In this week’s edition of our weekly Throwback segment, we hear from Tim, 57 and a lifelong Hammer and Season Ticket holder about an away day to remember, almost 40 years ago to the day.
“With the FA Cup Fourth Round tie away to Wigan Athletic looming on the horizon, it seems fitting to tell the tale of my very first away Cup fixture. It was also the Fourth Round, being January 26th, 1980.
Unlike our fans on Saturday, who have an arduous journey up to Lancashire, I had a very short trip staying in the East End of London at Orient; as they were then known, not sporting the Leyton in those days.
Masses of West Ham fans descended on Brisbane Road, even coming out of the houses opposite the ground decked in Claret & Blue.
We overcame Orient in the Fourth Round of the 1964 FA Cup after a replay and proceeded to lift the trophy that year. How fitting it would be to repeat that feat in 1980.
A trio of former Hammers are on the books for Orient nowadays. Mervyn Day who unfortunately misses this fixture being replaced by Sean Rafter but, Billy Jennings and Tommy Taylor will be joining the red for the O’s, the latter being captain.
Just a few weeks ago we had this fixture in the league and ran out convincing 0-4 winners but are expecting a much tighter affair in the Cup.
Orient are also featuring former Tottenham legend Ralph Coates and danger man John Chiedozie.
Having the whole of one end we were tightly packed in behind a goal and finding our voices, the atmosphere was building nicely as the players ran out.
Captain Billy Bonds appeared looking like an Indian Chief with a bandage swathed around his head from a previous injury and lead out his team which included; Phil Parkes, Paul Brush, Frank Lampard, Alvin Martin, Alan Devonshire, Paul Allen, Stuart Pearson, Geoff Pike, Ray Stewart and Jimmy Neighbour. Dale Banton made up our one substitute.
The game started scrappy and carried on in that vein. Mistakes were aplenty and with one of those Tommy Taylor converted a penalty in the 11th minute to put the home side 1-0 up. Was there a shock on the cards?
Both sides were playing with nervous energy and were preventing any flow of quality to the match.
In the 27th minute, we got lucky when the O’s number five Nigel Gray headed into his own net, 1-1. Just seven minutes later, the hosts make another error resulting in a spot kick, where the trademark Ray Stewart conversion put is in the lead 1-2.
No more goals or mistakes for the rest of the half but, on the hour Orients lively forward John Chiedozie equalises 2-2. A typical blood and thunder cup tie now with both teams pushing for the winner.
With a replay beckoning, we entered the last 10 minutes of the game and fortunately for us Ray Stewart scored his second of the afternoon and sent us into the next Round 2-3.
21,521 fans there that day saw an eventful match but, the minority were the happiest and then delirious when lifting the FA Cup that year beating Arsenal in the final 1-0”!