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Banner Hammers Logo theyflysohigh Gregory trans GREGORY Ernie

Ernie Gregory (1921 - 2012)

On Saturday January 21st, 2012, Ernie Gregory sadly passed away aged 90. During his 50 years service to West Ham he must have had countless memorable matches and occasions. He played in 422 competitive West Ham games spread across the league (382), the FA Cup (24), the Southern Floodlight Cup (9) and the Essex Professional Cup (7).  Contenders for his most memorable matches would probably have included the April 1958 Division Two game away at Middlesborough which clinched the Division Two title and promotion, and the 1956 FA Cup 6th round games versus Spurs which saw Ernie narrowly miss out on a FA Cup semi-final. Those games are well documented in the West Ham history books. But there is a third match which receives scant coverage and which Ernie must have felt great pride in participating in.

 

 

 

 

This was his representative honour of playing for the England “B” team in a “B” international in 1952.  On May 22nd, 1952 Ernie was selected to play in the international against France in Le Harve.  Unfortunately for Ernie it was a baptism of fire! In front of a 7,000 crowd England suffered a 7-1 defeat. In all of his 422 competitive games for the Hammers, Ernie never let in more than six. So what was career wise his most important 90 minutes, also became one of his most disappointing results.

 

For the record Ernie shared the pitch with many big names in both sides. His England “B” colleagues included a handful who went on to win full caps. These were John Wheeler, Ray Barlow and Gordon Astall. But in the French side that May 1952 day were a couple of players who were destined for far greater achievements.  The French “B” team included Raymond Kopa and Roger Piantoni who both scored in their 7-1 victory. Six years later these two Frenchmen appeared for France in their 1958 World Cup semi-final against Brazil.  Brazil won the semi-final 5-2 thanks to a hat-trick from an up and coming player called Pele. Piantoni scored one of France’s goals.  In the subsequent 3rd/4th play-off game, Kopa scored a penalty in France’s 6-3 win over West Germany.  

by Roger Hillier

Factfile

Ernie Gregory

GREGORY Ernie Gregory 04 Gregory 02 Gregory 03

“B” international statistics

 

FRANCE ESPOIRS 7-1 ENGLAND B [HT 3-0]

 

Scorers:

France Espoirs: S Curyl, Cesari, Roger Piantoni 2, Gaulon, Domingo, Raymond Kopa

 

England B: Ray Barlow

 

 

FRANCE B:

Francois Remetter

Robert le Maitre

Colliot

Gaulon

Poitevin

Domingo

Raymond Kopa

René Dereuddre

Cesari

Roger Piantoni

S.Curyl

Unfortunately, Ernie never received another international call up but he did have the satisfaction of making a significant contribution to future West Ham team successes as goalkeeper and more latterly as a coach.

 

Thank you, Ernie.

ENGLAND B:

Ernie  Gregory (West Ham)

Phil Gunter (Portsmouth)

Stan Wicks (Reading)

John Wheeler (Bolton Wanderers)

Joseph Kennedy (WBA)

Ray Barlow (WBA)

Gordon Astall (Plymouth Argyle)

Robert Foster (Preston North End)

Wilf Grant (Cardiff City)

Les Shannon (Burnley)

Derek Hawksworth (Sheffield United)

 

Ernie’s England “B” Cap

Ernie Gregory Recognition

Testimonial / Recognition

Born:

 

 

Date of Birth:

 

 

Previous Club:

 

 

Joined Hammers:

 

 

 

Hammers Appearances:

 

Stratford, London

 

 

November 10, 1921

 

 

Leytonstone (Amateur)

 

 

Ground staff 1936

 

 

 

382 League

24   FA Cup

9     Southern Floodlit Cup

7     Essex Professional Cup

Tributes Eric Parsons Albert Foan