On This Day: Bonds signs off by shooting down Gunners

Billy Bonds the manager


Billy Bonds led West Ham United to the 99th and final victory of his managerial career on 30 April 1994 – and he did it in style.

The newly-promoted Hammers had performed more than respectably in what was their debut Premier League season and, despite losing their previous two matches, travelled to Arsenal sitting 14th and comfortable in the 22-team table, well clear of relegation trouble.

With the pressure off, Bonds’ Irons produced a superb performance at Highbury, defeating a Gunners side which was unbeaten in its previous 19 Premier League matches would go on to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Despite the prospect of facing Parma just five days later, Arsenal manager George Graham named a strong starting XI for the London derby, with five of the men who would start against the Italian side also in the team to face West Ham alongside capable understudies including Eddie McGoldrick, Ray Parlour and a certain Ian Wright.


West Ham's Kenny Brown puts in a challenge on Arsenal's Ray Parlour


It was another of those replacements, goalkeeper Alan Miller, who was called into action first in the bright late-season sunshine, parrying a shot from Tony Gale after the defender had burrowed through the home defence. Gale then set up Trevor Morley with a clever free-kick, but again Miller made a fine save.

The goalkeeper had no chance 13 minutes from full-time, though, when Andy Linighan sold him short with a back pass and Morley rounded him to score.

And a stunning away win was completed two minutes from the end as Martin Allen ran at Ian Selley, created a yard of space with a stepover, then lashed a 25-yard rocket into the top right-hand corner.

He would not have known it at the time, sat in the away dugout, but Bonds had witnessed the final victory of his four-and-a-half-year spell as West Ham manager.

The final two fixtures of the 1993/94 season would end in contrasting draws, with a goalless stalemate at Queens Park Rangers being followed by a six-goal thriller at home to Southampton.
Bonds’ West Ham would finish their first Premier League campaign in 13th.