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Four months after winning the European Cup Winners Cup the Hammers made their first transfer signing in over three years when manager Ron Greenwood snapped-up midfielder Jimmy Bloomfield.
On September 30, 1965 Jimmy transferred to the Hammers from Division Three club Brentford as a replacement for an injured Ron Boyce and to help strengthen West Ham’s squad.
He stayed with the Hammers for just under 12 months making 14 claret and blue league and cup games before transferring to Plymouth Argyle on September 26, 1966. After two years and 25 league appearances with the Home Park club he moved back to east London to join Leyton Orient as player manager.
In his second season with the O's he guided them to 1969-70’s Third Division Championship title. Following this success it was no surprise he progressed his management career with Leicester City who had just been promoted to the top tier, Division One.
In his six years at Filbert Street he kept the club in Division One and steered them to a FA Cup semi-final in 1973-74 where they lost to Liverpool in a replay. In September 1977 he moved back to Brisbane Road where he worked a minor miracle by steering the Division Two club to a FA Cup semi-final. A major disagreement with the O’s chairman over the transfer of a player led to Jimmy resigning in May 1981.
In October Jimmy briefly returned to football in a scouting role with Luton Town before ill health forced his early retirement. Two years later he lost his battle with cancer.
Born: Kensington, London February 15, 1934 Jimmy died April 3, 1983 aged 49.
West Ham United's Premier League fixture against Leicester City on April 17, 2016 is a reminder of a skilful midfielder the Hammers signed in 1965 who later went on to enjoy a successful management career which included a stint with the midland club.
Joins West Ham Five Months After European Triumph
In the season following the Wembley European Cup Winners Cup victory, the Hammers struggled partly due to a spate of injuries such that manager Ron Greenwood was forced to find replacements.
Greenwood remembered Bloomfield from his Arsenal days as “an inside forward with touch and vision, and when he played well the team played well” (Source: Yours Sincerely – Ron Greenwood’s autobiography).
The skilful inside forward had clocked 210 league games scoring 54 goals for the Gunners between 1954 and 1960. During this time he gained representative honours for the Football League and England Under 23s. After leaving Arsenal he played for Birmingham (123 league games & 28 goals) before joining Brentford (44 league games & 4 goals). Past the prime of his playing career and not playing regular football with Brentford due to an ankle injury, Greenwood took a gamble on signing the 31 year old two days after the lanky player had played against the Hammers in a friendly.
This was the testimonial for long serving Bees' captain Ken Coote at Griffin Park. Media speculation at the time put his transfer fee between £6000 to £8,000. The actual price the Hammers placed on his head to secure a change of club was £6,500.
Minutes of Meeting held Monday October 4, 1965
Jimmy Bloomfield, watch by West Ham manager Ron Greenwood, signs for the Hammers
After West Ham’s FA Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup successes in the two previous seasons and another campaign of European football ahead, the Hammers would have started 1965-66 season full of optimism and confidence. But with a largely unchanged playing squad a few cracks were beginning to appear in the claret and blue set up.
The 1965-66 season didn’t start well and a succession of injured players, most notably to Ken Brown, who was missing from the heart of the defence as the Hammers recorded only two wins from their first 10 league games. Greenwood then made his first purchase since investing £65,000 in Johnny Byrne in February 1962.
West Ham Debut in London Derby
Bloomfield made his West Ham league debut in the 11th league game of the season away to Fulham on Saturday October 2, 1965. Unfortunately, the season’s run of poor results continued as the Cottagers ran out 3-0 winners.
Nine days later Jimmy retained his inside forward place for the next fixture, away to Nottingham Forest and another defeat this time by 5-0. Jimmy was dropped for the next few games and subsequently made spasmodic appearances for the first team.
The trend of disappointing results continued for all of Jimmy’s 10 West Ham league appearances. In his nine starts and one substitution, the Hammers won a paltry two games: at Upton Park against Blackburn Rovers (4-1) on March 12, 1966 and away at Villa Park in a 2-1 win over Aston Villa.
The line-up at Craven Cottage
Alan Dickie, Dennis Burnett, John Charles, Martin Peters, Ken Brown, Eddie Bovington, Peter Bennett, Jimmy Bloomfield, Johnny Byrne, Geoff Hurst, John Sissons
With no guarantee of first team football and just four days short of a year, Jimmy left the Hammers to join Plymouth Argyle on September 26, 1966. The following day he played his first game for his new club in a goalless draw against another one of his former clubs, Birmingham City.
Before his transfer to Home Park, Jimmy played in four Football Combination Cup games for the reserves scoring a single goal.
His final claret and blue game was for the reserves against Southampton Reserves in a 2-1 defeat at The Dell on September 24.
The XI that day including four from the recent cup triumphs was:
Mackleworth, Presland, Burkett, Dawkins (Heffer), Bickles, Bovington, Redknapp, Bloomfield, Bennett, Dear, Sealey.
In the pre-season photo shoot Jimmy was captured in the 1966-67 West Ham squad photo.
1966 FA and ECWC Appearances
In addition to his 10 league appearances Bloomfield made four cup appearances: two in the FA Cup and two starts at the semi-final stage of the European Cup Winners' Cup against Borussia Dortmund.
These games proved to be slightly more memorable for the slender midfielder as he notched his only goal for the first team in a competitive game and experienced European club cup football.
FA Cup Goal
Though the season’s FA Cup journey was over before it had barely started with a 4th round replay-tie exit at the hands of fellow Division One opponents, Blackburn Rovers.
Bloomfield was called into the side to replace the injured Johnny Byrne in the Upton Park 4th round tie which ended with the two teams sharing six goals.
He marked his claret and blue FA Cup debut by scoring with a 25th minute diving header to level the scores. The team for the Ewood Park replay saw one change as the fit again Byrne returned for winger John Sissons but to no avail as Lancashire side comfortably won 4-1.
Jimmy Bloomfield at Bloomfield Road is surrounded by four Blackpool defenders as he smashes the ball past Waiters, but the goal was disallowed for off-side. Martin Peters is the other Hammer in the picture
Borussia Dortmund Heartbreak
The European Cup Winners' Cup football provided some respite from the Hammers’ dismal league showing. Aggregate wins over Olympiakos (Greece) and FC Magdeburg (East Germany) took the Hammers into the semi-final to face the West Germans, Borussia Dortmund. Jimmy was in the starting XI for both legs, but the Hammers’ bubble burst.
Last First Team Appearance – Friendly v Lausanne Sports
Less than a month after England’s World Cup triumph in July 1966, West Ham’s World Cup trio joined the Hammers pre-season tour of West Germany and Switzerland. In the second of three tour games Bloomfield joined Moore, Hurst and Peters for the Lausanne Sports friendly on Wednesday August 10, 1966. A 7,000 attendance witnessed two Byrne goals in the 2-2 draw.
The West Ham team for Jimmy’s final first XI game was:
Mackleworth, Burnett, Burkett, Boyce, Brown, Moore, Redknapp, Bloomfield, Byrne, Hurst, Peters.
Date of Birth:
February 15, 1934
2 FA Cup
2 European Cup Winners' Cup
1 FA Cup
Early Exit in 1966-67 Season
Did you know?
The Hammers wore their new change-strip of light blue shirts with two claret hoops for the first time in the away fixture against Arsenal, winning 3-1 at Highbury Stadium 14 November 1959. Jimmy Bloomfield No.10 scored the Gunners' only goal that day.
Did you know?
Jimmy Bloomfield played in two Inter-Cities Fairs Cup finals. The first was as a member of the London FA XI which lost to Barcelona in 1958. Future West Ham team mate Ken Brown was also in the London team. Then three years later he was in Birmingham City’s team which lost to AS Roma.
West Ham players left to right:
Joe Kirkup, Ken Brown, goalkeeper Noel Dwyer, and a forlorn Andy Malcolm.
April 5, 1983
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
April 5, 1983
Newspaper coverage courtesy of Richard Miller
Jimmy Bloomfield crowns his home debut by diving full length to head Hammer’s first equaliser
There was to be no repeat of 1965’s semi-final win over Real Zaragoza. Despite taking the lead through a Martin Peters goal in the home leg West Ham conceded two goals in the last four minutes to lose 2-1.
Facing an uphill task in the return leg two weeks later on April 13, West Ham were outclassed and lost 3-1 on the night, and 5-2 on aggregate.
The semi-final second-leg at the Rote Erde Stadion turned out to be Jimmy’s last competitive game for West Ham’s first XI.
Back row: Ken Brown, Martin Peters, Jim Standen, John Charles,
Eddie Bovington, Bobby Moore
Front row: Peter Brabrook, Ron Boyce, Geoff Hurst, Jimmy Bloomfield,
Jimmy Bloomfield sitting in Brisbane Road’s main stand
13th April 1966 v Borussia Dortmund (a) 1-3
Gunners No.10 Jimmy Bloomfield scores a consolation goal against the Hammers