1985–86 West Ham United F.C. season

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West Ham United
1985–86 season
Chairman Len Cearns
Manager John Lyall
Stadium Boleyn Ground
First Division 3rd
FA Cup Sixth round
Milk Cup Third round
Top goalscorer League:
Frank McAvennie (26)

All:
Frank McAvennie (28)
Highest home attendance 31,121 vs Ipswich Town (30 April 1986)
Lowest home attendance 9,282 vs Swansea City (24 September 1985 League Cup)
Average home league attendance 21,179

The 1985–1986 season saw manager John Lyall lead West Ham United (known as "The Hammers") to their highest ever league finish, coming a close third behind Liverpool and Everton. They won 26 of their 42 games and finished with 84 points, two behind Everton and four behind eventual double winners Liverpool. The Hammers team of 1985-86 became known as The Boys of 86.

Events of the season[edit]

August[edit]

The most notable pre-season changes to the West Ham side were midfielder Mark Ward and striker Frank McAvennie, signed from Oldham Athletic and St Mirren respectively.[1][2]

McAvennie's debut came on the opening day of the season in a 1–0 defeat by Birmingham City at St Andrew's.[3] The Scot played in midfield, but an injury to Paul Goddard gave him the opportunity to establish himself as first choice strike partner to Tony Cottee, who was in his third full season as a regular player despite only being 21.

It was a slow start to the season for the Hammers as they managed just one win from their five games in August, a 3-1 defeat of London rivals Queens Park Rangers in which McAvennie scored his first two goals for the club. He added two more in a 2-2 draw with Liverpool on 31 August. The month ended with West Ham lying 17th in a table led by Manchester United, who had a 100% record.[4][5][6]

September[edit]

Things got better for the Hammers in September, as they completed the month unbeaten in the league, beating Leicester City 3–0 and Nottingham Forest 4–2 at Upton Park, and drawing at Southampton, Sheffield Wednesday and Manchester City.[7][8][9][10][11] They began their Milk Cup involvement by winning 3–0 at home to Swansea City in the second round first leg.[12] The Hammers ended September in 13th place.[13]

October[edit]

October was another successful month, as the Hammers completed an aggregate win over Swansea in the Milk Cup and also managed league successes over Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Ipswich Town which helped them climb to seventh by the end of the month.[11][14][15][16][17] Manchester United still led the table, 10 points ahead of nearest challengers Liverpool and 15 ahead of the Hammers.[18] Disappointment came in the Milk Cup on 29 October with a third round exit at Old Trafford. [19]

November[edit]

The Hammers muscled in on the title challenge by winning all five of their games in November, bookended by a 2-1 win over defending champions Everton and a 4–0 demolition of relegation-threatened West Bromwich Albion. The Hammers ended the month in third place, a mere five points behind leaders Manchester United, raising hopes that the league title would arrive at the club at long last.[20]

Frank McAvennie was now the Football League's highest scorer with 17 First Division goals.

December[edit]

December was a mixed month for West Ham. They managed wins over Queens Park Rangers and Birmingham, but were held to a goalless draw at Luton Town and then beaten 1–0 by Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Boxing Day. The Hammers were still third in the league as 1985 drew to a close, level on points with second placed Liverpool and four adrift of a Manchester United side whose title bid appeared to be slowly falling apart after a blistering start to the season.[21]

January[edit]

1986 began on a high note for the Hammers, as they eliminated neighbours Charlton Athletic from the FA Cup in the third round before winning 1–0 at Leicester in the league the following weekend. However, their title hopes suffered a blow in the next game on 18 January when they lost 3–1 to Liverpool at Anfield. They now found themselves fifth in the league and seven points behind leaders Manchester United, albeit with a game in hand.[22]

The month ended with a goalless home draw against struggling Ipswich in the FA Cup fourth round.

February[edit]

The Hammers' 2–1 win over Manchester United on 2 February proved to be the turning point in the title race, as Ron Atkinson's side were deposed from the top of the table for the first time, allowing Everton go top. The FA Cup replay against Ipswich at Portman Road ended in another goalless draw before West Ham won a second replay 1–0 in extra time. Due to severe weather, however, there was no more action for the Hammers that month.

March[edit]

West Ham went head to head with Manchester United in the race for the double as the two met in the FA Cup fifth round. The first match at Upton Park ended in a 1–1 draw, but the Hammers won the replay 2–0 at Old Trafford. However, the double dream died in the quarter-finals three days later when they were beaten 2–1 at Sheffield Wednesday.[23]

The league title dream also appeared to be on the wane when the Hammers lost their next two games, but they ended the month on a high by avenging Sheffield Wednesday 1–0 before demolishing Chelsea 4–0 at Stamford Bridge[24] (making a huge dent to their London rivals' title ambitions) and beating Tottenham 2-1 at Upton Park.[25]

As March ended, the title challenge was firmly back on track – the Hammers were fifth in the league, 10 points adrift of leaders Liverpool but with the advantage of five games in hand.[26]

April[edit]

April 1986 was one of the most memorable months in the history of West Ham United Football Club.

It began on a disappointing note with a 2–1 defeat at Nottingham Forest, but the Hammers showed no sign of tiredness and went into overdrive by winning eight of their next nine games, including an 8–1 demolition of Newcastle in which Alvin Martin joined the select group of defenders to score a hat-trick, scoring each goal against a different Newcastle goalkeeper!.[27] They ended the month in third place, four points behind leaders Liverpool but with a game in hand. There was still a chance of title glory.[28]

May[edit]

The final Saturday of the league season saw the Hammers win 3-2 at doomed West Bromwich Albion,[29] but on the same day Liverpool sealed the title by winning at Chelsea. West Ham's final match of the season would be a straight shoot-out for second place between them and Everton.[30] The contest was won by Everton, who triumphed 3–1.

Everton's prolific striker Gary Lineker also defeated Frank McAvennie in the contest for the title as First Division leading goalscorer, with Lineker on 30 goals and McAvennie on 26.[31] West Ham had the best home record of all teams in the First Division in the 1985-96 season. Of 21 games they won 17 and lost only two.[32]

There would be no chance of a UEFA Cup challenge the following season, as UEFA voted for the ban on English clubs in European competitions (imposed the previous year in the wake of the Heysel disaster) to continue for a second season. On a more positive note, West Ham held onto their key players for the 1986–87 season, despite a growing trend for the league's top players to move abroad in order to be able to play in European competitions.

Squad statistics[edit]

No. Player Position Lge
Apps
Lge
Gls
FAC
Apps
FAC
Gls
LC
Apps
LC
Gls
Total
Apps
Total
Gls
Date Signed Previous Club
West Ham United F.C. 1985–86 First XI (Most appearances)
1 England Phil Parkes GK 42 7 3 52 - February 1979 Queens Park Rangers
2 Scotland Ray Stewart RB 39 6 6 1 3 3 48 10 September 1979 Dundee United
3 England Steve Walford LB 27 3 3 33 - August 1983 Norwich
4 England Tony Gale CB 42 7 3 52 - August 1983 Fulham
5 England Alvin Martin (Captain) CB 40 4 7 3 50 4 July 1976 Academy
6 England Alan Devonshire LM 38 3 6 3 47 3 October 1976 Southall
7 England Mark Ward RM 42 3 7 3 52 3 August 1985 Oldham Athletic
8 Scotland Frank McAvennie CF 41 26 7 1 3 1 51 28 June 1985 St Mirren
9 England Alan Dickens CM 40 (1) 4 7 3 50 (1) 4 1982 Academy
10 England Tony Cottee (Hammer of the Year) CF 41 (1) 20 7 4 3 2 51 (1) 26 September 1982 Academy
11 Scotland Neil Orr CM 33 (3) 2 1 (1) 3 37 (4) 2 January 1982 Morton
Players with 10+ appearances
3 England George Parris LB 23 (3) 1 7 0 (2) 30 (5) 1 1985 Academy
11 England Geoff Pike CM 10 5 1 15 1 September 1974 Academy
Other players with appearances
8 England Paul Goddard CF 1 (5) 1 0 (1) 1 (6) 1 August 1980 Queens Park Rangers
5 England Paul Hilton CB 2 2 - 1984 Bury
10 England Greg Campbell CF 1 (2) 1 (2) - 1984 Academy
12 England Bobby Barnes CF 0 (1) 0 (1) - 1980 Academy
12 England Steve Potts RB 0 (1) 0 (1) - May 1984 Academy

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mark Ward: 'When my career ended, I wound up with nothing. I'd never been in trouble before, now I'm serving eight years'". The Guardian. 4 December 2005. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  2. ^ "On this day - 13 June". www.whufc.com. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Game played on 17 Aug 1985. Westhamstats.info (1985-08-17). Retrieved on 2013-01-25.
  4. ^ "Snapshot Tables 1985-1986 31 Aug West Ham United — West Ham United FC — Hammers Mad". Westhamunited-mad.co.uk. 1985-08-31. Retrieved 2013-01-23. 
  5. ^ Game played on 20 Aug 1985. Westhamstats.info (1985-08-20). Retrieved on 2013-01-25.
  6. ^ Game played on 31 Aug 1985. Westhamstats.info (1985-08-31). Retrieved on 2013-01-25.
  7. ^ Game played on 3 Sep 1985. Westhamstats.info (1985-09-03). Retrieved on 2013-01-25.
  8. ^ Game played on 7 Sep 1985. Westhamstats.info (1985-09-07). Retrieved on 2013-01-25.
  9. ^ Game played on 21 Sep 1985. Westhamstats.info (1985-09-21). Retrieved on 2013-01-25.
  10. ^ Game played on 14 Sep 1985. Westhamstats.info (1985-09-14). Retrieved on 2013-01-25.
  11. ^ a b Game played on 28 Sep 1985. Westhamstats.info (1985-09-28). Retrieved on 2013-01-25.
  12. ^ Game played on 24 Sep 1985. Westhamstats.info (1985-09-24). Retrieved on 2013-01-25.
  13. ^ "Snapshot Tables 1985-1986 28 Sep West Ham United — West Ham United FC — Hammers Mad". Westhamunited-mad.co.uk. 1985-09-28. Retrieved 2013-01-23. 
  14. ^ Game played on 8 Oct 1985. Westhamstats.info (1985-10-08). Retrieved on 2013-01-25.
  15. ^ Game played on 5 Oct 1985. Westhamstats.info (1985-10-05). Retrieved on 2013-01-25.
  16. ^ Game played on 19 Oct 1985. Westhamstats.info (1985-10-19). Retrieved on 2013-01-25.
  17. ^ Game played on 26 Oct 1985. Westhamstats.info (1985-10-26). Retrieved on 2013-01-25.
  18. ^ "Snapshot Tables 1985-1986 26 Oct West Ham United — West Ham United FC — Hammers Mad". Westhamunited-mad.co.uk. 1985-10-26. Retrieved 2013-01-23. 
  19. ^ Game played on 29 Oct 1985. Westhamstats.info (1985-10-29). Retrieved on 2013-01-25.
  20. ^ "Snapshot Tables 1985-1986 30 Nov West Ham United — West Ham United FC — Hammers Mad". Westhamunited-mad.co.uk. 1985-11-30. Retrieved 2013-01-23. 
  21. ^ "Snapshot Tables 1985-1986 26 Dec West Ham United — West Ham United FC — Hammers Mad". Westhamunited-mad.co.uk. 1985-12-26. Retrieved 2013-01-23. 
  22. ^ "Snapshot Tables 1985-1986 18 Jan West Ham United — West Ham United FC — Hammers Mad". Westhamunited-mad.co.uk. 1986-01-18. Retrieved 2013-01-23. 
  23. ^ "Sheff Wed 2-1 West Ham". www.11v11.com. Retrieved 2013-06-18. 
  24. ^ "On this day 29 March". www.whufc.com. Retrieved 2013-06-18. 
  25. ^ "West Ham 2-1 Tottenham". www.11v11.com. Retrieved 2013-06-18. 
  26. ^ "Snapshot Tables 1985-1986 31 Mar West Ham United — West Ham United FC — Hammers Mad". Westhamunited-mad.co.uk. 1986-03-31. Retrieved 2013-01-23. 
  27. ^ "Martin treble in Newcastle rout". www.whufc.com. Retrieved 2013-06-18. 
  28. ^ "Snapshot Tables 1985-1986 28 Apr West Ham United — West Ham United FC — Hammers Mad". Westhamunited-mad.co.uk. 1986-04-28. Retrieved 2013-01-23. 
  29. ^ "West Brom 2-3 West Ham". www.11v11.com. Retrieved 2013-06-18. 
  30. ^ "Snapshot Tables 1985-1986 3 May West Ham United — West Ham United FC — Hammers Mad". Westhamunited-mad.co.uk. 1986-05-03. Retrieved 2013-01-23. 
  31. ^ "Gary Lineker". www.thefa.com. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  32. ^ "West Ham 1985-86 season". www.statto.com. Retrieved 1 May 2015.