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The Letter "K" ...

by John Northcutt

In August 1989 a 16 player squad embarked on a tour of Sweden where they played friendlies against the above two teams.

 

The opening game with Kiruna took place in spectacular surroundings with snow crested mountains as a backdrop. Kiruna were a Second Division side but their season had already started so they would be ahead on fitness.

 

The Hammers started well and took the lead early in the game when Julian Dicks hit a 25 yarder through the defence. On 68 minutes Bergstrom equalised for the home team and the game ended all square at 1-1.

KILMARNOCK

We met Kilmarnock in June 1963 in New York, Both teams were participating in The American Soccer League Tournament. In an exciting game the Hammers were three times in arrears but finally drew 3-3 with goals from Brabrook, Hurst and Peters.

 

The Hammers team that day was: Leslie, Kirkup, Burkett, Peters, Brown, Bickles, Brabrook, Boyce, Sealey, Hurst, Scott.

 

The Hammers finished top of the seven team group and after beating Gornik in the group play offs they lost to Dukla Prague in the Cup Final.

 

 

Our next meeting with Kilmarnock took place in February 1967 in a friendly encounter at Upton Park. The game was arranged as both teams had been knocked out of their respective cup competitions.

 

 

A floodlight friendly in April 1956 saw 23,000 attend the Boleyn Ground. The visitors fielded four international players who had been in the German side that won the World Cup in 1954.

 

Alan Blackburn scored twice for West Ham but the skilful play of the Germans proved too much for the Hammers who were beaten 4-2.

 

On this occasion the West Ham team was: Gregory, Bond, Cantwell, Parker, Allison, O’Farrell, Grice, Foan, Blackburn, Dick, Dare.

KAISERSLAUTERN  

VIC KEEBLE

Keeble began his career in 1947 at Colchester United playing at centre forward in the Southern League. He had instant success as on his debut at Bedford he scored a hat-trick in a 5-1 win. Vic had three seasons playing for the Essex side where he scored 55 goals in his 68 appearances.  

 

In 1950 Colchester were elected to the Football League where they would be playing in Division Three. In March 1951 against Plymouth Argyle he became the first Colchester player to score a hat-trick in the Football League.  

 

Newcastle United were alerted to his goalscoring abilities and in February 1952 they signed him for £15,000. His progress was limited at first as he spent long periods away in the National service but by 1955 he was at his peak as the Geordies went on to win the FA Cup  by beating Manchester City 3-1 at Wembley.

 

After 120 appearances for Newcastle he came back south in 1957 to join West Ham for a fee of £10,000. He immediately set up a partnership with Johnny Dick which yielded 40 goals as the Hammers became Second Division champions. The following season in the First Division brought a haul of 20 goals for Vic including 4 goals in the 6-3 victory against Blackburn Rovers.

 

In 1960 after 80 appearances and 49 goals he was forced to retire due to back trouble with a collapsed disc. He later became Commercial manager at Colchester and Secretary at Chelmford City.

KARLSRUHE

A pre-season tour in August 1966 saw the Hammers play Karlsruhe in Germany. There were 27,000 present to see Geoff Hurst put us one up in the 27th minute. The homesters then missed a penalty but equalised in the 57th minute.  

 

Five minutes from time Martin Peters scored to regain the lead but Muller equalised in the last minute.The game had kicked off at 8.30 pm and was played at a slow pace due to the humid temperature.

 

The next meeting with Karlsruhe took place on a German tour in July 1969.  There was an attendance of 8,000 to see the Hammers win 4-0 with goals from Peter Bennett 2, Jimmy Lindsay and John Sissons.  

 

The West Ham team on that occasion was: Grotier, Howe, Lampard, Peters, Stephenson, Moore, Redknapp, Lindsay Bennett, Brooking, Sissons.

GEORGE KAY

George Kay was born in Manchester in 1891 and joined Bolton Wanderers in 1911. He only played three games for them before going to Ireland to play for Distillery. He spent four seasons with the Belfast club playing in 91 games at centre half. While there he also led them to honours winning the Gold Cup and the County Antrim Shield. Following the end of hostilities after the First World War George signed for West Ham United in 1919.

 

He took over the captaincy of the side in 1922 and led the Hammers that season to promotion to the First Division and a losing FA Cup final appearance against Bolton Wanderers. George spent seven seasons at the Boleyn Ground and made 259 appearances up to 1926 when he joined Stockport County for a short time playing in three games.

 

After retiring as a player he went into management with Luton Town in 1929 and spent two seasons with the Hatters before accepting the challenge to run the Southampton side in 1931. After 5 seasons on the south coast he resigned as manager to take over Liverpool in 1936.

 

George spent 15 seasons at Anfield guiding them to the League Championship in 1947 and a losing FA Cup final appearance in 1950 against Arsenal. He retired in 1951 and died three years later in Liverpool in April 1954 following a long illness.

KIRUNA and KIRKENES

63_06_02 Kilmarnock v. WHU ISL America 67_02_17 WHU v. Kilmarnock Friendly

There were two more encounters with the Scottish club in May 1969. Both teams had been invited to play in the American International League in various venues around the country.

 

The first meeting took place in Seattle. Despite a goal from Boyce the Hammers were narrowly beaten 2-1. Moving on to Baltimore for the second meeting which brought a 4-1 victory with the goalscorers being Bennett, Boyce, Hartley and Lindsay.  

 

It was a tiring month long tournament which ended with West Ham being runners up to Wolverhampton Wanderers in a five team group.

Before an attendance of 17,000 the Hammers won 2-0 with both goals being scored by Geoff Hurst. In goal for Kilmarnock that evening was Bobby Ferguson whose inspired display led to West Ham buying him the following season.  

 

West Ham lined up as follows –

Dickie, Burnett, Bovington, Dawkins, Andrew, Peters, Sealey, Boyce, Bennett, Hurst, Brabrook.

56_04_11 WHU v. Kaiserslautern

Fresh from England’s World Cup victory Moore, Hurst and Peters were in the West Ham side that travelled to Germany in August 1966 for a pre season friendly against Kaiserslautern at their Stadion Betzenburg.

 

The home team missed a penalty early in the game but Johnny Sissons put the Hammers ahead soon after. Five minutes into the second half Johnny Byrne scored and West Ham held out to win 2-0 it had been good entertainment for a crowd of 15,000.

66_08_13 Karlsruher SC v. WHU KEEBLE Vic KAY George - Signed 89_07_25 Kiruna v. WHU 89_07_27 Kirkenes v. WHU

There was a lengthy flight to Kirkenes which was seven miles from the border with Russia. The Hammers scored after 25 minutes after a long ball from Keen found Ward who hit a 20 yard shot. In the second half a centre from Ward was powerfully headed home by Martin and the game ended with a 2-0 scoreline.

John Northcutt's A to Z Next Letter being prepared The Letter "J"