The night Sammy struck
The man who scored two of the most important goals in West Ham United’s history is sadly no longer with us.
Alan Sealey, who passed away in February 1996 at the age of 53, netted two outstanding strikes in the space of three second-half minutes at Wembley, securing the Hammers’ victory and their first and, to date, only European trophy.
Then just 23, Sealey had joined West Ham from Leyton Orient in 1961, working his way into Ron Greenwood’s side as an outside right.
Although never a prolific marksman, the Hampton-born player could always be relied upon to net his share, although he had scored just three in 29 appearances that season when the 1965 European Cup Winners’ Cup final came around.
After a goalless but entertaining opening hour, West Ham struck two hammer blows in quick succession. First, Ronnie Boyce nipped in to steal possession on the edge of the centre circle before strolling forward and sliding the ball to Sealey, who took a touch and rifled a shot into the top right-hand corner – before celebrating with a forward roll that has gone down in Hammers folklore.
Moments later, victory was completed by the No7 was in the right place at the right time again when Bobby Moore’s free-kick was knocked into his path by Martin Peters and the man nicknamed ‘Sammy’ swept home from no more than four yards.
I suppose it was one of those nights when everything went for him. You could just tell from the sound of his voice the buzz it must have given him
“I’m immensely proud of what he did,” said Sealey’s son Anthony. “It was a great achievement. It obviously takes eleven players to make a team but it just happened to be my Dad’s night and it all came right for him.
“If you knew my Dad, he wasn’t really a boaster or a bragger, which in a lot ways probably didn’t do him a lot of favours because he didn’t shout his name from the rooftops because that wasn’t the sort of person he was, but he basically lived out a dream that night.
“I suppose it was one of those nights when everything went for him. You could just tell from the sound of his voice the buzz it must have given him.”
Tragically, the striker suffered a broken leg in a freak training ground accident in the summer of 1965 which effectively ended his career at the highest level.
Sealey would play just five more first-team games for the Hammers before departing the Club for Plymouth Argyle in 1967. After spells with non-league Romford and Bedford Town, he retired in 1969.
“He was great around the Club, he was always chirpy and singing and got up to some incredible antics!” recalled teammate Brian Dear.
“It was just unfortunate that he broke his leg. It was a freak accident at the training ground and he never came back after that. It was such a shame.”