The season was 1979-1980. West Ham were sitting in Division Two (now known as The Championship). They were relegated there in 1978. Finishing 5th in 1979, they were desperate to return to the top flight.
But this edition of A Moment in Time is not about their league performance that season, although it is relevant, as West Ham didn’t make promotion that season either. But they did reach the FA Cup Final.
Cups had always had a special place in Hammers fans hearts. They won the FA Cup in 1964 and European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965 with three members of the England 1966 World Cup winning squad, Martin Peters, Geoff Hurst and Bobby Moore. Then in 1975, they won the FA Cup again, and also reached the final of the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1976, but lost to Anderlecht.
West Ham’s two FA Cup triumphs had been a 3-2 win over Preston, after coming back from 1-2 down, Ronnie Boyce scoring the winner in the 90th minute. In 1975 they were up against Division Two side, Fulham, who contained Bobby Moore and Alan Mullery. West Ham won 2-0 with Alan Taylor scoring both goals.
West Ham were managed by John Lyall. Lyall had been youth team coach from 1967 and moved up to the top job when he replaced Ron Greenwood in 1974. After relegation from Division One, Lyall attempted to rebuild the side, spending £565,000 on Phil Parkes (QPR), a world record for a goalkeeper, and £430,000 on Ray Stewart (Dundee United), a British record for a teenager.
Phil Parkes (age 29) – Spent two years at Walsall, before he moved to QPR where he made his name. Joined West Ham at the start of the 1979-80 season, when he became the most expensive goalkeeper in the world.
Ray Stewart (age 20) – Began his career at Dundee United in 1976. West Ham paid a record fee for a teenager when he joined at the start of the 1979-80 season.
Frank Lampard (age 31) – Joined West Ham as an apprentice in 1967. Made over 500 appearances for The Hammers. His son’s a footballer too.
Billy Bonds (age 33) – Club captain, joined West Ham in 1967 after a couple of years at Charlton. Made over 650 appearances for the club.
Alvin Martin (age 21) – Joined as an apprentice in 1976, and made over 450 appearances before joining Leyton Orient in 1996.
Paul Brush (age 22) – Came through West Ham’s academy in 1977, and remained till 1985.
Paul Allen (age 17) – Made his debut for the club in 1979. Moved to Spurs in 1985 and played in two FA Cup Finals for them. Cousin of both Clive and Bradley Allen.
Geoff Pike (age 23) – Joined the club in 1975 from Thurrock. Made almost 300 appearances up to 1987.
Alan Devonshire (age 24) – Joined West Ham in 1976 from Southall. Remained with the club up to 1990, when he’d made over 350 appearances.
Jimmy Neighbour (age 29) – Began his career at Tottenham in 1966 and moved to Norwich in 1976. Joined West Ham in 1979.
Trevor Brooking (age 31) – Joined as an apprentice in 1967. A legend at the club, made over 525 appearances up to 1984. Also gained 47 caps for England.
Pat Holland (age 29) – Joined West Ham as an apprentice in 1969. A ‘one-club-man’, he made almost 250 appearances up to 1981.
David Cross (age 29) – Began his career with Rochdale in 1969, before spending a couple of seasons at Norwich, Coventry and West Brom each. Moved to West Ham in 1977.
Stuart Pearson (age 31) – Began his career with Hull City in 1968, before moving to Manchester United in 1974. Won an FA Cup winners medal in 1977, before moving to West Ham in 1979.
Third Round - 5th January 1980
First opponents for West Ham were Division One side, West Brom, who were losing Semi-Finalists in 1978 and finished 3rd in Division One in 1979. But 1979-80 wasn’t quite proving to be the season Baggies fans had hoped and they were 6th from bottom. That sort of position is ripe for an upset, and so it proved. West Ham needed a replay, but drawing at The Hawthorns first, gave them the opportunity to win in front of their own supporters.
West Brom 1-1 West Ham
Parkes; Stewart, Bonds, Martin, Lampard; Neighbour, Allen, Pike, Brooking; Pearson, Devonshire
Replay (8th January 1980)
West Ham 2-1 West Brom
Parkes; Stewart, Brush, Martin, Lampard; Neighbour, Allen, Pike, Brooking; Pearson, Devonshire
The 3rd Round, saw two of the giant-killing results of cup history as non-league, Harlow Town, beat Leicester City, who would go onto win Division Two that year. Then, Halifax (Div 4) beat Manchester City (Div 1). City had spent big, but not wisely, that season and that result spelt the end for manager, Malcolm Allison. Chelsea (Div 2) were beaten at home by Wigan (Div 4). Holders, Arsenal were taken to a replay by Division Two, Cardiff City, before winning at Highbury.
Fourth Round - 26th January 1980
Next up for The Hammers, was Leyton Orient, who were in the bottom half of Division Two. Orient were captained by former Hammer, Tommy Taylor, who was in the team which won the cup in 1975. Billy Bonds conceded a penalty in the first half and Orient took the lead. West Ham were level when Nigel Gray headed past his own goalkeeper, and then Ray Stewart converted a penalty to give the visitors the lead. John Chiedozie then levelled late in the game, before Stewart grabbed his 2nd of the game inside the final 10 minutes, and West Ham were through.
Leyton Orient 2-3 West Ham
Stewart 2 (1 pen), own goal
Parkes; Brush, Bonds, Martin, Lampard; Neighbour, Allen, Stewart, Pike; Pearson, Devonshire
Harlow Town’s dream cup run came to an end when they went down 3-4 to near neighbours, Watford. Swindon Town took Tottenham to a replay before losing at White Hart Lane, and a similar fate was suffered by Cambridge United against Aston Villa.
Fifth Round - 16th February 1980
Another Division Two opponent was next up for West Ham. Swansea City were the visitors to Upton Park as West Ham were at last drawn at home in the cup this season. The game looked to be heading for a replay when 5 minutes from the end, Paul Allen and David Cross scored within 60 seconds of each other, and The Hammers marched on.
West Ham 2-0 Swansea
Parkes; Stewart, Brush, Martin, Lampard; Neighbour, Pike, Brooking, Devonshire; Cross, Pearson (Allen)
There were no real surprises, other than Watford (Division 2) went to Wolves (Div 1) and beat them easily, 3-0. Liverpool, Everton and Ipswich all went through without too much trouble, but Arsenal and Aston Villa both needed replays to progress.
Sixth Round - 8th March 1980
After 2 Division Two opponents, West Ham were back to Division One for their Quarter-Final challenge. Aston Villa were 5th in Division One, and confident of seeing off another opponent from Division Two. They hadn’t met opposition from their own division in the cup that year. Villa had gone out at the Third Round stage for the previous two seasons and hadn’t reached the Semis since 1960.
A typically combative cup tie was goalless right up to the final minutes. The tension was palpable when Villa defender Ken McNaught was adjudged to have handled the ball and West Ham were awarded a penalty. Whilst some of his teammates couldn’t watch, Ray Stewart coolly stepped up and slotted it home, for a dramatic win.
West Ham 1-0 Aston Villa
Parkes; Stewart, Brush, Martin, Lampard; Allen, Pike, Brooking, Devonshire; Cross, Pearson
All four matches were separated by just 1 goal, as Arsenal won 2-1 at Watford, Everton beat Ipswich, 2-1 and Liverpool beat Tottenham, thanks to a great goal from Terry McDermott.
Semi-Final - 12th April 1980
With three First Division sides in the draw, West Ham were going to have a tough tie whoever they met. Although, Everton were 4th from bottom and represented possibly an easier task than either Liverpool or Arsenal, who were both in the top 4. The first game at Villa Park, was quite open, as both sides created good chances. The game was a feisty affair with two ex-Man Utd players getting the goals. Brian Kidd converted a hotly disputed penalty for Everton, and then Stuart Pearson equalised for West Ham. Kidd was later sent-off, for the 2nd time in the Cup that season. Paul Allen had a goal ruled out for offside and so the tie went to a replay.
The replay was the following Wednesday, at Elland Road. This game was no less competitive or dramatic. The game was goalless for 90 minutes, but early in extra time Alan Devonshire scored a fine goal to give West Ham the lead. 7 minutes to go and Everton equalised through Bob Latchford. The game looked to be heading for another replay before West Ham threw men forward and Frank Lampard found himself in the right place to head an unlikely winner. His goal celebration involving dancing round the corner flag was the stuff of legend.
West Ham 1-1 Everton
Parkes; Stewart, Bonds, Martin, Brush; Allen, Holland, Brooking, Devonshire; Cross, Pearson (Pike)
Semi-Final Replay - 16th April 1980
Everton 1-2 West Ham
Parkes; Stewart, Brush, Bonds, Lampard; Allen, Pike, Brooking, Devonshire; Cross, Pearson
The other Semi-Final was another really tight match-up between Liverpool and Arsenal. Liverpool, the reigning League Champions, and top of the league again that season, and Arsenal, the cup holders. The first game, at Hillsborough ended 0-0. The replay at Villa Park ended 1-1. No penalty shootouts in those days, so a 2nd Replay occurred at Villa Park, two weeks later, but that also ended level, 1-1, as Kenny Dalglish scored a dramatic equaliser in injury time. Arsenal finally saw off Liverpool as Brian Talbot got the only goal of the game at Highfield Road, just 9 days before the final.
FA Cup Final - 10th May 1980
West Ham were the 4th club in 8 years, from outside the top division to reach the FA Cup Final. Sunderland had beaten Leeds in 1973, Fulham had lost to West Ham in 1975 and Southampton had beaten Man Utd in 1976. Arsenal were appearing in their 3rd consecutive final. They lost to Ipswich in 1978, and beat Man Utd in a dramatic finish in 1979.
Arsenal were full of internationals, and mainly Irish ones. Liam Brady, Frank Stapleton, David O’Leary and John Devine for Republic of Ireland. Pat Jennings, Pat Rice and Sammy Nelson for Northern Ireland. Not to mention, Willie Young (Scotland) and Graham Rix and Brian Talbot (England). They had a deadly strike partnership in Stapleton and Alan Sunderland.
But West Ham had stars of their own. Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking and Frank Lampard were remaining from the 1975 Cup triumph. Stuart Pearson had won the Cup with Man Utd in 1977.
The game was anything other than a classic (although Hammers fans would remember it forever), Arsenal were traditionally a defensive minded side. 12 minutes in and Alan Devonshire found some space down the left. His cross fell to David Cross, whose shot hit Willie Young and bounced to Stuart Pearson, on the right of the 6-yard area. Trevor Brooking, by now, had ghosted into the 6-yard box. Pearson shot across the goal and Brooking got his head to it, and it went in. A great start for the underdogs, and just what the game needed as Arsenal now had to make the running.
Arsenal had the better of the chances, but were unable to beat Phil Parkes in the West Ham goal. As the game went on, it just had that look of not being Arsenal’s day, as West Ham were able to repel anything the Gunners threw at them. With minutes to go, Paul Allen broke clear of the Arsenal defence and was one-on-one with Pat Jennings, but just as he reached the “D”, Willie Young cruelly tripped him from behind and the chance had gone.
Paul Allen, 17 years old, was the youngest player to have played in a cup final at that stage. Young only received a yellow card, as the tackle from behind had not been outlawed then. Mums everywhere, immediately took the baby-faced Allen, to their hearts. West Ham had beaten Arsenal, and they remain the last club from outside the top division, to have lifted the FA Cup.
West Ham 1-0 Arsenal
Parkes; Stewart, Bonds, Martin, Lampard; Allen, Pike, Brooking, Devonshire; Cross, Pearson
The following season, they won the Second Division by 13pts. They reached the final of the League Cup and lost to Liverpool in a replay. They also reached the Quarter-Finals of both the FA Cup and the Cup Winners Cup.
Liked this article? Check out the previous editions of this series in Pete's profile: A Moment in Time