West Ham United celebrates its 125th anniversary on 29 June – and as part of our celebrations we're counting down to the date with the Club’s #50GreatestMatches – brought to you by Monster Energy!
Since the Hammers were formed as Thames Ironworks FC in 1895, we have played in excess of 5,500 matches – reaching five FA Cup finals - and one women's FA Cup final, lifting European silverware and competing across the globe and enjoying thousands of memorable moments.
With your help and recommendations, we've whittled down that list of 5,500 matches to a top 50, featuring landmark goals, trophies held aloft, heroic individual performances and remarkable collective efforts.
We continue the #50GreatestMatches countdown with a record FA Youth Cup victory which still stands today...
It remains the biggest victory in FA Youth Cup Final history, a triumph broadcast live on Sky Sports that captured the attention of the wider football public and forced Boleyn Ground staff to hastily open extra turnstiles as more than 20,000 West Ham United fans turned up in support of the latest array of talent to emerge from the famed Academy production line.
And more than 20 years on, the 6-0 second leg thrashing of Coventry City on Friday 14 May 1999 – completing a 9-0 aggregate win over the Sky Blues - still conjures up wonderful memories for anyone there to witness it.
Goals from lightning-quick right wing-back Adam Newton, defender Stevland Angus and striker Bertie Brayley had put the Hammers firmly in control up at Highfield Road in the first leg, before Tony Carr’s magnificent young side turned on the style with a breathtaking display at Upton Park a week later.
Led by the mercurial midfield talents of a certain Joe Cole – already four months past his first team debut under Harry Redknapp at the age of 17 – the hosts ran riot, with double strikes from Brayley and Australian striker Richard Garcia, another from Newton and one from Michael Carrick rounding off an unforgettable night.
Club chiefs had initially opened only certain sections of the ground, expecting a crowd of no more than 10,000. However, as the match kicked off with the dedicated areas already full and thousands of supporters still queuing outside, it quickly became clear that further seating would be needed, leading to the surreal sight of fans being led along the touchline and into the old East Stand as the action carried on in front of them.
Five members of that team progressed to first team honours in the Claret and Blue, while Cole and Carrick reached the very pinnacle of the game, winning Champions League finals and playing in World Cup tournaments for England.
Speaking at a reunion of that team last year Joe Cole said: “It’s also good to see that everyone has done well for themselves. Some of the lads have had good football careers, some have got their own businesses, and they’re all doing well in whatever field they are in now. And I think that is a lot to do with being in the Academy environment at West Ham. You’re teaching players to play football, but it also gives you the grounding going into the world, which is just as important.
“The fans really connected with our team at the time. All fans want local homegrown players in the team, it’s so important to this club. It’s part of the ethos of what West Ham is all about.”
It was truly an all-conquering FA Youth Cup run from the Hammers, who netted 20 times en route to the final to see off Stockport County, Walsall, York City, Arsenal and Everton
There was a real buzz around the team, and that was to be fully justified by a remorseless display across both legs of the final - landing the Hammers the trophy for the third time.
Don't miss #35 in the countdown tomorrow - the night the Hammers achieved their club-record win.