season after a long illness and played his usual unselfish game. Freddy Blackburn, now in his fourth campaign for West Ham received some rough treatment from the 'Cobblers' right back Brittan who sent Freddy crashing against the side fencing without receiving a caution from the referee. Both Hammers' goals were scored by players not usually on the score sheet. Pat Tirrell scored against his old club, and Fred Shreeve hit home from the penalty spot after Brittan handled in the area. Justice, considering the full-back's previous demeanours.

True to form, the visit to Kent to meet New Brompton, ended in defeat. West Ham's efforts were not helped when Shreeve was injured in the first half and he left the field, returning but only as a passenger in the second. Miller opened his account for the club, but the 1-2 final score meant that, in the Southern League, the Irons had played six games away from home and lost the lot.

After missing the previous game through injury, Foster returned up front in place of Miller, and scored the only goal of the match against Millwall. In front of a crowd of 14,000, the best of the season so far, West Ham had just the edge, and it was the first time that the team had beaten the 'Dockers' in the Southern League since 1905/06.

W : Southern League First Division

C

Score

Date

Att:

K