Search

A Hammers’ fan shares memories of his first match at Upton Park

14:08 26 February 2014

Peter Sharp was lucky enough to see West Ham United captain Bobby Moore in action. The legend is pictured  leading his team out at Boleyn

Peter Sharp was lucky enough to see West Ham United captain Bobby Moore in action. The legend is pictured leading his team out at Boleyn

S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport

Following our recent appeal to readers to share memories of their first match at Upton Park, we feature Peter Sharp’s recollection of the Hammers match against Chelsea in September 1961.

Peter Sharp, on the right, is pictured with fellow Hammers fan Ian Hammond Picture: PontinsPeter Sharp, on the right, is pictured with fellow Hammers fan Ian Hammond Picture: Pontins

He said: “Since there was no adult interested in taking us, my school friend and I, two 12-year-old boys, decided to go to our first West Ham match on our own. Having located the ‘Boys Entrance’ in Castle Street we found ourselves on the old South Bank terrace. Realising that we would otherwise see very little we spent the match sitting on a crush barrier.

“It was September 1961, a warm sunny Saturday afternoon. The opposition was Chelsea, who had just appointed the veteran Scottish defender Tommy Docherty as player manager.

“Docherty had West Ham’s skipper Phil Woosnam off for treatment after a crunching foul, and would have been yellow-carded and sent off by today’s standards, but things were different then. Nevertheless West Ham were two up within half an hour, thanks to their rapid counter-attacking style.

“In the second half Chelsea’s rough, tough tactics continued as they tried to get back into it. The crowd got more and more niggled and the atmosphere got very tense. West Ham had bought the Scotland goalkeeper Lawrie Leslie in the close season and if his ability had matched his courage he’d have been world class.

“Leslie characteristically rushed out and dived headlong for the ball, receiving a boot to the head and a deep cut, and was knocked unconscious. The ball broke free to another Chelsea player who put it in the net. So irate was the crowd that the goal was allowed to stand that several (fans) ran onto the pitch to remonstrate with the referee. Bobby Moore took over in goal (no subs then) and the ten-man West Ham team held on for a 2-1 win. The Sunday papers called it “the battle of Upton Park”.

“Quite an initiation for us, but we were completely hooked from then on.

“Regular attendance continued for many seasons and during the 1960s I had the pleasure and privilege of being present at Wembley Stadium to see the late, great Bobby Moore receive major trophies three years running.”

0 comments

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 17:48
Fans flock to the ExCel for the MCm London Comic Convention

Thousands of people flocked to the ExCel for a jam-packed weekend filled with anything and everything to do with the world of comic books.

Yesterday, 14:19
Former Canning Town South councillor Alan Taylor

Tributes have been paid to a former Newham councillor who has passed away aged 73.

Newham
Yesterday, 13:37
Sir Robin Wales

The Mayor of Newham has vowed to work with residents and businesses in order to tackle future challenges as the council face huge cuts in government funding.

Newham Council
Yesterday, 13:35
An artist's impression of how the slide will look

Already one of the most recognisable sights on the Newham skyline, the ArcelorMittal Orbit could soon boast a giant helter-skelter under new plans submitted to the authority running the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Elizabeth Olympic

Most read news

Competitions

You could take in stunning views of London over brunch at the Sky Garden

Celebrate lighter, brighter days with the chance of winning an indulgent brunch for two with a bottle of bubbles at Darwin, the cool and casual brasserie 36 floors up at Sky Garden.

Read more
Time to experience the dizzy heights of London's tallest attraction!

Morgan Pryce, commercial property experts based in London are offering one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to The Shard viewing platform in the city itself.

Read more

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Newham Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder