A Pictorial History

FOOTBALL PROGRAMMES

WEST HAM UNITED

Steve Marsh & Stuart Allen

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1954-55 Football League : Division II

Manager: Ted Fenton

It was a very unhappy start to the season as the Hammers crashed 5-2 away at both Swansea Town and Blackburn Rovers. Back at the Boleyn for the first home game it was an improved performance as Notts County were beaten 3-0. Two days later, however, in the return with Blackburn the Rovers again won 5-2 to shock the home faithful. After a decent 2-1 win at Liverpool it was the Hammers’ turn to win 5-2 as Bristol Rovers lost at the Boleyn. At home Port Vale, Nottingham Forest and Stoke City were beaten without conceding a goal, but at Middlesbrough the side were heavily beaten, losing 6-0. Back at the Boleyn in December there were two exciting games with Bury and Swansea which both ended 3-3.

A New Year’s Day trip to Notts County ended in a 5-1 defeat and a week later it was more gloom as Port Vale knocked the Hammers out of the FA Cup after a replay. There was a quick change in fortunes as a hat-trick from John Dick inspired a 4-2 victory at Bristol Rovers, which was followed by a hat-trick from Dave Sexton in the 6-1 home win over Plymouth Argyle. During March and early April there were six successive wins as the Hammers, now in fourth spot, pushed for promotion. It was a huge disappointment when the seven remaining games did not yield a single victory, resulting in an eighth-place finish.

 

SWANSEA TOWN : Football League Division II

54_08_21 Swansea Town v. WHU

Our opening Second Division game was at Vetch Field against a Swansea Town line-up which included Ron Burgess, John Charles, Ivor and Len Allchurch, Terry Medwin and Cliff Jones. Our XI was the same as that which won a practice match by 9-2 a week previously, but they had a shock on this occasion as the Swans won by 5-2

Vetch Field

2 - 5 (Dick 2)

21 August 1954

Att:

Chiswick

Bond

Cantwell

Parker

Allison

Bing

Hooper

Sexton

Stroud

Dick

Andrews

BLACKBURN ROVERS : Football League Division II

Ewood Park

2 - 5 (Andrews 2)

23 August 1954

Att:

Chiswick

Bond

Cantwell

Parker

Allison

Bing

Hooper

Sexton

Dixon

Foan

Andrews

NOTTS COUNTY : Football League Division II

Upton Park

3 - 0 (Andrews, Dick, Hooper)

28 August 1954

Att:

Chiswick

Wright

Bond

Parker

Brown

Bing

Hooper

Sexton

Arnott

Dick

Andrews

54_08_23 Blackburn Rovers v. WHU 54_08_28 WHU v. Notts County 01

BLACKBURN ROVERS : Football League Division II

Upton Park

2 - 5 (Sexton 2)

30 August 1954

Att: 17,699

Chiswick

Wright

Bond

Parker

Brown

Bing

Hooper

Sexton

Arnott

Dick

Andrews

54_08_30 WHU v. Blackburn Rovers 01 54_09_04 Liverpool v. WHU 54_09_06 WHU v. Hull City 01 54_09_11 WHU v. Bristol Rovers 01 54_09_13 Hull City v. WHU 54_09_18 Plymouth Argyle v. WHU 54_09_25 WHU v. Port Vale 01 54_10_02 Doncaster Rovers v. WHU 54_10_09 WHU v. Nottingham Forest 01 54_10_16 Leeds United v. WHU 54_10_23 WHU v. Stoke City 01 54_10_30 Middlesbrough v. WHU 54_11_06 WHU v. Birmingham City 01 54_11_13 Ipswich Town v. WHU 54_11_20 WHU v. Luton Town 01 54_11_27 Rotherham United v. WHU 54_12_04 WHU v. Bury 01 54_12_11 Lincoln City v. WHU 54_12_18 WHU v. Swansea Town 01 54_12_25 WHU v. Derby County 01 54_12_27 Derby County v. WHU

Ted Fenton's Hammers were taking on Liverpool for the first time in 22 years when they travelled to Merseyside and by the time the 90 minutes were up they were celebrating a second straight win against the Reds. Harry Hooper and Dave Sexton were on the scoresheet for the Hammers, whilst Liverpool were only able to offer a 76th minute strike from Jimmy Payne in reply. The result left West Ham one place above Liverpool in the table in 18th, and the Hammers would maintain an advantage over their hosts until the end of the campaign as they ended up in eighth. Liverpool were three positions back.

LIVERPOOL : Football League Division II

Anfield

2 - 1 (Hooper, Sexton)

4 September 1954

Att: 37,592

Taylor

Bond

Nelson

Malcolm

Brown

O'Farrell

Hooper

Foan

Sexton

Dick

Andrews

HULL CITY : Football League Division II

Upton Park

1 - 1 (Hooper)

6 September 1954

Att: 17,615

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

O'Farrell

Hooper

Foan

Sexton

Dick

Andrews

BRISTOL ROVERS : Football League Division II

Upton Park

5 - 2 (Andrews, Dick, Hoper, O'Farrell, Sexton)

11 September 1954

Att: 22,225

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

O'Farrell

Hooper

Foan

Sexton

Dick

Andrews

HULL CITY : Football League Division II

Boothferry Park

1 - 0 (Bond)

13 September 1954

Att: 25,851

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

O'Farrel

Hooper

Foan

Sexton

Dick

Andrews

PLYMOUTH ARGYLE : Football League Division II

Home Park

1 - 1 (Sexton)

18 September 1954

Att: 18,771

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

O'Farrell

Hooper

Foan

Sexton

Dick

Andrews

PORT VALE : Football League Division II

Upton Park

2 - 0 (Dick, Sexton)

25 September 1954

Att: 25,155

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

O'Farrell

Hooper

Foan

Sexton

Dick

Andrews

DONCASTER ROVERS : Football League Division II

Belle Vue

1 - 2 (Sexton)

2 October 1954

Att: 13,841

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

O'Farrell

Hooper

Foan

Sexton

Dick

Andrews

NOTTINGHAM FOREST : Football League Division II

Upton Park

2 - 0 (Foan, Hooper)

9 October 1954

Att: 25,203

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

O'Farrell

Hooper

Foan

Sexton

Dick

Andrews

LEEDS UNITED : Football League Division II

Elland Road

1 - 2 (Dick)

16 October 1954

Att: 21,074

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

O'Farrell

Hooper

Foan

Sexton

Dick

Andrews

STOKE CITY : Football League Division II

Upton Park

3 - 0 (Dick 2, Sexton)

23 October 1954

Att: 27,005

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

O'Farrell

Hooper

Foan

Sexton

Dick

Andrews

MIDDLESBROUGH : Football League Division II

Ayresome Park

0 - 6

30 October 1954

Att: 25,601

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

O'Farrell

Hooper

Foan

Sexton

Dick

Andrews

BIRMINGHAM CITY : Football League Division II

Upton Park

2 - 2 (Dick, Hooper)

6 November 1954

Att: 25,366

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

O'Farrell

Hooper

Foan

Sexton

Dick

Andrews

COLCHESTER UNITED : Essex Pro Cup (Semi-Final)

Layer Road

3 - 2 (Dixon 2, Parker)

11 November 1954

Gregory

Wright

Cantwell

Bing

Nelson A.

Noakes

Wragg

Barrett

Dixon

Parker

Tucker

IPSWICH TOWN : Football League Division II

Portman Road

3 - 0 (Andrews, Dick, Sexton)

13 November 1954

Att: 18,648

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

O'Farrell

Hooper

Foan

Sexton

Dick

Andrews

LUTON TOWN : Football League Division II

Upton Park

2 - 1 (Dick, Dunne [og])

20 November 1954

Att: 23,034

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

O'Farrell

Hooper

Foan

Sexton

Dick

Andrews

ROTHERHAM UNITED : Football League Division II

Millmoor

2 - 2 (Dick 2)

27 November 1954

Att: 13,501

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

Allison

Hooper

Foan

Sexton

Dick

Musgrove

BURY : Football League Division II

Upton Park

3 - 3 (Musgrove 2, Dick)

4 December 1954

Att: 18,092

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

Allison

Hooper

Foan

Sexton

Dick

Musgrove

 

 

LINCOLN CITY : Football League Division II

Sincil Bank

1 - 2 (Dick)

11 December 1954

Att: 11,100

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

Allison

Hooper

Barrett

Dixon

Dick

Musgrove

SWANSEA TOWN : Football League Division II

Upton Park

3 - 3 (Barrett, Hooper [pen], Thomas [og])

18 December 1954

Att: 15,230

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

Allison

Hooper

Barrett

Dixon

Dick

Musgrove

DERBY COUNTY : Football League Division II

Upton Park

1 - 0 (Dick)

25 December 1954

Att: 23,545

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

Allison

Hooper

Bennett

Dixon

Dick

Musgrove

DERBY COUNTY : Football League Division II

Baseball Ground

0 - 0

27 December 1954

Att: 20,475

Taylor

Bond

Cantwell

Malcolm

Brown

Allison

Hooper

Bennett

Blackburn

Dick

Andrews

We were held to a 1-1 draw by Hull City at Upton Park in a Second Division fixture that drew an 17,615 attendance, and they were inclined to consider it a fair result. Harry Hooper scored for us two minutes after the start but Crosbie equalised in the 17th minute. Hooper was our star performer, and England international Neil Franklin was the Tigers' stalwart in the centre of their defence.

West Ham travelled to Hull having only played their home fixture against the same opposition a week earlier. On that day the match ended 1-1 but on the road the Hammers enjoyed more success. A goal from defender John Bond was enough to give his team the points. West Ham went onto finish eighth in the second division whilst Hull narrowly avoided relegation in 19th place.

After taking only two points from the opening four games of the season - and conceding 15 goals - the Hammers were in a streak of success. On this date in the calendar the visitors to Upton Park were Port Vale, who were midway in the table. Twenty minutes after the start John Dick put an along-the-ground drive into the net from 25 yards, and a quarter-hour later Dave Sexton headed home from an unmarked goalmouth position. That ended the scoring, but we had extended our unbeaten run to six matches.

Nottingham Forest were languishing in 19th place in the table, and we had no difficulty in winning by two-nil, although it was not until five minutes from time that Albert Foan netted the second. Harry Hooper got the first in the 37th minute. The victory put us within three points of the leaders Rotherham United.

Third-placed Stoke City were the visitors to Upton Park in a Second Division fixture. The likelihood of a fine game attracted a 27,005 gate, and they were not disappointed. The Hammers had so far scored in each of their preceding League fixtures, but on this occasion they excelled themselves by netting three without reply. Dave Sexton scored from the penalty-spot in the ninth minute (the foul on him only momentarily delayed his putting us ahead); and 25 minutes after that John Dick found the net with a typical edge-of-the-area drive to make it 2-0 at the interval. John repeated the performance eleven minutes after the restart.

This Division II fixture at Ayresome Park brought our heaviest defeat since the 1951-52 season, as Middlesbrough ran up six goals without reply. 'Boro had started the season badly, but manager Bob Dennison made some astute purchases and one of these - Charlie Wayman - scored a hat-trick in the space of nine minutes after we had conceded an own goal. Lindy Delapenha and Mitchell got the second-half goals. Unfortunately we had only ten men for most of the game, as skipper Harry Kinsell was injured.

A draw was hard-earned reward against the “Birmingham Bogy” side, as we were twice in arrears. Murphy twice put the Blues in front (42 and 56 minutes); but Harry Hooper scored from the 18-yard line immediately after half-time and John Dick got the second equaliser with a header from Harry Kinsell's free-kick with 20 minutes to go. The game kicked-off at 2.45 p.m., but daylight faded during the latter part of the second half amid deteriorating weather conditions and apparently the floodlights were not available for use. Nevertheless, 25,000 fans had a good afternoon; and the "gate" apparently exceeded expectations for a middle-of-the-table fixture.

8 November 1954

ALAN CURBISHLEY (1975-1979) Born this day Forest Gate, London

 

Schoolboy prodigy who was reluctantly allowed to join Birmingham City 11 July 1979 for a huge £225,00 fee after a dispute over his role in the side. Made his Hammers debut against Chelsea at Upton Park on the 10th March 1975 finishing on the losing side 0-1. In addition to starring at schoolboy level he also won six caps for England Youth and was a member of Hammers' side which reached the F.A. Youth Cup Final in 1975. Joined Brighton and Hove Albion after spells with Aston Villa and Charlton Athletic, which he later became manager in July 1991 steering them to Premiership status. Alan left the Addicts in May 2006 and after a short spell away from the game, which was augmented by work as a television pundit, Curbishley returned to management in December 2006 when he was appointed as manager of West Ham United. Resigned his post in September 2008 after a depute over the club’s transfer policy. In December 2013 Curbishley was appointed technical director with Premier League side Fulham, but following the arrival of Felix Magath was was released less than two months into the role.

ANDY NELSON, ALF NOAKES and DOUG WRAGG all make their Hammers debut against COLCHESTER UNITED at Layer Road

Ipswich Town were struggling to avoid returning to the Third Division, our visit to Porlman Road for this Division II fixture added to their discomfort. Jimmy Andrews gave a foretaste of what was to come by scoring after four minutes, and his corner-kick was headed in by John Dick ten minutes after the interval for the second. Harry Hooper had a 70-yard run before centering for Dave Sexton to make it 3-0. For Ipswich it was another setback that added io their problems. At the time they were bottom-but-one in the table, and they ended up in that position in the final standings to be relegated to the Third Division with Derby County) after only one year back in Division II.

During the immediate post-war seasons Luton Town had the reputation of being one of our "bogy teams",  but that was starting to change as we won three of the four preceding meetings at Upton Park. The Hammers maintained the success sequence with a 2-1 win over the Hatters on this day in 1955, but it was a close-run thing as we obtained our winner with only four minutes left to play. Indeed, our opening counter was a gift from the visitors' right-back Dunne, who put through his own goal after only three minutes. The Town levelled the count through centre-forward Morton five minutes after the interval. For each of the first two goals the defences were very much to blame, but the winner was mainly due to the persistence of Albert Foan who created the decisive opening. The attendance for this Second Division fixture was 23,034; Luton hardly deserved to lose - but soccer was always full of "unlucky" losers!

1 December 1954

FRANCOIS Van Der ELST (1981-1983) Born this day Opwijk, Belgium

 

Most remembered for his stunning performance against the Hammers in the European Cup Winners' Cup Final for Anderlecht at the ill-fated Heysel Stadium in 1976. West Ham signed their tormentor-in-chief and architect of their defeat six years earlier for £400,000 from New York Cosmos 24 December 1981. His appearance for the Belgians that night versus his club-mates-to-be (although he could hardly have realised it at the time) was the first of a unique hat-trick of appearances in successive seasons in the Final of that competition, being on the losing side against Hamburg in 1977 and a winner again the following year against WAC Austria. Also in the Anderlecht team which won the U.E.F.A. Super Cup against Liverpool in 1978. Francois was an automatic choice for his country until his move to the States. Made his Hammers debut against Brighton & Hove Albion on the 16th January 1982 in a 0-1 defeat. His form at Upton Park saw him resurrect his international career, however, culminating in his appearance in the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Considered by many to have been one move ahead of many of his colleagues at the Boleyn, it's doubtful if the brilliant Belgian would have returned to his own country with Lokeren so soon if his family had been able to settle here.

23 December 1954

 

LESLIE BENNET signs from TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR for £3,000

24 December 1954

 

TOMMY SOUTHREN joins ASTON VILLA for £14,500 fee

 

After 64 League appearances for Hammers. Southren signed in the unglamorous surroundings of Euston Station just before midnight on Christmas Eve

SORRY NO IMAGE

CONTINUE 2

SECOND-HALF

VAN der ELST Francois CURBISHLY Alan

The Essex Pro Cup Final against Southend United is deferred to the start of the following season to be played on 31 August 1955