Brooking and Bonds to be honoured

West Ham United will honour two of the Club’s greatest-ever players at Saturday’s 1970s-themed fixture with Arsenal
West Ham United will honour two of the Club’s greatest-ever players at Saturday’s Barclays Premier League fixture with Arsenal.

Brooking and Bonds will lead the celebrations as the Hammers mark the 1970s at a match themed as part of the historic Farewell Boleyn season.

The two legends will be joined by their families and a host of stars from the decade which saw West Ham win a second FA Cup, reach the European Cup Winners’ Cup final for a second time and play some truly irresistible football.

Fellow 1975 FA Cup winners Alan Taylor, Kevin Lock and Bobby Gould will be in attendance, as will Hammer of the Year winners Phil Parkes and Alvin Martin.

Midfielder and future manager Alan Curbishley, striker Derek Hales and defender Mick McGiven will also be in attendance, while Academy of Football graduates Trevor Hartley and Bobby Howe are both flying in from their homes in the United States to pay a personal farewell to the Boleyn Ground.

The presence of Brooking and Bonds, who recently combined as honorary joint-managers at Mark Noble’s Testimonial match, is sure to excite West Ham supporters of all ages.

England midfielder and inspirational captain combined to play 1,442 first-team matches in Claret and Blue, with the duo both playing a starring role as West Ham lifted the FA Cup in 1975 and 1980.

Capped 49 times by England, Academy graduate Brooking was voted Hammer of the Year five times during a storied 18-year career in a West Ham shirt, highlighted by his winning goal in the 1980 FA Cup final victory over Arsenal at Wembley.

He later returned to the Club as a caretaker-manager in the 2000s, having previously enjoyed a successful media career, and has since filled administrative roles with the Football Association and Sport England.

Brooking was presented with the Club’s second-ever Lifetime Achievement award in 2014 – the year after long-time teammate and friend Bonds was awarded the same accolade.

An-action midfielder or full-back, Bonds arrived from Charlton Athletic as a 20-year-old in 1967 – the same year in which Brooking made his debut – and went on to become the Club’s all-time record appearance-maker with 799.

An immense physical specimen, Bonds kept himself in amazing condition throughout a 21-year career with the Hammers, which culminated in a final appearance against Southampton at the age of 41 in April 1988.

After being made an MBE, Bonds managed West Ham for four seasons, winning promotion to the Premier League for the first time in the Club’s history in 1993.

Both men are rightly held in the highest possible esteem by West Ham fans and Saturday’s visit of Arsenal – the team they tasted victory against at Wembley 36 years ago – will give everyone associated with the Club a chance to personally thank them for their unforgettable contribution to Hammers and Boleyn Ground history.

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