In this week’s unusual Friday edition of our weekly Throwback segment, we hear from Bill, 80, a lifelong Hammer about the time that West Ham United won the World Cup.
“Born in the Royal London Hospital, just before the outbreak of World War II, the prime time of my life was dominated by a golden era and that was the Swinging Sixties.
Elvis Presley and The Beatles were rocking, men were going to the moon and most importantly and most rarely of all, West Ham United were winning.
But, it wasn’t just that, the way we were doing it was the most important part, as the Great Ron Greenwood once said:
“The crowds at West Ham haven’t been rewarded by results, but they keep turning up because of the good Football they see. Other Clubs will suffer from the old bugbear that results count more than anything. This has been the ruination of English Soccer.”
Under that legendary name, that was our exact philosophy and the formation of the “West Ham Way”, exciting, slick passing football that wasn’t always effective but was always sure to entertain and make you proud to wear Claret & Blue.
Although it may not exist nowadays, we always had that at Upton Park and the memories will forever live on because it was that generation of Hammers that made the greatest triumph in English history possible.
The icons were always poised for the top, the Geoff Hurst’s and the Bobby Moore’s had tasted success leading up to that final and where it all started was at the Old Wembley in 1964.
Hurst and Moore both featured that day as we defeated Preston North End in The FA Cup final and then shared The Charity Shield with Liverpool, but for me, the bitterness of not being able to make it to Wembley as a young man overshadowed the triumph.
“When the chance came around the next year and better still, for a European Cup Winners’ Cup Final, I could not stay away and enjoyed an incredible night as we overcame TSV 1860 Munich for European Glory.
“However, my greatest Wembley memories would come yet another year after that as my favourite Hammer stars then went and won football’s greatest prize.
“That day, the most memorable of my life, 30 July 1966, I remember walking up Wembley Way and being enthralled by the news that the three iconic Hammers, Moore, Hurst, and Peters were going to start, let alone win the World Cup for England.
But they did, much to the delight of a crammed Wembley Stadium and in my mind, I have been celebrating ever since, I can’t even begin to describe the feeling I get when I can say “I was there in 1966”.
“I’m not entirely sure that we will ever witness anything as great as that as a footballing nation again.
“But, next summer at Russia, we have the potential do it again and the likes of Joe Hart, Aaron Cresswell, Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll can all fly the Claret & Blue flag.”