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TEXACO CUP 1974
1974-75 was a season of contrasting fortunes in cup competitions. In May 1975 the season culminated in Billy Bonds lifting the FA Cup after the 2-0 triumph over Bobby Moore’s Fulham. But nine months earlier at the start of the season in another cup tournament the Hammers’ bubble burst very quickly.
In August 1974 West Ham participated in the Texaco Cup for the first and only time in the club’s history. The Hammers had been invited to compete in the competition the previous season, but the club's board of directors declined the offer.
Unfortunately their venture into this pre-season tournament proved to be disastrous. Despite having home advantage for two of the three games, and facing two Second Division sides and one newly promoted to the First Division, West Ham finished third in their four team group.
This disappointing cup performance gave no indicators of what would happen nine months later.
This feature takes a look at West Ham’s flirtation with this unusual but unique football tournament from the 1970s.
Minutes of Board Meeting held on Wednesday 13th June 1973
The Texaco International League Competition as it was officially known involved clubs from England, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland who had not qualified for European competitions.
The competition started in 1970-71 and ran for five seasons. Sponsored by American petroleum giant Texaco to the tune of £120,000, its objective was to help promote their recent purchase of the Regent filling station chain.
After five years of sponsorship Texaco withdrew their support and from season 1975-76 the cup became the Anglo-Scottish Cup. For the final season of the competition, 1974-75, 16 English clubs (including a number of Second Division sides, and the Third and Fourth Division champions) played in groups before being joined in the knockout stages by four Scottish sides.
West Ham was one of the 16 English clubs and they were joined in the same group by Orient, Luton Town and Southampton. The group matches were played pre-season in early August.
Minutes of Board Meeting held on Tuesday 7th May 1974
Minutes of Board Meeting held on Monday 5th August 1974
West Ham’s Group Matches
The Hammers’ three group games covered two at Upton Park against The Os and The Hatters, and the third away to The Saints.
The 16 Football League clubs would each received a minimum £1,500 from the prize fund, with the eventual winners taking home £6,000; runners-up £5,000 and semi-finalists £3,000.
1974-75 competing Clubs
Upton Park : Saturday August 3, 1974
West Ham United 1 - 0 Orient
Goal: 1-0, Bonds (25'); (HT 1-0)
Upton Park : Wednesday August 7, 1974
West Ham United 1 - 2 Luton Town
Goals: 0-1, Husband (9'); 0-2, Anderson (49'); 1-2, Bonds (73' pen); (HT 0-1)
The Dell : Saturday August 10, 1974
Southampton 2 - 0 West Ham United
Goals: 1-0, Gilchrist (10'); 2-0, O'Neill (65'); (HT 1-0)
The Texaco Cup group game was the first time West Ham had faced their East London neighbours in a competitive game since 1964’s 3-0 4th round FA Cup win. This time the margin off victory was much closer as captain Billy Bonds scored the game’s solitary goal.
Ex-Hammer Peter Bennett came on as Orient’s substitute. The game was notable for the talented Laurie Cunningham making his Orient first team debut.
Though Orient lost the game 1–0, Laurie impressed manager George Petchey, who said after the game, "It took him a little time to get adjusted to the pace of the game but I was delighted from the way he played from then on. He has a natural talent. He has the speed and agility to take on men. He never gives up. There’s a big future ahead for him."
Cunningham went on to play for Spanish giants Real Madrid.
Trevor Brooking between Tom Walley and Ricky Heppolette
TEXACO CUP SCRAPBOOK
West Ham’s winning start could not be maintained as the Hammers succumbed to Luton Town. Again Bonds hit the net but Luton doubled his count.
A forerunner to the season’s FA Cup 3rd round clash, the Hammers came off second best against the Second Division side. However, the result was reversed in the more important FA Cup tie at The Dell five months later. Goals from Lampard and Gould settled the January cup tie.
Texaco Cup Appearances
1974-75 Texaco Cup Winners
West Ham’s group winners progressed to reach the final against the cup’s eventual winners Newcastle United. The Magpies beat Southampton in the two-legged final 3-1 on aggregate.
Eight from Texaco Cup star in 1975 FA Cup Final
Ron Greenwood and John Lyall called on 13 players in the Texaco Cup group games, 11 of whom would appear in West Ham’s 1975 FA Cup campaign. Eight of the 11 would play at Wembley and a nineth was the substitute. Only Johnny Ayris and Mick McGiven didn’t figure in the FA Cup run.
Perhaps West Ham underestimated their Texaco Cup opposition. But their disappointing performances in the pre-season competition would have been forgotten when the Hammers won more important fixtures against The Hatters and The Saints.
They first turned the tables on Luton Town by taking three out of four points in their First Division encounters. This included a 2-0 home win. Then in January 1975 beat Southampton 2-1 in their FA Cup 3rd round tie at The Dell.
Sometimes great things follow disappointments. This was certainly the case with West Ham’s cup experiences in 1974-75.
The Texaco International League Competition fixtures
West Ham United:
Day, Coleman, Lampard, Bonds, Taylor T., Holland, McDowell, Paddon, Best, Brooking, Gould (Ayris)
Jackson, Boyle (Bennett), Roffey, Fisher, Hoadley, Walley, Cunningham, Brisley, Fairbrother, Heppolette, Queen
West Ham United:
Day, Coleman, Lampard, Bonds, Taylor T., McGiven, McDowell (Holland), Paddon, Gould, Brooking, Best
Horn (Bamber), Shanks, Thomson, Anderson, Litt, Garner, Ryan, Husband, Butlin, West, Hindson
West Ham United:
Day, Coleman (Ayris), Lampard, Bonds, Taylor T., McDowell, Holland, Paddon, Gould, Brooking, Best
Turner, McCarthy, Peach, Fisher, Bennett, Beaney (O'Brien), Gilchrist, Channon, Osgod, O'Neil, Chatterley
History of the Texaco Cup
The story so far
The concept of a home international football club competition was originally discussed back in 1962 by Alan Hardaker, of the Football League, and Fred Donovan, of the Scottish League.
It was eight years before the idea got off the launching pad and then, in 1970, 16 large commercial concerns were invited to consider sponsoring the International League Cup Competition.
The competition was eventually awarded to Texaco and it was kicked off as the Texaco Cup at the start of the 1970-71 season. In its original form, the competition incorporated 16 clubs — eight from the Football League, six from the Scottish League and two each from the Irish League and the Football League of Ireland.
The International Football League Board was the governing body of the competition and they looked after the whole administration.
Due to the political unrest in Ireland, the Irish clubs did not compete from 1972-73 and a new competition was introduced — The Texaco Ireland Cup — that proved very successful and helped to bring some unity in a strife-torn country.
With the exit of the Irish clubs from the main competition, the structure of the Texaco Cup was changed to allow the entry of nine Football League clubs and seven from the Scottish League.
All rounds of the Texaco Cup were played on a two-legged, home-and-away basis and the winners in the first four years of the competition were Wolves, Derby County, Ipswich Town and, last season, Newcastle United.
The competition was restyled for the 1974-75 season and was aimed at helping to improve the game as a spectacle and as an entertainment.
Sixteen major English clubs are battling in four regionalised Groups for a prized place in the quarter finals.
The winners of the four Groups, to be decided on a league basis, will be joined in the quarter-finals by four nominated clubs from Scotland - Aberdeen, Ayr United, Heart of Midlothian and Glasgow Rangers.
In the Group matches, two points will be awarded for a win, one point for a draw and, for the first time in any British competition, there will be a bonus point added for any team that scores three or more goals in a single match.
Mr. Alan Hardaker, Secretary of the Football League and one of the instigators of the plan, comments: "We shall be watching very closely to see how this bonus scheme works.
"If it does prove a success there is the distinct possibility that the Football League clubs would consider its implementation at League level.
An added incentive to win the Texaco Cup is that an extensive playing tour of the United States is being planned for the winners at the end of the season.
New Look for 1974-75
Newspaper coverage courtesy of Richard Miller
An airborne Channon heads
goalwards past Frank Lampard