Brabrook's Preston Memories

THERE is one Hammers favourite who has fond memories of a Final against Preston.

Winger Peter Brabrook was in the team that beat Preston North End to lift the 1964 FA Cup at Wembley, Hammers first triumph in the competition.

He even provided the cross from which Ronnie Boyce headed the West Ham United winner on a day that is now deeply inscribed in the annals of Hammers history.

It is now 41 years since that memorable triumph, but it is one Peter still remembers with tremendous affection. And he is backing Alan Pardew's modern-day Hammers to put on a repeat performance against Preston in the Play-off Final at the Millennium Stadium.

"West Ham United should be a Premiership club," said Peter, who worked as a coach in the West Ham United Academy until his retirement two years ago.

"They deserve to go back to the top flight and I think the players will be focused on the job in hand when it comes to the big day. Hopefully everything will turn out right for the Club this time around.

"Some of the players will have experience of the Final from last season, but the big one off occasions are always days to remember, and I'm sure they are looking forward to it."

Peter certainly has his own memories of that landmark day back in 1964 when Hammers lifted the FA Cup against Preston. It's one that Peter will never forget.

"The FA Cup Final against Preston was a day that I will always remember," he said. "It was a very good day for everyone involved and a fantastic occasion for the Club.

"Hopefully, the team can achieve a similar result to the one we did over Preston all those years ago."

Peter does admit that in terms of preparation and build-up the experiences of Alan Pardew's squad will be far removed from those undertaken by Ron Greenwood's famous team of the mid-1960s, which lifted the European Cup Winners Cup at Wembley a year later.

"I would imagine that there is a complete difference in terms of approach to the game," he admitted. "Our preparation in the week leading up to the FA Cup Final was to train at the old West Ham Speedway stadium in Prince Regents Lane.

"It might seem unusual, but as Ron Greenwood said years ago, it was similar in shape and appearance to Wembley. It even had a dog track, just like Wembley did at that time and Ron had the grass cut similar to the way they did at Wembley before we trained there.

"Most of the players will know all about Cardiff from last year and I'm sure Alan will be preparing them and getting them focussed on the job they have to do.

"In any case, the old speedway track is gone now!"

However, Peter's fondness for that magically FA Cup Final victory over Preston remains fresh, especially his cross to set up Boyce's historic winner.

"I put that cross in and Ronnie Boyce had the easy job," he smiled. "All he had to do was head it in and take all the credit.

"It's ironic that we have Preston again in what is such an important game, and hopefully it will turn out to be another great day for the Club."