Match Of The Past: West Ham United
We are nearly at the end of our summer long series of videos featuring matches involving the clubs of this seasons Premier League, and the latest in this series features the club that scrambled into the Premier League via last seasons play-offs, West Ham United. West Ham have a long history of bouncing between the top two divisions – the club has never played below the top two divisions of English football since joining the Football League in 1919 – and our six matches for you come from the period between 1971 and 1986. Our first match comes from January 1971, and it’s a home match against a championship chasing Leeds United team. Our second match is from the following season, and sees West Ham travel to Crystal Palace for a league match played in October 1971.
Our next two matches feature very differing FA Cup experiences for the club. First up is a home match against Hereford United from the 1973/74 season. Hereford had only been elected into the Football League in 1972 following an FA Cup run which saw them beat Newcastle United before losing to West Ham in a Fourth Round replay. This time, however, the first match was at Upton Park, and the draw that West Ham scrambled that day only proved to be respite from a giant-killing act. The following season, however, saw the club make it all the way to Wembley for the first time since 1964, and the final was an all-London affair with a match against Fulham.
By 1980, West Ham were in the Second Division, but this didn’t prevent another FA Cup run to Wembley which ended in a one-nil win against Arsenal in the final. The match that we have from that run is closing stages of their quarter-final match against Aston Villa. And last but not least comes another FA Cup match, this time a Fifth Round Replay at Old Trafford against Manchester United from March 1986, which was played following a 1-1 draw at Upton Park. The clubs involvement in the FA Cup ended in the next round of the competition, but their third placed finish in the First Division was – and remains – the clubs best ever final league position.
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