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It would take a brave man to suggest to his fiancée that they hold their wedding on a Saturday morning before going to work in the afternoon. And an even braver man to suggest leading his future partner down the aisle at midday, and then three hours later invite his newly wedded wife to watch him play football with his mates.


Romantic or not, a couple of West Ham United players in the 1950s tied the knot and a few hours later tied their laces.  


George Wright was the first to take the plunge and two years later Harry Hooper dived in.  

Tying Knots and Laces ...

Matches of the Day

by Roger Hillier

George Wright’s Wedding Day

At noon on Saturday March 28, 1953 George Wright married Marcella Holbrook before dashing off to take his place in the West Ham team facing Doncaster Rovers in a Division Two fixture at Upton Park. The local newspaper gave the event front page coverage. It doesn’t say who was best man, but it may have been Frank O’Farrell who was captured kissing the bride in the newspaper image.

Other West Ham guests included Ernie Gregory, Harry Kinsell, Derek Parker, Jimmy Andrews, manager Ted Fenton and chairman Reg Pratt.

Harry Hooper’s Wedding Day

Two seasons later Harry Hooper and Margaret Austin wedded in the morning of Saturday March 5, 1955 at Emmanuel Church, Forest Gate. Best man was Margaret’s brother James. To mark the occasion Harry was given the captaincy for the afternoon’s Division Two match against Leeds United.

Diamond Wedding Anniversary

Both of these weddings happened 60 years ago in more austere times. Tying the knot on a match day was not confined to the two Hammers. Another well known player from that era, Charlton Athletic’s goalkeeper Sam Bartram, also wedded on the day of a home match. And it is quite possible other Hammers from that era also held their weddings on a match day.

But marriage expectations and the game have moved on. Today most professional footballers would probably postpone a marriage until the close season.  

Also the longevity of marriages has and is changing. On March 5, 2014 Harry and Margaret are to be congratulated when they can expect a telegram from the Queen to mark their diamond wedding anniversary.    

HOOPER Harry action FOAN Leeds March 1955

Albert Foan scoring in the 2-1 victory over

Leeds at Upton Park in March 1955

GW Newspaper 53_03_28 WHU v. Doncaster Rovers 01 WRIGHT George Tunnel shot

Unfortunately for George his big day was slightly spoilt by the afternoon’s result. In front of a 13,435 crowd George lined up in the following West Ham XI which succumbed 3-1 to Doncaster Rovers.  


The solitary home goal netted by Jimmy Barrett Jnr.


West Ham United Team:

Ernie Gregory, George Wright, Harry Kinsell, Derek Parker, Malcolm Allison, Frank O’Farrell, Terry Woodgate, Jim Barrett (Jnr), Tommy Moroney, Gerry Gazzard, Jimmy Andrews.


As an aside to the wedding, this was a West Ham team undertaking considerable change and the match marked a watershed for several of the team who were nearing the end of their claret and blue careers. The Doncaster game was Terry Woodgate’s last, while Tommy Moroney and Gerry Gazzard were destined to only play another one and two league games respectively.

The Hammers finished the 1952-53 season in a disappointing 14th place.

C&B Horseshoe C&B Horseshoe Redknapp wedding Harry Hooper Newspaper

From a footballing perspective Harry’s day was more memorable than George’s as he led his side to a 2-1 win. He proved to be something of a lucky talisman as this victory over the Yorkshiremen was the first in a six match winning sequence.



The team on Harry’s wedding day was: George Taylor, George Wright, Geoff Hallas, Andy Malcolm, Malcolm Allison, Frank O’Farrell, Harry Hooper, Les Bennett, Albert Foan, Billy Dare, Malcolm Musgrove.


The official attendance of 19,664 witnessed rare goals from Les Bennett and Albert Foan. Both players would only score one more league goal each. The day was also an important milestone for Billy Dare and Geoff Hallas as they made their league debuts.


Another similarity in the weddings was that both the Hoopers and the Wrights spent their wedding nights on the Sussex coast at Rottingdean and Brighton respectively. No jetting off to sunnier climes.  

55_03_05 WHU v. Leeds United 01 C&B Horseshoe C&B Horseshoe

West Ham United           Wedding Album


Frank Lampard and Pat Harris

St. Margaret's Church, Barking

Bobby Howe, Ron Boyce, John Bond in attendance

Harry Redknapp and Sandra

Best man, Frank Lampard on crutches after he had broken his leg playing against Sheffield United

Clive Charles wedding

Clive Charles and Clarena Bernia

West Ham Register Office

Rob Jenkins, David Llewelyn, Frank Lampard, Peter Grotier,

Clive Best, Alan Sealey and Best man John Charles

Paul Heffer and Lorraine Ellis

Cut the cake after their wedding at

Holy Trinity Church, Southchurch

Bobby Howe

Bobby Howe and Carol

The Parish Church, Chadwell St. Mary

Supported by players Harry Redknapp, Dennis Burnett, Alan Stephenson, John Sissons, Trevor Hartley and Bill Kitchener

BARNES Bobby wedding

Patsy Holland and Jeanette

Frank Lampard, Rob Jenkins, Trevor Brooking, John Lyall,

Dave Gladstone (club physio), John McDowell, and Tony Carr

Bobby Barnes and Teresa

George Parris, Ray Stewart, Phil Parkes and Alan Devonshire

Bobby and Greer Ferguson

George Webb - Wedding Day

George Webb on his Wedding Day


Consecutive League Goals Articles Gunners Outgunned C&B Horseshoe

West Ham United

Former players are welcome to share their big day

on this page

email: [email protected]

Leeds United (H)