Anyone Remember Bobby Moore’s Debut?

April 29, 2008


My name is Ryan Forrester and I am a first year student currently studying Sports Journalism at the University of Brighton. For one of my modules we have been asked to write a piece on a sporting event from 1958, due to it being its 50th anniversary this year.

I have decided to write a piece on Booby Moore’s debut for West Ham against Manchester United in September 1958. I want to try and focus upon the match itself rather than producing a profile of Bobby Moore, and wondered if you may have any ideas or information that may be able to assist me in my research.

I have a number of different sources, however am finding it difficult to find much information on the game and Bobby Moore’s performance.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Ryan Forrester


The Day I Met … Ernie Gregory

April 28, 2008

I am now 71 and my dad started taking me to watch the Hammers in about 1947/48. I lived in Forest Gate and from 48 onwards was a pupil at Plaistow Grammar School.

It was at about that time, during the summer holidays, that I looked out of my bedroom window and saw a group of 5 or 6 men in the garden next door. They were digging out a second world war air raid shelter, dug deep below the surface. When I took a closer look I suddenly began to recognise some of the men as regular first team players from WHU. I rushed down into the garden, jumped up on a box and had a close up view. The group included Dickie Walker, the then captain, Ernie Gregory, our long serving goalie and Ernie Devlin, who played as a full back. I can no longer remember who the others were, but they were all very friendly and enjoyed chatting with this very young supporter. This was an era when players wages were very low and almost non existent during the summer months, so they had to take on labouring work to keep the wolf from the door. How times have changed!

Whilst at Plaistow Grammar School, we often used to walk down to the chippie at the end of Prince Regent Lane and would bump into Terry Woodgate and Ken Tucker, both of whom were wingers playing in the first team at that time and who lived nearby. These men were all my heroes and any time they nodded a glance of recognition in our direction it was considered a red letter day.

I was a season ticket holder for many years. I saw the 66 World Cup trio grow through the youth team and reserves into the very fine players they ultimately became. Sadly I no longer visit regularly, but follow them with great passion via the internet and web sites such as your own. Keep up the good work.

Michael Morton

Newcastle Match Report

April 26, 2008

This was the most entertaining match since our victory over Liverpool in late January. In fact, perhaps the first half was our best half of the entire season. We were literally on fire from the outset. Perhaps the visiting Paolo di Canio had gone into the dressing room and given a pre match motivational team talk? Newcastle were not at the races and until they scored they had not had a shot. Indeed, they only had one shot in the second half.

Let’s start with the midfield. Faubert and Ljungberg ran Newcastle ragged down the wings for the first twenty minutes. What a shame Freddie was stretchered off with a cracked rib (and may miss the Euros) mid way through the first half to be replaced the Boa Morte. Scott Parker was absolutely immense, especially in the first half, while Mark Noble took his goal brilliantly and combined superbly with Parker both defensively and in attack. But special pride of place goes to Julien Faubert, who showed some amazing bursts of pace and put in some excellent crosses. He really showed that he will be immense for us next season, and if Parker hadn’t been so brilliant, he would have been my man of the match. Parker is now on England form.

Defensively, James Tomkins looked superb, apart from being to blame for the first goal. His heading was spot on and he was tough in his tackled. He’s also a danger at corners in the opponents’ box. He did make a mistake for the goal, but he’ll learn from it. Lucas Neill had a few hairy moments in the second half. George McCartney was brilliant (again) bombing down the left and put in a real attacking performance. And John Pantsil had his best game for us so far. He really can be a joy to watch with his hugely enthusiastic attitude.

Up front Dean Ashton was busy all over the place and a constant threat. His goal was a classic striker’s goal, where he made something out of very little. Bobby Zamora was at his most frustrating. He tried and tried but absolutely nothing he tried came off. Carlton Cole looked far better when he came on and should retain his place for the Man U game, although I suspect we will play 4-5-1 at Old Trafford.

Uriah Rennie certainly had a game of two halves. He had a good first half but his decisions in the second half defied logic. It shows how times change when instead of “The referee’s a bastard” we heard constant chants of “You’re not fit to be a referee”. How quaint.

And finally, why oh why was their no pre match announcement that Paolo di Canio was “in da Stafium”? The crowd sooned spotted him and we all went wild, revisiting old memories with sporadic and very loud chants of the Paolo di Canio Rigoletto chant. He’s still a hero to many of us and the best player I have ever seen in a West Ham shirt. And the scores on the doors…

Green 8
McCartney 8
Neill 6
Tomkins 7
Pantsil 8
Noble 8
Parker 9
Ljungberg 8 (Boa Morte 5)
Faubert 9
Ashton 8
Zamora 6 (Cole 7)

PS And for once I predicted the score correctly!

Your Pre Match Rituals…

April 26, 2008

I had to get here early today to persuade the ticket office they should give me a replacement season ticket as the one they promised to post me never showed. So it’s 2pm and I am already sat in the Dr Martens lower row X, seat 203.
I love to get into the ground early, just to soak up the atmosphere as the seats start to fill up. The transformation to quiet anticipation to raucous expectation is a joy to experience. I sat here wondering about other people’s pre match rituals, hence this post. Let me kick off with mine.

I normally leave home in Tunbridge Wells around mid day to ensure that I have time to get through any queues for the Blackwall Tunnel. Today we were stationary for 15 minutes. I park on a garage forecourt in Barking Road and leave it with a group of fanastic guys who have been washing and taking care of my cars for about 15 years.If I arrive really early I might listen to a bit of Any Questions or a 5 Live commentary before heading up the Barking Road. I always pop into the bookshop at the corner of Green Street and have a gossip with the manager, Viv Archer. She loves a good political chinwag and she normally has some West Ham luminary or other signing books. I usually meet my friend Jo Phillips there.

I then always buy my programme from the seller on the corner of Green Street and OLAS from the the boy by the church.

Jo and I have now got into the very unhealthy habit of heading off to Ken’s Cafe on Green Street for a fry up too. A lot of people we know from media circles are often in there too – Pete May, The Observer’s Denis Campbell, Matt George from the Western Mail and Nigel Morris from The Indy and also his wife Carolyn Quinn from Radio 4’s Today Programme.

And then at about 2.30 it’s off to the ground. I didn’t go to Ken’s today as Jo can’t be here. It isn’t the same without her!

Before each game I usually look up at the Director’s box and give a two fingered wave to my friend, Labour MP and Home Office Minister Tony McNulty. He’s too polite to respond with fewer than five fingers in his wave.

And that’s about it! I’ve told you mine, now you tell me your pre match routine.

Newcastle Preview

April 26, 2008

Will Nobby Solano face his old side? I think most of us would like to think so as he’s performed really well in the few matches he has started this season. He gives us something extra at set pieces and corners. If it were down to me I would start him on the right of midfield with Julien Faubert replacing Pantsil at right back. It’s important that Faubert gets match practice.

I expect James Tomkins and Lucas Neill to remain in central defence and Bobby Zamora starting alongside the fit again Dean Ashton. Carlton Cole also has a strong shout for a starting place but I think he will be disappointed.

I hope it’s not me that’s disappointed when I get to the ground. The promised replacement season ticket never turned up (so much for my praise for the ticket office!) so I will have to queue up for one when I get there. Which reminds me, I’d better leave now!

Prediction: 2-2 draw! I’d settle for that as long as we get some excitement!

Very Sad News

April 24, 2008

I’m really sad to have to tell you that Frank Lampard’s mother Pat has died this afternoon. I sent Frank a copy of all the comments you left on a previous thread and I am sure I can speak for you all when I send him and his father our sincere sympathies.

Kudos to the WHU Ticket Office

April 23, 2008

Last night my car was broken into while parked in a busy street in Bloomsbury. The thieving bastards nicked two laptops and my wallat … and my season ticket. Just called West Ham’s ticket office expecting them to fleece me for £40 to replace it (for two games) only to receive buckets of tea and sympathy and to be told that they’d send out a free replacement today so I could use it on Saturday. Credit where credit’s due. The ticket office come in for a lot of stick, but the girl I talked to today could not have been more helpful.

Now, if anyone is offered two dodgy Sony Vaio laptops, feel free to take them on my behalf and to punch the little gobshites where it hurts.