Sir Trevor Brooking did not know it at the time, but Saturday 6 April 1968 was a unique day in his long and illustrious West Ham United career.
Then just 19, Brooking was in his first season as a member of Ron Greenwood’s senior squad, having made his First Division debut at Burnley the previous August.
Even at such a tender age, the young Brooking’s versatile attacking talents saw Greenwood deploy him in a variety of attacking roles, starting out on the left side of midfield before moving into a central role in support of striker Geoff Hurst.
However, with the Hammers floundering in 18th place, without a win in five league matches and Hurst absent injured for the visit of Newcastle United to the Boleyn Ground, Greenwood deployed the teenager as his centre forward.
All the players signed the ball and I put it on top of my Mum and Dad’s television set
Sir Trevor Brooking
Rather than shrink under the massive pressure of leading his struggling team to victory, Brooking did just that, scoring the only hat-trick of his professional career as West Ham thrashed the Magpies 5-0.
Brian Dear laid on the first before half-time, which the youngster gleefully smashed into the net from six yards after Martin Peters had challenged Newcastle goalkeeper Gordon Marshall.
And the home side, whose performance was described as ‘stylish’ and ‘elegant’ by The Observer’s John Lindsay, would add four more goals after the break, two from John Sissons and, of course, two more from the irrepressible Brooking to complete a historic personal treble.
“I wore the No 9 shirt and played centre forward because Geoff Hurst was injured,” recalled the hat-trick hero himself. “We won 5-0 and I scored a hat-trick. It might have been one with each foot and a header.
“All the players signed the ball and I put it on top of my Mum and Dad’s television set. It sat there throughout my career. Gradually, all the names faded.
“It was my first season in the team and you think there will be a few more to come but I never did score another hat-trick.”
West Ham, whose starting XI that afternoon also included Billy Bonds, Frank Lampard, Bobby Moore, Martin Peters, Ron Boyce and Harry Redknapp, would follow up this important win with victories over Nottingham Forest, Liverpool and Sheffield United to finish the season in 12th place.
Amazingly, though, Brooking’s hat-trick were his final goals of the 1967/68 season.