This week I am going back almost 50 years in response to a request from West Ham historian Roger Hillier. He contacted me in the summer asking about the Sir Winston Churchill Remembrance Trophy game between the Sky Blues and the Hammers in March 1967. The Sky Blues were flying high at the top of Division Two whilst the Hammers were mid-table in Division One. On the first weekend of March both teams had a free weekend (it was the first Wembley League Cup final on the Saturday and many clubs rearranged fixtures) and Jimmy Hill wanted to test his side against top-flight opposition. The trophy had been played for two years earlier when Fulham beat the Sky Blues at Highfield Road. West Ham, with their trio of World Cup winners, Moore, Hurst and Peters, were the ideal opponents for another game for the impressive cup.
Hill put out his first choice team whilst West Ham boss Ron Greenwood, a former playing colleague of JH's at Brentford, rested several first teamers but included World Cup winners Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst. The third member of the illustrious trio, Martin Peters, was ruled out with an injury. A higher than expected crowd of 18,524 watched a thrilling drawn game, topped off by a novel penalty shoot-out that West Ham won.
City started the stronger side and Ian Gibson ripped open the visitors defence twice in the early exchanges. First, Gibbo broke the West Ham offside trap, running on to a Machin pass to dribble around goalkeeper Alan Dickie before planting the ball into the net. Then less than a minute later he split the defence to find Bobby Gould who chipped the ball perfectly for Machin to head what was described by Nemo in the Coventry Telegraph as 'a goal of sheer poetry'.
Former England winger Peter Brabrook hit the foot of a post before cracking home a Hurst pass on 30 minutes as the Hammers fought back. At half-time young Coventry-born goalkeeper Martin Clamp replaced Bill Glazier and John Tudor came on for Dietmar Bruck and Clamp was immediately in the firing line. A Brabrook 'banana' shot deceived the young 'keeper and went in off a post on 48 minutes and nine minutes later a Hurst shot took a deflection that left Clamp stranded to make it 3-2.
On 72 minutes City were level after a terrific melee in the West Ham penalty area. Dickie pushed a Machin header on to the post, Rees had a return effort blocked and Machin finally drove the ball home.
By mutual agreement a penalty shoot-out decided the destination of the cup and in a best of 11 shots contest, West Ham won 9-7. Mrs J Leese, the wife of the editor of the Coventry Telegraph presented the trophy to Bobby Moore as hundreds of milling youngsters engulfed both sets of players.
Roger's request for information set me wondering what happened to the trophy. Did West Ham take it back to London and keep it or perhaps it stayed in the Highfield Road trophy cabinet and was one of those destroyed in the fire a year later. If anyone knows any more about the trophy please let me know.
Roger contributes articles to an excellent West Ham website that can be found at www.theyflysohigh.co.uk
Earlier this year I wrote about Margaret Crabtree's search for the 1968 Bantams Ladies football team and published a photo of the team. I'm pleased to say that Margaret has informed me that she has tracked down 12 of the team and they have held a reunion this summer. They are in touch via social media and sharing stories from their playing days. She sent me this photograph of the former players she has tracked down:
Team:- Back: (Left to right) Ann Stevens, Lesley Gibson, Reg Berry (Manager), Margaret Crabtree, Joy Black;
Middle: (Left to right) Janet Kennedy, Ann Law;
Front: (Left to right) Avril Parham, Liz Stevens, Terri Beales, June Hart, Maureen Tizick.