Flying So High: West Ham’s Cup Finals


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West Ham might not reach that many cup finals, but when they do it’s unforgettable, bringing telegenic white horses, six-goal thrillers, European glory, three FA Cups and Play-off Final victory. Lifelong fan Pete May relives ten classic finals when West Ham’s bubbles nearly reached the sky, covering the chants, banners, dodgy hairstyles, celebrations and press reaction. West Ham played in the first ever game at Wembley, the 1923 FA Cup Final against Bolton. It saw a pitch invasion by 200,000 fans and brought celebrity to Billie the white horse. In 1964 the Hammers beat Preston 3-2 through Ron Boyce’s late winner and Bobby Moore ran round the pitch with a giant hammer. A year later I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles rang round Wembley as Ron Greenwood’s men conquered Europe, beating TSV Munich 1860 through Alan Sealey’s double in a tremendous display of attacking football. Alan Taylor, a former mechanic signed from Rochdale, was the star of 1975 FA Cup Final, scoring twice as West Ham defeated Fulham, captained by former Hammers’ legend Bobby Moore. The following season they reached the Cup Winners’ Cup Final, losing to Anderlecht. In the 1980 FA Cup Final Johnny Lyall’s claret and blue army were in the second division, but beat Arsenal through a rare Trevor Brooking header as Billy Bonds lifted the trophy for a second time. A year later West Ham took Liverpool to a replay in the 1981 League Cup Final, equalising at Wembley through Ray Stewart’s dramatic last-minute penalty. When West Ham visited the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff for the 2006 FA Cup Final, it produced the most memorable final in recent history and a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeat after a brilliant 3-3 draw. The Hammers returned to Wembley in 2012 after an absence of 31 years as Ricardo Vaz Te’s late winner against Blackpool secured promotion in the Championship Play-off Final and resulted in Bobby Moore’s statue being adorned with a claret and blue scarf. Ten great finals that sum up what it means t