West Ham United 7 Hull City 1
Quinn 8, 62, Potts 31, Dicks 46 (pen), 82, Parris 58, Morley 69 Hockaday 30
Saturday 6 October 1990, Football League Division Two
West Ham United: Miklosko, Potts, Dicks, Foster, Martin, Keen (Rush 76), Bishop, Quinn (McAvennie 76), Parris, Allen, Morley
Rarely has a goal been so warmly welcomed in Boleyn Ground history than Steve Potts’ strike against Hull City here in October 1990.
In 505 first-team appearances for West Ham United, the reliable defender scored just once, in a 7-1 Division Two thrashing of today’s visitors Hull City nearly 25 years ago.
The goal helped West Ham to one of the biggest victories in the Club’s long history and the largest since an 8-1 home success against Newcastle United during the Boys of ’86 season five years previously.
It also helped Billy Bonds’ side continue their outstanding start to a season that would culminate with promotion back to Division One after two seasons in the second tier.
West Ham were unbeaten in their opening nine league fixtures and had scored a 3-0 League Cup first-round first-leg win over Stoke City to start the 1990/91 campaign, meaning Bonds and his players should have been full of confidence when struggling Hull arrived in east London.
Instead, Bonds wrote in his programme notes for the game that ‘I detect a little bit of self-doubt in some areas’ and complained that ‘one or two [of my players] go missing when we need them’.
His words were clearly ringing in his players’ ears when they took to the pitch against the Tigers, and it took just eight minutes for Jimmy Quinn to score his second league goal of the season, the striker sweeping home following a fine move involving George Parris and Trevor Morley.
Having gone ahead, however, West Ham allowed their lowly opponents to work their way back into the game. After Potts had been denied by Iain Hesford, Hull equalised through their own right-back David Hockaday, whose hopeful header looped and bounced past Ludek Miklosko.
Within a minute, however, the hosts were back in front through Potts’ unique strike. The defender collected a square pass before letting fly from 30 yards. Hesford should have done far better, but allowed the ball to slip through his grasp and into the net.
As well as being a rarity in its own right, Potts’ goal was also one of three scored by West Ham full-backs in the game, as left-back Julian Dicks also blasted in two of his own – the first time West Ham’s No2 and No3 had netted in the same game since John Bond and Noel Cantwell did so against Swansea Town in January 1958.
Into the second half and Morley was brought down on the edge of the box by David Mail, allowing Julian Dicks to smash the penalty straight down the middle.
Just before the hour it was 4-1 as Kevin Keen’s low cross was dummied by Martin Allen and Parris let fly with a shot that was deflected into the top right-hand corner.
By now, the Hammers’ confidence had come flooding back and the Tigers had become lambs to the proverbial slaughter.
Four minutes later, Parris then turned provider, racing down the left wing and providing a curling cross that Quinn expertly volleyed home at the far post for his second of the game.
Ian Bishop’s corner provided the platform for West Ham’s sixth, which Quinn headed down for Morley to control, spin and smash high into the net from close range.
It was left to Dicks to provide the final flurry, making a clever, surging run inside Morley before racing onto a through ball, rounding Hesford and finishing with aplomb from a fairly acute angle.
The vast majority of the 19,472 inside the Boleyn Ground went home happy and sharing in the belief that West Ham were hitting their straps as the season approached the quarter mark.
One might have expected Bonds to echo those euphoric supporters following the Hammers’ emphatic victory, but the manager was never one to get carried away, as his reaction showed.
“Although I was obviously delighted to beat Hull City 7-1, it is important to put things into perspective,” he wrote. “They hadn’t played badly in the first half and did in fact equalise.
“Julian’s penalty – a minute after half-time – came just at the right time, though. After that, they simply caved in.
“Afterwards, their manager Stan Ternent remarked to me that it was really worth four points to us, because seven goals certainly boosted our goals tally, which could make all the difference come the end of the season.”
As it happened, West Ham did not have to rely on goal difference to take them up in 1990/91 – four teams were promoted and the Hammers finished second, five points clear of third-place Sheffield Wednesday.
As for Hull, Ternent departed Boothferry Park later that season, but his replacement Terry Dolan could not save them from finishing bottom of the pile with 45 points from 46 games, and relegation to Division Three.
By way of illustration of how much football can change, West Bromwich Albion were also relegated – both the Tigers and the Baggies are now in the Barclays Premier League alongside the Hammers.
On the flip side, the three sides who joined West Ham in going up are all now plying their trade outside the top flight – champions Oldham Athletic and Play-Off winners Notts County in League One, and third-place Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship.
Off the pitch, there was exciting news in the Hull programme about the redevelopment of the Boleyn Ground, with a two-page feature entitled ‘Upton Park keeps pace with the 21st century’ detailing the improvements made in the light of the Taylor Report.
There was news of new disabled facilities in the West Stand, new staircases and turnstiles and even the installation of a payphone in the East Stand – how times change!
As for the individuals involved in the Hull victory, two are still involved with the Club – Potts as U18s manager and Dicks in charge of the Ladies team. Miklosko spent time as the Hammers’ goalkeeper coach, while winger Keen served in a number of roles on the backroom staff, while also filling in twice as caretaker manager.
Manager Bonds guided West Ham to the FA Cup semi-finals in the spring of 1991 before securing promotion weeks later. He was awarded a second testimonial during the same season.
After suffering relegation in 1992, Bonds led West Ham to a second promotion in 1993 and a mid-table finish in their first season in the Premier League, before resigning in August 1994.
Twice an FA Cup-winning captain and a four-time Hammer of the Year, Bonds was awarded the Club’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in May 2013.
Julian’s penalty – a minute after half-time – came just at the right time, though. After that, they simply caved in