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The 1980s and 90s Tournaments
This 4th 'theyflysohigh' feature on the Evening Standard sponsored London 5-a-Side Football Championships covers West Ham’s progress in the 1980s and 1990s, starting with the 1984 Championship win.
In the 1980s the event was held from 1980 to 1985 before it was suspended, and then revived for a final three years starting in 1993. After 1995’s event, the Evening Standard’s London 5s was consigned to history.
The 1980s will be remembered by West Ham fans for their underdog performance in the 1980 FA Cup final win over Arsenal. But this wasn’t the only knockout competition the Hammers won in the 1980s. In 1984 West Ham United triumphed again at Wembley. Not in the FA Cup or Football League Cup but in the London 5-a-Side Football Championships.
The 1984 final between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur was a repeat of the 1970 final and once again the Hammers were victorious 2-1 to be crowned London 5-a-Side Football champions. Fourteen years earlier it had been full back Clive Charles, who scored the crucial goals. This time it was another full back scoring an important goal. West Ham triumphed thanks to a late goal from skipper Frank Lampard to complete a hat-trick of Championship wins for the east Londoners. The Hammers first tournament win was back in 1967.
1984 : Champions for the 3rd Time
Wednesday March 28
Only 10 days before West Ham returned to Wembley Stadium to face Arsenal in the FA Cup final, they participated in the London Fives. An encouraging start saw them whip in four goals to no reply against Orient. Ray Stewart grabbed a brace and Geoff Pike, who would also play in the FA Cup final, scored another. But they met their match in Charlton Athletic despite Pike getting on the score sheet again.
In the final Queens Park Rangers beat Charlton Athletic 2-1 courtesy of two Clive Allen goals. The QPR team that evening included three players who would later sign for West Ham: Paul Goddard, Clive Allen and future coach and manager, Glenn Roeder.
Summary of Hammers’ London 5s Performance
1980 to 1995
In the nine years of the London 5-A-Side Football Championships covered in this feature, West Ham won the championship once, finalists on another occasion (1981) and reached the semi-finals five times. A summary of their results follows.
1980 : QPR Champions with Three Future Hammers
Wednesday April 30
A very disappointing evening for the Hammers as they lose the final in a penalty shoot-out to Arsenal. The chance to win the championships for the third time disappeared when Jimmy Neighbour had his penalty saved in the sudden death shoot-out. Earlier it had ended all square at 1-1 after 12 minutes of normal time. Arsenal had taken the lead before Neighbour netted West Ham’s equaliser. In the two minutes each way of extra time the Gunners and Hammers added another goal each to make the final score 2-2. Arsenal had led 2-1 until 20 seconds to go when reserve Ray Houghton, who had replaced Nicky Morgan, scored the equaliser. Then the sudden death penalties. Captain Billy Bonds stepped-up first to score only to see Arsenal also score their first spot kick. Unfortunately, the Hammers’ second spot kick was saved.
As an aside, three of the Hammers’ 5s quintet had played the previous evening in a Division II match. On Tuesday April 21 Billy Bonds, Frank Lampard and Jimmy Neighbour were in the West Ham team who beat QPR 3-0 courtesy of a Paul Goddard hat-trick.
In the earlier rounds a double from Frank Lampard helped West Ham see off Orient in the semi-final. Orient had led with a Stan Bowles goal. Prior to the semi-final the Hammers had overcome Brentford 3-1.
1981 : Hammers Lose Final on Penalties
Wednesday April 22
After a promising start with a 3-2 win over Luton Town in the first ever meeting of the two clubs in the London Fives, the Hammers could not overcome Millwall. The Lions went on to win the championship with a 3-2 victory over surprise finalists, Brentford.
1983 : Early Exit
Wednesday April 13
After a promising start the Championship holders narrowly beat Millwall but fell at the semi-final stage. In the final QPR beat Arsenal on penalties after the game finished on 3-3.
In the Charlton Athletic team was goalkeeper John Vaughan, on-loan from the Hammers.
1985 : Holders Relinquish Championships in Semi-Final
Wednesday March 13
1986 to 1992 London 5-a-Side Football Championships suspended
After an eight year break the Evening Standard sponsored London 5-a-Side Football Championships were resumed. By now the increasing commercialisation of the game meant the London 5s suffered. The big London clubs’ focus on European and Premiership football was not going to be diverted by the 5-a-sides. Nevertheless, West Ham continued to support the London 5s by fielding strong sides even if some of the other top London clubs didn’t.
In the 1993 event the Hammers met two clubs for the first time. They dispatched Barnet in the 2nd round but couldn’t topple semi-final opponents, Watford. The Hornets progressed to win the championships for the first time by beating Wimbledon on penalties in the final.
In 1994’s tournament, the Hammers reached the semi-final stage for the fourth consecutive tournament to face new opponents. This time it was London 5s newcomers Wycombe Wanderers. A semi-final goal from former West Ham youth team player Mark West, put paid to West Ham’s chances.
Wycombe Wanderers beat Wimbledon in a shoot-out in the final. The shoot-out had replaced the penalties and was designed to create additional excitement with the player given five seconds to carry the ball from the half way line to shoot past the goalkeeper. For the second consecutive year Wimbledon lost the final on a sudden death situation.
With the popularity of the London 5-a-Side Football Championships dwindling 1995’s event was the last to be held. Many of the top London clubs no longer fielded regular first team players and clubs from outside London were now regular participants. 1995’s final was contested by two such clubs as Wycombe Wanderers beat Luton Town. After a goalless game The Chair Boys proved more accomplished at the shoot-out than the Hatters.
Champions on 3 occasions: 1967, 1970 & 1984.
(Only Queens Park Rangers won the championships more times with 5 successes)
Finalists on another 7 occasions: 1955, 1957, 1960, 1971, 1974, 1977 & 1981.
(QPR reached seven finals, but only lost two)
SUMMARY of Evening Standard London Five-a-Side Football Championships
In the Wembley Arena final the Hammers took the lead in the second half through Geoff Pike before Micky Hazard equalised for Spurs. Pike was one of the Hammers’ heroes as he scored four of the side’s eight tournament goals that evening. The Spurs team included three future Hammers in Tony Parks the goalkeeper, Chris Hughton and reserve Mitchell Thomas.
In the semi-final Spurs beat Fulham 2-1 with Fulham’s strike courtesy of ex-Hammer Ray Houghton.
As an aside, the Evening Standard’s London 5-a-Side Football Championships was held on the same evening as a Six-a-Side Tournament at the NEC in Birmingham. In the Six-a-Side final Arsenal beat Ipswich Town. Both indoor competitions were televised with the BBC covering the Six-a-Side and ITV the London 5s.
Evening Standard Pre-match reporting
1993 : Semi-Final Defeat
Wednesday May 10
1994 : Semi-Finals For Fourth Consecutive Tournament
Monday May 9
1995 : Early Exit in Last Tournament
Monday May 15
In the 29 years the London 5-a-Sides were held, the Hammers’ record was impressive
Geoff Pike scores the first
Frank Lampard nets the second
Final score 2-1 Hammers
Lampard receives the trophy
West Ham skipper Frank Lampard accepts the trophy from Standard editor Louis Kirby at Wembley flanked by Tony Cottee, Ray Stewart, Tom McAlister, Steve Walford and Geoff Pike
1982 : Neighbour Nets Three
Wednesday March 31
A one sided first game saw the Hammers cruise home with a 5-0 win over Wimbledon. After missing a penalty in last year’s final, Jimmy Neighbour made amends with a double and also scored West Ham’s solitary goal in the semi-final against Fulham.
Fulham’s side included ex-Hammer Kevin Lock and future Hammer, Tony Gale. Fulham progressed to the final thanks to goals from Gale and Davies, where they beat Charlton Athletic to become the London 5-a-Side champions for the first time since beating West Ham in 1957’s final. Charlton included another ex-Hammer, Billy Lansdowne, in their side.
won on penalties
West Ham United’s first three finals and their progress in those early years.
Review of the 1970s
4th Consecutive Wembley Trophy
Click a 'Picture Link' below to review previous articles
London 5-A-Side Tournaments