WAS it really almost five years ago when Paolo Di Canio kept his cool at Old Trafford to dispatch Manchester United from the Fourth Round of the FA Cup and create a claret and blue memory which will never be
The programme from that game offers some of the best value in the collecting world today and can still be purchased for less than £5. The memory of World Cup winner, Fabian Barthez, waving for offside is one of the lasting images in the Club's history and the midfield trio of Lampard, Carrick and Cole enjoyed arguably their best game for the Hammers.
Keen followers of the Club's history would argue that there
have been several other games against Manchester United of greater
significance down the years.
Some might point to the 1926-27 season when a 4-0 home victory was followed up by a 3-0 victory at Old Trafford. West Ham United's all-time leading goalscorer, Vic Watson, bagged three of the seven goals. Suffice it to say either programme would attract several hundred pounds.
Additionally, there are two other outstanding encounters which live long in West Ham United folklore and whose programmes command hefty sums.
The first comes from the league encounter played on September 8th 1958 when a tender Bobby Moore made his debut in a 3-2 victory over a pre-Munich Manchester United side boasting the class acts of Bobby Charlton, Dennis Viollett, Bill Foulkes and Wilf McGuinness. Johnny Dick, Johnny Smith and Malcolm Musgrove beat Harry Gregg on that day and the matchday programme sells for over £50, somewhat more if signed by any of the players from that historical evening in the Club's history.
The second momentous occasion against the Red Devils came in what many regard as the greatest performance of any West Ham United team. The occasion was the 1964 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough when a Manchester United team of Best, Law and Charlton were heavily fancied to repeat their 2-0 league victory just a week earlier.
However, the West Ham FA Cup victors of that year had other ideas and goals from Johnny Sissons, Geoff Hurst and Ronnie Boyce earned a 3-2 victory in the torrential rain and mud at Hillsborough.
The programme from this Herculean effort is increasingly hard to come by and fetches over £50. This example is signed by Ronnie Boyce, Peter Brabrook, Eddie Bovington, Jack Burkett, Ken Brown John Bond, Johnny Sissons and goalkeeper Jim Standen. Such a rare item would easily command a three figure sum.
The visit of Manchester United is always a special occasion. Let's hope Sunday's programme will hatch a great memory to rival all those that have gone before.