They Nearly Reached the Sky: West Ham United in Europe

They Nearly Reached the Sky: West Ham United in Europe

by Brian Belton


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From the earliest days of West Ham United the club sought out competition from outside the British Isles. Building on this, the Hammers, led by England captain Bobby Moore, won their way into top class competition in Europe to become the first side made up entirely of English players to win a major international trophy: the European Cup Winners Cup in 1965 at Wembley. Although this was to be the zenith of the team’s performance on the international stage, there were to be further exciting and intriguing campaigns and games—great goals, magnificent victories, and defeats fought to the finish. However, this is more a story about places, people, and times, as West Ham went about breaking ground and hearts on their rampage across the continent. The boys from London’s East End were learning, teaching, and developing a pedigree of football that was to be replicated, but never entirely reproduced. No-one else had the pioneering magic that the Irons engendered; they nearly reached the sky, while others just followed. This is the story of that glory.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781781555705
Publisher: Fonthill Media
Publication date: 12/14/2017
Product dimensions: 6.15(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Emerging from the East London gang culture of the early 1970s, Brian Belton is a lifelong West Ham United supporter. After professionally qualifying in youth work, he gained a doctorate from the University of Kent, and is currently a senior lecturer at the YMCA George Williams College in London. Brian has written close to eighty books, as well as numerous articles and learned papers, and he has spoken regularly on radio and TV, and at conferences throughout the UK and beyond. Brian is an internationally recognised and respected academic and writer in the fields of professional youth work, ethnicity, and identity.

Table of Contents

Foreword 5

Introduction 10

1 What We Hope For in Europe 13

2 Going Loco in the Intertoto 22

3 Upton Park Gold 35

4 Forward to Europe! 45

5 Rappan 57

6 Zaragoza 66

7 Münchens Grobe Liebe ("Munich's Great Love") 74

8 The Voice of Passion 87

9 Scotland 101

10 Spiegler 113

11 "Football? It isn't about anything. It is something" 117

12 Scandinavia 130

13 "Football? at its best is a game of beauty and intelligence" 140

14 Conclusion 152

Epilogue: And Into the Future 155

Bibliography 160

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