Although West Ham United were knocked out of the FA Cup by the potential winners, it hasn’t stopped me enjoying FA Cup weekend this week, so I thought I would share with you my first memories of the FA Cup.
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In 1990-91 season, we were playing in the old Division 2, which is now the Championship. We had players like Ian Bishop, Trevor Morley, Alvin Martin, Steve Potts, George Parris and Ludek Miklosko. We also had a young winger, who was making a big name for himself, and that was Stuart Slater. This brings me to my first memory.
It was 11th March 1991. I was 8 years old, and used to share a room with my brother, also a big West Ham fan. I remember my Mum letting me stay up quite late to listen to the match on the radio. My brother had told me about the FA Cup and that this game was massive as we were playing Everton from Division 1, under the lights at Upton Park. This is also where I learnt about the magical atmosphere at Upton Park for a mid week game, under the lights. And so it proved.
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West Ham took the lead through a superb volley from centre back, Colin Foster. I remember Foster for being a really tall player, who never really fulfilled his potential. However, his volley was taken as if he was a world class centre forward, after a cross from Tim Breacker. We played well throughout the match, and on the hour, Slater announced his arrival on the big stage with a probing run, and then a low shot from the edge of the box which skidded past Neville Southall.
I remember me and my brother dancing round the bedroom, cheering, and despite a late strike from Dave Watson, West Ham held on, and we were the ‘giant killers’ that night. Unfortunately, the semi-final was ill-fated ‘HACKETT MATCH’ where referee Keith Hackett ruined our dream by sending off Tony Gale early on in the game at Villa Park. I will never forgive Gary Crosby of Nottingham Forest, for falling over a little bit easy that day, and West Ham fans have still not forgiven Keith Hackett now. We lost 4-0 but the Hammers fans sung throughout the mauling – and this is when I really fell in love with West Ham United.
So the FA Cup means a lot to me, it’s my first real footballing memories, and how my love for the claret and blue of West Ham started. We have seen so many highs and lows since, and no doubt I will see more, but one day, I hope we get back to Wembley, and I get to see a West Ham captain lift this most prestigious trophy.
COME ON YOU IRONS!!
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