1912-13 Southern League : First Division
Manager: Syd King
The directors decided to retire trainer Tommy Robinson, who had been at the club since the Thames Ironworks days. In his place came reserve trainer Charlie Paynter. Danny Shea began the season well, scoring twice against Exeter City in the opening 4-0 victory. He continued his success by getting two more in a 3-1 win at Southampton. By mid-October there had only been one defeat in the seven games played. Gillingham came to the Boleyn and left beaten 4-0 and a week later the Hammers scored three at Northampton – but unfortunately the home side scored four. In December there were four successive wins, including home victories against Swindon Town by 4-1 and a 5-0 win over Stoke City on Christmas Day. The return game with Stoke on Boxing Day was won 1-0 but days later came a 4-1 defeat at Coventry City. The New Year kicked off with a 2-0 home win over Watford, after which came startling news that upset the supporters. It was announced that leading scorer Danny Shea was being sold to Blackburn Rovers. He had scored 111 goals in his 179 appearances and would be greatly missed. While he was with the Lancashire club he won a First Division championship medal and gained two England caps. The FA Cup saw the Hammers travel to the Midlands to face First Division side West Bromwich Albion. Fred Harrison scored for West Ham in the 1-1 draw. In the replay the Albion raced into a two-goal lead but George Hilsdon then scored twice to force another replay. Before this took place the Hammers had to play away to Merthyr Town, and to avoid fatigue seven changes were made to the side; at one stage in the game West Ham were leading 2-1 but finally lost 6-2. The cup replay at West Bromwich proved to be a shock for the Midland side as the Hammers won 3-0, to face a return trip to Birmingham for an away tie with Aston Villa. The Hammers were well beaten by 5-0 on the day and the Villa went on to win the FA Cup that year. After being knocked out of the FA Cup the league became a priority and the team then went on an amazing run of 14 undefeated games. They finished third in the league, just two points behind champions Plymouth Argyle. For the supporters it had been an excellent campaign but many thought that by keeping Shea they would have won the title.
Goalkeeper's use of hands restricted to penalty area.
GILLINGHAM : Southern League First Division
4 - 0
2nd November 1912