Welcome to the West Ham United Memorabilia Collection featuring everything Claret and Blue
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The Hammers were sitting top of the Second Division table separated by goal-average ahead of Charlton Athletic with Blackburn Rovers in third spot a point behind leading into the last game to decide the outcome of the 1957-58 campaign.
Whilst Charlton and Blackburn were involved in a final day shoot-out at The Valley. The Hammers travelled to Ayesome Park to face Middlesbrough in front of a 30,000 crowd. A draw would be sufficient to gain promotion, a win would almost certainly guarantee West Ham would be Champions.
Following relegation from the First Division at the end of the 1931-32 season the Hammers had rarely threatened a promotion bid in those intervening 26 years. In the days of two points for a win and only the top two guaranteed First Division football the next term.
The League table ahead of the final day
Middlesbrough v. West Ham United
Ayesome Park, April 26, 1958
Despite obvious nerves the Hammers started well and were rewarded with a goal after 14 minutes when a John Bond free kick was steered home by John Dick passed Peter Taylor in the Middlesbrough goal.
The lead lasted ten minutes, a fierce shot by Brian Clough was pushed away by Ernie Gregory but Fitzsimmons promptly hammered it home to make it 1-1. Just before the break the advantage was restored when Dick crossed for Vic Keeble to score, further drama from another Dick cross and Malcolm Musgrove headed home to give the Hammers a 3-1 advantage at the break.
Taylor, Stonehouse, Robinson, Harris, Dicks, Birbeck, Day, Fitzsimons, Clough, Peacock, Holliday
West Ham United:
Ernie Gregory, John Bond, Noel Cantwell, Andy Malcolm, Ken Brown, Andy Nelson, Mike Grice, John Smith, Vic Keeble, John Dick, Malcolm Musgrove. Musgrove
Goals: Dick (14 mins), Keeble 41 mins), Musgrove (44 mins)
Ref: T.H. Cooper (Bolton)
The second half was a much-more nervy affair with Ken Brown keeping the ever dangerous Clough quiet and as the final whistle sounded there was an unsurprising outburst of sheer joy from the players and for those few hundred travelling band of supporters’ their dreams had finally became reality.
Meanwhile back at The Valley, Blackburn Rovers beat Charlton Athletic by 4 goals to 3 to overtake them and gain the runners-up spot.
Priced at fourpence the Ayesome Park match day programme is one of the most sought after by West Ham programme collectors due to the significance of this match deciding the outcome of the Championship and will set you back around £75 in todays' market (May 2018).
King's Cross Welcome
The team returned to London that evening by rail and were met by a large welcoming crowd who had gathered at King's Cross Station to welcome their heroes – the strains of “Bubbles” could be heard by the players before the train had even arrived at the platform.
This was to be the start of a golden age for the Hammers
Vic Keeble and Ken Brown hold up their glasses as a beaming Ted Fenton pours the champagne in the
dressing-room after the game
The Stratford Express welcomes the Second Division Champions to King's Cross Station along with hundreds of Hammers supporters
Noel Cantwell is hoisted aloft by Malcolm Pyke
and John Bond
Second Division Winners medal
Malcolm Pyke was one of only 14 recipients to win a Second Division Championship medal at the end of 1957-58 by virtual of the 15 games he played in that winning campaign.
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Cafe Royal, Regent Street July 12, 1958
The Football League criteria at that time was to present to the winning Championship Club of each Division 14 medals. Additional medals cannot be presented except by consent of the Management Committee.
The ruling now is that players have to have played (or named on the team sheet) in 25% of the matches. Andy Malcolm was the only ever-present player in the 42 game League season.
John Bond, Ken Brown and John Dick each playing 41 games, Malcolm Musgrove 39, Ernie Gregory 37, Noel Cantwell 33, Johnny Smith 32, Mike Grice and Vic Keeble 29, Billy Dare 26 and Bill Lansdowne with 17 appearances.
It is believed the remaining medal went to Manager Ted Fenton.
Malcolm Pyke and his Championship medal
At times of success, there has been a long tradition for clubs to mark their achievements by holding celebration dinners and receptions. The Board of Directors at West Ham choose the plush surroundings of the Cafe Royal, Regent Street to hold their celebration dinner for the players, families and officials, as well as other staff members connected with the club.
A combined 16-page large format review of the season, menu and souvenir brochure was produced for the London event on July 12, 1958. A separate publication entitled “List of Guests and Plan of Tables” shows that 321 invitees were in attendance.
Goalkeeper Ernie Gregory's Invitation
WEST HAM UNITED : SECOND DIVISION CHAMPIONS
Back row: Billy Moore (Trainer), Andy Malcolm, Ken Brown, John Bond, Ernie Gregory, Noel Cantwell, Bill Lansdowne, Malcolm Pyke, Ted Fenton (Manager)
Seated: Mike Grice, John Smith, Vic Keeble, John Dick, Malcolm Musgrove
Players Promotion Souvenir Handbook
West Ham United commissioned a special 48-page Players Promotion Souvenir Handbook. The 1958 handbook also marks the first appearance of both the castle design and the symbolic crossed hammers combined as one feature.
Up until then the ‘castle turret’ and ‘crossed hammers’ motifs were separate elements which were as regular feature on the cover of the club programmes between 1921 and 1958.
Second Division Shield