The FA Cup and the Boleyn Ground

The Official Website charts 112 years of FA Cup thrills and spills at the famous home of West Ham United

The Boleyn Ground and the FA Cup have had a long and exciting relationship, with West Ham United’s home of the past 112 years.

The Hammers’ historic stadium has played host to 153 FA Cup ties since 6,000 supporters saw West Ham lose 2-1 to Southern League First Division rivals Brighton & Hove Albion in a sixth qualifying round match on 10 December 1904

The honour of scoring West Ham’s maiden FA Cup goal on the hallowed turf in Upton Park fell to outside left Jack Flynn, who marked his only appearance in the competition for the Club with what turned out to be a consolation goal against the Seagulls.

The following season, 1905/06, saw the Hammers fall again – 3-2 to Woolwich Arsenal in a first-round replay – before the east Londoners secured their first Boleyn Ground FA Cup victory at the third attempt.

Amazingly, after losing their opening two FA Cup ties at their new home, West Ham tasted defeat in just 23 of the next 151, progressing to the next round on 85 occasions and forcing a replay in 43 more. In those 153 ties, the Hammers have scored 307 goals and conceded just 168.

?That first win came on 12 January 1907, when another outside left, Arthur Winterhalder, and centre forward Harry Stapley netted in a shock 2-1 victory over Second Division Blackpool in front of a crowd of 13,000.
Almost exactly seven years later, West Ham scored their record home victory in the world’s most-famous knockout competition, thrashing Chesterfield 8-1 in a first round tie on 10 January 1914.

Making his FA Cup debut for the Club, Syd Puddefoot was the man who bent the Midland League Spireites out of shape, bagging five goals.

Puddefoot was on target again in the third round, when the Southern League First Division Hammers held First Division Liverpool to a fine 1-1 draw.

Indeed, the Bow-born striker is one of the most-prolific FA Cup scorers in Boleyn Ground history, as two goals against Southampton and a hat-trick against Bury in 1920 took his haul to a stunning eleven in seven appearances.

The same year in which Puddefoot played his final FA Cup tie in Claret and Blue, 1922, another Hammers hotshot scored his first goal in the competition.

Vic Watson scored on his home FA Cup debut against Swansea Town in a first-round replay in January of that year.

The following season, 1922/23, the Boleyn Ground played host to four ties as the Hammers reached the final for the first time, including victories over Brighton, Plymouth Argyle and a fourth-round replay draw with Southampton, in which Watson was again on target.

After a lean spell in the competition on home turf, Watson bagged his first FA Cup hat-trick here in a 3-2 third-round win over Tottenham Hotspur on 8 January 1927.

And the Club’s all-time record marksman went one better three years later, scoring all four in a 4-1 fourth-round thumping of First Division counterparts Leeds United.
In 1932/33, West Ham were newly relegated but went well in the competition again, reaching the semi-finals courtesy of wins over Midlands clubs West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City – the latter a 4-0 sixth-round thrashing played in front of a disputed record attendance of 44,232.

Watson signed off his Boleyn Ground FA Cup career with two goals in a third-round win over Bradford City in January 1934 – his record-setting 17th and 18th goals in 18 ties on home turf.

The next two decades were barren when it came to the FA Cup, as West Ham only once progressed past the fourth round between 1933 and 1956, when John Dick, Billy Dare and Albert Foan combined to score 13 goals as the Hammers reached the sixth round before falling at home to old foes Tottenham.

After four straight third-round exits, West Ham rediscovered their FA Cup form under Ron Greenwood in 1962/63, when they needed just four goals to reach the quarter-finals again – two each from John ‘Budgie’ Byrne and Ronnie ‘Ticker’ Boyce.

An irregular goalscorer in league football, Boyce took a liking to finding the net in the FA Cup, scoring three more times the following season, 1963/64.

That campaign, of course, has gone down in Hammers history as that in which West Ham first lifted the famous trophy, with their Boleyn Ground form shining bright during their glorious run to Wembley.
Charlton Athletic and Leyton Orient were both dismissed 3-0 before First Division rivals Burnley were overcome 3-2 in a thrilling sixth-round clash on 29 February 1964, as two goals from Byrne and another from teenage winger Johnny Sissons saw them leap into the semi-finals.

For the next ten seasons, the Hammers again struggled to put together anything amounting to a strong run in the competition, reaching the fifth round on three occasions but never advancing any further than the last 16.

Greenwood moved upstairs, with John Lyall – who made one FA Cup appearance here against Stoke City in January 1961 – taking over as first-team manager in April 1974.

Thirteen months later, Lyall had led West Ham back to the final, helped by just one Boleyn Ground victory – a 2-1 fifth-round win over Queens Park Rangers secured through goals from Keith Robson and Pat Holland.

When West Ham lifted the FA Cup for a third and, up to now, final time in 1980, things were somewhat different.

Not only were the Hammers a Second Division side, but Lyall’s men made good use of home advantage on their way to the final.

West Brom, Swansea City and, courtesy of Ray Stewart’s memorable last-minute penalty, Aston Villa were all seen off, while the sole away win came at nearby Orient.

The mid-1980s were a period of decent, if not fantastic runs in the FA Cup, with four quarter-finals reached in five years.
The first season of the 1990s brought a sixth semi-final, with the sixth-round win over Everton by the then second-tier Hammers – highlighted by Stuart Slater’s individual goal – providing another unforgettable FA Cup Boleyn memory.

In recent years, West Ham’s FA Cup heroics have been achieved more often than not away from E13, with the 2001 victory at Manchester United and 2-1 sixth-round win at Manchester City on the way to the 2006 final in Cardiff sticking out as the biggest results of this millennium so far.

That was until last season, when Adrian’s penalty heroics took centre-stage, and then a fourth-round replay against Liverpool two months ago that etched Angelo Ogbonna’s name into the Boleyn Ground’s FA Cup folklore.

The Italian defender’s towering late header appeared to be the fitting finale to 112 years of history in this famous competition, but tonight’s sixth-round replay with Manchester United – on just their fourth visit to the Boleyn Ground in the FA Cup – will present another with a chance to sign this stadium off with a moment to savour – but who will it be?