Geoff Pike is one of only five heroic Hammers, who helped West Ham United to both FA Cup glory in 1980 and a record-breaking third-place First Division finish six seasons later…
Four decades on, one Hammer has a constant reminder of the Club’s 1980 FA Cup-winning campaign.
“By the time we reached Wembley, my wife – Pauline – was eight-and-a-half months pregnant with our first son,” recalls Geoff Pike, who had earlier scored the opener in West Ham’s FA Cup third round replay against West Bromwich Albion, on 8 January 1980. “We were both praying that she wasn’t going to go into labour during the final!
“Fortunately, Anthony didn’t actually arrive until three weeks later but given he’s about to celebrate his 40th birthday on 31 May, year-on-year, I’ve started to realise how long it’s been since we won the Cup.”
I’m really proud to be associated with the last Hammers team to lift that famous old trophy – in football terms, that victory over Arsenal was the best day of my life
Phil Parkes’ Hawthorns heroics in a 1-1- draw had secured that Upton Park re-match for John Lyall’s underdogs, who were still seething over Cyrille Regis’ controversial late, late, leveller for top-flight Albion, three days beforehand.
Second-tier West Ham now had home advantage under the Boleyn Ground’s famous floodlights as a Tuesday evening crowd of 30,689 saw makeshift striker Pike – dutifully deputising for an injured David Cross – combine with Trevor Brooking to fire the Hammers ahead eight minutes after the break.
“Even though I’d played nearly 100 games for the Club, I still didn’t consider myself to be a first-team regular and I never felt that I was guaranteed to start any game,” argues modest Man of the Match Geoff, despite playing in every tie during the unstoppable Claret and Blue march to Wembley.
“It’s still good to see my name on the scoresheet against West Brom and, looking back, that FA Cup run was the springboard for all the subsequent years of success, culminating with our record-breaking 1985/86 season.”
With Brooking then doubling the lead on 84 minutes, substitute Tony Brown’s last-gasp reply proved a mere consolation for Albion and, to the delight of the ecstatic East Enders, Lyall’s lads secured a fourth round tie down the road at neighbours Orient, where Pike would again play a pivotal role in another wonderful West Ham win – but more on that on Tuesday!
With subsequent victories over Swansea City and top-flight Aston Villa and Everton, the stage was set for that Wembley showdown.
“Even though I’d scored in that third round replay against Albion, then had a hand in one of our goals at Orient and netted my seventh goal of the season against Charlton Athletic five days before the final itself, I still didn’t know whether I’d be playing against Arsenal,” contends Pike, who would make 368 appearances in the Claret and Blue.
“Then, on the Friday lunchtime, John announced his starting line-up for the following afternoon and I found myself ringing around all my family and friends to tell them the great news, which was still sinking in.
“It was an unbelievable feeling to go on and win the FA Cup,” concludes Geoff. “I’m really proud to be associated with the last Hammers team to lift that famous old trophy – in football terms, that victory over Arsenal was the best day of my life.”
Continue down the road to Wembley on Tuesday, when another of West Ham United’s 1980 FA Cup winners recalls our fourth-round victory over near neighbours and familiar foes Orient…