Search for West Ham goalkeeper footage unearths this gem

Hunting for some footage of West Ham goalkeeper Bobby Ferguson purely because he was the first No. 1 I had the pleasure of seeing in the flesh (more of that below) and I came across this footage.

It’s the 1972 FA Cup replay against Hereford United and I’d never seen this particular report before.

It’s filmed from the Hereford angle, with footage around the town, part-time players having to secure time off work, and the British Rail specials (six trains) bringing fans to Paddington.

But once they arrive at Upton Park it’s a wonderful trip back in time, with the commentator mentioning the formidable West Ham forward line of Best, Hurst and Robson ‘costing half a million pounds.’ Heh-heh.

Grab a coffee and enjoy the clip, then carry on reading, below.

I’m going to go into Goatygav Bullets mode now …

  • Do you remember why this was played midweek in daylight (not under floodlights)
  • Who remembers singing ‘We’ve got ’Arry ’Arry ’Arry Redknapp on the wing, on the wing’?
  • The sound effects were strange, obviously added afterwards
  • Great to see the sandwich-makers hard at work on the train, and what about all that ale?
  • Poor old Bobby with muddy shorts – and a rip in them! He wouldn’t have been happy about that
  • Silky skills of Sir Trevor on that mudbath of a pitch. I can remember the sound the ball used to make as it plopped onto the interesting combination of mud and sand

So, back to the original reason for posting. With some of our correspondents debating the current goalkeeping situation I went back to look for footage of Bobby Ferguson.

The clip shows him making a great finger-tip save right near the end of the match.

I also had the pleasure of seeing Mervyn Day and Phil Parkes between the sticks. I also remember Peter Grotier. On one Saturday I stood next to a bloke and his kid and the kid was asking why the crowd were giving Grotier some stick.

I thought it was pretty obvious it was because he wasn’t playing very well (and the crowd getting on his back wasn’t going to make things better) but the learnéd fan I was standing next to replied to his nipper by saying ‘I think it’s because he’s so ugly.’

So, to close my midweek ramblings, a question, and some West Ham goalkeeper-related content

  • Graham arnold

    It was played midweek because the country was in the midst of industrial action that was resulting in power cuts. There was a ban on outside entertainment that require lights. Speedway and Greyhound racing was hit hard. I bunked off school for this game.

    • Spot on, Graham. Did you get in? 5,000 locked out, and the place was crammed, so I bet the unofficial attendance (‘squeeze up, lads’) was much higher than published.

  • Philtheiron

    I have got to say what a lovely piece of footage. It really takes you back to a more gentler time.

    Although I must admit that I started watching the footage with only one eye open, fearing that the film had captured one of our many humiliations against lower league opponents.

    It also makes you wonder how a team containing a frontline of Hurst, Best and the one and only pop Robson didn’t win more trophies?!

    With reference to the keepers, my personal favourite and the one I believe to be the best we have ever had, has to be Phil Parkes! A giant of a keeper and a giant of a man!

    Although I do have a soft spot for Mervyn Day, my first FA cup keeper!

    All in all a great trip down memory lane.

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Phil.
      I wonder if the fact that we never found a decent centre-half was the blight of our team during that era.
      Alan Stephenson and Tommy Taylor weren’t exactly renowned. I liked them both, because they wore our shirt, of course, and they were nice enough blokes, but not top drawer defenders. Who else did we have before Bonzo converted to central defender?

      • AdeludedCoker

        I liked Kevin Lock, but he was never quite the player a lot of people said he’d be. Tough taking on that number 6 shirt too.

        • Unenviable task. I think he was an ever-present the when we won the cup in 1975.
          Season ticket holder at the London Stadium, in the Sir Trevor Brooking stand.

      • Philtheiron

        Hi mate,
        Yeah, there were some bloody big boots to fill.

        Tommy Taylor was decent enough if I remember but was never the same player after his bad injury.

        I believe you are right on the whole about the defence at that time. Poor at centre half and generally terrible everywhere else.(generally speaking and Billy Bonds notwithstanding!).

        But we still managed to play some good football! Although we took some tankings along the way too!
        Then again we wouldn’t be West Ham if we didn’t!

  • Guesty

    Yeah Ferguson and Grottier were the beginning of my time. To think Ron Greenwood turned down Gordon Banks for Bobby Ferguson. Good call Ron! Got me thinking of the keepers during my time – the significant keepers were Ferguson Day Parkes Ludo James Green Adrian/Randolph. Other than the Sealys and McKights(mare) I think that’s it. The Parkes Ludo James Green years were good for West Ham between the sticks. Just reinforces for me that we should sign Joe Hart in the summer (can’t see it happening tho)

    I must not sound like Head
    I must not sound like Head
    I must not…..

  • Goatygav

    Definitely Ludo my fave to watch.

    Lovely to see Clyde Best in action. Finished reading his book last month and can highly recommend it. Not 100% but, from memory, I’m pretty sure he mentions this Hereford game in a little detail.

  • Goatygav

    Be good to see Martinez’s goal against Middlesbrough on MOTD tonight. Close range one apparently.

    • Philtheiron

      Hi mate,
      Dare I say it? But this lad is starting to look the real deal.

      • Goatygav

        Hope so Phil. Don’t know if you got to see the MOTD but, for his first chance, he created the opportunity himself by going shoulder to shoulder and out-powering the first defender, evading the challenge of another and got a powerful shot away which, unfortunately, wasn’t as accurate as the one he buried. These were Premier League defenders to boot!

        • Philtheiron

          Hi mate,
          Yeah I was watching it and thinking to myself, just how the hell did we steal him?!

          Even to somebody like myself who is just a fan, I can tell that this boy is dynamite!

          And while I totally agree with the loaning out of young players to gain vital experience,
          I believe Slav might have a problem come the start of next season.

          For if he continues to progress at the rate he is currently progressing, then he must be knocking loudly on that first team door.

          Can I also state that although our activity in the transfer window has been much maligned recently,
          I believe our progress in signing some fantastically talented youngsters has en sired that we have a very bright future indeed.
          And in this respect whoever has been quietly going about the business of securing our future, deserves our admiration and gratitude.

          I honestly believe we are far more effective when we go about our business quietly and under the radar.
          Also, it is becoming clearer that a lot more work has being going on than some would suspect, in building the club for the future. And it’s also clear the club is in good hand going forward

          • Guesty

            Phil I would suggest that Slav will not view that as a problem lol

  • Roshi

    I can remember being at the Hereford game and the crowds. I also remember the Hereford away which was preceded by a coach journey from hell and arriving after kick off.
    Bobby Ferguson had his best game for us against Arsenal at Highbury, still the best goalkeeping performance I have ever seen.
    I still get baffled by the myth that Clyde Best was a superstar striker, he was an overweight, lumbering footballer who scored the odd goal.

    • Philtheiron

      Hi mate,
      Yeah that’s how I mostly remember our Clyde as well.

      I believe that he is so fondly remembered for being a trailblazer and what he did to break down barriers, as much as he is for being a footballer. And that because of this his obvious deficiencies are often overlooked.

      But for all that I like many other liked the big fella and I always remember him being well received st the Boleyn.

      Even if he was crap! 😂

      • Guesty

        Well said Rossi lol. He was very average and I don’t even remember us being that fond of him at the time. He had a first touch of a post box. It was typical of West Ham at the time. We had one of the greatest goal scorers of the time and we paired him with Clyde Best and we had THE worlds greatest defender and we paired him with was it Tommy Taylor and Stephenson?

        • Roshi

          John Cushley, nice bloke, but!