theyflysohigh : Steve Marsh

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Banner Hammers Logo theyflysohigh Match report Santos plate 1176A Santos 06 (N) 70-71 New York Times Phil Woosnam Santos pennant

The Americans like everything bigger and that certainly applied to the official match programme. Significantly larger than Helliar & Sons' A5 pocket size productions, the New York programme measured 14” by 10” and ran to four pages. The cover didn’t mention the price though demand exceeded supply. This souvenir programme will be on most West Ham programme collectors' 'wanted list'.

Santos Exhibition Match ...

by Roger Hillier

West Ham United v Santos   -  September 22, 1970

Santos logo 70_09_22 Santos v. WHU

Half a century ago in season 1970-71, West Ham United's league and cup form was disappointing. The Hammers avoided relegation to the Second Division by finishing one place above the dotted line in 20th place out of the 22 clubs, and there were early exits in both cup competitions including the infamous Blackpool affair. But away from the league and cups the Hammers had several memorable moments:

Bobby Moore was runner-up in 1970’s European Footballer of the Year, just eight votes behind West Germany’s Gerd Muller. As an aside Geoff Hurst was voted 18th in the poll.


Bobby Moore’s 3rd place in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year behind winner Henry Cooper (Boxing) and golf’s Tony Jacklin.


Geoff Hurst became West Ham’s 2nd highest goal scorer behind Vic Watson, and the club’s record post-war goal scorer beating John Dick's record of 177 goals.


And at team level, the Hammers achieved credible draws in two very prestigious friendly games against Glasgow Celtic and the Brazilian club, Santos. ...

Crossed Hammer Crossed Hammer Crossed Hammer Crossed Hammer

In November 1970 the previous season’s European Cup finalists, Glasgow Celtic, were invited to the Boleyn Ground to face the Hammers in Bobby Moore’s testimonial match. On an evening to celebrate Bobby’s long claret and blue service, the two sides shared six goals.


Four weeks prior to Glasgow Celtic’s visit, West Ham flew to New York to meet the legendary Brazilian football side Santos Futebol Clube on September 22, 1970 in an exhibition match billed as “Bobby Moore v Pele”.  On the 50th anniversary of this match 'theyflysohigh' recalls the time the Irons faced the world’s “greatest player” and his team mates.

1970 Friendlies

Moore best defender

New York Break From Relegation Pressures

Crossed Hammer Quote Quote

It will be an honour and privilege to once again play on the same pitch as Bobby Moore. I consider him the finest defender in the world.


He is also a premier gentleman of football. The shirt he wore against Brazil in Guadalajara is a prize possession in my collection at home. It gives me memories of a very hard game – our hardest in the World Cup.


I look forward to meeting him again in New York. Perhaps I can exchange my Santos shirt for his West Ham one.

West Ham and Santos can do a great service for football by showing the people of New York what the game is all about.


The day after a disastrous 2-0 home defeat to Newcastle United the Hammers’ party of 14 players plus manager Ron Greenwood, director Will Cearns and physio Rob Jenkins flew across the Atlantic for a short break from their relegation battle. Incidentally, the Magpies' two goal hero, Bryan 'Pop' Robson, would five months later sign for the Hammers in a bid to stave off relegation.

Commemorative football presented to both clubs

The exhibition match in the United States was held at Downing Stadium on Randalls Island, New York as part of the drive to promote the game in the USA. Organised by the United States Soccer Football Association and the North American Soccer League (NASL) it gave the Hammers the opportunity to renew friendships with ex-Hammer, Phil Woosnam.


Woosnam, a star from the early 1960s, met the West Ham party on arrival and at the reception held in honour of the two clubs on the evening prior to the match.

With the dual between Moore and Pele in June's England versus Brazil 1970 World Cup group game still fresh in football fans' memory, a dual rematch three months later in this club friendly was always going to be a big attraction. Though the game's organisers may have underestimated the interest from the baseball loving Americans in the game on Randalls Island.  


A capacity crowd meant the heavy traffic on all roads leading to the stadium, delayed the kick-off by 71 minutes.


Randalls Island, as the stadium location implies, is just that, a small island situated to the east of Manhattan in New York and accessed by three bridges.  

The former Hammer, Manchester City, Leyton Orient, Aston Villa, Atlanta Chiefs and Wales international was Commissioner of the North American Soccer League from 1969 to 1983. In 1997 he was inducted into the U.S. National Hall of Fame.

Santos 2 - 2 West Ham United (HT 2-2)

Downing Stadium, Randalls Island,  New York

Tuesday September 22, 1970


Pele (19 & 28 mins)


West Ham United:

Clyde Best (24 & 26 mins)


Attendance: 22,143

Crossed Hammer

West Ham United:  

Peter Grotier (Bobby Ferguson 46 mins)

Billy Bonds

Frank Lampard

Peter Bennett (Peter Eustace 28 mins)

Alan Stephenson

Bobby Moore

Clyde Best

Trevor Brooking

Geoff Hurst

Jimmy Greaves (Harry Redknapp 46 mins)

Bobby Howe





Carlos Alberto





Picole (Douglas)


Abel (Davi)

Quote Quote

What is there left to say about Pele? He is the most complete footballer in the world without a single weakness. He is the greatest player of our time – and probably of all time. He has over 1,000 goals as proof of his ability.


Obviously we are all looking forward to meeting Santos in New York. They not only have Pele but also a reputation for being one of the world’s greatest teams.

Bobby Moore ... on Pele

Moore in training

Geoff Hurst and Bobby Moore training in New York preparing to meet Pele again

In addition to Pele, Santos’ eleven included Carlos Alberto, Brazil’s World Cup winning captain. With all the pre-match hype the Bobby Moore versus Pele tussle never really happened. West Ham manager Ron Greenwood, in a surprise move, used utility man Bobby Howe to mark the Brazilian international striker while Bobby Moore fell back and was mostly responsible for marking Lima and Picole.

Santos handshake

Two of the world's greatest footballers

Pele ... on Bobby Moore

Crossed Hammer

Exhibition in Hot and Humid Conditions

1970 Pele Santos plaque Articles Bobby Moore 66 Goals West Ham's Forgotton War Hero

Additional support material courtesy of Richard Miller

After the euphoria of sharing the pitch and playing against the world’s best footballer the Hammers were bought down to earth in their next game. Four days after the Santos draw they travelled to Yorkshire to meet Huddersfield Town in their Football League fixture. A Geoff Hurst goal gave West Ham their first point in three league games in the 1-1 draw.

Back to Reality and a Yorkshire Point

Crossed Hammer

Fifteen years later West Ham faced the Brazilian club for a second time in the pre-season Kirin Emperor's Cup in Japan. On May 26, 1985 long after Moore and Pele had retired, the two clubs met in group round match in Shimizu City. Mário Sérgio and Zé Sérgio scored for Santos. Paul Goddard netted the Hammers’ consolation goal in a 2-1 defeat. Despite still playing, Billy Bonds and Frank Lampard did not join the Hammers’ touring party.


The full West Ham XI was: Phil Parkes, Steve Potts, Ray Stewart, Tony Gale, Alvin Martin, Neil Orr, Bobby Barnes, Paul Goddard, Tony Cottee, George Parris, Geoff Pike (Dave Swindlehurst)

2nd Santos Friendly  – 1985

Santos post-match

Dressing room - Post match visit from 007

Back row: Peter Grotier, Bobby Moore, Bobby Ferguson, (Actor Sean Connery), Harry Redknapp, Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking, Bobby Howe

Front row: Frank Lampard, Peter Eustace, Alan Stephenson, Geoff Hurst, Jimmy Greaves, Clyde Best, Peter Bennett

Salver presented by Santos to West Ham United

Plaque presented to Santos

by the American hosts

Newham Recorder

The Times

Daily Telegraph

The New York Times

1176A Santos 03 (N) 70-71 1176A Santos 02 (N) 70-71

With both teams intent on playing fast open attacking football, with end-to-end play. On 22 minutes Clyde Best has West Ham's first scoring effort, but his shot goes just wide of the post. However, two minutes later he scored the Hammers equaliser from 25 yards. Best then put the claret and blue side ahead on 26 minutes when he broke through the Santos defence and netted with a screamer, 2-1 West Ham.


West Ham had hardly finished congratulating themselves when Pele took a pass from Lima, beat Howe and scored, 2-2.


At half-time Bobby Ferguson took over from Peter Grotier in goal and Jimmy Greaves, obviously uncomfortable in the stamina-sapping heat, was replaced by Harry Redknapp. Peter Eustace had earlier replaced an injured Peter Bennett.

The Brazilian international pairing, Carlos Alberto and Pele made it extra hot for the Hammers at the start of the second half with their spell-binding footwork and immaculate passing. For all their fancy ball-control it was Clyde Best who nearly grabbed all the headlines as he broke away and only a good save by Edivar kept him from grabbing his hat-trick with a neat header.


And it wasn’t just the 22 players providing the action. "Perola Negro!" thousands shouted whenever Pele, the Black Pearl, touched the ball. Twenty minutes from the final whistle fans invaded the pitch after one magnificent fake by the Brazilian that nearly led to a goal.


The referee held up play for five minutes after the fans took up positions behind the goal posts, but they soon scattered back to their seats when policemen came out of hiding and ran at them.


In the dying moments of the game Geoff Hurst missed a glorious chance of snatching victory for the Hammer when he failed to score after a Redknapp cross left him with an open goal.


Nineteen year old Clyde Best had a memorable evening as he matched Pele in the goal stakes. Pele’s two nets took his career total number of goals to 1,098.

Bobby Howe and Pele chase as Peter Grotier gathers the ball

Peter Grotier gathers as Pele and Howe watch on

First Half

In the 19th minute young Santos right-winger, Manuel Maria, took the ball along the wing, passed to Lima who laid on the game's opening goal for Pele to blast home a 20-yarder.  

Second Half

Best Pele

Clyde Best meets his hero, Pele