Fan Attics

WHILE there have not been too many crucial cup or league encounters between West Ham United and Middlesbrough down the years, the 1957/58 league match at Ayresome Park is fondly recalled by many Hammers fans.

The match, which took place in April 1958, was West Ham's concluding engagement of the campaign, and the 3-1 victory courtesy of goals from Malcolm Musgrove, Johnny Dick and the prolific Vic Keeble, ensured promotion to top flight football after an absence of 25 years.

The homecoming scenes at Kings Cross have gone down in West Ham folklore and with Bobby Moore making his full league debut later in the year a new dawn of success was breaking.

Curiously, the two teams have only drawn each other twice in the FA Cup. The first represents the inaugural clash of any kind in 1911/12 which the Hammers ran out 2-1 winners at Upton Park following a 1-1 draw in the North East. The second meeting occurred some 58 years later in 1970 when a rare Alan Stephenson goal was not enough to prevent the Hammers exiting at the third round stage.

The clubs have often found themselves in different divisions down the years but during the many pockets of competitive football between the two teams there have been many goalscorers who are still carried fondly in the hearts and minds of all Hammers and Boro fans.

Take for instance the game at Upton Park in March 1957 when a certain Brian Clough opened the scoring on 18 minutes before West Ham legend, Malcolm Allison equalized on  35 minutes. The newspapers show that Brian Clough almost hit a last minute winner. Nevertheless, the great man still holds scoring records for the Boro.

Turn the clock forward to 1974/75 and a comfortable 3-0 victory at Upton Park was one of the many highlights in a season which culminated in FA Cup glory. Goals from Graham Paddon, Keith Robson and an own goal secured a relatively easy win over the Boro.

Three years later and despite a brace from goal scoring king David Cross at Ayresome Park which pulled the Hammers back from the brink of relegation the visit of Bob Paisley's Liverpool one week later re screwed the top on the relegation coffin.

Suffice to say the most valuable programmes between the two clubs centre on the 1911/12 FA Cup encounter (easily a four figure sum) and the  1957/58 promotion winning season which recently sold for £50.

While Sunday's match is unlikely to yield a fortune in future years it may well establish a goalscoring feat to warm the soul for many a year to come.