Welcome to the West Ham United Memorabilia Collection featuring everything Claret and Blue
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In May 1967 a couple of landmark British achievements hit the world headlines: Glasgow Celtic became the first British side to win the European Cup in Lisbon and Francis Chichester completed the first solo navigation around the world. While in E13 on Monday May 15 a football match was played which would not have registered on the Richter scale of football events let alone the world’s. But nevertheless in terms of West Ham’s history the game was significant as it marked the end of one era and the beginning of another.
This was the evening of a testimonial match to honour Ken Brown’s fourteen years of distinguished service for the club and the eighth testimonial game granted by the West Ham United board of directors.
As a member of the 1964 FA Cup winning XI was waving goodbye, West Ham took the event as an opportunity to introduce to the crowd a new signing who was embarking on a 21 year claret and blue playing career, Billy Bonds.
Colin Mackleworth, Billy Bonds (Doug Eadie 45 mins), John Charles, Martin Peters, Dave Bickles, Bobby Moore (captain), Peter Brabrook, Peter Bennett, Brian Dear, Geoff Hurst, Johnny Sissons.
Gordon Banks (Stoke City), John Bond (Torquay), Jim Langley (QPR), Maurice Setters (Stoke City), Alan Stephenson (Crystal Palace), Ken Brown (captain), Mark Lazarus (QPR), Les Allen (QPR), Johnny Byrne (Crystal Palace), George Eastham (Stoke City), Don Rogers (Swindon).
West Ham’s opposition on Monday May 15, 1967 was a Select XI captained by Ken. The Select XI included England’s goalkeeper, Gordon Banks, and three West Ham connections in Hammer-to-be Alan Stephenson and two fellow team mates from the 1964 FA Cup winning team, John Bond and Johnny Byrne.
The game itself was a very light hearted affair. The Newham Recorder described it “Soccermen turned out in the guise of comics, comics in the guise of soccermen. And the 14,695 crowd who paid a record £4,000 for the Brown boy loved every laugh-a-minute line of it. It was an occasion for West Ham supporters to pay tribute to Ken Brown “king and jester at Upton Park for 14 seasons”.
“West Ham put on a testimonial match which for sheer laughs made the Palladium look like a mausoleum. Laughter all the way as comedian Jimmy Tarbuck scored one penalty and later on having another brilliantly saved by stand in goal keeper Brian Dear. Winger Peter Brabrook also clowned his way through the second half session as he took a turn between the posts.”
Just for a Laugh
Bobby Moore with comedian Jimmy Tarbuck
Billy Bonds First Appearance in Claret & Blue
A not insignificant milestone was passed that evening. Full back Billy Bonds donned a claret & blue shirt for the first time. Days earlier West Ham had signed Bonds from Charlton Athletic for £49,500 and West Ham manager Ron Greenwood took the opportunity of showing the club’s latest acquisition off to the home supporters.
The Woolwich born defender played for the first half before being replaced at half time by Doug Eadie.
On the Friday before his testimonial game, Ken signed for Division Three club, Torquay United. Though his West Ham links were not completely severed.
Despite being on Torquay’s books, he also retained a place on the West Ham pay roll in his capacity of sales promoter for the Hammers’ Pool.
How many players can claim to have been on the pay roll of two clubs simultaneously?
Plus during his two seasons at Plainmoor he played alongside a few other ex-Hammers. The old boys included John Bond, Bob Glozier, David James, Bill Kitchener, Stuart Morgan, Tony Scott and John Smith. All signed by Torquay's manager, another Ex-Hammer, Frank O'Farrell.
Over the following two seasons with The Gulls Ken played a further 42 league games scoring a solitary goal. Add these to his 386 West Ham league games gave him a football league career total of 428 appearances and five goals.
Ken’s move to the Devon Riviera
West Ham United 5 - 9 Select XI
Monday May 15, 1967
Not that it really mattered, and for the record, West Ham were beaten by the Select XI 9-5.
Hurst, Bickles, Mackleworth, Moore, Langley, og.
Lazarus 2, Eastham 2, Rogers 2, Bond, Byrne, Tarbuck [pen]
Select XI and England goalkeeper Gordon Banks
George Eastham and Jimmy Tarbuck versus
Brian Dear and Bobby Moore
Jimmy Tarbuck converts his penalty
Johnny Byrne shoots for goal
Gordon Banks foils Peter Bennett
After half time the forwards and defenders reversed roles. Ken played in the first half before being replaced by Jimmy Tarbuck.
Photographs courtesy of Ken Brown's private collection
Billy Bonds pre kick-off
Hammers' Pool promoter
Football League Finale
Ken’s final league appearance for West Ham had been on February 4, 1967 in a 6-2 defeat away at Southampton. The West Ham team that afternoon included 10 of the 1964 FA Cup line up. Only John Bond was missing.
The 1964 Cup winning side was slowly unravelling as a week later it was Budgie Byrne’s final game before re-signing for Crystal Palace.
Appearance record for the Hammers
Club legend Billy Bonds holds the football league appearance record for the Hammers having played a total of 663 games spanning some 20 seasons. Ken Brown’s 386 league appearances places him just outside West Ham's league appearance top 10 table in 11th position behind Steve Potts. Add Ken's appearances in cup tournaments takes his total West Ham first team games to 474.