Jimmy Neighbour remembered

Tributes have been flooding in for former West Ham United winger Jimmy Neighbour, who died in hospital at the weekend aged 58 while recovering from a hip operation. A popular player, who also worked for the club's Academy in later life, will be much missed. whufc.com has spoken to those who remember Jimmy and his lasting contribution.


This is terribly sad news. We were the same age and I have known Jimmy since we were schoolboys as we played in the same London representative team when we were 15.

We had always kept in touch. He played for the club and then came back to us as the head of youth recruitment before he left and went to Spurs. Recently he had worked for the Premier League monitoring games. He was only over at Little Heath the other week watching the youngsters and I saw Jimmy from time to time. It is a terrible tragedy and my thoughts are with his wife and family.

Jimmy was a good, hard-working man. He always had a smile on his face and never let things get him down. I have nothing but high praise for his work and commitment and dedication to the club when he was there. He was always someone we were glad to see when he came back and he was always welcome.

We all have fond memories of him as a player as well. He made the first goal at Villa Park in the 1981 League Cup final when he ran and crossed for Paul Goddard to score. He played an active part in the promotion push that season under John Lyall alongside Billy Bonds, Frank Lampard and Trevor Brooking. This is a sad loss for everyone at West Ham.

Tony Carr
Academy director

I got on really well with him. He came to the club and really took over from Patsy Holland when he got injured. He was a big part of what was a really successful period for the club. For me, he was extremely under-rated. He did a huge amount of work for the team and contributed so much.

It was a massive bonus for us to have him in the team. He was a team player and never one of those people that sought the limelight in any way, shape or form. He had an extremely dry sense of humour, was a very nice person and it was always enjoyable to be in his company.

The one real abiding memory for me of Jim was him scoring the goal against Coventry City that put us into the League Cup final in 1981. He popped up on the far post and scored and that was his time. He was there in the spotlight and it was a fantastic evening. He was probably the most unlikely person to score but it was well deserved. That is an abiding memory for me of Jim but I have nothing but fond memories.

Geoff Pike

I remember Jimmy first and foremost as a decent, old-fashioned type of winger. He had terrific close control and would panic full-backs because he could go past them on either side. As a Hammers fan, I was always anxious early in his career when Jimmy, who earned his considerable reputation at Tottenham, began to get up a head of steam.

West Ham eventually signed him from Norwich and he made almost 100 first-team appearances for the club. I was a member of the press corps then so we were on a number of trips together, notably to Romania and Georgia for Cup Winners' Cup ties against Poli Timisoara and Dinamo Tblisi.

He will always be remembered fondly by West Ham supporters, chiefly for his last-minute goal against Coventry which put John Lyall's team into the final of the League Cup. He was only playing because of an injury to Pat Holland while, ten years earlier, he had helped Spurs win the same trophy.

Later he was youth development officer and I often used to bump into him at Chadwell Heath. He was always courteous and invariably had a smile on his face and a friendly greeting. My thoughts go to his family at this sad time.

Ken Dyer
Evening Standard writer