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Football and the First World War

I am currently writing a book on Football and the First World War based on the article of the same name on this website.

I am very keen to contact any football fans who have information about players who joined the army during the First World War.

Please contact me at


See reviews of Rob Cavallini's The Wanderers FC, and Around The World In 95 Games.

West Ham win Wembley Classic

In the most exciting FA Cup final since the Matthews Final of eleven years before, West Ham, long overshadowed by other wealthier teams in the capital, twice came from behind to beat Second Division Preston North End at Wembley on 2 May 1964.

The Londoners had enjoyed a fine 3-1 victory over the cup holders Manchester United in the semi finals and, led by their outstanding captain Bobby Moore, were hotly tipped to dispatch their Second Division opponents without much trouble.

Preston made it clear from the kick off that they were not going to be a walk-over for the First Division side.  They took the lead after ten minutes: Howard Kendall, at 17 years 345 days the youngest player in an FA Cup Final, started the move, Alex Dawson's shot was only parried, and Douglas Holden forced the ball over the line.

West Ham,  equalized immediately, when captain Bobby Moore stole the ball and moved up field before finding Johnny Byrne, who put John Sissons away on a fine run, finishing with a shot past Preston keeper Kelly.

Preston contained to have the better of the game in the first half. They deservedly regained the lead five minutes before half-time when Dawson headed in from a corner.

Ron Greenwood, the West Ham manager, changed the team's tactics at the interval, and they gradually wrestled control of the midfield. Seven minutes into the second half a Geoff Hurst header hit the bar, and rolled slowly over the line.

Both sides were tiring, but, as the game headed for extra-time,  Hurst went on one last powerful run through the middle before slipping the ball out to Peter Brabrook on the right.  The former England winger cut in before floating a centre to the far post for Ron Boyce to head the ball back into the opposite corner for a dramatic 90th minute winner.

West Ham United Team

Jim Standen, John Bond, Jack Burkett, Eddie Bovington, Ken Brown, Bobby Moore (Captain), Peter Brabrook, Ronnie Boyce (Scorer), Johnny Byrne, (Sir) Geoff Hurst (Scorer), Johnny Sissons (Scorer)

Preston North End Team

Alan Kelly, George Ross, Nobby Lawton (Captain), Jim Smith, Tony Singleton, Howard Kendall, David Wilson, Alec Ashworth, Alex Dawson (Scorer), Alan Spavin, Doug Holden (Scorer)