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Banner Hammers Logo theyflysohigh 1978 programme 1975 programme 5 a Side Final v QPR 1976 programme 1979 programme 1977 programme Wembley 5-A-Side 1972 London 5 a side inside 1972 ticket ROBSON Bryan 044 1973 Evening Standard 1970 Empire Pool Wembley

London 5-A-Side Football Championships – The 1970s ...

by Roger Hillier

Clive Charles – Fives Hero


1970 London 5-a-Side Champions

An unexpected surprise at the end of 1969-70 season was West Ham’s second triumph in the Evening Standard’s London 5-a-Side Football Championships. Three years after their first tournament win the Hammers again proved to be best on the boards.


The star of the tournament was a young Hammer who was nearly two years away from his first team debut. Clive Charles, an England youth international, was drafted into West Ham’s 5-a-Side team alongside Peter Grotier, Billy Bonds, Bobby Howe and Johnny Sissons.

West Ham's reserve on the night wasn’t a bad player either. None other than one of the stars from the 1967 Championship win, Geoff Hurst.


The London 5-a-Side win on April 8, 1970 would have been one of the highlights of Clive Charles’ West Ham career, and would have been as memorable for him as his league debut in March 1972.  

Wednesday April 8, 1970

Clive Charles is Man of the Tournament

For Hammers’ fans the Empire Pool, Wembley tickets priced from 20 shillings to 50 shillings proved to be exceptionally good value.  

The West Ham line up originally included Clyde Best but as Clyde had to return to Bermuda Geoff Hurst stepped in. The England striker was sidelined for the first match and as the five who started against Crystal Palace performed so well, the Hammers kept an unchanged side for the remainder of the tournament.

This meant Hurst collected his second London 5-a-Side winner’s medal without playing a single game!


The Hammers would not have been one of the pre-tournament favourites. But undeterred they started the tournament with an impressive preliminary round victory over the tournament’s holders, Crystal Palace. Billy Bonds the scorer.  


In the first round they finally recorded a comfortable 5-a-Side victory over Queens Park Rangers for a path to the semi-final. Though this was after QPR had taken the lead.  


In the semi-final the Hammers met their east London neighbours, Orient. A 4-1 semi-final win turned out to be their widest winning margin of the tournament and possibly their easiest win of the evening. Captain Billy Bonds led by example when he scored in each of the first three matches to finish as the Hammers’ top scorer with four.  

Wearing their second choice strip of blue shirts with two claret hoops proved lucky for the Hammers. They had worn the same colours when winning the tournament three years earlier. But West Ham did not have the final all of their own way. It was Spurs who took the lead when Jimmy Pearce opened the scoring. One nil down and it was Clive Charles’ chance to make a magnificent difference with the equaliser and then the winner!  


West Ham 2 -1 Tottenham Hotspur

BONDS Billy 5 a Side

Following in Bobby Moore’s footsteps from three years earlier, captain Billy Bonds collected the Evening Standard London 5-a-Side Football Championship trophy from Sir Max Aitken.  

1971 London 5aside 1970 Five a side


West Ham United squad: Peter Grotier, Billy Bonds (capt), Clive Charles, Bobby Howe, Johnny Sissons.  Reserve: Geoff Hurst

The Rest of the 1970’s London 5-a-Side Championship Results

Crossed Hammer

Wednesday May 5, 1971

So Close to Retaining Title

For a second consecutive year and a fifth occasion West Ham reached the final but had to relinquish their title to Queens Park Rangers. Having beaten QPR in the previous year’s championships the tables were turned in a close final with  the Hoops' Dave Clement scoring the only goal.


Newcomer Bryan 'Pop' Robson was included in West Ham’s five. A good selection as 'Pop' netted all three goals in the 3-0 semi-final win over Crystal Palace.  

West Ham United squad:

Peter Grotier, Billy Bonds (capt), Bobby Howe, Bryan Robson, Geoff Hurst.  Reserve: Ade Coker

1971 Five a side

Wednesday May 3, 1972

Beaten in Penalty Shoot-Out

The 1972 championship was opened up to two clubs from outside London as amateur side Hendon and Southampton joined the fray. For the third tournament on the trot the Hammers met Spurs and QPR. A closer game against QPR saw the Hammers lose out 3-2 on penalties after Clyde Best missed his kick.

1972 London 5 a side cover

West Ham United squad:

Bobby Ferguson, Billy Bonds (capt), Clive Charles, Bryan Robson, Clyde Best. Reserve: Tommy Taylor

Wednesday May 2, 1973

Young Hammers Suffer

With the first team away playing a friendly in Israel West Ham’s quintet was not as strong as usual. For the fourth consecutive year the Hammers met Spurs only this time good fortunate was with the north Londoners. Joining the London based Football League sides for the first time this year top amateurs Slough Town.

1973 Five a side

West Ham United squad:

David Danson, Clive Charles, Gary Oates (Reserve), Ron Boyce (capt), David Llewelyn, Joe Durrell and  Manager: Bill Lansdowne

Wednesday May 1, 1974

Final Heartbreak

In 1974 West Ham fielded a very strong team including Trevor Brooking who was playing in the tournament for the first time since 1968. So it was no surprise they reached the final for the third time in five years."

Unfortunately, the bubbles burst in a repeat of the 1971 final with Queens Park Rangers finishing as victors.  

The Hammers lost out 2-1 with Stan Bowles scoring both of QPR’s nets. In goal that night for the opposition was player of the tournament and future Hammer, Phil Parkes.  

West Ham United squad:

Bobby Ferguson, Billy Bonds (capt), John McDowell, Bryan Robson, Trevor Brooking.  Reserve: Clyde Best  

1974 Five a side Crossed Hammer Crossed Hammer Crossed Hammer 1973 ticket Newspaper 01

West Ham’s Howe and Bonds watch as team-mate Charles puts the ball past Hancock in the Spurs’ goal.


The other Spurs players are Want, Beal and Chivers

Newspaper 02 5 A Sides - Lap of Honour 5 A Sides - Cup Winners

Lap of Honour:

Peter Grotier and Bobby Howe run around Wembley Arena followed by John Sissons

Cup Winners:

Back row: Bobby Howe, Billy Bonds

Front row: John Sissons, Clive Charles, Peter Grotier

ROBSON Bryan 045

Wednesday April 30, 1975

Quick Exit by Jimmy Neighbour Brace

Future Hammer Jimmy Neighbour put paid to any West Ham hopes as he scored a double in Tottenham Hotspur’s 3-1 first round win over the Hammers. Clyde Best scored West Ham’s solitary goal of the evening.

1975 Five a side

West Ham United squad:

Bobby Ferguson, Alan Wooler, Keith Coleman, Pat Holland, Clyde Best.  Reserve: Ade Coker, Johnny Ayris

Wednesday April 28, 1976

Brooking Hat-trick

West Ham were billed as pre-tournament favourites for the 1976 event with tickets at £1.80 or the best in the stadium at £3.50. But it was the Hammers’ London 5’s adversaries, Queens Park Rangers, again came out on top in a close semi-final tie despite the Hammers leading 2 - 0.  

In the final QPR met Orient who triumphed 6-1 to win the championship for the first time. Orient’s up and coming star, Laurie Cunningham, scored one of their six.

As for West Ham one of the evening’s highlights was coming from 3-1 down to Charlton Athletic to win 4-3 with a Trevor Brooking hat-trick.  

1976 Five a side

West Ham United squad:

Bobby Ferguson, Keith Coleman, Trevor Brooking, Pat Holland, Billy Jennings.  Reserve: ?

Tuesday May 24, 1977

Liam Brady Double Sees Off Hammers

Heartbreak for the Hammers as they lost after extra time to a goal by future Hammer, Liam Brady.  The Irishman grabbed both the Gunners’ nets.


The 1st round victory over Millwall marked the introduction of a change in the penalty shoot-out rules. The penalty shoot-out against Millwall was locked on 8-8 with two players from each side having missed.

After this first round of penalties the referee moved the penalty spot back two yards. Captain Reliable, Billy Bonds, converted as Millwall missed to ensure West Ham progressed to meet Charlton Athletic for the second consecutive year. The missed penalties in the shoot-out were by Frank Lampard and Alan Devonshire.  

1977 Five a side

West Ham United squad:

Mervyn Day, Frank Lampard, Billy Bonds, Alan Devonshire, Bryan Robson. Reserve: ?

Wednesday May 3, 1978

West Ham’s Turn to Lose on Penalties

In the previous year’s Championships West Ham’s penalty taking helped them progress to the final. This time it was West Ham’s turn to lose out on spot kicks as Queens Park Rangers won.

West Ham’s record against QPR made dismal reading. The Hammers met The Hoops on six occasions in the 1970s’ Championships and could only muster a single victory which was in the year they last won the Championships in 1970.  

1978 Five a side

West Ham United squad:

Bobby Ferguson, Billy Bonds, Pat Holland, Trevor Brooking, David Cross. Reserve: Tommy Taylor

Wednesday April 25, 1979

Fastest Ever Hat-Trick in London 5-a-Sides


5-a-Side games do not come more exciting than the West Ham versus Fulham first round tie!  Fulham were leading 1-0 with only 2 minutes remaining on the clock.

Then enter David Cross who nets the fastest hat-trick in the history of the London 5-a-Side Championships. Cross’ treble was timed at an incredible 32 seconds!

1979 Five a side

West Ham United declared squad:

Phil Parkes, Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking, Pop Robson, Alan Devonshire.  Though Frank Lampard, David Cross also played.

Articles Unforgettable Day 1971-72 League Cup Saga

A change in the event was the introduction of a new goal size. The goals were widen by two feet to 22 feet.  In addition to the 12 London clubs, The Evening Standard also extended invitations to Leeds United and national 5-a-Side champions Wolverhampton Wanderers.  

Crossed Hammer Crossed Hammer Crossed Hammer Crossed Hammer Crossed Hammer 1974 programme

No.5 Trevor Brooking watches as Bryan Robson heads towards Phil Parkes in the Queens Park Rangers goal

Evening Standard programmes courtesy of Stuart Allen

Cover picture:

Goalkeeper Peter Grotier in action against Spurs in last years final

Cover picture:

Bobby Ferguson dives to save a goal in this flashback to the 1968 championship

Ccharles 1972 Five a side