A Pictorial History



Steve Marsh & Stuart Allen

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1983-84 Canon League : Division One

1st August 1983 BORN THIS DAY : JULIEN FAUBERT (2008- ) La Havre, France


IN THE NEWS - July 1983

Hammers' Francois goes back to Belgium

The Francois Van der Elst transfer saga was finally ended today when the West Ham forward signed for Belgian League club Lokeren.

Belgian international Van der Elst last week agreed terms with champion club Standard Liege, but Hammers manager John Lyall could not agree a fee with the club. So Lokeren, a local club to Brussels-based Van der Elst, stepped back into the hunt and yesterday agreed a fee with Lyall. Said Lyall today: "Francois had talks with Lokeren, Standard Liege and Antwerp, but it was Lokeren who finally agreed to pay the fee we wanted." The Hammers manager was reluctant to quote the exact price, but it is believed to be around £200,000. Lyall will use the money to prise winger Steve Whitton from Coventry. East London-born Whitton has already agreed terms with Hammers and Lyall expects "no problems on the fee, likely again to be in the region of £200,000, It was thought that both clubs would end up at the independent tribunal, but Lyall now says: "I am hopeful we can agree on a fee without going that far." Whitton, whose contract at Coventry expired this summer, needed little persuading to come south to Hammers. "Steve says he can see the Upton Park floodlights from his parents' house and his wife is a fanatical Hammers fan."

IN THE NEWS - 10th July 1983

Hammers sign Steve

West Ham were today completing the £200,000 transfer of 22-year-old winger Steve Whitton from Coventry. Both Hammers manager John Lyall and Whitton himself met yesterday in London after returning from foreign holidays and the player has accepted terms. Now Lyall must wait until next week to tie up lose ends with new Coventry manager Bobby Gould, who is also away on holiday, but no problems are expected. It will be back to familiar surroundings for Whitton, born at nearby East Ham and a Hammers fan in his youth. Coventry's leading scorer with 14 goals last season Whitton even trained with Hammers as a youngster, but when Coventry were first to offer him a playing apprenticeship he decided to try his luck in the Midlands. Whitton has made 80 first team appearances for Coventry, principally on the right wing. But the 6ft tall youngster who scored for Coventry in both games against West Ham last season, can also operate as a central striker and in midfield. Lyall acted quickly this week to settle the deal after receiving £250,000 from Belgium champion club Standard Liege for Francois Van der Elst. Whitton will meet his new team mates for the first time later this month when they resume training.

IN THE NEWS - 4th August 1983

Why £165,000 Walford joined Hammers

West Ham new boy Steve Walford predicts a season of success for London's top trio. Walford, signed for £165,000 from Norwich over the weekend, has already played for Tottenham and Arsenal — and is due to turn out for his Hammers debut at home to Birmingham on Saturday. The 25-year-old defender met his new team-mates for the first time yesterday and afterwards spoke of his delight at coming back to London. "It's great to be back on the London scene again," he said, "and I believe It will be a good season for the top three clubs. "You have to fancy Tottenham's chances of doing well because of the squad they have assembled. And you can never rule out Arsenal because they are so well organised. "But I'm happy to have joined West Ham.

Gallagher off to Burnley for £30,000

WEST Ham defender Joe Gallagher is going to Third Division Burnley for a £30,000 fee. Gallagher, who cost Hammers nothing when he joined them "on trial" from Wolves just before last Christmas, was today up at Turf Moor for talks with new Burnley manager John Bond, himself a former West Ham player.

The ex-Birmingham player came to Upton Park following a dispute with Wolves in which Gallagher claimed "unfair dismissal" after the Midlands club terminated his contract. Liverpool-born Gallagher made his Hammers first team debut in the 3—0 home defeat by Coventry on December 11 and played a total of ten matches before damaging a knee. Since then he has undergone his third cartilage operation, but was fit enough to start full pre-season training with the rest of the West Ham squad last week. Lyall signed Gallagher on a one year contract at the end of last season, but his imminent departure represents good business for the London First Division club, who will have made a clear £30,000 profit if the deal goes through. Said Lyall: "Joe would have been a valuable squad member, but, at 28, he understandably wants regular first team football — something we could not guarantee."

IN THE NEWS - 6th August 1983

Liege slam Lyall

WEST HAM have run into a row over the transfer of Francois van der Elst back to his native Belgium. Van der Elst, who cost the Hammers £400,000 from New York Cosmos 20 months ago, returned home this summer because he wanted his children to have a Belgian education. He agreed terms with champions Standard Liege, and was introduced to the Press as their new signing. But the next day West Ham manager John Lyall called off the move, saying the club had agreed a deal with Lokeren. Van der Elst said: "I was flabbergasted, I've no idea why West Ham blocked my move to Liege, but I don't really mind. All I wanted was to play in the Belgian First Division again." But Standard Liege are furious, and coach Raymond Goethals says: "Van der Elst had promised to sign for us. We have had no explanation from West Ham. John: Lyall was not fair with my club." yall said: "We have acted ethically in everything we have done. We took the best offer for the club."

IN THE NEWS - 18th August 1983

Worried Lyall set to step up search

WEST Ham manager John Lyall was today stepping up his search for a major signing following his side's latest pre-season setback. Lyall's top priority is a defender to boost a side which suffered its fifth consecutive defeat, 3—1, at Portsmouth, last night. Said Lyall today: "It's a bit worrying the way we keep on giving goals away in these warm-up games. "I am fairly hopeful of making a signing in the near future. I have several options and I will be pursuing those in the next few days." One man who has been linked with Hammers is Birmingham's volatile left back Mark Dennis while another is Aston Villa's Colin Gibson. Watched by a 6,024 Fratton Park crowd last night, Hammers' troubles began as early as the 12th minute when Pom-pey winger Alan Roger's free kick was headed home by the unmarked Alan Biley. Ten minutes later Paul Brush was concussed when he collided with an upright and while he was still collecting his senses Biley netted his second goal from a corner. Former Coventry striker Mark Hateley scored his first goal for Portsmouth three minutes before half-time after Alvin Martin had been dispossessed. Everald La Ronde replaced the still groggy Brush at half-time and four minutes after the break Hammers' new boy Steve Whitton scored his first goal with a neat chip from the edge of the box. Goalkeeper Phil Parkes missed the match with a damaged knee as did Scottish defender Ray Stewart who has a hip injury. Hammers conclude their pre-season programme with a special testimonial match for former-manager Bill Nicholson at Tottenham on Sunday

BIRMINGHAM CITY : Canon League Division One










Brooking (Orr)


Upton Park

4 - 0 (Cottee 2, Martin, Swindlehurst)

27th August 1983

Att: 19,729

HAMMERS teenage striker Tony Cottee sparkled with two flying goals - and brewed up an early selection headache for manager John Lyall. Cottee, drafted into the side only because England man Paul Goddard is injured, seems certain to keep his place at Everton tomorrow. The 5ft 6in Romford lad twice used his head with spectacular dives to set the Hammers on their soaraway start - and that's something different. In the last four years they have crashed in their first home game but this time their opponents were a pushover. Lyall was beaming after the way his side disposed of Ron Saunders' Birmingham. " What a way to start - a thumping win with four goals aind none against, said Lyall. "The fans have seen that and gone home happy. I'm happy too because we set out to entertain them." Then Lyall praised 19-year-old Cottee: " He proved his worth two great opportunist goals. He has an eye for them." With Goddard still out with knee trouble at Everton the bustling Cottee will keep his place at Goodison and then Lyall has the problem of who to leave out against Spurs. The only cloud on Hammers' immediate horizon concerns veteran star Trevor Brooking, who will finish his playing career at the end of this season. Brooking limped off with a slight hamstring strain and Lyall admitted: " I don't think he'll be available for the Everton game." In the first-half Cottee looked unstoppable in the box against the slow-moving Blues defence which Saunders labelled "unprofessional." But from this form Cottee could only have been stopped by a brick wall—and a high one at that. When Brooking miscued a drive from the edge of centre by Hammers new the box after 23 minutes he pint- sized Cottee hopped to it with a brave header near a post but the reward was a goal that set up the Hammers' triumph. Five minutes later, Ray Stewart's free-kick was pushed forward by Alvin Martin and before a muscle moved in the Birmingham defence young Cottee headed past keeper Tony Coton with a spectacular low, diving header. It was sterling stuff but the next two Hammers goals—both headers, highlighted the deficiencies in the Birmingham defence, errors that left Saunders fuming on his way back up the Ml. An Alan Devonshire corner landed perfectly for Martin to head easily over Coton in the 36th minute. After 32 minutes, Dave Swindlehurst headed just under the bar from a boy Steve Whitton to complete a miserable afternoon for the Midland team. It would have been agony if Devonshire had eroded a brilliant sidestep with a goal Instead of hitting the bar in the final seconds. "That would have been the goal of the season," said Lyall.

Manager: John Lyall

1st July 1983 ON THIS DAY : KEVIN KEEN “Keeney", STEVE POTTS  and PAUL INCE all sign apprentice forms.


10th July 1983  ON THIS DAY : STEVE WHITTON joins the Hammers from COVENTRY CITY for £200,000

West Ham’s best ever start to a league season saw the first five games yield five wins and 15 goals. A London derby at Tottenham was won 2-0 and there was a remarkable home game with Coventry City. The Hammers missed a penalty and were losing 0-2 when a burst of scoring saw West Ham score three goals in three minutes to demoralise the visitors. West Ham went on to win 5-2 with a hat-trick from Dave Swindlehurst. There was only one win in the next six games but the League Cup brought an abundance of goals. Already leading 2-1 from the first leg at Bury, the Lancashire side were crushed 10-0 at the Boleyn Ground with Tony Cottee scoring four. During November there were away wins at both Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sunderland and a home 1-0 victory against Brighton in the League Cup. Progress in that competition was halted as Everton went through in a replay.

Supporters were cheered with a fine 4-1 victory over Tottenham and a tough FA Cup match with Wigan was won 1-0, but marred by a bad injury to Devonshire that saw him miss the rest of the season. An injury crisis then hit hard as Allen, Bonds and Goddard were all in plaster and, following a car crash, Martin had six broken ribs and Whitton a dislocated shoulder. The patched-up side did well, with three more league victories and a win over Crystal Palace in the FA Cup. The Hammers FA Cup journey was ended at Birmingham City where a poor display saw them beaten 3-0, with a pitch invasion bringing shame to the club.

After this the team struggled; a 4-1 defeat at Leicester was followed by a 6-0 drubbing at Liverpool. There were creditable draws at Manchester United and Arsenal, but the season ended on a sad note with Trevor Brooking’s last game for the club ending in a 1-0 home defeat against Everton. Manager John Lyall was hoping for a top-six finish but with only one win in the last 12 games the side finished ninth.

Rule Change:

Goalkeeper "carrying" law changed, to read: "When playing as a goalkeeper, from the moment he takes control of the ball with his hands, he takes more than four steps in any direction, whilst holding, bouncing or throwing the ball in the air and catching it again without releasing it into play, or having released it into play before, during or after the four steps, he touches it again with his hands before it has been touched or played by another player, he shall be penalised by the award of an indirect free-kick, nearest to where the offence was committed." (A "drop ball" has the same directive, and applies to both goal-areas).