Anniversary

Frank Neary
Date of birth: 6 March 1921
Died: 17 November 2004
Clubs: Queens Park Rangers, West Ham United, Leyton Orient, Queens Park Rangers, Millwall, Gravesend

Few, if any, players in the history of West Ham United have found the net as regularly as Frank Neary.

The Aldershot-born centre forward (pictured) scored an amazing 15 goals in just 17 appearances for the Hammers between February and September 1947, bagging one hat-trick and scoring twice in a match on no fewer than five occasions.

The aforementioned hat-trick came along on 15 March 1947 - 67 years ago today - in a 3-2 home Division Two victory over West Bromwich Albion. Neary had joined the Hammers from Queens Park Rangers for £4,000 in January of the same year, replacing Joe Payne, who had departed for Millwall.

Neary made an electric start to his career in claret and blue, scoring twice in 3-0 home wins over Newport County and Swansea Town before hitting his treble against the Baggies. The former Army PT instructor ended the 1946/47 campaign with 15 goals in 14 league starts.

After playing three times at the start of the following season, during which he failed to score, Neary departed for Division Three South club Leyton Orient for a fee of just £2,000. Rumours abounded of the reasons for his sudden exit, with one story that emerged following his death suggesting the forward had been allowed to leave after an on-field altercation with an opponent was spotted by Chairman WJ Cearns.

Whatever the truth of the matter, Neary departed, but the goals continued to flow - 44 in 78 league appearances for Leyton Orient, five in 19 for QPR and 50 in 123 games for Millwall. On dropping into the non-league ranks, he bagged 17 in the same number of matches for Gravesend before hanging up his boots in 1954.

Classic Match

West Ham United 2-1 Blackburn Rovers
Premier League
15 March 2008

A home-grown Hammer stepped off the bench to halt West Ham's alarming slump with the winning goal to defeat Blackburn Rovers at the Boleyn Ground.

A run of three 4-0 defeats had sent the east Londoners into a worrying spell of form, but that was quickly forgotten as they got back on track against Rovers.

Freddie Sears enjoyed a debut to remember as he headed the Hammers to victory in the 81st minute after replacing Nolberto Solano.

Earlier, Roque Santa Cruz had put the visitors ahead after 19 minutes before Dean Ashton levelled matters six minutes before half-time.

Complete record - 15 March

2008 West Ham United 2-1 Blackburn Rovers (Premier League)
2006 West Ham United 2-1 Bolton Wanderers (FA Cup fifth-round replay)
2005 West Ham United 1-1 Crewe Alexandra (Championship)
2003 Everton 0-0 West Ham United (Premier League)
1997 Aston Villa 0-0 West Ham United (Premier League)
1995 Southampton 1-1 West Ham United (Premier League)
1986 Arsenal 1-0 West Ham United (Division One)
1985 West Ham United 2-2 Manchester United (Division One)
1980 Newcastle United 0-0 West Ham United (Division Two)
1975 West Ham United 2-1 Burnley (Division Two)
1958 Huddersfield Town 3-1 West Ham United (Division Two)
1952 Leicester City 3-1 West Ham United (Division Two)
1947 West Ham United 3-2 West Bromwich Albion (Division Two)
1930 Everton 1-2 West Ham United (Division One)
1924 West Ham United 2-1 Everton (Division One)

Played 15, Won 6, Drawn 6, Lost 3, Scored 19, Conceded 18