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When we were kings

Filed: Friday, 2nd May 2014
By: Staff Writer

On May 2nd 1964, West Ham United won the FA Cup for the first time by beating Preston North End at Wembley. 50 years on, seven KUMB members share their recollections of one of the most momentous days in the club's history...

"I was a bit of a glory hunter really..."

I was seven years old in 1964 and this Cup Final was what really sparked my interest in football. My old man wasn't really interested enough to go to games and in those days there was very little football on television, the Cup Final being the only game shown live.

The build up to the game started on television about a week before, and people really bought in to the excitement. Shop and house windows were decorated with anything claret and blue; scarves, rosettes, home made streamers etc. I absolutely loved it as a kid and by the Saturday, everyone at my school (St. Francis, Stratford) had worked themselves into a frenzy.

The TV coverage started at 9am - a novelty in itself as telly was never normally on that early - and covered the road to Wembley, interviews, all the usual stuff but all quite new to me at the age of seven. They made a big thing of Howard Kendall (17) and John Sissons (18) being the two youngest players to appear in a Cup Final.

By 3pm the excitement was almost unbearable as I sat there with my newly-purchased West Ham rosette and a copy of the match programme on my lap (they were usually available in newsagents a few days before the final, not sure if that's still the case).

The game itself is a bit of a blur, but I remember after Johny Sissons scored quite early on I thought it was going to be easy, but of course, how could it be? - this was West Ham, after all. My next really clear memory is Ronnie Boyce's winner near the end of the game, and of course the final whistle and the lap of honour.

They mentioned on TV that there would be a parade to bring the Cup home, so I pestered the life out of the old man who agreed to take me. So there we were on the Sunday morning at Stratford Broadway among the biggest crowd I had ever seen. It was a long wait, but what a moment when the coaches appeared with the boys and the Cup sitting on the roof.

I was well and truly hooked; I suppose I was a bit of a glory hunter really!
- Kendal Iron

"I thought West Ham were invincible..."

It was my first West Ham memory, my old man was happier than I had ever seen him. We are a West Ham family so supporting the club was not optional but as a five-year-old I wanted some of whatever the old man was on. FA Cup; European Cup Winners Cup 1965; World Cup 1966; as a child I thought West Ham were invincible.
- Estuary

"He looked like a God and a film star rolled into one...."

I was seven years old and had heard of West Ham but not taken much interest. Then one of my school teachers put up colour pictures on the wall of the two FA Cup Final teams from the old London Evening news - and I was transfixed.

My eyes were naturally drawn to the guys in the claret and blue shirts, the nice tans, and in particular the guy on the far right with the blonde curly hair. He looked like a God and a film star all rolled into one. I had no idea who this man was but had heard my elder brothers talk of someone called Bobby Moore and the rest, as they say, is history.

There was no turning back for me, so around about now is my 50th year of supporting the Irons, and next year will be my 50th for actually going along and watching the team live.
- mushy

"A fantastic day..."

I was right behind the goal where Ronnie Boyce scored the winner in the 1964 Cup Final. What a fantastic day! I followed that up by seeing Bobby lift the European Cup Winners Cup at Wembley a year later. Sadly I couldn't get a ticket for the final when we won the World Cup the following year. What a hat-trick of trophies for him to collect though!
- Dubai Iron

Highlights from the 1964 FA Cup Final

"I'm not sure if the pub ever shut..."

Sadly I couldn't get a ticket for the Final, but as a 13-year-old managed the semi-final at Hillsborough with my dad and his brothers. Enduring memories; the rain, the mud; my dad swearing(!) and the swaying to Bubbles; the drive home in an old Morris Minor whose wipers refused to work and my newly knitted scarf turn into an homogenous mass of mauve wool.

On the day of the Final my whole street was decked out in claret and blue, I recall my dad getting ready for the match then watching the build-up and the match itself on my aunt's TV. The cheers, the laughter and the tears when we finally lifted the Cup.

We awaiting the return of Dad and his brothers from Wembley. I remember the smiles, the singing, then going straight in the local. It was rammed out, the old dears with their Port and Lemons, the old boys with their Barley Wine. I had my first (and last) pint of Red Barrel. It was a great night and I'm not sure if the pub ever shut.

On Sunday we watched the parade at East Ham Town Hall, then had a street party for the kids. Happy days and wonderful memories.
- Useless Eustace


My old dad went but didn't take me. I was gutted as I was only nine at the time! I only ever saw my dad properly drunk twice; when he came home from this game and after the 1966 World Cup final - which he also didn't take me to. Git.
- the oldham stripper

"This was the West Ham way..."

When we were kings. Looking back now 17 years does not seem such a long period of time, but in that time span we were, on separate occasions:

FA Cup Winners (three times); European Cup Winners Cup winners, finalists, semi-finalists, and quarter finalists; Charity Shield holders and runners up (twice); League Cup finalists (twice) and semi-finalists (twice); Second Division champions; World Cup Winners(!) and the BBC Sportsview Team of the Year 1965.

Our captain was the England captain 105 times. We had three players in same England team, countless times. We played at Wembley seven times. Thatís not a bad record for 17 years.

This was the West Ham way. It was our Golden Era and Iím proud to say I was a part of it.
- The Old Mile End

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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