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Banner Hammers Logo theyflysohigh 81_04_23 WHU v. Tottenham Hotspur FAYC Final First leg report 81_04_27 WHU v. Aston Villa SJFC Final 81_04_30 Aston Villa v. WHU SJFC Final SECLC table SJFC table FA Youth Cup table VAUGHAN John BURVILL Glen KEITH Adrian Allen and Gibson Aerial battle McPHERSON Keith COTTEE Tony DICKENS Alan LA RONDE Everald BARNES Bobby 1981 Youth Cup 01 Penalty Filmstrip penalty

Many players have won an FA Youth Cup winner’s medal and later in their careers picked up a FA Cup winner's medal.


But who has achieved the reverse, a member of the senior side collecting the FA Cup and a season later a member of their club’s FA Youth Cup winning side?  Back in 1981 a West Ham United player can claim to be the first and only player to date to have achieved this unusual double.

Class of 1981 ...

by Roger Hillier

FA Youth Cup

17-year-old Paul Allen was a member of West Ham United’s XI which beat Arsenal in the 1980 FA Cup final and 12 months later was again in a winning West Ham cup final side as the under-18s won 1981’s two legged FA Youth Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur. To this day Paul Allen remains the youngest player* to have started and been a member of a winning FA Cup final side.


Back in 1981 West Ham United’s under-18s crowned a wonderful season by winning the FA Youth Cup (FAYC) for only the second time in the club’s history. The first occasion had been 18 years earlier in 1963 against Liverpool.

Great Cup Side, Not so Good in the League

In the traditions of all good West Ham sides, it was a typical Hammers team. Manager Tony Carr’s side put in great cup performances but were disappointing in the league. The under 18s reached three cup finals (FA Youth Cup, Southern Junior Floodlit Cup & South East Counties (Div 1) Cup) but could only manage 7th in the 16 team South East Counties League Division One. Though the SE Counties Division II side topped their league.


The last 16 days of the young Hammers’ season included a hectic schedule of seven matches: two in the SE Counties League and five cup final games in three cup competitions.  The table below summarises their busy schedule:

Cup Finals table

The Class of ’81 impressively won two of their three cup finals:  the FA Youth Cup and the SE Counties League (Div 1) Cup. The only miss was the two legged Southern Junior Floodlit Cup (SJFC) final. And a narrow miss at that, as the young claret & blues nearly clawed back a 2-0 first leg deficit with a 1-0 away leg win.  


The SJFC final was the club’s 10th final appearance in the competition. The 1980-81 final defeat to Aston Villa was the club’s fifth final defeat. The other five last round appearances resulted in four cup wins and one final aggregate result drawn with the cup shared.

1981 FA Youth Cup Winners

81_05_05 Tottenham Hotspur v. WHU FAYC Final

Beating Tottenham Hotspur to win 1981’s two legged FA Youth Cup final was a significant achievement as the Lilywhites had been the side in consistent form throughout the season. The young Spurs won the youth team league, the SE Counties League (Div 1), well ahead of the Hammers.


The Tottenham side won 23 and only lost four of their 30 league games, scoring 97 goals in the process. This compared with the young Hammers who won 13 and lost 12 with a goal record of 59 scored and 44 leaked.

FA Youth Cup Final (First Leg)


West Ham United 2 - 0 Tottenham Hotspur (HT 1-0)

Upton Park

Thursday April 23, 1981

West Ham United:

Wayne Reader, Bobby Barnes [pen]


Attendance: 13,407

West Ham United:

John Vaughan, Adrian Keith, Everald La Ronde (capt), Wayne Reader, Chris Ampofo, Keith McPherson, Bobby Barnes, Paul Allen, Steve Milton, Glen Burvill, Mark Schiavi.  

Non-playing substitute: Alan Dickens.


Tottenham Hotspur: 

Tony Parks, Mark Entwistle, Pat Corbett, Simon Webster, Kenny Dixon, John Cooper (Capt), Steve Cox, Ian Crook, Terry Gibson, Jimmy Bolton, Mark Bowen.

Non-playing Subsitute: Paul Wilkins

1981 Youth Cup Final pennant

No rest for the youth! Four days after the FC Deventer tournament it was back to Holland for the ADO Youth Tournament. This time the youth side hit form over their four matches to win the competition. A win against Sparta Rotterdam (Holland) and two draws with hosts ADO and SC Lokeren (Belgium) in their group matches took them to the final to face Ajax on May 24, 1981.

A good start to the evening was the larger than expected crowd which necessitated the emergency opening of the East Stand. A report in one of West Ham’s next home programmes reported the game as top-rate entertainment culminating in the young Hammers finishing with a two goal advantage for the 2nd leg in 12 days time. West Ham’s superiority should have been reflected by a wider winning margin.

The Evening Standard’s match account stated: West Ham looked far superior at times with the experienced Paul Allen and Bobby Barnes directing play. Tony Parks, in the Spurs goal, made a series of outstanding saves, notably from Allen, Steve Milton and Chris Ampofo.

Goals as described in the Evening Standard:


1st goal:

14th mins: Schiavi clipped a cross in from the left and Wayne Reader scored with a glancing header

FA Youth Cup Final (Second Leg)


Tottenham Hotspur 1 - 0 West Ham United (HT 0-0)

White Hart Lane

Tuesday May 5, 1981

Tottenham Hotspur:

Terry Gibson


Attendance: 13,765

Tottenham Hotspur:

Tony Parks, Pat Corbett, Kenny Dixon, John Cooper (capt.), Simon Webster, Stephen Cox, Allan Cockram, Terry Gibson, Jimmy Bolton, Mark Bowen, Ian Crook.


West Ham United: 

John Vaughan, Adrian Keith, Everald La Ronde (capt), Alan Dickens, Chris Ampofo, Keith McPherson, Bobby Barnes, Paul Allen, Steve Milton, Glen Burvill, Mark Schiavi.  

Non-playing substitute: Robert Wall

As West Ham had been the dominant side in the first leg, the reverse was the case for the away leg.


1981’s FA Youth Cup Campaign

The under 18’s cup campaign was impressive as in their nine matches they netted 30 goals and only conceded three. Five of the ties were away games of which four were wins. The only defeat coming in the second leg of the final at White Hart Lane.


In six of the nine matches, goalkeepers Steve Baker and John Vaughan kept clean sheets. At the other end Steve Milton led the scoring tables with eight goals followed by Bobby Barnes and Mark Schiavi on five each. Three of Barnes’ five were from the penalty spot.


While fifteen players were called on during the FA Youth Cup run, the team benefited from a consistent selection. Five players were ever present and another five only missed a single tie.


Paul Allen, by now a regular in the senior first team, only played in four ties. Two of these in the two legged final. For some of the games he missed, Alan Dickens successfully stepped into his boots.  

Three Scoring Football League Debuts

The six players from the 1981 FA Youth Cup campaign graduated to West Ham United’s senior ranks Paul Allen, Everald La Ronde, Alan Dickens, Keith McPherson, Bobby Barnes and Tony Cottee. Three of the six, Barnes, Dickens and Cottee, made an immediate impact by scoring on their Football League debut.    


Allen was the first to make his senior debut on September 25, 1979 in the League Cup tie away to Southend United. In six seasons he clocked 197 league and cup appearances netting 11 goals before transferring to Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 1985.



A year after Allen’s debut, striker Bobby Barnes was the next to reach the senior ranks. Barnes’ first team debut on September 1980 was a baptism of fire. He came on as a substitute at the Bernabéu Stadium in the away leg of the European Cup Winners Cup tie against Castilla. An unforgettable first team debut as the Hammers lost 3-1 and crowd trouble resulted in the home leg being played behind closed doors. Three days after the Bernabéu match, Bobby made a memorable Football League debut at home to Watford as he marked the occasion with the Hammers’ first goal in a 2-1 win. Over six seasons he made a total of 54 first team appearances and contributed six goals. His last, again as a substitute, was in the Hammers’ most successful league campaign of 1985-86.



Third up for promotion to first team duties was full back and captain Everald La Ronde. The first of his seven Division I appearances was as substitute in the 1-0 away defeat to Coventry City on Saturday April 17, 1982. He remained in the side for the season’s remaining six league games. In September 1983 Everald signed for Bournemouth AFC where in a two year injury hit period he made 24 league appearances. In a subsequent loan move to Peterborough United he added a further eight games.  



A season after La Ronde’s debut, midfielder Alan Dickens stepped up for his first team bow. And a goal scoring one at that, in a Division II league 2-1 win away to Notts County on Saturday December 18, 1982. This was the first of his 234 league and cup games and 30 goals. After six seasons he transferred to west London and Chelsea.



In season 1980-81 Tony Cottee was not a regular in the youth side though he made a single appearance in the FA Youth Cup winning campaign when called up as centre forward for the semi-final 2nd leg away to Manchester City. He also picked up a runners-up medal when coming on as sub in the 2nd leg of the SJFC final against Aston Villa at Villa Park. Tony’s senior career is well documented: in two spells in a claret and blue shirt he recorded 336 competitive first team appearances netting a highly impressive 146 goals.

As a seventeen year old the first of these was delivered on his Football League debut on New Year’s Day 1983 in a 3-0 home victory over Tottenham Hotspur. His senior career progressed to be awarded Under 21 and full England international caps and in August 1988 it was no surprise when he moved to Everton for a then record British transfer fee of £2.2m.  



The sixth member of the 1981 Class to make the senior ranks was central defender Keith McPherson. Keith had to wait four years for his solitary league appearance on May 20, 1984. This was the 1983-84 season’s final league game, a 3-0 defeat to League champions Liverpool. Keith’s next stop was Northampton Town followed by a long term with Reading.

Football League Debuts for

Vaughan, Burvill, Keith, Milton and Schiavi

Goalkeeper John Vaughan, forwards Glen Burvill and Mark Schiavi later left the Hammers to enjoy long Football League careers. Defender Adrian Keith and leading youth team scorer Steve Milton, also progressed to make  football league debuts.  

England Youth Internationals

Three of the young Hammers gained representative honours for England Youth:  Paul Allen, Bobby Barnes and Mark Schiavi.


After setting a new record as the youngest to have played in a Wembley FA Cup final, Paul Allen followed this up with another record. As an England youth international from 1979 to 1981, Paul collected 26 international caps for a new record number of international appearances at youth level. The previous incumbent was West Ham’s Bobby Moore with 18 England youth international caps from 1957 and 1958.  His youth international tenure included captaining his country to victory in the 1980 UEFA European Under-18 Championships held in East Germany.  Tottenham’s Terry Gibson and Allen scored England’s goals in England’s 2-1 final win over Poland (May 25, 1980).


Bobby Barnes and Mark Schiavi both made seven international appearances for their country.

Three Future Hammers in Spurs Side

The 1981 Tottenham Hotspur FA Youth Cup final side included three players who would later don the claret and blue shirt. The first to join was goalkeeper, Tony Parks, who signed for the Hammers as understudy for Ludo Miklosko in 1991-92.  In a relegation haunted season he made six league and three cup appearances.


Five seasons later Welsh international Mark Bowen moved to east London on a free transfer from Norwich City. In his one season with the Hammers he registered 17 league and three League Cup appearances, scoring a single league goal.


The final member of the Spurs’ trio was centre half Simon Webster. Simon’s Tottenham league debut had been in the 3-0 defeat to West Ham on the first day of 1983, the same debut game as Tony Cottee’s. Manager Harry Redknapp signed the defender from Charlton Athletic in the summer of 1993. His time with the Hammers was interrupted by a series of injuries which eventually forced his playing retirement. In 1994-95 he made five substitute league appearances in the claret and blue.

Post Season Youth Tournament Success

Soon after the domestic season finished the Hammers’ youth were off to Holland to participate in a couple of tournaments featuring international club sides. A fourth place and a win supported their side’s claim to be one of the very best sides in English youth football.

Deventer Youth Tournament

15th - 17th May 1981

Eight days after the winning the South East Counties League (Div 1) Cup the under 18s played four matches spread over three days (15th to 17th May).


Two wins against Eintracht Frankfurt (West Germany) and Fremad Amager (Denmark) and a defeat against Dutch side Go Ahead Eagles weren’t sufficient to reach the final. The young Hammers had to settle for the 3rd / 4th place play-off place against Ararat Erevan of the USSR. A 1-1 draw at full-time led to a penalty shoot out which the Russians won 8-7.  


Two of the newcomers were Ray Houghton and Mark Smith, future first teamers.


The team for the Dutch tournament was: Gary Moseley, Everald La Ronde, Mark Smith, Wayne Reader, Chris Ampofo, Robert Wall, Tony Cottee, Paul Allen, Mark Schiavi, Ray Houghton, Steve Milton (Glen Burvill)

ADO (The Hague) Youth Tournament

21st - 24th May 1981

1980-81 Youth with Cups

2nd goal:

83 mins: Spurs contained West Ham to a single goal until seven minutes from the end when John Cooper, an authoritative captain, was judged to have fouled Mark Schiavi in the penalty box. Bobby Barnes rapped home the penalty.

Reader scores Crossed Hammer

Class of '81

Crossed Hammer 1981 Youth Cup 02

Robert Wall, Mark Schiavi, Adrian Keith, Everald La Ronde, Chris Ampofo, Steve Milton, Warren Donald


John Vaughan, Alan Dickens, Keith McPherson, Paul Allen, Glen Burvill, Bobby Barnes



Happy Hammers at White Hart Lane

Captain Everald La Ronde and Bobby Barnes

parade the Cup

Crossed Hammer Crossed Hammer ALLEN Paul

Vaughan made close to 400 league appearances with several clubs including Cambridge United, Preston North End, Lincoln City, Fulham and Charlton Athletic.


After leaving West Ham in 1983, Burvill played 299 league games (40 goals) with Aldershot, Reading and Fulham. Burvill was also in Aldershot’s XI who faced West Ham in 1991’s two FA Cup third round matches.


In 1983-84 Mark Schiavi followed a well trodden route from east London to join Bournemouth, first on loan and then in 1984 as a permanent transfer. After two seasons and 29 league appearances for the Cherries he moved to Northampton Town ready for 1985-86. For the second half of this season he was joined by fellow former FA Youth Cup winning team mate, Keith McPherson.  

With the Cobblers Schiavi clocked 35 league appearances and five goals. His next stop for a single season (1986-87) was Cambridge United making 30 league apperances and netted a couple of goals. In all his football league travels took in 94 football league games and seven goals.


Adrian Keith joined Colchester United where he made four league appearances in January 1983. Soon after he continued his playing career in non-league football.


After leaving West Ham Steve Milton moved into the non-league ranks with Whyteleafe before joining Fulham in 1989.  In a couple of years with the Cottagers he made 62 league and cup appearances.  In his 58 league games he netted nine goals.    

Trophy collection

ADO Youth Tournament, F.A. Youth Cup and South East Counties League (Division One) Winners


Alan Dickens, Chris Ampofo, Steve Milton, John Vaughan, Adrian Keith, Keith McPherson, Robert Wall

Warren Donald, Glen Burvill, Paul Allen, Everald La Ronde, Wayne Reader, Mark Schiavi, Bobby Barnes

Allen youth caps

Tottenham's goal:

49th mins: A Mark Bowen pass sends Terry Gibson through who chips the ball home from 25 yards.


West Ham missed the best chance of the 2nd leg in the 34th minute when Adrian Keith ran 20 yards to cross to Glen Burvill, who, with an open goal, shot over the bar from six yards. (Daily Telegraph match report)


Despite losing on the night, West Ham held on to win 2-1 on aggregate and captain Everald La Ronde collected the silverware.

81_05_15 Daventria Tournament

Leading scorer in the FA Youth and Southern Junior Floodlit Cup campaigns, Steve Milton, scored a hat-trick to give West Ham a 3-0 win and lift the silverware.


The team for the ADO Tournament included eight from the FC Deventer squad.


John Vaughan, Robert Wall, Everald La Ronde, Mark Smith, Chris Ampofo, Keith McPherson, Mark Schiavi, Wayne Reader, Warren Donald, Ray Houghton, Steve Milton.


Joining the successful under 18s was Warren Donald, who later made a couple of Division 1 appearances for the Hammers  in 1984-85.  


ADO Youth Tournament

CLASS of '81

Record of the Three Cup Campaigns

FA Youth Cup

Southern Junior Floodlit Cup

SE Counties League (Division One) Cup

Scorers: Milton 7, Schiavi 6, Burvill 2, Barnes 1, Dickens 1, McPherson 1, Reader 1, Wall 1.

Scorers: Barnes 2, Cottee 2, Dickens 2, McPherson 2, Milton 1, Schiavi 1, NcNeil 1

Scorers: Milton 8, Barnes 5 (3 pens), Schiavi 5, Dickens 3, McPherson 3, Ampofo 2,  Burvill 1, La Ronde 1, Reader 1, Wall 1

Articles Euro Reflections Cassettari's Cafe

* Footnote to youngest FA Cup final appearance

In the 2004 Millwall versus Manchester United FA Cup final, the Millwall substitute, Curtis Weston became the youngest to appear with an 89th cameo appearance with Millwall losing 3-0 with the cup beyond their grasp.

Class of '81 - Telegraph Match Report

Inevitably, the Class of 1981 will be compared with that of the other West Ham United sides from 1963 and 1999 to have clinched the FA Youth Cup. And 1981's has excellent credentials. Eleven of the 15 players called on in the 1981 FAYC campaign progressed to make Football League debuts, six in claret and blue for the Hammers. But more importantly, in their nine game run they notched 30 goals and only leaked three. Eight games won with the only blip in the away second leg of the final. Fortunately, the two goal cushion from the first leg was sufficient to win on aggregate.  

11 Graduate to Football League Debuts

Paul Allen & Terry Gibson (Spurs) proudly display the 1980 UEFA Under-18 Championship trophy

Barnes SJFC

Bobby Barnes causes problems for the Aston Villa defence

Villa report Norwich report MILTON Steve

West Ham United 0 - 2 Aston Villa

Upton Park

Monday April 27, 1981

First leg:

John Vaughan, Adrian Keith (Robert Wall), Everald La Ronde, Wayne Reader, Chris Ampofo, Keith McPherson, Bobby Barnes, Paul Allen (Alan Dickens), Steve Milton, Glen Burvill, Mark Schiavi

Aston Villa 0 - 1 West Ham United (Aggregate 2-1 to Villa)

Villa Park

Thursday April 30, 1981

Second leg:

SJFC Final

John Vaughan, Adrian Keith (Tony Cottee), Everald La Ronde, Robert Wall (Wayne Reader), Chris Ampofo, Keith McPherson, Bobby Barnes, Alan Dickens, Steve Milton, Glen Burvill, Mark Schiavi

West Ham United: Mark Schiavi

Crossed Hammer

SECL (Div One) Cup Final

81_05_08 WHU v. Norwich City SECL Final

West Ham United 4 - 1 Norwich City

Upton Park

Friday May 8, 1981

John Vaughan, Adrian Keith (Robert Wall), Everald La Ronde, Alan Dickens (Wayne Reader), Chris Ampofo, Keith McPherson, Bobby Barnes, Paul Allen, Steve Milton, Glen Burvill, Mark Schiavi


West Ham United: Barnes 2, Dickens, Schiavi

ALLEN Paul portrait Crossed Hammer