Ken Bainbridge 1921-2011

Record-breaking former West Ham United winger Ken Bainbridge has passed away at the age of 90.

Barking-born Bainbridge has the distinction of scoring the fastest goal at the Boleyn Ground, netting just eleven seconds into the Hammers' 2-1 Division Two win over Barnsley on 29 August 1949.

A winger blessed with great pace and an eye for goal, Bainbridge was signed from Leyton, only for his career to be delayed by the Second World War.

Having scored five times in 12 War League South matches, the wideman marked his senior competitive debut with a goal in a 6-0 FA Cup third-round first leg victory over Arsenal in January 1946.

The No11 made his Football League bow in a 3-1 home Division Two win over Millwall on 21 September 1946 - the first of 80 league appearances Bainbridge recorded before leaving east London for Reading in the summer of 1950.

In all, Bainbridge netted 22 goals in 96 War League, Football League and FA Cup appearances in claret and blue.

Former club-mate Harry Hooper remembered him fondly, saying: "Ken was a smashing bloke and very conscientious. He gave 100 per cent every time he played."

Following his departure from West Ham, he maintained his fine scoring record with the Royals, who he joined in a player-exchange deal that saw Vic Niblett move to the Boleyn Ground, scoring 35 times in just 97 appearances between 1950 and 1953.

Bainbridge later moved to Southend United, scoring 25 goals in 82 matches before joining Southern League club Chelmsford City in June 1955.

Everybody at West Ham United would like to pass on their sincere condolences to his family.