Classic match

Charlton Athletic 0-0 West Ham United
War League South C Division
Wednesday 5 June 1940

West Ham United have never completed a league season any later than they did in 1940, when the Second World War-affected campaign ended with a trip to Charlton Athletic on Wednesday 5 June.

The Hammers ended the War League South C Division season with the relatively short trip to Charlton Athletic, with the league having been regionalised to save on expenses and resources during the conflict.

One familiar name to be found in the West Ham line-up was that of guest player Ted Drake (pictured). The 27-year-old had made his name as a prolific goalscorer for Arsenal in the pre-war years, netting an amazing 124 goals in just 167 league appearances. That form also saw him capped five times by England, scoring six goals.

When war broke out, Drake joined the Royal Air Force and served as a flight lieutenant, while continuing to play for Arsenal whenever the opportunity allowed. As was often the case, players filled in as guests for other clubs when they found themselves short of available players or if they were stationed locally.

Unfortunately, Drake was unable to bring his prolific form to West Ham, failing to score in two appearances in claret and blue. The forward's second and final game for the Hammers came on 5 June 1940, when he and his team-mates were held to a goalless draw at Charlton.

Drake enjoyed better luck in an Arsenal shirt, scoring 86 goals in 126 war-time appearances for Arsenal. Unfortunately, he was unable to continue his league career after hostilities ended due to a serious back injury.

Another guest player who appeared in the goalless draw at Charlton was the marvellously-named forward Jimmy Jinks, who had made his name with Millwall and later turned out for Fulham, Luton Town and Aldershot.

Anniversary

Andy Nelson
Born: 5 June 1935, Custom House, London, England
Clubs: West Ham United, Ipswich Town, Clapton Orient, Plymouth Argyle

Former West Ham United centre-back Andy Nelson was born on 5 June 1935 in Custom House in east London, just two miles from the Boleyn Ground.

The defender was snapped up by the Hammers as a schoolboy and made his first-team debut in a 3-1 Southern Floodlit Cup semi-final win at Reading on 4 April 1956, He would start again 19 days later as West Ham beat Aldershot 2-1 at the Boleyn Ground to win the trophy.

Nelson would have to wait nearly two years to make his league debut, doing so in a 2-1 Division Two victory at Doncaster Rovers on 1 March 1958. He would go on to make two more starts as West Ham won the title and promotion to Division One on the final day of the 1957/58 season with a 3-1 victory at Middlesbrough that saw Nelson line-up alongside Ken Brown at the heart of the back four.

The following season, 1958/59, Nelson would make 12 Division One appearances, scoring the only goal of his West Ham career to clinch a 1-0 home win over Burnley on 25 October 1958.

With the young Bobby Moore continuing to develop and Brown considered first-choice, Nelson moved to Ipswich Town in the summer of 1959 for an £8,000 fee. He enjoyed great success in Suffolk, helping the Tractor Boys to win the League title for the first and only time in their history in 1962.

After finishing his playing career with Clapton Orient and Plymouth Argyle, Nelson went into management, spending three years at Gillingham and nearly six at Charlton Athletic before leaving The Valley in 1980.

Complete record

1940 Charlton Athletic 0-0 West Ham United (War League South C Division)

Played 1, Won 0, Drawn 1, Lost 0, Scored 0, Conceded 0