#FlashbackFriday - Liverpool v West Ham:: Part Two - 1962 to 1981
Ahead of West Ham’s first top flight meeting with Liverpool for over thirty years in 1962, the Hammers were anchored to the foot of the old First Division, picking up just one point from their first five matches. Also, it took Liverpool four games before bagging their first win back in the top flight – a 4-1 win over Man City in late August 1962. Four days later, the Hammers picked up their first win of the season, with a 1-0 victory at Upton Park. A week later came West Ham’s first visit to Anfield in nearly five years. Two goals for Ian St. John secured a 2-1 win. By the end of March, Liverpool rose to fourth in the top tier ahead of FA Cup Quarter Final home tie with West Ham.
A goal for Roger Hunt secured Liverpool’s path to the Semi Finals with a 1-0 win. The Merseysiders however would lose the Semi Final to Leicester and finish eighth in the league. The following September, West Ham would pick up their first victory at Anfield for nine years, with a 2-1 victory secured by goals from Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst, while fellow 1966 World Cup winner Roger Hunt would be on target for Liverpool (unbeknown at the time, this would be the last win for the Hammers at Anfield for the next fifty two years!). When Liverpool came to visit East London in Mid-January 1964, the Reds stood one point behind League leaders Spurs with a game in hand, while West Ham were six points above the relegation zone in seventeenth place. A goal for Johnny Byrne gave the Hammers a 1-0 win.
By the season’s close, Liverpool would win the League by four clear points, to win their first league title for seventeen years. West Ham in contrast finished in fourteenth position, though won their first ever trophy by beating Preston North End 3-2 in the 1964 FA Cup Final. This therefore meant that at the start of the 1964/65 season, Champions Liverpool would meet FA Cup winners West Ham for the traditional season curtain raiser – the FA Charity Shield. Ten years before the fixture moved to Wembley, the game took place at Anfield. Gordon Wallace gave Liverpool the lead, but Johnny Byrne equalised for the Hammers four minutes ahead of half time. Four minutes into the second half, Gerry Byrne put the Merseysiders back in the lead which was held until six minutes from time, when Geoff Hurst grabbed an equaliser for the Hammers.
The game finished 2-2, meaning that Shield would be shared by the two sides. A piece of televisual history took place one week later at Anfield, as the BBC launched ‘Match of the Day’ with the first game featuring the visit at Arsenal, which the Merseysiders won 3-2. As the game was shown on BBC2, which at the time could only be received in London and by those with the new 625 line television, it meant the game only achieved 22,000 TV viewers – which roughly half the figure who attended the match at Anfield.
When West Ham returned to Anfield by mid-October, Liverpool’s defence of the title had not gone too well, winning just four of the twelve games played and languishing in seventeenth. West Ham on the other hand stood ninth. Goals for Ian St. John and Roger Hunt for Liverpool and two for West Ham’s Geoff Hurst meant another 2-2 draw. By the end of February 1965, Liverpool’s visit to the Boleyn Ground would be the first time this fixture would appear on ‘Match of the Day’. Liverpool had risen back up to eighth place on the back of five straight wins. West Ham in contrast had lost five of their last six games and had dropped to eleventh in the table. The Merseysiders took the lead with a goal from Roger Hunt, though the Hammers equalised with a shot from debutant Eddie Presland (his only goal for the club), before a winner from Geoff Hurst bagged the points for West Ham with a 2-1 win.
By the end of the season, two points separated Liverpool in seventh and West Ham in ninth. The former however reached the final of the FA Cup against Leeds United, which they would win for the first time with a 2-1 victory. In 1965/66, Liverpool came to the Boleyn Ground in early September having won two of their first four games. West Ham had won just one of their first five. Goals from Ian Callaghan, Gordon Milne and a hat-trick for Roger Hunt gave Liverpool a 5-1 away win, with Martin Peters on target for the Hammers. The return fixture at Anfield came nine days later. The two sides played out a 1-1 draw, with former Arsenal striker Geoff Strong on target for Liverpool and Geoff Hurst scoring again for West Ham.
Liverpool finished the season winning their second title in three seasons, finishing six points ahead of runners up Leeds United. West Ham finished the 1965/66 season twelfth, though played a prominent role in England’s World Cup winning side over the summer of 1966 providing Captain Bobby Moore as well as Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters who scored in the 4-2 win over West Germany in the final. From Liverpool, Roger Hunt was selected in the first eleven, while within the wider squad was Ian Callaghan and Gerry Byrne. Around six weeks after England winning the World Cup, Champions Liverpool came to the Boleyn Ground to play West Ham. By this point, the Hammers picked up just one point out of a possible eight, losing their first three games.
Liverpool in contrast had managed two wins and two defeats.
Goals for West Ham’s World Cup hero Geoff Hurst and Geoff Strong for Liverpool meant a 1-1 draw. By the following January, Liverpool stood second in the table, two points behind leaders Man United but with a game in hand. West Ham in contrast stood in tenth place. A 2-0 win for Liverpool took the Reds to the top of the table, with two goals for Peter Thompson.
Liverpool remained in contention for retaining their title, until a 0-1 away defeat to Burnley followed by three draws over the Easter weekend then a 1-2 defeat away to Spurs. Three further defeats toward the end of the season meant that Liverpool finished fifth. West Ham returned to Anfield the following October, with Liverpool standing in second place after eleven games behind Sheffield Wednesday at the top of the table. West Ham in contrast sat in seventeenth position having won just three games out of eleven. Goals for Tommy Smith and two for Ian St. John gave Liverpool a 3-1 win, while Martin Peters was on target for the Hammers. By the 1960s, the main televised battles between West Ham and Liverpool occurred on ‘Til Death Us Do Part’ between cockney Alf Garnet and his scouse son in law Mike (played by Anthony Booth – the future father in law of British Prime Minister Tony Blair).
The programme showcased differing attitudes to race relations in the UK and, ironically Liverpool’s next visit to the Boleyn Ground would occur on what would be a day of enormous significance for race relations in the UK. On Saturday April 20th 1968 (what actually would have been Adolf Hitler’s seventy ninth birthday!), one hundred miles north of Upton Park in Birmingham, Conservative MP Enoch Powell delivered his infamous ‘Rivers of Blood’ Speech to a West Midlands Conservative Party General Meeting. In the football world, Liverpool were four points off of the top of the table with two games in hand over leaders Manchester United, West Ham meanwhile sat in fifteenth position.
In what no doubt would have been a double celebration for Alf Garnett, a Martin Peters goal gave West Ham a 1-0 victory. After a 1-0 win for Man United at home to Sheffield United, Liverpool now stood six points behind with just five games left to go. A home draw with Tottenham at the end of the month hampered Liverpool’s title chances further. By the final Saturday of the season, Man City overtook their neighbours United on goal average, with Liverpool three points behind in fourth with a game in hand. A 4-3 away win for City at Newcastle however sealed the title for the Blue half of Manchester.
By the following December, when West Ham visited Anfield for the 1968/69 season, Liverpool topped the old First Division by a four point margin over neighbours Everton, on the back of four straight wins. West Ham stood eight points behind in fifth. Liverpool bagged their sixth straight win, as goals for Peter Thompson and Emlyn Hughes secured a 2-0 victory. Liverpool came to Upton Park in February, standing three points behind League leaders Leeds United after a 0-2 home defeat to Nottingham Forest. The game would be captured by new football highlights show ‘The Big Match’, in its first season in the fledgling regional ITV station London Weekend Television. John Sissons gave the Hammers the lead, however Roger Hunt pulled back an equaliser with the game ending in a 1-1 draw.
Liverpool’s league title challenge ended with a 0-0 draw at Anfield with Leeds, on a Monday night at the end of April. The original fixture was arranged a month earlier, but postponed because of a flu epidemic at Elland Road. This result clinched the title for Leeds United and sportingly, the Kop applauded the new Champions, with Jack Charlton of Leeds stating: ‘to stand there as a Leeds player and be cheered by the Kop that was something….I'll never forget it.’ By early November 1969, Liverpool were third in the table, however lagging seven points behind neighbours Everton at the top of the table. West Ham sat fourteenth in the table, having won only one of their last six games. Liverpool bagged both points with a 2-0 win secured by goals from Bobby Graham and Chris Lawler.
By late March 1970, Liverpool’s chances of winning back the title had evaporated, standing twelve points behind League leaders Everton in fifth, West Ham however were in seventeenth place though with a seven point cushion from the drop zone. A goal for Pat Holland gave the Hammers a 1-0 win to secure top tier safety for another season, while defeat help to prevent Liverpool’s participation in European competition the following season. Along with a 0-1 defeat to second tier Watford in the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup and the fact that Shankly’s side had failed to win a trophy since their last League title in 1965/66, the close season of 1970 was considered a major turning point in Liverpool’s history, with sixties veterans such as Ian St. John, Ron Yeats and Tommy Lawrence replaced by a newer breed in Steve Heighway, John Toshack and Ray Clemence.
Liverpool came to East London in Mid-December 1970 standing in seventh place, while West Ham stood in nineteenth position. The Movietone News bulletin which covered the game advised that West Ham manager Ron Greenwood had his house burgled the night before this fixture. Jack Whitam gave Liverpool the lead with a header. Jimmy Greaves equalised for the Hammers, before a Phil Boersma goal secured a 2-1 win for Liverpool.
By the time of the return fixture on a Tuesday evening at Anfield in February 1971, Liverpool had risen to fifth, while West Ham were now in twentieth place and just three points from the drop zone. A John Toshack goal deepened West Ham’s woes with a 0-1 defeat and pushed the Merseysiders up to fourth place.
Liverpool finished the 1970/71 season in fifth place, as well as losing 1-2 to double winners Arsenal in the 1971 FA Cup Final. Liverpool visited Upton Park again in the fourth round of the League Cup in late October 1971 in front of a crowd of 40,878. Goals for Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson and Geoff Hurst gave West Ham a 2-1 win, while Bobby Graham would be on target for Liverpool. West Ham that year progressed to the Semi Final against eventual winners Stoke City, where they lost a replay at Old Trafford after the tie was drawn after two legs. The next league meeting took place exactly a month later back at Anfield. Liverpool stood in seventh place having lost five games out of eighteen. West Ham sat in thirteenth position, having lost their last three games.
A goal for Emlyn Hughes gave the Merseysiders a 1-0 win, which consigned the Hammers to a fourth straight defeat. After a disastrous Christmas period that saw three straight losses for Liverpool, the Red machine went on a run of eleven victories out of twelve by the time of the return fixture back at the Boleyn Ground in Mid-April 1972. This run pushed Liverpool up to fourth and two points behind leaders Derby County. The Merseysiders made it a seventh win on the trot after goals for Steve Heighway and John Toshack gave Liverpool a 2-0 win. By the final Saturday of the season, a 2-0 win for Liverpool put them just one point behind Man City at the top of the table, who had completed their fixtures by signing off with 2-0 win at home to fellow title challengers Derby County
After the final Saturday, as many as four sides were still in with a chance of winning the title – League leaders City with no more games to play, Liverpool standing just one point behind with two games in hand, FA Cup finalists Leeds United who had two games left to play and Brian Clough’s Derby County who nine days later faced Liverpool in their final fixture. Liverpool crashed to a 0-1 defeat at the Baseball Ground on the Mayday bank holiday with a goal from John McGovern which after completing their fixtures saw them leapfrog to the top of the table. The only sides with fixtures left to play were Leeds United who faced UEFA Cup finalists Wolves forty eight hours after their appearance in the Centenary FA Cup Final and Liverpool, who were to play Leeds’ opponents in that final – Arsenal – at Highbury.
Leeds went on to win that year’s Cup final with a 1-0 win over the Gunners, forty eight hours on however, despite allegations that Wolves were offered a cash incentive to ‘go easy’ on Leeds – the mighty whites crashed to a 1-3 defeat at Molineux.
Ironically, the game at Highbury that evening too was the subject of similar rumours, as Liverpool captain Tommy Smith alleged that Emlyn Hughes told him that the Arsenal side were willing to throw the game for a fee of £50 a man (however the subject of both bribery allegations – Don Revie and Emlyn Hughes – passed away before the allegations became public knowledge, against which they are unable to public defend themselves).
In the event, Emlyn Hughes hit the bar, John Toshack missed a great chance and with two minutes to go, Toshack had a goal disallowed for offside. The match ended in a 0-0 draw, which meant that Liverpool finished third (though just one point separated first and fourth place!). The title went to Brian Clough’s Derby County, who by now were actually on a post-season team holiday in Majorca. That disappointment meant a sixth successive season without a trophy for Bill Shankly’s Liverpool. However the Merseysiders were keen to make up for it in 1972/73, with West Ham visiting Anfield four games into the season. Liverpool topped the table with three wins and a draw, West Ham in eight position meanwhile managed two wins, one defeat and one draw.
West Ham took a shock lead up at Anfield, with a goal from Bryan ‘pop’ Robson, Liverpool however bagged an equaliser ahead of half time. One minute later though, Robson scored another to ensure the Hammers went in at half time 2-1 up. Just past the hour, an own goal from West Ham keeper Bobby Ferguson gave Liverpool an equaliser and two minutes later Emlyn Hughes put Liverpool ahead to secure four wins out of five and consolidate the Reds position at the top of the table. When Liverpool came to Upton Park in January, they remained at the top of the table with a three point gap over second place Arsenal, with a game in hand. West Ham meanwhile lay in tenth place. The game would be captured by the LWT's 'The Big Match'. A goal for Kevin Keegan gave Liverpool a 1-0 win, Arsenal though kept pace with a 3-1 victory over bottom club Man United in what was Tommy Docherty’s first game in charge of United.
Liverpool however went on to bag their first league title and trophy win for seven years with a 2-0 win over Leeds United at Anfield in April. Liverpool would also bag the UEFA Cup that year too. West Ham finished in sixth place, which had been their highest finish in the League since 1958/59. In 1973/74, the two sides would again be drawn together in the League Cup, this time in the second round at Upton Park. The game ended in a 2-2 draw with Ted McDougall and Bryan ‘pop’ Robson on target for the Hammers, while Peter Cormack and Steve Heighway were on target for the Reds. In the replay back at Anfield, at goal for John Toshack meant a 1-0 win with Liverpool progressing to the next round. Liverpool reach the Quarter Finals, but lost to eventual League Cup finalists Wolves.
Just over a month on, West Ham returned to Anfield. Despite a run of four wins out of five, Liverpool stood fourth and seven points behind run away leaders Leeds United. West Ham in contrast were only kept off the bottom of the table on goal average. A goal for Peter Cormack gave Liverpool their third win over the Hammers in the calendar year of 1973. When Liverpool came to Upton Park on the final Saturday of the season, West Ham were two points off of the relegation zone. Liverpool were in second place, but with no chance of catching Champions Leeds United. One week later though, Liverpool would face Newcastle United at Wembley in the FA Cup final.
West Ham took a first half lead with a goal from Trevor Brooking and Liverpool’s Alec Lindsay missed a penalty that was brilliantly saved by West Ham goalkeeper Mervyn Day diving away to his right towards the end of the first half, meaning that the Hammers went in a goal up at Half time. A goal for Frank Lampard Senior for West Ham and John Toshack for Liverpool meant that the Hammers were leading until late on, before a last minute goal by Kevin Keegan gave Liverpool a 2-2 draw.
So late on was the goal that, according to this story from Liverpool’s Phil Thompson, Shanks missed the equaliser and roasted his players for what he felt was a flippant attitude to defeat to a lower table side. For the Hammers however, the point ensured the safety of finishing in eighteenth place and avoiding the drop.
It turned out that this match would be the final league fixture for both Liverpool’s Bill Shankly and West Ham’s Ron Greenwood as managers of their respective clubs. Greenwood was moved upstairs to the board to make way for John Lyall, while Bill Shankly announced his retirement over the summer and his last game would be the Charity Shield tie at Wembley against Leeds United the following August. Taking over from Shankly would be his assistant Bob Paisley and the first meeting between the two sides in the post-Shankly and Greenwood era came in November 1974. At the time, Liverpool were kept off of the top spot on goal average, but with a game in hand over league leaders Ipswich. The game would be captured by Granada's 'Kick Off Match'. West Ham stood in seventh place, having won their last three games. Goals for Liverpool’s Tommy Smith and West Ham’s Keith Robson meant a 1-1 draw.
By February 1975 when Liverpool came to Upton Park, the Reds had dropped to fifth place while West Ham were just a point behind them in seventh. The two sides played out a 0-0 draw. Interestingly, behind both sides in ninth place were Derby County who by April had leapfrogged both sides to take the League title after second placed Liverpool crashed to a 0-1 defeat away at Middlesbrough. The FA Cup that year was won by West Ham who defeated Fulham. For Liverpool it was a rare trophy-less season, though would be their last for the next ten years. The 1975/76 season for Liverpool started with a 0-2 away defeat to QPR. Three days later, West Ham visited Anfield in the league.
Liverpool took the lead with a goal from Ian Callaghan, though West Ham drew level eight minutes later with a goal from Alan Taylor. Just past the hour, Taylor gave West Ham the lead. With nine minutes to go however, Liverpool equalised with a goal from John Toshack for a 2-2 draw. West Ham’s defence of the FA Cup saw them drawn at home against Liverpool in the third round. Goals for Kevin Keegan and John Toshack gave Liverpool a 2-0 win.
Liverpool were eliminated from the FA Cup in the next round with a 0-1 defeat to reigning League Champions Derby County. One week later, Liverpool returned to Upton Park to meet West Ham in the League. Liverpool stood one point from League leaders Man United in third, while West Ham were in sixth place though had won only one of their last five games. Goals for Kevin Keegan and a hat-trick for John Toshack gave Liverpool a 4-0 win, which lifted them to second in the table.
Liverpool finished the season as League champions by one point over QPR, after a 3-1 win at Wolves in their final game of the season. West Ham meanwhile sunk from leading the table after fifteen games, to finishing six points from the relegation zone in eighteenth place. By the time of the next meeting between the two sides in December of that year it was a top versus bottom affair, with Liverpool leading the table by one point over Bobby Robson’s Ipswich Town. West Ham meanwhile propped up the table with just three wins from seventeen games.
Making his debut for West Ham that day would be former Arsenal veteran striker John Radford, who had fallen out of favour at Highbury with the emergence of Frank Stapleton and the signing of Malcolm MacDonald from Newcastle United. Radford aided a shock result for West Ham as they pulled off a surprise 2-0 win aided by goals from Trevor Brooking and Billy Jennings. The result lifted the Hammers from the bottom of the table, while Liverpool were dislodged from the top spot as Ipswich managed a 0-0 draw at home to Derby. The following day, Kevin Keegan would make a guest appearance on the Christmas special of LWT’s ‘The Big Match’, which would be hosted by pop star and Watford chairman Elton John. Here Keegan, in reference to nearly scoring an own goal the previous day, banters with Elton about ‘scoring at the wrong end’.
West Ham’s visit to Anfield that season came on the final Saturday of the season. Liverpool needed just one point to retain their League title and in doing so becoming the first side since Wolves in the late 1950s to win back to back titles. West Ham meanwhile hovered one point above the relegation zone in nineteenth place, with just one win from their last six games. The two sides played out a 0-0 draw, which secured a title for Liverpool, with the Reds hopeful of an unprecedented League, FA Cup and European Cup treble. The result however left West Ham above the relegation zone by a goal difference of +1 over Stoke City.
Forty eight hours on back at the Boleyn Ground, West Ham needed a win over a Man United side that would face Liverpool in the FA Cup Final the following Saturday. Liverpool that same evening would travel to Ashton Gate to face Bristol City, who were two points below West Ham at the foot of the table but with a better goal difference of +10 goals. Liverpool lost 1-2 away to Bristol City, however a 4-2 win for the Hammers secured their place in the top flight, with Stoke relegated as a result to a 0-1 defeat at Aston Villa. The relegation battle for those remaining ended in controversy three days later, as standing on level points would be Coventry and Bristol City who met that evening, as well as Sunderland away at Everton.
After losing a two goal lead, Bristol City pegged Coventry back to 2-2.
Liverpool were defeated in the FA Cup final to Man United the following Saturday, however four days later in Rome defeated West German side Borussia Moenchengladbach to become only the second English side to win the European Cup. Meanwhile, having escaped relegation in 1977, West Ham didn’t fare any better the following season. By the time of their visit to Anfield in December, the Hammers were third from bottom with one point from a possible eight in their last four games. Liverpool in contrast, with just one win in their last six games, fell to fifth and four points behind Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest at the top of the table.
Goals for Kenny Dalglish and David Fairclough gave Liverpool a 2-0 victory, which pushed them up to fourth. By the final Saturday of the 1977/78 season the following May, ahead of their trip to the Boleyn Ground Liverpool had already conceded the title to Nottingham Forest, who were nine points ahead with three games left to play. Liverpool however were looking for the result to avoid finishing beneath neighbours Everton for the first time in eight years. West Ham meanwhile, after a run of four wins from their last six games stood in eighteenth place and two points clear of the relegation zone. Goals for Terry McDermott and David Fairclough gave Liverpool a 2-0 win
Unfortunately for West Ham, the two sides between them and the relegation zone picked up points – QPR playing out a 0-0 draw at home to Leeds United, while Wolves beat Man United 2-1 at Molineux. As Wolves had overhauled West Ham on level points but with a +1 goal difference over the Hammers, the East London side who had completed their fixtures were left hoping for Wolves to lose both their two remaining games in hand by a margin that would cause Wolves’s goal difference to fall below that of the Hammers. Sadly for the Hammers, Wolves picked up full points from their remaining two games. The Hammers therefore found themselves outside of the top tier for the first time in twenty years.
There would be no quick return for the Hammers, who would spend the next three seasons in the old Second Division. In their absence, Liverpool would consolidate their domination - domestically and in Europe. Eleven days on from their victory at Upton Park, Liverpool would retain their European Cup with a 1-0 win over Bruges at Wembley. The Merseysiders would also win back to back League titles in 1978/79 and 1979/80. During their absence from the top tier, West Ham would win the FA Cup with a 1-0 win over Arsenal at Wembley in 1980. This therefore meant that the next meeting between the two sides would be the FA Charity Shield at Wembley in August 1980. A goal for Terry McDermott gave Liverpool a 1-0 victory to kick off the 1980/81 season.
The Hammers returned to Wembley again for the third time in under a year, to face Liverpool in the League Cup Final – at this point, the only domestic trophy that the club had never won. At the time, Liverpool found themselves in something of a mini-decline standing fourth and eight points behind League leaders Ipswich Town who had a game in hand. West Ham meanwhile, were running away with the old Second Division with a ten point lead at the top of the table and only nine games left to play. The game went into extra time goal-less, before Liverpool’s Alan Kennedy broke the deadlock with just two minutes of extra time left to play.
With just a seconds to hang on to the result, West Ham had the Liverpool goal under siege. West Ham’s Scouse centre half Alvin Martin got his head to a corner which was heading goal bound, before Liverpool’s Terry McDermott handled on the line (which would today be a sending off, but which Macca then went unpunished). Hammers penalty king Ray Stewart duly dispatched from the spot to equalise and with a 1-1 draw, secure a replay at Villa Park sixteen days later.
The replay would be the first League Cup Final that was to be shown live on British Television, covered by ITV. After ten minutes, West Ham took the lead with a goal from Paul Goddard. However two first half goals for Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen gave Liverpool a 2-1 win to secure their first ever League Cup triumph (though they would win the next three).
West Ham would recover to secure promotion back to the top flight with a 2-0 win over Bristol Rovers at the Boleyn Ground the following Saturday. A 5-1 win away to Grimsby one week later secured the second tier title. By the season’s close the Hammers had a thirteen point gap over second place Notts County under a two points for a win system. Liverpool would come to dominate the English game during the 1980s, while West Ham remained in the top flight throughout the decade and even achieve their highest ever League finish. The story will continue from September 1981 onwards in Part Three, when the two sides meet next May.