Frank Lampard vs Everton – FA Cup Semi Final 1980
Let me talk to you about the 1980 FA Cup semi-final replay against Everton. On the previous Saturday, the teams had fought a well-contested draw at Villa Park. Both goalkeepers had a fine game and played a significant part in keeping their team in the competition. Big Phil Parkes was our keeper that day. The replay was a mid-week game played under floodlights at Elland Road. At the end of normal time it was goalless, which meant we had to play thirty minutes of extra time.
Devonshire opened the scoring and the time it looked as if we were going to hang on in there to scrape a one-goal victory. Then Bob Latchford popped up to score an equaliser for Everton. I was in the crowd that night and can recall the West Ham fans never lost heart; we kept singing and urging the team on to make one last effort. The fans were like the twelfth man and we easily out sung the opposition fans. What happened next went down in West Ham folklore. Brooking picked up a half-hearted Everton clearance out on the right. He caressed the ball as only Brooking could, into the eighteen yard box right on the head of David ‘Psycho’ Cross who in turn, nodded the ball towards the penalty spot into the path of Frank Lampard who was uncharacteristically in the opposition’s area. Lampard dived to head the ball, which beat the keeper easily and it went in off the post for the winner.
What happened next is legendary; Lampard ran out to the corner and did his famous jig round the corner post. The West Ham fans were ecstatic that night and we danced the conga in the stands. Our coach rolled into the Boleyn around 3.30AM but who cared, we had just seen one of the clubs favourite players score one of our most memorable goals to seal our place in our third final in the post war years.
Trevor Brooking vs Arsenal – FA Cup Final 1980
The Lampard goal set the stage nicely for another of the club’s most famous goals scored by one of the clubs all-time greats, Sir Trevor Brooking. Sir Trev was never known for his heading prowess but in the 1980 FA Cup Final he rewrote history as he scored the only goal of the game against Arsenal with his head. West Ham started this game as the underdogs as we were the upstarts from Division 2 playing one of the elite teams from Division 1 – the Premier League did not exist at the time. In fact, I believe we are the last team from outside of the top flight to win a major trophy. Not only was this game famous for the Brooking headed goal, Paul Allen made history as being the youngest player at the time ever to play in an FA Cup Final.
It was during the first half when the ball broke kindly to Stuart Pearson out on the flank. Pearson started to cut in as best as his dodgy knees would let him and he hit a shot come cross that flew across the goalmouth. Sir Trev not usually known for his speed, was first to react and he stooped just in front of goal and headed the ball wide of Pat Jennings. We clung on dearly for the rest of the match to run out one nil winners. This goal made my all time greats list because firstly it was a Sir Trev’s headed goal which is unique in itself and secondly, because it helped us give Arsenal a bloody nose.
Paolo Di Canio vs Wimbledon – Premier League 1999-2000
Next on my list is one of the greatest goals I have ever seen scored. Yes you have guessed it, Paolo Di Canio’s superb volley that he scored against Wimbledon back in March 2000. My words cannot do this goal justice, as it was pure poetry in motion. Anyone who has not seen it and I cannot believe there is any West Ham supporter young or old that has not must view the goal on YouTube. Whilst researching this article I refreshed my memory and watched it about ten times. It is a goal you can never see too often.
The late Marc Vivien Foe picked up a loose ball in midfield. He played a 30 yard, inch perfect pass out to Trevor Sinclair on the right. Sinclair brought the ball under control and hit a 30 yard diagonal cross into the box right in the path of Paolo Di Canio who leapt into the air and volleyed the ball using the outside of right foot back across goal and into the net. I have seen some goals in my time but none to equal that one. If I live to be one hundred, I doubt if I will ever see a better goal scored.
Which classic Hammers goals are missing?