Welcome to the West Ham United Memorabilia Collection featuring everything Claret and Blue
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Margate v. Hastings
14th October 1962
Margate v. Gloucester
4th April 1963
Football League : Division II
Derby County 0 - 0 West Ham United
27th December 1954
London Mid-Week League debut
West Ham United 1 - 2 Southend United
Records indicate that Alan made his initial Hammers debut for the “A” team on April 27th, 1953 in a London Mid-Week League match at home to Southend United.
Scored a debut goal for the Hammers in the 1-2 defeat at the Boleyn Ground.
Blackburn joined Halifax Town and went on to score 35 goals in 124 league games for the Shaymen
Blackburn scored 122 times in 211 appearances for the club spanning the four seasons from 1961/62 to 1964/65, finishing as Margate's top scorer in the first three of those seasons.
Blackburn (centre) in his time at Hartsdown Park jumping for the ball
Extract: Minutes of Board Meeting held on Tuesday 26th November 1957
Alan Blackburn was a big bustling centre forward who joined West Ham in the early 1950s from Hertfordshire junior football. As a prolific goal scorer he quickly progressed to sign professional forms in August 1953 and stayed for nearly five seasons before transferring to Halifax Town in November 1957. In four seasons with the Hammers he made a total of 20 competitive first team games netting 5 goals. After three seasons at the Shay he moved to Kent League side, Margate and later to Wellington Town.
Blackburn’s claret and blue career included the following highlights
Born: Pleasley, Mansfield August 4, 1935. Alan died on January 10, 2014 aged 78
27th December 1954 : Derby County (A)
"18 year old centre-forward Alan Blackburn , making his League debut for West Ham just failed to touch the ball in following a cross from Harry Hooper"
"Blackburn took a pass in midfield and beat two opponents in a dribble towards goal. When challenged he slipped the ball to Andrews whose shot was saved by Webster in the Derby goal."
1st January 1955 : Notts County (A)
"Although up against a famous centre half in Leon Leuty, the Hammers young centre-forward Alan Blackburn far from disgraced himself and showed plenty of energy."
10th January 1955 : Port Vale (A)
"West Ham continued to have plenty of the ball against quick tackling opponents, but when Blackburn broke through for West Ham he shot over the bar."
7th April 1956 : Sheffield Wednesday (H)
"Alan Blackburn inter-passed his way down the left with Johnny Dick and then fired in a snap shot which McIntosh did well to turn aside for a corner."
"Billy Dare centered well and Alan Blackburn saw a good header go narrowly wide."
14th April 1956 : Leicester City (A)
"Alan Blackburn scored his first ever League goal for West Ham when he managed to net cleanly following a pass from Terry Matthews."
21st April 1956 : Lincoln City (A)
"Alan Blackburn saw his shot from point blank range following a pass from Malcolm Allison strike goalkeeper Warrington, then roll along the line before hitting the post and then roll clear."
28th April 1956 : Bristol City (H)
"Roy Smith provided Alan Blackburn with a chance which was diverted for a corner."
"A quick Blackburn, Smith, Sexton move saw the latter’s rasping shot pushed out by goalkeeper Cook."
"Noel Cantwell placed a free-kick beautifully into the goalmouth after 41 minutes for Alan Blackburn to nod past Cook."
27th August 1956 : Blackburn Rovers (A)
"Hammers deservedly took the lead after 32 minutes when Alan Blackburn netted from a centre by Malcolm Musgrove."
3rd September 1956 : Liverpool (H)
"Younger in the Liverpool goal superbly held a close range header from Alan Blackburn."
20th October 1956 : Bristol Rovers (A)
"With West Ham moving the ball about quickly they always looked the more dangerous side, with centre-forward Alan Blackburn proving himself to be a live-wire leader."
27th October 1956 : Grimsby Town (H)
"Following Hammers best move of the entire match, involving John Dick, Alan Blackburn and Doug Wragg, goalkeeper Williams kept out Alan Blackburn’s shot with a full length dive."
Extract from Ilford Recorder in November 1957
“West Ham transferred long serving centre-forward Alan Blackburn to Halifax Town on Tuesday. Blackburn who joined Hammers at the age of 17 never quite made the first team grade as centre-forward although he was given several chances. One man, however, always regarded him highly – Harry Hooper Senior. Thus it was no surprise to Hammers when, shortly after the latter became Manager of Halifax he came south again to buy Blackburn.
In 1953-54 he was a key member of the youth team which was the first West Ham youth side to reach the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup,
Also in 1953-54 he was a member of the reserves squad which won the Football Combination league, and
Four seasons later he was a member of the 1957-58 squad which won the Division II championship and secured promotion to the top tier.
1953-54 FA Youth Cup Semi-Final
In 1953-54 the under 18s had a superb run in the FA Youth Cup to reach the semi-finals where they met their match in Wolverhampton Wanderers. In the team’s seven match campaign Blackburn score an amazing 13 goals including five in the 6-1 win over Briggs Sports, a hat-trick against Fulham and two more against Swindon-based Pinehurst Youth Centre. Blackburn scored in six of the Hammers' seven ties.
Blackburn also netted in the semi-final second-leg 2-1 home defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers, who went on to reach the final. However, the bustling forward had suffered a shoulder injury in the first leg at Molineux which reduced his and the team’s effectiveness to such an extent the Hammers lost 6-1 on the night. Unfortunately back in 1954 there were no substitutes. Despite an 8-2 aggregate defeat it was a notable effort by coach Bill Robinson’s team.
1953-54 Football Combination Champions and Cup Winners
Youth Team Success
Third Round :
28 November 1953
West Ham United 7 – 2 Fulham
7 - 2 (Blackburn 3, Francis 2, Foreman 2)
Picture Link above to view the
FA Youth Cup campaign from the 1950s that deserves recognition.
In the same season as the FA Youth Cup run, Alan played in 11 matches for the reserves rattling in four goals to contribute to the reserves Football Combination league success.
The 1953-54 Combination League and Cup winners
Back row: H. Hooper Snr, A. Noakes, A. Nelson, G. Taylor, K. Brown, F. Kearns, A. Blackburn, D. Bing
Front row: T. Southren, A. Foan, Reg Pratt (Chairman) F. O’Farrell, K. Tucker
First Team Debut in Friendly
On Monday April 26, 1954 Days less than three weeks after the FA Youth Cup semi-final Alan was drafted into a strong West Ham XI for a testimonial game at Guildford in Surrey. This was the benefit game for George Sadler who had made a solitary appearance in a December 1946 Division II game against Southampton. Alan was in good company as apart from him the rest of the team had all worn claret and blue in a Division II game that season.
Guildford City won 4-2 against the following West Ham XI:
Peter Chiswick, John Bond, Harry Kinsell, Derek Parker, Ken Brown, Frank O’Farrell, Harry Hooper, Alan Blackburn, Tommy Dixon, John Dick, Malcolm Musgrove.
1954-55 Football League Debut
Eight months after the Guildford friendly, Blackburn made his football league debut away at Derby County. On December 27, 1954 Alan wore the number nine shirt in the scoreless draw. Five days later he made his second appearance in a 5-1 defeat to Notts County. This turned out to be Doug Bing’s and Harry Kinsell’s last league games for the Hammers.
His run in the first XI continued as he played in the two FA Cup 3rd ties against Port Vale. These were Blackburn’s only two FA Cup games for the Hammers.
In the 1950s Ted Fenton was very active arranging friendlies. One of which was on April 4, 1955 against a FA Amateur International XI as part of GB’s preparation for the 1956 Olympic tournament. Alan was in the West Ham XI that included several players who would very soon regularly play for the firsts. The Hammers scored the games solitary goal.
Essex Professional Cup Winners Medal
Selection of Alan Blackburn's
The final of the 1954-55 season’s cup was held over to September 1955 as West Ham drew with Southend United. Alan scored one of West Ham’s three goals that evening as the trophy was shared between the two clubs. No penalties in 1955!
1955-56 First League Goal
In the following season Alan made a further six league games and scored his first senior goal away at Filbert Street in the 2-1 defeat to Leicester City. In the final league game of the season on April 28 1956 he netted his second league goal in the home 3-0 victory over Bristol City. Dave Sexton netted the other two.
Friendly v Kaiserslautern
A memorable evening for Alan would have been his performance in the Upton Park floodlit friendly against the German side, Kaiserslautern on April 11, 1956. While the Hammers lost 4-2, Blackburn scored both West Ham United goals.
The team that April evening was:
In season 1956-57 he played in another six Division II matches contributing a goal in the 2-0 away win over his namesake Blackburn Rovers. He also appeared and scored in the Essex Professional Cup semi-final 3-2 defeat to Southend United.
1957-58 Div II Champions & Promotion
A memorable season for the Hammers as they clinched promotion to Division I after a 26 year absence from the top tier. In the past three or four seasons the Hammers had been gradually building and developing their squad ready for a serious assault on the Division II championship. During this time and in the Championship winning season, Alan was very much a shadow squad player making the occasional first team appearance. In the 1957-58 championship winning season Alan was one of the 23 players Ted Fenton called on during the Division II campaign.
Alan’s solitary game was early in the season at home to Sheffield United on September 9, 1957. In John Smith’s absence the team was re-jigged with Alan stepping in as centre forward. This 3-0 defeat turned out to be the team’s only home league defeat all season.
London Challenge Cup
In addition to his 20 league and cup (FA & Essex Professional Cups) appearances and five goals, he also clocked a few more appearances in the now defunct London Challenge Cup (LCC). Back in the 1950s the LCC was typically used as an opportunity to field an XI of close to first XI standard. Blackburn made seven LCC appearances scoring five goals.
His first three London Challenge Cup games were prior to his December 1954 league debut when he was selected to play in the away ties against Leyton (Oct 5, 1954) and Leyton Orient (Oct 19, 1954), and the Upton Park semi-final versus Fulham (Nov 1, 1954). He got off to a scoring start with a brace and a single net in the first two respective matches. Strangely he didn’t score in the 9-1 victory over Fulham, despite wearing the number nine shirt!
The West Ham team for these games were strong XI's and included Ernie Gregory, Noel Cantwell, Malcolm Allison and Malcolm Musgrove. So it could be argued that Alan’s initial competitive first team outing was a goal scoring debut, just missing out on a hat-trick!
With tough competition for goal scoring positions from recent signing Vic Keeble and John Dick, Alan left West Ham. The September 1957 Division II match turned out to be Alan’s last first team outing before he was transferred to Halifax Town of the Division III (North) in November 1957 for a nominal fee of £2,900.
West Ham United
theyflysohigh would like to pass on our condolences to Alan's wife Sylvia, his three daughters, Jane, Sharon and Catherine and to family and friends at this sad time, thanks also to Adam Ratcliffe great nephew to Alan.
Newspaper coverage courtesy of Richard Miller
Alan Blackburn is seated in the front row far right
After leaving Margate Alan joined Wellington Town FC in 1965. During three more seasons with the Shropshire club he made 118 appearances scoring 51 goals.
In 1969 the club were renamed AFC Telford United in recognition of the new town which had grown around Wellington.
AFC Telford United players observing a minute's silence before the kick-off with Barrow FC in memory of two former Telford United / Wellington Town players who passed away recently.
Alec Anderson :
(28 apps and 8 goals between 1946-48)
Alan Blackburn :
(118 apps and 51 goals between 1965-68)
Blackburn's appearance totals courtesy of Stuart Allen
August 4, 1935
2 FA Cup
3 Essex Professional Cup
2 Essex Professional Cup
Date of Birth: