Welcome to the West Ham United Memorabilia Collection featuring everything Claret and Blue
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The goals flowed as follows:
15 mins & 21 mins: Kevin Keegan fired the Saints into a 2-0 lead with two goals from Channon’s passes.
28 mins: David Cross pulls one back with a header from a Trevor Brooking cross.
43 mins: Steve Williams scores from Keegan’s pass.
49 mins: Inevitably Bobby joined the scoring fray when he scored from the penalty spot after Channon had handled in the area. Perhaps not surprising as from outfield positions he had previously built a goal scoring record with strikes in a first team friendly and in reserve team games
55 mins: Bobby Barnes speeds away to equalise with the Saints looking for an offside decision.
65 mins: Stuart Pearson scores what was described as the best goal of the evening when he fastens on to a long ball from Billy Bonds, rounds the keeper, Wells, and slots the ball home from the narrowest of angles.
1980-81 season was a superb season for West Ham United. As Division Two champions they clinched promotion back to the top flight and also reached the League Cup final and the European Cup Winners Cup quarter final.
Classy league form meant they were head and shoulders above the other 20 clubs. Their championship winning margin of 13 points was the equivalent of six wins and a draw better than the runners-up, Notts County.
John Lyall’s squad would have been more than good enough to have held its own in Division One. One of the indicators of how the Hammers would have stacked up against Division One opposition came in a friendly against Southampton, on Monday April 13, 1981.
The friendly against the Hampshire club was Bobby Ferguson’s testimonial game.
Bobby had been awarded a testimonial match after 14 seasons with the club. Since joining West Ham in the summer of 1967 Bobby made a total of 276 competitive first team games (240 in the league and a further 36 in the FA and League Cups).
After Ernie Gregory in 1960, Ferguson was the second West Ham goalkeeper to be awarded a testimonial.
Southampton Aiming for UEFA Cup Place
Towards the end of the 1980-81 season Southampton were pushing for a UEFA Cup place and as they didn’t have a first team game on the second weekend in April, and were keen for their first team to stay match fit, they accepted the invitation to provide the opposition in Bobby’s special game.
The Saints would eventually finish the season in a respectable sixth place in Division One. Despite being a friendly both teams fielded strong sides. Injuries to three players, Alvin Martin, Jimmy Neighbour and Paul Goddard, deprived West Ham from fielding the same XI which had faced Grimsby Town two days earlier.
In Southampton’s case they included many star performers, such as internationals Dave Watson, Chris Nicholl, Kevin Keegan, Mike Channon and Alan Ball.
With such a star studded opposition it was slightly disappointing that the attendance wasn’t higher than 8,839. Their contribution to Bobby’s testimonial fund was estimated to be about £15,000.
The Southampton friendly fell in the second half of an amazing 17 unbeaten league run in 1981. Only four of these 17 games were drawn, the rest were all wins.
The Southampton friendly was sandwiched between two away victories. The first a 5-1 win over Grimsby Town two days earlier and the second five days later at Brisbane Road in a 2-0 victory over London neighbours Orient.
So for the Hammers goal scoring was not a problem as Southampton found out. In a free scoring game described as “lively, if not strictly competitive” West Ham emerged as 4-3 victors over the Division One opposition.
West Ham Unbeaten in League from January to May 1981
Peter Wells (Sporing 76 mins), Ivan Golac (McCartney), Nick Holmes, Steve Williams, Dave Watson, Chris Nicholl, Kevin Keegan, Mike Channon (Wallace 54 mins), Graham Baker, Charlie George (Steve Moran 30 mins), Alan Ball
West Ham United 4 - 3 Southampton (HT 1-3)
Monday April 13, 1981
West Ham United:
Cross (28 mins), Ferguson [pen] (49 mins), Barnes (55 mins), Pearson (65 mins)
Keegan (15 & 21 mins), Williams (43 mins)
Bobby Ferguson (capt) (Phil Parkes 57 mins), Ray Stewart
Alan Devonshire (George Cowie 57 mins) Bobby Barnes (Nicky Morgan 83 mins)
For Bobby this was his last appearance between the posts before he left the Hammers at the end of the season. After the season ended Bobby and his family emigrated to Australia.
Smiles all round as Trevor Brooking and his Southampton England team-mate Kevin Keegan have a friendly clash
Newspaper coverage courtesy of Richard Miller