On This Day: Dick, Musgrove and Keeble secure West Ham's promotion at Middlesbrough

1958 promotion winners


West Ham United ended 26 years outside the top-flight on this day in 1958.

The Hammers had been battling at the top of the Second Division since December 1957, having initially struggled for consistency early in the season.

A run of four wins in succession in October and November lifted Ted Fenton’s side from mid-table to fourth and, although the Irons then drew their next three matches, thumping six-goal victories over Lincoln City and Bristol Rovers either side of Christmas ignited their promotion challenge.

It is said that if you want something badly enough you'll get it in the end

Chairman Reg Pratt

When West Ham hit six again in a home win over Swansea on 18 January, Fenton’s men went top of the table for the first time.

With forwards John Dick and Vic Keeble scoring regularly, supported ably by Billy Dare, Malcolm Musgrove and John Smith, the Hammers remained in first place, bar one weekend in February, for the remainder of the campaign.

Even so, victory at Middlesbrough on the final day was needed to secure promotion, 

Top scorer Dick set the Hammers on their way with a deft backheel to claim his 21st league goal of the season. Musgrove's ninth and Keeble's 19th of the Second Division campaign at last secured the title for Fenton's side.

The newly-crowned champions headed south having won 23 and drawn eleven of their 42 games, scoring 101 goals along the way.


1958 Second Division champions


"This is, indeed, a wonderful moment for us," confessed proud Chairman Reg Pratt. "It is said that if you want something badly enough you'll get it in the end. We have waited for this occasion for a very long time, and now regard our present success not so much as an end but as a new beginning, a challenge, a spur to greater efforts."

These were prophetic words for the Club were about to embark upon a 19-season run in the First Division, the emergence of the likes of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters, as well as FA Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup glory.

Back to 26 April 1958 and a jubilant crowd of 1,000 Hammers fans waited on the King's Cross platform to greet their heroes, who happily posed with newspaper posters announcing their promotion.


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