European Consecutive Scoring Record ...
by Roger Hillier
Ronnie Boyce started it in September 1964 and Billy Bonds finished it in October 1980. When Ronnie Boyce scored West Ham’s first European Cup Winners Cup goal against La Gantoise (Belgium) and Billy Bonds opened the scoring against Politehnica Timisoara (Romania) 16 years later, West Ham completed a record for the number of consecutive European competition matches a club has scored in.
The scoring sequence ended on Guy Fawkes Night 1980 when the Hammers failed to ignite in the away leg versus Politehnica Timisoara. Although they had the compensation of a 4-1 aggregate win.
Spread over four European campaigns the Hammers scored in each of their first 27 European Cup Winners Cup (ECWC) matches to create this impressive record. The reason the record has been mentioned this season is that after 31 years a new benchmark has been established. But it has taken arguably the best club side in world football to break the Hammers’ record.
On December 6, 2011 in the Champions League, reigning holders Barcelona beat BATE Borisov (Belarus) 4-1 to score in their 28th consecutive European match. This year the Catalans have subsequently stretched the run to 30 games before failing to net in the scoreless draw with AC Milan on March 28. Even so, the Hammers can be proud to have set a record that was beyond the reach of every club to have competed in Europe until this successful Spanish run.
A review of West Ham’s consecutive scoring performance is a reminder of some of the club’s most successful seasons. The following statistical analysis of the consecutive scoring record is a reflection on those halcyon days.
On the managerial front only two managers, Ron Greenwood and John Lyall, reigned from 1964 to 1980.
In the 27 matches the Hammers won 14, drew six and lost only seven. As to be expected with West Ham it was never a dull moment with each game averaging over three goals. West Ham scored 56 goals to average over two a game. Although in conceding 36 goals they leaked an average of over one per match.
Twenty one different Hammers hit the back of the net in the 27 games. Top contributors were Johnny Byrne 6, David Cross 5, Brian Dear, Martin Peters and Keith Robson with 4. David Cross’ treble against Castilla in Upton Park’s ghost match in October 1980 was the club’s sole hat-trick. Johnny Byrne scored in six different matches. While Ray Stewart converted the only penalty in the 4-0 win over Politehnica Timisoara. Surprisingly, West Ham’s post war record goal scorer, Geoff Hurst was limited to a couple of goals. Both of these in the match versus Olympiakos.
Forty seven players donned claret and blue shirts during the run. Individual appearances ranged from the highest of 15 by Ken Brown, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters, to solitary appearances by Bobby Barnes, Alan Dickie and Bobby Gould.
Four players skippered the team during the scoring sequence. Billy Bonds wore the captain’s armband during both the 1975-76 and 1980-81 campaigns. For the 1960s matches Bobby Moore was captain in 11 of the 15 games. In Moore’s absence from the two 1964 Spartak Prague matches Ken Brown took over. While for the 1966 semi-final games versus Borussia Dortmund, Johnny Byrne led the side.
Not included are the appearances and goals scored in the three ECWC matches after the consecutive scoring sequence ended. Include these three games and the Hammers scored in 29 of their 30 ECWC fixtures.
West Ham United's 27 Consecutive European scoring games:
1965-66 European Cup Winners Cup
1975-76 European Cup Winners Cup
1980-81 European Cup Winners Cup
West Ham may have been overtaken by Barcelona but they have the satisfaction of knowing that of all the other clubs who regularly play in Europe, none have yet to match the claret and blue’s consecutive scoring performance.
And of course, the Hammers still hold the consecutive scoring records for an English and a British club.