Record goalscorer Watson No7 in #50GreatestHammers

The conclusion of our #50GreatestHammers countdown in association with sleeve partner Basset & Gold is nearing, with West Ham United’s record goalscorer Vic Watson taking the No7 spot...

Vic Watson

Years at West Ham: 1920-35
Appearances: 505
Goals: 326

Vic Watson

It is a record which has truly stood the test of time.

Vic Watson’s tally of 326 goals for West Ham United is so remarkable that in the 123-year history of the Club, only one player sits within a century of him in the all-time goalscoring charts.

His feats in front of goal are the stuff of legend – he once scored six in a game, in a 8-2 win against Leeds in February 1929, bagged four goals on three occasions and notched a total of 13 hat-tricks whilst at West Ham.

The net result is a goalscoring record which will likely never be bettered, with 203 of those goals coming in just 295 Division One outings.

Born in Girton, Cambridgshire, in November 1897, Watson spent his youth with Wellingborough Town before the Hammers splashed out just £50 to take him to east London in 1920.

It will probably go down as the best £50 the Club have ever spent.

Having initially arrived at the Boleyn Ground as cover for another of the #50GreatestHammers, Syd Puddefoot, Watson featured in just nine games during his first campaign for the Hammers, before quickly making himself indispensable.

With 13 strikes in the 1921/22 season, he was just warming up and he notched 27 the following campaign as the Hammers won promotion to the top flight for the first time in their history, and reached the FA Cup final to boot.

1923 also brought Watson the first of five England caps, which yielded four goals – including two against Scotland in the 1930 British Home Championship.

Watson’s goalscoring hit its considerable peak in the 1929/30 campaign, when he notched 50 goals in 44 games. 

That tally included eight braces, three hat-tricks and one four-goal haul, as he scored at least once in 33 of his 44 appearances.

The numbers are scarcely believable, and even when he left West Ham to join Southampton for a single season at the age of 37, he still top scored for the Saints with 14 goals in his swansong year.

After retiring, he became a market gardener in his home town of Girton and passed away aged 90 in August 1988.