FA Cup hero backs Jordan Hugill to make West Ham impact

Jordan Hugill


Four decades ago, West Ham United snapped up a lower-league striker who would gain hero status in Claret and Blue.

Alan Taylor was an unheralded centre forward who had just turned 21 when he was signed by John Lyall from Fourth Division Rochdale in December 1974. Six months later, his goals secured the Club’s second FA Cup triumph at Wembley.

Forty-three years later, the Hammers returned to the Football League for another young English goalscorer, snapping up Jordan Hugill from Championship club Preston North End.

Taylor, who was also with the Deepdale side as a teenager, is hoping the 25-year-old will follow in his own footsteps by making his mark in a West Ham shirt.

At Preston, Jordan showed his goalscoring instincts and now, with better players around him, I really hope that he gets a run

Alan Taylor

“I’d be absolutely delighted if the lad gets his chance and scores a few goals,” said Taylor, who scored 36 goals in 124 games for the Hammers. “It’d be brilliant for Jordan Hugill and it’d be brilliant for the Club, too.

“That signing showed that West Ham are prepared to look around the lower divisions for youngsters.

“At Preston, Jordan showed his goalscoring instincts and now, with better players around him, I really hope that he gets a run and knocks a few in.”


Alan Taylor scored two goals in West Ham United's 1975 FA Cup final win over Fulham


Reflecting on his own career, where Hugill will benefit from playing alongside the likes of Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic, Taylor finished chances created by Trevor Brooking and Keith Robson.

“Ron Greenwood and John Lyall reckoned my speed would work well with Trevor’s ability to unlock defences. I was loving my football at Rochdale but when a club from the top division came in for me and doubled my wages, it was a no brainer. Hey presto, I was a West Ham United player!

“Back then, lower-league players could break through because if you performed well, a club might take a chance. It also worked out well for Billy Jennings, who came from [third-tier] Watford and Keith Robson, who was struggling at Newcastle United.

“Pace was my asset but Ron and John taught me to get into the right positions to benefit from Trevor’s great passing ability. As young English lads, all wanting to be better footballers, we looked up to the senior players like Trevor, Frank Lampard and Billy Bonds, who was a fantastic leader. They were great people, who made West Ham United a great football club.”