England failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup finals of 1974 and 1978, meaning West Ham United had no representation at either tournament.
It was a very different story in 1982, however, as former West Ham manager Ron Greenwood had taken over from Don Revie in 1977, when the ex-Leeds United boss resigned to take charge of the United Arab Emirates.
Greenwood steered England to the 1982 finals in Spain, where future Hammer Peter Shilton conceded just one goal in Group Four as France (3-1), Czechoslovakia (2-0) and Kuwait (1-0) all fell by the wayside.
As England prepared to face West Germany and Spain in the second stage, Group B, Greenwood was desperately hoping that his former Hammers player Trevor Brooking would finally overcome the groin injury that had prevented him from kicking a ball in any of his country's first four matches.
Following a goalless draw with the Germans, though, it was now win or bust against the hosts. Greenwood, Brooking and company needed a two-goal victory to qualify for the semi-finals.
With the match deadlocked at 0-0, the manager knew he had to gamble with Brooking and Kevin Keegan.
Trevor Brooking prepares to make his bow at Spain 1982
"I decided to play my two trump cards," wrote the England boss in his autobiography Yours Sincerely recounting the moment when he called for Brooking and Keegan. "I signalled to both Brooking and Keegan that I wanted them on and, with 27 minutes left, they stepped into football's biggest event for the first time in their long careers. It was a marvellous moment for them - and for me too.
"Neither was perfectly fit but, at this point, risks were worth taking. And both could have scored. Keegan headed wide and Brooking, who immediately injected new skill into the game, made his own opening but somehow the Spanish 'keeper Luis Arconada managed to get in the way.
"Spain nil, England nil. It was all over.
"We hadn't been able to use Brooking or Keegan who were the engine of our side and that was a tragedy because we would've gone all the way with those two."
Instead, the dejected Three Lions headed for home still unbeaten in five matches, while the Germans progressed all the way to the final where they lost 3-1 to Italy.
"The 1982 World Cup was probably one of the biggest disappointments of my career," admitted Brooking, who won the last of 47 England caps with that late outing in Madrid. "Having got to Spain, it was my last opportunity to play in the tournament and it was so frustrating to have been kept out with a groin injury until half-hour from the end of the final game."
West Ham's third representative at the 1982 FIFA World Cup was Belgium striker, Francois van der Elst. Van der Elst appeared just once, as a half-time substitute in the 3-0 second group-stage defeat by Poland in Barcelona.