Our Past heroes
Billy Bonds MBE
League Appearances – 663
Cup Appearances – 130
League Goals – 48
Cup Goals – 11
West Ham Career – 1967 – 1988 (player), 1990 – 1994 (manager)
Born – 17th September 1946
FA Cup Winner – 1975 (versus Fulham), 1980 (versus Arsenal)
Billy Bonds was signed in 1967 from Charlton for a fee of £49,500 by Ron Greenwood. He went on to make a record 793 competetive appearances for the club in a playing career that spanned 21 years before becoming the 7th manager in the clubs history in 1990.
During his playing career with the Hammers he won 2 FA Cups and appeared in the 1976 European Cup Winners Cup final versus Anderlecht and the 1981 League Cup Final versus Liverpool. The fans voted Billy Bonds Hammer of the Year on 4 occasions, 1971, 1974, 1975 and 1987. Billy was a West Ham United player for so long he was awarded two testimonials by the club and was rewarded for his services to football in 1988 with an MBE by the Queen.
On the field Billy was a genuine leader and he was the natural successor to take over from Bobby Moore as the club captain after Bobby Moore left for Fulham. It is astonishing to anyone who saw Billy play that he was never capped by England although he did get 2 England under 23 caps. The closest he came was when he was named as a substitute versus Italy in 1977. On another ocassion he was told by the England manager (Ron Greenwood) that he would be playing in a match only for him to get injured in an accidental training ground clash with team mate Phil Parkes, something that Phil Parkes feels guilty about to this day.
Paolo di Canio
League Appearances – 118
Cup Appearances – 12
League Goals – 47
Cup Goals – 2
West Ham Career – 1999 – 2003
Born – 9th July 1968
What can you say about Paolo di Canio? The man was a genius! His skill was undoubted and his talent unquestionable but he must have been a managers nightmare.
Signed from Sheffield Wednesday for £1.7 million in January 1999 after the infamous Paul Alcock incident where di Canio pushed over the aforementioned referee in a game against Arsenal that resulted in an 11 match ban. Harry Redknapp managed to get the best from the mercurial Italian during his remaining time at West Ham but his successor Glen Roeder utterly failed to understand the Italian which resulted in a fallout between the pair and ultimately relegation for West Ham during a disatrous 2002/03 season.
During his time at West Ham Paolo scored some memorable goals, the goal of the season against Wimbledon in the 1999/ 00 season, the 30 yard screamer with his left foot against Chelsea and of course the goal against Manchester United in the 4th round of the FA Cup where he slotted the ball past the United ‘keeper Barthez who was stood with his hand in the air trying to con di Canio into believing he was offside.
A true legend Paolo is met with a tremendous welcome whenever he returns to West Ham and he has gone on record as saying he wants to be the clubs manager at some point in his career. It might be a disaster if his dream ever comes true but equally it could be a huge success, the one certainty is that it would be incident packed along the way!
League Appearances – 153
Cup Appearances – 33
League Goals – 49
Cup Goals – 8
West Ham Career – 1985 – 1987, 1989 – 1992
Born – 22nd November 1960
Frank arrived from St Mirren for a fee of £340,000 in the summer of 1985 and made an immediate impact after an injury to Paul Goddard forced John Lyall to play Frank up front alongside Tony Cottee. Cottee and McAvennie forged a telepathic understanding and both scored freely during that first season, in Frank’s case scoring both on and off field as he enjoyed the London nightlife to the full. Indeed his autobiography is entitled “Scoring: an experts guide” and is a highly recommended read.
Frank left West Ham to move to his beloved Celtic for £750,000, the team he had supported as a boy, where he enjoyed a 2 year spell before moving back to West Ham for a second spell in a then West Ham transfer record £1.25 million deal. Frank turned down a move to Arsenal to repay John Lyall’s faith in him.
Frank signed off in typical style with a hat trick from the subs bench in a game against Nottingham Forest before being given a free transfer.
League Appearances – 279
Cup Appearances – 56
League Goals – 115
Cup Goals – 30
West Ham Career – 1983 – 1988, 1994-1997
Born – 11th July 1965
Tony Cottee lived every supporters dream, he went from watching his heroes to playing alongside them. Another product of the famous West Ham Academy his legendary status seemed assured after he scored on his debut versus Tottenham Hotspur on New Years Day 1983 aged just 17. His career progressed brilliantly with a strike rate of almost 1 goal every other game during his two spells at West Ham.
A then British record transfer fee ( £2.5 million )took Tony away from the Hammers to Everton in 1988 after he had fallen out with the board after the club failed to invest in the team following a record 3rd place finish in the league in 1985/86 which led to a relegation battle the following season.
Harry Redknapp brought TC back to the club from Everton in September 1994 in a deal that saw David Burrows head in the opposite direction when the Hammers were struggling to score goals and he managed 15 goals in that first season back at Upton Park.
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Sir Trevor Brooking MBE
League Appearances – 528
Cup Appearances – 106
League Goals – 88
Cup Goals – 14
West Ham Career – 1967 – 1984 (player), 2003 (caretaker manager twice)
Born – 2nd October 1948
FA Cup Winner – 1975 (versus Fulham), 1980 (versus Arsenal)
Sir Trevor David Brooking
CBE (born 2 October 1948 in Barking, London) is a football player turned manager, on-air analyst, and administrator. Brooking attended Ripple Infants School and left Ilford County High School with 11 O-levels and 2 A-levels.
He was one of the most intelligent and cerebral footballers of his generation and had a very clean disciplinary record. Directly following the Bobby Moore, Martin Peters, Geoff Hurst era, he was the player who best exemplified West Ham’s traditional commitment to attractive, entertaining football (even if this style of play did not bring consistent successes). He was appointed an MBE in 1981, a CBE in 1999 and knighted in 2004. Since retiring from playing, he has taken up a number of positions in broadcasting and administration.
A cultured attacking midfielder, Trevor Brooking joined West Ham United as an apprentice in 1965. He made his debut two years later and would go on to grace the Upton Park turf for 17 years, making 636 appearances in all competitions for the Hammers.
He was a key part of the team that tasted FA Cup success in 1975 and 1980, scoring the winning goal against Arsenal in the 1980 final. He eventually hung up his boots in 1984 at the age of 35 having spent his entire footballing career at Upton Park.
Brooking made his international debut against Portugal in 1974 and went on to win 47 caps for England over eight years, scoring five goals. He formed an impressive partnership with Kevin Keegan and appeared at two major tournaments, the 1980 European Championships and the World Cup in 1982. His last game for England came in the second round draw with Spain at the latter finals which prematurely ended England’s participation in the competition
West Ham 1-0 Arsenal (FA Cup final, May 10, 1980)
Despite winning the FA Cup in 1975, Second Division West Ham were huge underdogs to lift it this time around. But they stunned top-flight Arsenal with a narrow victory at Wembley. Brooking was the Hammers’ hero – his glancing header after 13 minutes enough to take the trophy back to east London.
Hungary 1-3 England (World Cup qualifier, June 6, 1981)
Having suffered defeats against Romania, Switzerland and Norway, England desperately needed to beat Hungary in Budapest to stand any chance of qualifying for the 1982 World Cup. Brooking had been handed a surprise recall to the line-up for this crunch tie – and he didn’t disappoint. The 32-year-old put in arguably his finest performance for his country, scoring two superb goals in a vital victory.
England 0-0 Spain (World Cup finals, July 5, 1982)
The World Cup finals should have been Brooking%u2019s finest hour but he and Kevin Keegan were both struggling to recover from injury when the tournament began, and the pair only featured as substitutes in the final second round group game against Spain. Brooking almost snatched a winner, but the goalless draw ended England%u2019s World Cup campaign. It was to be the last time Brooking would play for his country.