Hutch the hero

The early 1990s were a time of change at West Ham United.

The Hammers began the decade in the old Second Division, having been relegated in 1989 – a demotion that was followed by long-serving manager John Lyall’s departure after 15 years in charge.

The 1989/90 season saw West Ham reach the League Cup semi-finals for the second consecutive season under new boss Billy Bonds.

Bonds led West Ham to promotion in 1991, followed by relegation in 1992 and promotion to the Premier League for the first time a year later.

The summer of 1994 was marked by the departure of Bonds and the appointment of former player and assistant manager Harry Redknapp as the Club’s eighth full-time boss.

Redknapp brought another ex-Hammer, Tony Cottee, back to east London from Everton in a £2.2 million deal.

Off the pitch, the Taylor Report led to the redevelopment of the Boleyn Ground, with the old South Bank terrace being demolished in May 1993 to make way for the Bobby Moore Stand, which opened in early 1994.

The summer of the same year saw the North Bank terrace demolished to be replaced by the new Centenary Stand – named for the Club’s 100th anniversary in 1995.

These redevelopments were to be funded, in part, by a new and controversial Bond Scheme, which was introduced in November 1991, and was taken up by 808 supporters.


This was the backdrop to 1994/95 Premier League season, which saw the Hammers win just one of their opening seven matches to slip to 19th in the table.

A run of three victories in four matches saw Redknapp’s side rise to 12th by the time Chelsea visited east London for a League Cup third-round tie on Wednesday 26 October 1994.

The Hammers had edged past Third Division club Walsall 3-2 on aggregate in the second round, losing 2-1 at the Bescot Stadium before scoring a 2-0 home win over the Saddlers at the Boleyn Ground.

Among the scorers in the second leg was Don Hutchison, who had made a similar journey to Cottee in August 1994, joining the Club for £1.5m from Liverpool.

Born in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, Hutchison was a central midfielder who could create and score goals, while also possessing a willingness to put his foot in to win possession for his side.

After scoring on his Premier League debut at home to Newcastle United, the 23-year-old had netted the winner against Crystal Palace in early October, further enhancing his reputation among the Claret and Blue Army.

On Wednesday 26 October, however, his stock went through the newly-constructed Boleyn Ground roof.



Hoddle's Blues

Promoted to the inaugural Premier League in 1992, Chelsea were also a club in transition.

While their own stadium redevelopment would not take place until later in the decade, the Blues were undergoing a major rebuilding process on the playing side.

Former England midfielder Glenn Hoddle had arrived as player-manager in June 1993, inspiring the west London side to the FA Cup final in his first season in charge – albeit one they lost 4-0 to Manchester United.

In the Premier League, Chelsea had finished the 1993/94 campaign in an underwhelming 14th place – a point and a position below West Ham.

Hoddle responded by signing striker Paul Furlong for a club-record £2.3 million from Watford, while also adding future Hammer Scott Minto and midfielder David Rocastle.

The trio initially sparked Chelsea into life, as they won their opening three Premier League fixtures, with Furlong scoring freely, but from then on their form was patchy, including a 2-1 home defeat by West Ham on 2 October 1994.

Three-and-a-half weeks later, the two sides met again.

Early goal

It took just two minutes for West Ham and Hutchison to make their mark.

The midfielder – joined in the starting XI by another recent returnee from Anfield, left-back Julian Dicks – put the finishing touch to a brisk move that opened up the Chelsea defence.

Dicks was the architect, taking a quick throw-in to Cottee, who knocked the ball down for the No26 to curl past the Blues’ Russian goalkeeper Dimitri Kharin.

With 88 minutes to go, the stage was set for a rip-roaring cup tie, and both teams lived up to that expectation by creating chances to add further goals.

Hutchison could have doubled his tally on 27 minutes, when he was played in by former Liverpool teammate Mike Marsh, but Gareth Hall got back to tackle him in the nick of time.

Chelsea, already without a host of injured regulars, also lost Gavin Peacock to an ankle injury, but his depleted team were not about to give up their place in the Coca-Cola Cup without giving it a good pop.

And so it was that the Blues launched an all-out assault on the West Ham goal, with only goalkeeper Ludek Miklosko standing between them and an equaliser.

The Czech stopper denied flame-haired Norwegian defender Erland Johnsen, striker Neil Shipperley and then, twice, Chelsea captain Dennis Wise.

After his second spectacular save from Wise, the diminutive visiting skipper shook Miklosko’s hand by way of congratulation.

That single action confirmed that it was not to be Chelsea's night.

The Boleyn Ground construction work meant just 18,815 fans were present to see the famous victory, but none of those present will ever forget the night Don downed the Blues.

Unfortunately, West Ham could not continue any further down the road to Wembley, losing 3-1 at home to Bolton Wanderers in the fourth round.