Golden Goals

Number Seven in a series: MANCHESTER UNITED
Date: Wednesday April 22nd 1992 (66 minutes)
Scorer: Kenny Brown

AS there is limited space in this weekend's matchday programme the regular 'Golden Goals' feature is running on the website this week, charting great goals scored against our opponents from games at Upton Park over the years.

This one is from the last season of the old First Division in April 1992, just a month before Hammers were to drop a league to… the new First Division.  Hammers had been having a torrid time of it, one win in fifteen and, propping up the table like Atlas, they faced championship contenders Manchester United. Hammers were nine points from safety with three games to play, and Alex Ferguson's men were just a point behind leaders Leeds United, with a game in hand. What could be better than a run out at the Boleyn with West Ham United for the Main Course?

The Red Devils of Manchester had a few surprises coming their way that night however, with Billy Bonds' West Ham United, a team who had failed to score in nine of their previous twelve games, taking the game to them like championship contenders. In midfield, the likes of Ian Bishop and Stuart Slater kept United's back four busy and at the back Alvin Martin and Tony Gale snubbed out the creative threat of Ryan Giggs and Mark Hughes.

Then, with just over twenty minutes to go and hopes pinned on an important draw, one potential point turned magically into three. Stuart Slater hit the ball hopefully into the danger area from the left wing and the ensuing poor clearance from Gary Pallister struck Kenny Brown, venturing forward into the area.

The United defence stood dumbstruck as the ball cannoned off Brown's running foot as on a life size pinball table, tucking itself in the corner of Peter Schmeichel's net before the Great Dane could even decide on what type of dive he might fashion to go after it. Upton Park went ballistic. United couldn't get back into the game. Hammers took all three points. It wasn't enough to stave off relegation for West Ham United, but it was great news for Leeds United, who went on to win the old First Division for the first time in eighteen years. Alex Ferguson, following some unfathomable train of thought of his own, referred to West Ham's performance that evening as 'obscene'. Certainly Hammers would have not been relegated if they had made the same effort in just a handful more games that season; just another seven points and they would have been safe.

The pictures of the goal capture the 'obscenity' of that night with some candour. Juxtapose Kenny Brown's joyous celebration with Peter Schmeichel's sedentary misery and you can enjoy that glorious moment all over again. To be fair to United, they were about to embark on the most successful decade in their history, winning the new Premiership title in all but two of the following eight seasons. Even so, there are many who were there the night Kenny Brown scored that goal, and none of them are likely to forget one of Hammers' greatest victories against the odds.

Next home game's Golden Goal: Newcastle United

Do you have a favourite goal scored against Newcastle United at Upton Park?  It's a side Hammers have had considerable success against in recent years, with some magnificent goals scored in the process. Make a decision and e-mail us at [email protected] with your choice and the reasons for picking it.