Welcome to the Private memorabilia collection of 'theyflysohigh'
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One of the very few in this select band of half centurions is West Ham United’s Eddie Chapman, whose 50 years of loyal service was rewarded by the club’s board of directors granting him a testimonial game.
Born August 3, 1923 Chapman's Boleyn Ground career spanned half a century to became the third longest serving employee of the Club - exceeded only by legends Charlie Paynter and Ernie Gregory.
Eddie’s claret and blue connection started on August 3, 1937 - his 14th birthday - when he joined the Hammers as an amateur player. He progressed to make his first team bow in war-time football in the 1939-40 Football League South “A” Division home fixture against Clapton Orient on February 22, 1940. Playing on the right wing his West Ham career got off to a 4-1 winning start.
Three months later Chapman received his second first team call-up for the 3-0 home win over Leicester City in the Football League War Cup replay. This was the cup run which culminated in the Hammers winning the Football League War Cup with a 1-0 triumph over Blackburn Rovers at Wembley Stadium.
How many Football League club servants have spent nearly half a century serving their club, initially as a player and conclude their tenure as the club’s chief executive?
Despite an early West Ham baptism, Eddie had to wait over eight years for his full Football League debut. This was on September 13, 1948 in a Second Division home match against Coventry City.
A day to remember as he scored in the 2-2 draw to become one of only 14 post-war West Ham players to have joined the club as a junior and go on to score on their league debut.
Unusually, whilst playing he also maintained administrative duties in a role as the club’s assistant secretary. So when he hung up his boots in 1956 after seven football league appearances and three goals, he was ready for his new role as secretary.
Twenty four years later he was promoted to become the club’s chief executive. A position he filled for seven years before retiring on June 30, 1986.
In recognition of his long claret and blue tenure he was a recipient of the Football League Long Service award in 1976 and the Canon League Loyalty Award in 1984.
West Ham United team:
George Curtis [Guest]
Joseph "Stan" Foxall
February 22, 1940
21st West Ham Testimonial Match
Eddie’s benefit game was the club’s 21st testimonial match since the club joined the Football League in 1919 and the first to be held on a Sunday. To date it is one of only four benefit games awarded for a non-playing claret and blue service. Charlie Paynter (1950), Wally St. Pier (1975) and Tony Carr (2000) are the other three recipients.
Eddie Chapman with his grandsons, match day mascots Ian and Robert Chapman, his Testimonial officials and Hammers’ captain for the day Ray Stewart.
On Sunday August 9, 1987 West Ham lined up against an International XI managed by Terry Venables. 'El Tel' the then Barcelona coach took time out from his troubled Barça season* to manage the International XI side assisted by West Ham’s former manager Ron Greenwood.
The managerial pairing attracted a team of stars for Eddie’s big day. Several of the International XI’s players had participated in the previous day’s Football League’s 100th anniversary celebrations at Wembley where the Football League played a Rest of the World XI.
Stars from the late 1980s who played in the back to back fixtures included England captain Bryan Robson, Paul McGrath, Ray Houghton and Liam Brady.
Though for many West Ham fans the International XI’s biggest name would probably have been former Hammer Trevor Brooking who made a guest appearance as a second half substitute. Brooking came on for the last 30 minutes to team up with Liam Brady, Billy Bonds and Kevin Keen against their club mates.
For the Hammers the friendly was useful match practice just six days before the 1987-88 season’s opening Barclays League Division One game. A season which saw the Hammers finish 16th to secure another term in the top flight.
Six weeks after Eddie Chapman's Testimonial Terry Venables was dismissed by Barcelona in September 1987, after failing to repeat his earlier Spanish title success at the Camp Nou.
Rare Sunday Teamsheet
West Ham United 4 - 3 Terry Venables International XI
Sunday August 9, 1987
West Ham United:
Tony Cottee 2 (7 & 88 mins), Frank McAvennie 2 (67 & 70 mins)
Terry Venables International XI:
John Fashanu (6 mins), Bryan Robson (45 mins), Liam Brady (73 mins)
West Ham United:
Tom McAlister (Phil Parkes 46 mins), Ray Stewart (capt), Tommy McQueen, Neil Orr, Gary Strodder, Alan Devonshire, Mark Ward, Frank McAvennie, George Parris, Tony Cottee, Stewart Robson. Subs: Steve Potts, Paul Ince & Pat Dolan.
Beasant, Fenwick (Billy Bonds 46 mins), Donaghy, McCelland, McGrath (Kevin Keen), Houghton (Trevor Brooking 60 mins), Bryan Robson (Mark Robson 60 mins), Liam Brady, Fashanu, Blissett (Stuart Slater 83 mins), Penney.
There is no mistaking the style of this man. The great Trevor Brooking is challenged by Gary Strodder.
Match report in the following weekend’s home programme described the 90 minutes
The score was somewhat immaterial on a “fun day” afternoon, that was a family occasion.
A brief description of the goals from newspaper reports:
6 mins: West Ham 0 - 1 International XI
Brighton’s Steve Penney provided Wimbledon’s John Fashanu with an easy tap-in.
7 mins: West Ham 1 - 1 International XI
Tony Cottee hammered home following a vintage Alan Devonshire run.
45 mins: West Ham 1 - 2 International XI
Bryan Robson scores with a header which was a carbon copy of his effort 24 hours earlier against the World XI at Wembley.
Half-time: 1 - 2
The friendly attracted just under 12,000 attendance which was respectable compared with the 1987-88 season’s average home league attendance of 19,802. The attendances for Barclays League Division One games against Oxford United and Southampton only attracted 14,980 and 14,975 respectively. While the home Simod Cup fixture against Millwall drew a lowly 11,337 crowd.
Liam Brady’s Football League Cap
Liam Brady who had joined the Hammers five months earlier was still one of the stars of the late 1980s. Twenty four hours earlier Brady put in a highly rated performance for the Football League side in their 3-2 defeat to the Rest of the World XI. Following in the illustrious footsteps of several West Ham legends including Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters, Johnny Byrne, Brady was the 14th West Ham United player to be honoured with a Football League cap.
The Testimonial game also marked the first time West Ham United wore their new Scoreline manufactured shirts for a home fixture.
Scoreline Promotions Ltd (a subsidiary of Sperrin Textiles Group) signed a two year contract to replace Adidas as the Hammers’ kit suppliers.
For Eddie Chapman’s testimonial the Hammers donned the new claret and blue strip while the International XI wore the Hammers’ predominately all white second choice colours.
Eddie Chapman was an exceptional servant to West Ham United Football Club, he sadly passed away in October 2002 at the age of 79.
Newspaper coverage courtesy of Richard Miller : Pictures Steve Bacon and Ex-Hammer Ron Wilson
Mark Ward takes the full force of Liam Brady’s free-kick in the first half
67 mins: West Ham 2 - 2 International XI
Stewart Robson’s persistence set-up a McAvennie leveller.
70 mins: West Ham 3 - 2 International XI
Three minutes later a second by the hard working Frank McAvennie
73 mins: West Ham 3 - 3 International XI
Brady pulled one back for the International XI with a superb curler which left Phil Parkes totally flat-footed.
88 mins: West Ham 4 - 3 International XI
Just as the game looked set for a 3-3 draw, Cottee popped up to make it 4-3 to seal a fine afternoon for the long-serving Eddie Chapman.