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John Bond, one of West Ham’s 1964 FA Cup winning heroes, passed away on September 26, 2012 aged 79. As a powerful defender in the 1950s and 1960s John made nearly 450 competitive first team appearances and contributed over 30 goals. He spent 16 years with the club before transferring to Torquay United in 1966. After three years with the Gulls he embarked on his managerial career at Bournemouth.
Born on December 17, 1932 at Denham, Essex he joined West Ham as an 18 year old. His West Ham career stretched over a period when West Ham evolved from being a mediocre second division club to becoming established in the top division, and the club enjoyed major cup successes in the 1960s. His name will be forever etched in the club’s history books as he was a member of the teams which won the Second Division title in 1958, and the FA Cup in 1964. A place in the European Cup Winners Cup (ECWC) final team eluded him despite playing and scoring in the early rounds.
Only Hammer to Score in All Competitions
As a left back and occasionally as a stand in centre forward he made 381 league appearances, 30 in the FA Cup, 13 in the League Cup, four in the ECWC, 12 in the Southern Floodlight Cup and five in the Essex Professional Cup. He has the distinction of being the only Hammer to have scored in all the previously mentioned competitions. His 39 first team goals were distributed with 32 in the league, single nets in the FA, League and ECWC, plus a brace in each of the Southern Floodlight and Essex Professional Cups.
FA, London FA and Football League Honours
In the late 1950s several representative honours came John’s way.
• FA Tour 1956 - He was a member of the FA Party which toured South Africa in the summer of 1956. Unfortunately a broken leg meant an early trip home.
• London FA 1957 – John is one of the very few West Ham players to have played in the old Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. He was in the London FA team which lost 1-0 away to Frankfurt on March 28, 1957. At centre half that day was Malcolm Allison. They both may have played more games in the London FA team’s run to the final.
• Football League XI - Whilst he never gained a full international cap he came very close with call ups to the Football League XI in 1957 (v Irish League) and again in 1958 (v Scottish League). Apparently John put his lack of an England cap down to a disciplinary misunderstanding. “Alf (Ramsay) put me in a Football League squad once to play the League of Ireland in Dublin. I had two bottles of beer as we waited at the airport for our plane. This was exaggerated to 10 by certain people, and Alf believed it. I never got a call again. I wouldn’t have minded, but two bottles of pale ale was my limit at the time. There were some in the party who had more than half a bottle of gin the night before a game.”
Southern Floodlight Cup Finals and Floodlit Friendlies
Success with the Hammers included the earlier mentioned promotion and FA Cup triumphs. He also tasted success as a member of the Hammers team which won the Southern Floodlight Cup in April 1956 when the Hammers beat Aldershot 2-1 in the Upton Park final. He was also in the team which narrowly lost to Coventry City in the same tournament four years later. Other memorable moments in his Hammers’ career include playing under the Upton Park floodlights in several of the early games Ted Fenton arranged against international opposition. A couple of contrasting experiences for John were the visit of AC Milan in December 1954 and LKS Lodz in November 1957. John was in the West Ham team which was comprehensively beaten 6-0 by an AC Milan side which was arguably one of the world’s best at that time. Though he fared better in the 4-1 win over the Polish side, LKS Lodz, three years later when he scored one of West Ham’s goals from the penalty spot. In another friendly in April 1960 he again scored a goal as West Ham beat Fluminense (Brazil) 5-4.
Talking of penalties, John was West Ham’s regular penalty taker for several seasons. With a kick like a mule, hence his nickname “Muffin”, he succeeded with 18 of the 24 awarded. Four of these hit the net in the 1957-58 promotion season.
ALDERSHOT - Southern Floodlight Cup Final
West Ham United team:
Ernie Gregory, John Bond, Noel Cantwell, Derek Parker, Andy Nelson, Billy Lansdowne, Mike Grice, John Smith, Billy Dare, John Dick, Ken Tucker
February 1952 League Debut
His league debut against Coventry City at Highfield Road on February 9, 1952 coincided with the day which all football league games were marked by two minutes silence in respect of King George VI’s death.
Bond's last league game was 13 years later and a month before the ECWC Final on April 17, 1965 in the 1-0 defeat away at Leicester City. As for consecutive league appearances, John was a regular from February 1958 through to October 1959 in a run of 79 consecutive league games. His first league goal arrived in September 1954 in the 1-0 win over Hull City, and his last in January 1965 against a club he would later manage, Burnley.
West Ham United team:
Ernie Gregory, George Wright, John Bond, Danny McGowan, Malcolm Allison, Frank O’Farrell, Terry Woodgate, Jim Barrett, Bert Hawkins, Gerry Gazzard, Ken Tucker.
On the morning of 6 February 1952, King George VI had passed away in his sleep at Sandringham House in Norfolk. He had died from a coronary thrombosis at the age of 56.
Three days later the Hammers played Coventry City at Highfield Road. The match day programme had already been printed for the fixture. The Coventry City board of Directors produced a small paper insert (122x88mm) as a mark of respect tribute to the Queen Mother and the Royal Family which was loosely inserted into every programme.
European Cup Winners Cup Goal
Competition for a full back place in the team was also tough. In the early days of his career John was up against George Wright and Noel Cantwell, and in his final season Joe Kirkup was preferred as the number two. Joe Kirkup stayed in the team for the 1965 Wembley final. Despite not making the ECWC final team, John made a significant contribution in the competition’s earlier rounds. He appeared in the first four fixtures home and away against La Gantoise and Sparta Prague. His biggest night was on November 25, 1964 in the 2-0 home 1st leg win over Sparta Prague when he had the Upton Park crowd roaring when he scored with a 25 yard scorching shot.
Spell at Centre Forward and Hat-Tricks
On a couple of occasions John proved his versatility by standing in as a replacement centre forward. The first was in March/April 1959 for an eight match run when he scored four goals, and the second occasion was in February/March 1960 when he improved his strike rate with six in eight consecutive games in the number nine shirt. The most notable performance was his hat-trick against Chelsea in a 4-2 home win on February 6, 1960. His treble included a penalty, header and free kick all in a 13 minute spell straddling half time. To prove this was no fluke, two days later he repeated the performance with another hat-trick, this time in a friendly against the GB Olympic XI!
John also came close to more hat-tricks when scored doubles in a couple of other league games. The first of these was in the 1957-58 promotion season in a 3-1 home win over Notts County with two penalties, and the second double was in the following season in the March 4-3 home win over Bolton Wanderers.
Last First XI Game
Reading through West Ham’s programmes from 1965-66 season John’s last appearances for the first team were on the 1965 summer visit to the USA for the American International League championship. John played in three of the six games, the last of which was the 2-0 defeat to Portuguesa on July 13. The team that day was the same as for the 1964 FA Cup final with the exception of Brian Dear replacing John Sissons. The first of his tournament games was against TSV Munich 1860. John played in the first half of the 2-1 victory over the Hammers ECWC final opponents from a month earlier.
The Master and an Apprentice on December 11, 1965
John’s final appearance in a claret and blue shirt was probably on Saturday December 11, 1965 in a Metropolitan League game versus Barnet Reserves at Chadwell Heath. The West Ham team that day included the master and the apprentice! Also in the Hammers XI was an up and coming youth player, Trevor Brooking. A few weeks later after Christmas John left East London to join Torquay United who were managed by a former playing colleague, Frank O’Farrell.
Testimonial Match : West Ham United v. EX-Hammers XI
Later that season John was awarded a testimonial game in recognition of his loyal and long service to the club. On May 11, 1966 a strong West Ham team faced an Ex-Hammers XI in front of a crowd of about 10,000.
The Gulls and The Cherries
Bondy spent three years at Plainmoor and clocked up 130 league appearances and bagged a respectable 12 goals, before retiring. His managerial career started further east along the south coast at Bournemouth. By 1973 he was appointed manager at Norwich City. A League Cup final appearance bought him to the attention of Manchester City where he replaced former team mate Malcolm Allison. Again Wembley beckoned as John steered Manchester City to the 1982 FA Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur. But unlike 1964 there was no fairy tale ending.
Looking back over John’s claret and blue career, the 1964 FA Cup success was nearly missed. John did not always see eye to eye with Ron Greenwood and he was the subject of a proposed £7,500 move to Queens Park Rangers in August 1962 which didn't materialise, he then spent the best part of a year in the doldrums from around the time of November 1962 to October 1963.
During those months he only played three league games with overtures from Leyton Orient which were turned down. He subsequently came very close to joining Brentford FC in March 1963 who tabled a £8,000 bid to take him to Griffin Park which was accepted by the club but Muffin couldn't agree personal terms. Fortunately for John and the club his bubble did not burst.
LA GANTOISE (Belgium)
Thank you Bondy, for your contribution to all of those happy Hammer memories.
Score 7-4 Hurst 2 Peters 2 Sissons 2 Moore
West Ham United team:
Lawrie Leslie, Dennis Burnett, Jack Burkett, Eddie Bovington, Bobby Moore, Martin Peters, Peter Brabrook, Ron Boyce, Johnny Byrne, Geoff Hurst, John Sissons
1964 FA Cup Final Nearly Missed
Torquay United squad picture from 1968-69. The Gulls squad includes "Ex-Hammers in the back row: Ken Brown (1st left), John Bond (2nd left), Bill Kitchener (4th left). Front row: Tony Scott (far right).
Date of Birth:
December 17, 1932
30 FA Cup
13 League Cup
4 European Cup Winners Cup
1 Charity Shield
15 Southern Floodlit Cup
5 Essex Professional Cup