West Ham United at Wembley
While the Hammers have waited 31 years since their most-recent trip down Wembley Way for the 1981 League Cup final, there was once a time in the club's history when the Home of Football became something of a second home.
Today, whufc.com looks back on West Ham at Wembley ahead of the club's tenth visit for Saturday's npower Championship Play-Off final with Blackpool.
1923 FA Cup final
Bolton Wanderers 2-0 West Ham United28 April 1923
The 'White Horse' final was the first FA Cup final and first football match ever played at the newly-built Empire Stadium, attracting an estimated crowd of up to 300,000 spectators. An official crowd of 126,047 watched West Ham United take on Bolton Wanderers, with police and a now-famous grey horse called Billie helping to clear the pitch for kick-off. In the presence of King George V, Bolton emerged 2-0 winners. However, the Trotters' second goal will forever be the source of controversy as the Hammers claimed Jack Smith's shot had hit the post and not entered the net, only to be awarded by referee David Asson.
1940 Football League War Cup final
West Ham United 1-0 Blackburn Rovers
8 June 1940
West Ham United claimed their first victory at the Home of Football by defeating another Lancashire side, Blackburn Rovers, in the inaugural Football League War Cup final. Seventeen years after defeat by Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup final, the Hammers beat Blackburn 1-0 through a goal by Sam Small. The match kicked-off at 6.30pm at Wembley, despite fears that London would be bombed by the Luftwaffe, putting the players and crowd in mortal danger. The Football League War Cup was presented to the winning team by A.V.Alexander, First Lord of the Admiralty.
1964 FA Cup final
West Ham United 3-2 Preston North End
2 May 1964
Yet another Lancashire club provided the opposition on West Ham United's third visit to Wembley. Division Two side Preston North End took the lead over Ron Greenwood's side through outside-left Doug Holden on ten minutes, only for 18-year-old John Sissons to level matters two minutes later. Preston went back in front through centre forward Alex Dawson five minutes before half-time and a shock looked to be on the cards. However, Geoff Hurst made it 2-2 on 52 minutes before Ronnie Boyce popped up in the final seconds to secure West Ham's first-ever FA Cup.
1965 European Cup Winners' Cup final
West Ham United 2-0 TSV 1860 Munich19 May 1965
West Ham United made their third visit to Wembley in a little more than 12 months to take on German Cup holders TSV 1860 Munich in the European Cup Winners' Cup final exactly 48 years ago. The Hammers had beaten La Gantoise, Sparta Prague, Lausanne and Real Zaragoza to reach the final, while their opponents had defeated US Luxembourg, FC Porto, Legia Warsaw and Torino. The final itself saw West Ham secure an entertaining victory through two goals in three minutes from Alan Sealey. The striker hit the net in the 70th and 72nd minutes, scoring from a Ronnie Boyce pass and then again when goalkeeper Petar Redankovic dropped the ball at his feet.
1975 FA Cup final
West Ham United 2-0 Fulham3 May 1975
West Ham United extended their Wembley unbeaten run to five matches by defeating cross-London rivals Fulham 2-0 in the FA Cup final. Despite the presence of Hammers legend Bobby Moore and the likes of Alan Mullery in the Cottagers side, West Ham proved too strong. Striker Alan Taylor was the hero of the hour, scoring twice in the space of five second-half minutes. The first goal arrived after Fulham goalkeeper Peter Mellor had parried a Billy Jennings shot, while the second came when Mellor failed to hold Graham Paddon's shot and Taylor pounced.
1975 FA Charity Shield
Derby County 2-0 West Ham United
9 August 1975
Division One champions Derby County proved too strong for FA Cup winners West Ham United in the Hammers' second appearance in the FA Charity Shield. Dave Mackay's Rams took the lead on 20 minutes when Kevin Hector hit the net. Derby's second goal arrived two minutes before half-time through Roy McFarland.
1980 FA Cup final
Arsenal 0-1 West Ham United10 May 1980
Division Two side West Ham United were the outsiders when they took on Division One club Arsenal in the 1980 FA Cup final. The Hammers had already overcome West Bromwich, Orient, Swansea, Aston Villa and Everton to reach the Wembley showpiece. There, Trevor Brooking became the hero with a header to divert Stuart Pearson's wayward shot past goalkeeper Pat Jennings. John Lyall's side also included the likes of captain Billy Bonds, who lifted his second FA Cup, Alan Devonshire, Phil Parkes, Ray Stewart, Frank Lampard and Geoff Pike. Meanwhile, midfielder Paul Allen became the youngest-ever Wembley FA Cup finalist at the age of 17 years and 256 days.
1980 FA Charity Shield
Liverpool 1-0 West Ham United
9 August 1980
West Ham United came up short in their third successive FA Charity Shield as Terry McDermott's 17th-minute goal proved to be the only strike of the game. A crowd of 90,000 saw the Reds, who had won the Division One title, edge out the FA Cup holders at Wembley. Nine of the Hammers' 1980 FA Cup heroes started the game, with left-back Paul Brush and winger Pat Holland the two players to come in for Frank Lampard and Stuart Pearson respectively.
1981 Football League Cup finalLiverpool 1-1 West Ham United
14 March 1981
West Ham United's most-recent visit to Wembley occurred more than 31 years ago in March 1981. The Division Two champions-elect took on all-conquering Liverpool in the League Cup final in front of a 100,000 capacity crowd. The match itself was a controversial affair as the Reds took the lead with just two minutes of extra-time remaining. Alan Kennedy was the scorer, but the Hammers claimed the goal should have been disallowed as Sammy Lee was lying in an offside position. West Ham snatched a draw through Ray Stewart's last-gasp penalty, only to lose out 2-1 in the replay at Villa Park 17 days later.