Past matters: Looking back on a century of West Ham v Fulham

Giving shape to 100 years of football against Fulham

Matt Jarvis is not the first player to have pulled on the Hammers shirt with that surname. There has been one other and you would have to go back to the very early 1900s to find Len Jarvis who holds the distinction of playing in the very first game against Fulham at the Boleyn Ground, a 0-0 draw in front of just 8,000 fans. It was only the sixth game played at the old place. Matt makes his home debut some 108 years, and many games, later.

In that time the games between the east and west London clubs have provided a wealth of effort and achievement which should never be lost to history. It is a pity that Sky brainwashes the football world into believing that the great game started in 1992 with the advent of The Premier League. It ignores all the good stuff which went before and all the records set by so many players, West Ham and otherwise, through hard work, skill and dedication.

Who are we to ignore the fact that no Hammer has scored more goals against Fulham than Sir Geoff Hurst? His career statistic of 10 includes a four goal haul in a 6-1 win at home during 1967/68. Martin Peters (how long have we got to wait for his knighthood?) nabbed the other two. If we had to rely on Premier League performances the news would be far gloomier. For instance Louis Boa Morte actually scored as many goals against West Ham in a Fulham shirt (two) than he did against all clubs during his entire West Ham career of four years and 91 games. How is a historian of the club supposed to get excited about such mediocrity?

Carlton Cole is one of the better modern day success stories in games v Fulham. He currently has a West Ham tally of six against the Cottagers which puts him second on the all-time list, four behind the aforementioned Hurst. Quite exciting to think we could soon be watching Carlton Cole, ‘greatest ever West Ham scorer against Fulham’. There is still quite a bit of work to do.

On the Fulham side no player has scored more against the Hammers than the beautifully names, Bedford Jezzard whose career haul of seven goals during the 1950s looks set to remain unchallenged for some time to come. No Fulham player has scored a hat trick against the Hammers since Ronnie Rooke in 1936-37 and in fact he is the only Cottager to ever perform the feat. Long may it continue!

For West Ham, Lionel Watson (1906-07) the peerless Victor Watson (1933-34) and legendary Sir Geoff Hurst (1966-67) are the only three Hammers on the planet to have scored hat tricks against Fulham. A quirky record is that former Fulham Captain, Alan Mullery, holds the record for scoring two goals against West Ham with the longest time gap in between. Thirteen years exists between his league goal in 1961 and his league cup goal in 1974. Loyal.

Our own greatest captain, Bobby Moore, scored three of his 24 goals against Fulham, one of which came in the record score between the two clubs, a 7-2 mauling during 1967-68. A young Trevor Brooking (two), Brian Dear, Martin Peters and two from Sir Geoffrey completed the rout.

So finally, what can we look out for in today’s game? Well of course we will be on Carlton Cole watch and Jussi can start to try to overcome Ted Hufton’s four West Ham career clean sheets against Fulham which he earned during the early 1920s. In fact ‘Tiger’ is also the only West Ham keeper to secure single season home and away clean sheets against Fulham (1920-21). Surprising given the almost 100 games played between the two clubs.

Mark Noble was the last midfielder to score against Fulham (2008-09) and Anton Ferdinand was the last defender (2007-08). To satisfy your curiosity, dear old Len Jarvis did not score against Fulham but he did play in a flat back four! We’ll sign off in the knowledge that 1975 Cup hero, Alan Taylor, will be in the lounge today doubtless describing his own piece of West Ham history to the claret and blue faithful. Long may the story of his achievement be shared far and wide. Enjoy the game and always remember — The past matters.

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