On This Day - 10 January


Les Bennett
Born: 10 January 1918, Wood Green, London
Clubs: Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United

An inside-forward of considerable talent and influence, Les Bennett spent less than 18 months as a West Ham United player. Born in Wood Green in 1918, Bennett initially joined Tottenham Hotspur in May 1939, only for the Second World War to curtail his burgeoning career.

It would be more than seven years before Bennett, who was stationed with the Devon Regiment in Burma, India and Egypt during the conflict, could make his Football League debut. He went on to make nearly 300 appearances and score more than 100 goals for Spurs before moving across London in December 1954.

Despite being nearly 37, Bennett was still able to make his mark at the Boleyn Ground, scoring four times in 29 matches as West Ham fought for promotion from Division Two during the 1954/55 season. He would make his final Hammers appearance in a Southern Floodlit Cup semi-final at Reading on 4 April 1956.

Bennett would move on to become player-manager of non-league Clacton Town in August 1956 before linking up with former United team-mate Malcolm Allison at Romford. He later managed an Essex caravan park and worked at the University of Essex before retiring. He passed away in Hackney in April 1999 at the age of 81.

Classic Match

West Ham United 6-0 Barnsley
FA Carling Premiership
10 January 1998

The first meeting between West Ham United and Barnsley at the top level of English football at the Boleyn Ground ended with a comprehensive victory for Harry Redknapp's side. Former France Under-21 striker Samassi Abou was the Hammers' hero, scoring twice as the Yorkshire side were emphatically beaten.

Frank Lampard put the hosts ahead after just five minutes before Abou's first made it 2-0 to the home side before half-time. Abou added a third on 52 minutes before further goals from John Moncur, John Hartson and Stan Lazaridis completed the rout.

The victory lifted West Ham into seventh place in the Premier League table, while Barnsley were on a one-way trip towards relegation back to Division One. The match was also notable as one of just four substitute appearances made for United by Portugal striker Paulo Alves.