1902-03 Southern League : First Division

Manager: Syd King


There was an exodus of senior players as the season began, which upset the fans. Key players such as Charlie Craig, William Jones, Roderick McEachrane and Fergus Hunt left for pastures new. Among the new recruits were wing-half Joe Blythe, centre-half Tommy McAteer, full-back George Eccles and winger Billy Barnes.

The opening game of the season saw West Ham draw 1-1 with Reading at home and this was followed up with a 0-0 draw at Queens Park Rangers. A visit to Wellingborough finished with the Hammers being beaten 5-1. With no victories on the board there were complaints that the new players were not as good as those who had left.

The team responded and wins followed over Watford (3-1) and Brentford (3-0) with Billy Grassam scoring twice in both games. However, the good form did not last; visitors Millwall won 3-0 and a week later the Hammers were knocked out of the FA Cup with Lincoln City winning 2-0 at Sincil Bank. Worse was to follow with a crushing 6-0 defeat at Reading in early December. The Christmas fixtures did not bring any cheer with a 2-1 home defeat to Southampton on Christmas Day and a 2–0 loss at Portsmouth on Boxing Day. However, the supporters morale soon changed as the team went on to record five successive home wins, with Billy Grassam scoring five times. At home West Ham remained unbeaten for the rest of the season, which gave an upsurge in the attendances resulting in a crowd of 10,000 for the final home game against Portsmouth. The remaining three games of the season were all away, which resulted in a 6-0 defeat at Reading, a 4-0 defeat at Luton and a final game 2-1 loss at rivals Millwall. It meant a final placing of 10th but the 49 goals conceded was one of the worst in the league.




HULL Archie

8 August 1902

ARCHIE HULL (1928) Born this day East Ham, London

Archibald James Hull was rated the best amateur centre-half in London when his club side Ilford were sweeping all before them in the late twenties, Archie Hull was unable to assist West Ham on a regular basis due to his commitment to the Isthmian League outfit. A team-mate of a later West Ham centre-half at Ilford - Wally St Pier - Archie made his debut for Hammers against West Bromwich Albion in a 1-2 defeat at Upton Park on the 19 February 1927, and had only one more First Division outing with Hammers in a 0-4 defeat against Huddersfield Town on the 22 December 1928. He later joined Clapton Orient.



COWPER Peter

1 September 1902

PETER COWPER (1924) Born this day Bolton, Lancashire

Right-wing flyer whose, two First Division outings were against Bury at Upton Park on the 11 October 1924 and versus Nottingham Forest at the City Ground the following Saturday. Peter Poole Cowper signed from Rossendale F.C. his First XI opportunities were limited by the fine form of rival flankmen, Tommy Yews and Bill Edwards. He joined Grimsby Town on leaving Hammers and later played for New Brighton, Southampton, Southport, Carlisle United and Wigan Athletic, Altrincham and finally, Precot Cables in 1936.



READING : Southern League

Memorial Grounds 1 - 1 (Barnes) 6 September 1902 Att: 7,000


Biggar, Eccles, Dow, Bigden, McAteer, Blythe, Campbell, Grassam, Farrell, Barnes, Linward


Fine weather for the kick-off of the new season. Hammers won the toss and kicked-off from the railway end. Bull and Allison for Reading were both in fine form, fifteen minutes from half-time Grassam got thru' and passing to Barnes West Ham gained the lead that they held until the interval. West Ham had much the better of the early period of the second half. A Davidson shot nearly scored for Reading but Eccles unintentionally, handled and a penalty was awarded from which Allison equalised.


Reading:

Cotton, Stokes, Smith H., Bull, Watts, Allison, Craggs, Lyon, Davidson, Griffiths, Flynn

Goal: Allison [pen]

1/1

WILLIAM BIGGAR, GEORGE ECCLES, JAMES DOW, TOMMY McATEER, JOE BLYTHE, JOHN CAMPBELL, JOHN FARRELL & WILLIAM BARNES all make their debut against READING at the Memorial Grounds




QUEENS PARK RANGERS : Southern League

Kensal Rise Athletic Ground 0 - 0 13 September 1902 Att: 7,000


Biggar, Eccles, Dow, Bigden, McAteer, Blythe, Campbell, Grassam, Farrell, Barnes, Linward


The game got rougher the long it went on and ended with a penalty award to Queens Park Rangers. Hamilton shot wide.


Queens Park Rangers:

Collins, Newlands, Edwards, Bowman, Hitch, Skinner, Colvin, Hamilton, King, Busby, Wilson


WELLINGBOROUGH TOWN : Southern League

Dog & Duck Ground 1 - 5 (Grassam) 27 September 1902 Att: 4,000


Biggar, Eccles, Dow, Bigden, McAteer, Blythe, Allan, Grassam, Farrell, Barnes, Linward


Barnes and Linwood gave the home backs a lot of trouble, and Rodway venturing out, Grassam nipped in to beat Ord. Neither side increased its score up to half-time. On resuming, the home team pressed, and McCairns shot into Biggar's hands. A foul put back the visitors, and from this the home forwards had a run of luck. Smith scored a pretty goal, and from the kick-off Hyde secured and centred and McCairns, who was watching his opportunity, breasted into the net the third goal. The visitors played up and Barnes got within range when Stevenson kicked out along the line. As the result of a brilliant bit of dribbling, Dartnell eluded the backs, and scored the fourth goal from within the penalty line. The visitors could not make any substantial progress, and Hyde, getting in again, passed to Dartnell, who obtained the fifth and last goal.


Wellingborough Town:

Ord, Stevenson, Rodway, Howard, Hamilton, Brett, Webb, Smith, McCairns, Dartnell, Hyde

Goals: Dartnell 2, McCairns, Smith, Webb




BRISTOL ROVERS : Southern League

Memorial Grounds 1 - 0 (Grassam) 4 October 1902 Att: 6,500


Griffiths, King, Eccles, Bigden, McAteer, Blythe, Allan, Grassam, Farrell, Barnes, Linward

GRIFFITHS Frederick

FREDERICK GRIFFITHS makes his Hammers debut against BRISTOL ROVERS at the Memorial Grounds

Griffiths replaced Biggar in goal for West Ham. Both sides employed rushing tactics and good football was conspicuous by its absence. The defence of both sides was very strong and goalkeepers, Griffiths and Cartledge had little to do. At half-time the score sheet was blank. Most of the second half was a repetition of the first. The only goal of the game came 15 minutes from the end, Barnes got away and passed to Linward who put in a capital centre across the face of the Rovers goal. Farrell mis-judged it badly but Grassam dashing in made no mistake.

Hammers played much better after this and Rovers goal was hard pressed but it was the visitors who came nearest to scoring when King diverted a dangerous centre by Howie over the bar. The was West Ham's first Southern League win of the season and Rovers first defeat.


Bristol Rovers:

Cartledge, Dunn, Griffiths, Lyon, McLean, Young, Muir, Howie, Corbett, Wilcox, Marriott




NORTHAMPTON TOWN : Southern League

County Ground 0 - 2 11 October 1902 Att: 3,000


Griffiths, King, Eccles, Bigden, McAteer, Blythe, Allan, Grassam, Farrell, Barnes, Linward


West Ham won the toss and played wind assisted. There was no score at the interval and the match was still goal-less with 15 minutes to go. At that point Northampton re-arranged their forwards. The change worked splendidly when Crump scored following a three-man breakaway started by Benbow. Northampton immediately 'rushed' again and Brown notched a second. Farrell the West Ham centre-forward was formerly with the Northampton side, King the better full-back and Griffiths the West Ham goalkeeper was the best player on either side.


Northampton Town:

Cook, Bennett, Durber, Murrell, Dainty, Howe, Frost, Crump, Benbow, Brown, Wilson

Goals: Brown, Crump




WATFORD : Southern League

Memorial Grounds 3 - 1 (Grassam 2, Barnes 18 October 1902 Att: 4,000


Griffiths, Dow, Eccles, Bigden, McAteer, Blythe, Campbell, Grassam, Sugden, Barnes, Linward

SUGDEN Sidney

SYDNEY SUGDEN makes his Hammers debut against WATFORD at the Memorial Grounds

A fast and interesting match with the home side the better of the two sides. A thick haze hung over the ground and accompanied continually by rain drizzles that were unpleasant for the players. A fine run by Linward ended with Grassam securing the ball and scoring after 20 minutes. Campbell then missed narrowly - twice. All the West Ham forwards tested Horner and McAteer managed three attempts from half-back. Watford pressed at the start of the second half and Harvey and Murray shot at Griffiths. At last Tennant got in a screw shot that completely beat the West Ham goalkeeper. Barnes restored the home sides lead and Grassam made it 3-1.


Watford:

Horner, Allan, Cother, Dackers, Munn, Farnall, Tennant, Murray, Proudfoot, Harvey, Greenslade

Goal: Tennant




BRENTFORD : Southern League

Boston Park 3 - 0 (Grassam 2, Bigden) 25 October 1902 Att: 3,000


Griffiths, Dow, Eccles, Kelly, McAteer, Blythe, Campbell, Grassam, Farrell, Bigden, Linward


Despite the scoreline West Ham were fortunate to win. This was Brentford's eight successive reverse. The Bees had numerous shots but as things always seem to go for losing sides, all were inches high or wide. Shanks was brought down by Dow in the box but Griffiths twice saved the retaken spot kick by Regan. Linward broke away and Bigden scored from his centre.

Brentford attacked with vigour but were always off target with their shots. West Ham's second goal was scored by Grassam with two defenders and the goalkeeper on the ground. A penalty was awarded to West ham for 'hands' and Grassam made it 3-0.


Brentford:

Green W., Gilson, Nidd, Regan, Green E., Newsome, Warren, Maher, Turner, Shanks, Pickering




TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : Southern League

White Hart Lane 1 - 1 (Grassam) 1 November 1902 Att: 7,000


Griffiths, Dow, Eccles, Bigden, McAteer, Blythe, Campbell, Grassam, Farrell, Barnes, Linward


This was another fine display by the Hammers on a ground that in the past had proved unlucky for them. Spurs' opened with a fierce onslaught and the visitors defended desperately for the first 15 minutes. West Ham could not force the Spurs back but a free kick gave them a brief respite. But the home side came back and after another spell of pressure a Copeland pass enabled Barlow to put the North Londoner ahead. From here on Spurs deteriorated and West Ham began to get back into the game. Chances began to fall to them but at half-time they still trailed 0-1. Play evened ouut in the second half but Kirwan had bad luck when his clever drop shot was only kept out by a miracle save from Griffiths. Once more West Ham began to create chances and as the game progressed th e away side were getting closer and close to Clawley's goal. With 13 minutes left the Hammers grabbed a point when Grassam equalised.


Tottenham Hotspur:

Clawley, Erentz, Tait, Brown, Hughes, Jones J.L., Jones J., Cameron, Barlow, Copeland, Kirwan

Goal: Barlow




ALLEN Robert

3 November 1902 ROBERT ALLEN (1919-1920) Born this day Dundee, Scotland

A mysterious figure from Hammers' first League season who, according to the record books, came from Dundee and made only the one Second Division appearance - albeit a scoring one. His moment of glory came on the 1 November 1919 when he registered his team's tally from the centre-forward position in the 1-2 home defeat against Birmingham City, in which Percy Allen also made his Hammers debut.



ADAMS William

3 November 1902 WILLIAM ADAMS (1936-37) Born this day Tynemouth, Tyneside He began his career with Sunderland Colliery and then Guildford City before transferring to Southampton whom he signed for the Hammers in 1936 for a £500 fee. Bill made a sensational start in West Ham's colours when he scored against his old club Southampton, in Hammers' 2-0 victory at The Dell on the 2 November 1936 - quite a feat for a right-half! He had a slow start at the Dell - after making his debut in 1927, he had to wait over three years until his next first team outing. But once in the Saints side, he went on to make 205 League and Cup appearances and was appointed captain. However, he was destined for only a brief stay at Upton Park, transferring to Southend United on 14 January 1937. He retired later that year to run the Half Way Inn at Chandler's Ford, where he remained for 26 years.




MILLWALL ATHLETIC : Southern League

Memorial Grounds 0 - 3 8 November 1902 Att: 10,000


Griffiths, Dow, Eccles, Bigden, McAteer, Blythe, Campbell, Grassam, Farrell, Barnes, Linward




NEW BROMPTON : Southern League

Memorial Grounds 1 - 1 (Campbell) 22 November 1902 Att: 4,000


Griffiths, King, Eccles, Bigden, McAteer, Blythe, Campbell, Grassam, Farrell, Barnes, Linward


MATCH ABANDONED

Bad Light 60 minutes : rearranged for 23 March 1903


It was evident soon after half-time, that this match would run into light problems. At the break it was failing fast. The referee twice consulted his linesmen before deciding to call a halt just 8 minutes from time.

At half-time Hammers were a goal down, a good shot by Bradbury was well stopped by Griffiths but he couldn't clear and Satterwaite following up put the Kent side one up. West Ham's equaliser came from a free kick for hands against McCurdy, an offence he committed more than once in this game. Linward's kick found Campbell who shot home.


New Brompton:

Unknown




KETTERING TOWN : Southern League

Memorial Grounds 1 - 1 (Grassam) 6 December 1902 Att: 2,500


Griffiths, King, Fair, Bigden, McAteer, Blythe, Allan, Campbell, Grassam, Barnes, Linward




LINCOLN CITY : FA Cup (Intermediate Round)

Sincil Bank 0 - 2 13 December 1902 Att: 3,000


Griffiths, Dow, Eccles, Bigden, Kelly, Blyth, Allen, Grassam, Farrell, Barnes, Linward



17 December 1902

ALEXANDER DAVIDSON signs from READING

Previously with Third Lanark, Glossop, Manchester City and Reading, from where he joined the Irons in December 1902, he was a fearless player but rather erratic. Wearing the number nine, Davidson was given that amount of first team appearances to make a name for himself. Made his Hammers bow in the 1-2 home defeat at the hands of Southampton on Christmas Day 1902 in which William Grassam scored for Hammers. Scored the first of only two goals against Wellingborough Town on the 10 January 1903, his last came against Northampton Town. Moved to Luton Town, then on to Fulham for 1903-04.


Lancashire Daily Post December 20 1902

Lancashire Daily Post




READING : Southern League

Elm Park 0 - 6 20 December 1902 Att: 4,000


Biggar, King, Eccles, Yenson, McAteer, Blythe, Grassam, Bigden, Farrell, Campbell, Barnes



SOUTHAMPTON : Southern League

Memorial Grounds 1 - 2 (Grassam) 25 December 1902 Att: 6,000


Griffiths, King, Eccles, Bigden, Yenson, Blythe, Campbell, Grassam, Davidson, Farrell, Barnes

DAVIDSON Alexander

ALEXANDER DAVIDSON makes his Hammers debut against SOUTHAMPTON at the Memorial Grounds



PORTSMOUTH : Southern League

Fratton Park 0 - 2 26 December 1902 Att: 8,000


Griffiths, King, Eccles, Bigden, Yenson, Blythe, Campbell, Grassam, Davidson, Farrell, Barnes



QUEENS PARK RANGERS : Southern League

Memorial Grounds 2 - 0 (Barnes, Grassam) 27 December 1902 Att: 2,500


Griffiths, Fair, Eccles, Bigden, Yenson, Blythe, Campbell, Grassam, Farrell, Davidson, Barnes





SECOND-HALF

ABC

WELLINGBOROUGH TOWN : Southern League

Memorial Grounds

3 - 0 (Barnes, Davidson, Grassam)

10 January 1903

Att: 4,000

Griffiths, Fair, Eccles, Bigden, Yenson, Blythe, Campbell, Grassam, Davidson, Wallace, Barnes

BRISTOL ROVERS : Southern League

Stapleton Road

1 - 1 (Wallace)

17 January 1903

Att: 4,000

Griffiths, King, Eccles, Bigden, Yenson, Blythe, Campbell, Grassam, Davidson, Wallace, Barnes

NORTHAMPTON TOWN : Southern League

Memorial Grounds

3 - 2 (Davidson, Grassam, Wallace)

17 January 1903

Att: 4,000

Griffiths, Fair, Eccles, Bigden, Yenson, Blythe, Campbell, Grassam, Davidson, Wallace, Barnes

WATFORD : Southern League

Cassio Road

1 - 2 (Campbell)

31 January 1903

Att: 5,000

Griffiths, Fair, Eccles, Bigden, Yenson, Blythe, Campbell, Grassam, Davidson, Wallace, Barnes

BRENTFORD : Southern League

Memorial Grounds

2 - 0 (Grassam 2)

7 February 1903

Att: 3,000

Griffiths, Fair, Dow, Bigden, Yenson, Blythe, Campbell, Grassam, Davidson, Wallace, Barnes

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : Southern League

Memorial Grounds

1 - 0 (Wallace)

14 February 1903

Att: 8,000

Griffiths, Fair, Dow, Bigden, Yenson, Blythe, Campbell, Grassam, Davidson, Wallace, Barnes

The absence of "Woodward,  Kirwan and Copeland no doubt weakened the Spurs' attack, but Gilhooly, Fredericks, and Chalmers were excellent substitutes, and the Hotspurs will do well to give the Chelmsford man some further trials. The home team were alll good, and there was not a really weak spot in the team, all playing well up to the mark. Blythe was the best man on the field, and the work he got through was tremendous. Barnes, too, has seldom played, a better game; while Wallace, Yenson, and Fair improve week by week. Wallace's goal was a good  one,  but  Barnes deserves the credit for it. Dow, who turned out for Eccles, was in great form, and on one occasion saved his side when Griffiths was all but 'beaten, the ball being hooked out over his head for a corner. In fact, he played with dogged determination all through, and was very nearly, if not quite, the best back on the field.   Griffiths, Bigden, Davidson, Grassam, and Campbell were all in their usual form, and little fault could be found with any one, only Campbell will take the ball back instead of forward.
On the Spurs side their halves shone up in brilliant style; in fact, they were the best three I have seen on the ground this season; while Tait played a resolute game at back, and was ably supported by Watson previous to the latter's injury, Chalmers and Dryburgh were both in good form on the extreme wings; but Cameron was decidedly below par; while I have seen Gilhooly play many a better game. Clawley was safe, and on two occasions cleared in marvellous style.

NEW BROMPTON : Southern League

Priestfield Stadium

0 - 2

7 March 1903

Att: 7,000

Griffiths, Fair, Dow, Bigden, Yenson, Blythe, Miecznikowski, Grassam, Farrell, Wallace, Barnes

WALTER MIECZNIKOWSKI makes his Hammers debut against NEW BROMPTON at the Priestfield Stadium

SWINDON TOWN : Southern League

Memorial Grounds

1 - 1 (Farrell)

14 March 1903

Att: 4,000

Griffiths, Fair, Eccles, Bigden, Yenson, Blythe, Allan, Grassam, Farrell, Wallace, Barnes

NEW BROMPTON : Southern League

Memorial Grounds

1 - 1 (Farrell)

23 March 1903

Att: 1,000

Griffiths, Dow, Eccles, Bigden, Yenson, Blythe, Allan, Farrell, Grassam, Wallace, Barnes

LUTON TOWN : Southern League

Memorial Grounds

1 - 1 (Grassam 2, Bigden, Farrell)

28 March 1903

Att: 800

Griffiths, Fair, Eccles, Bigden, Yenson, Blythe, Allan, Farrell, Grassam, Wallace, Barnes

SWINDON TOWN : Southern League

County Ground

1 - 1 (Grassam)

4 April 1903

Att: 2,500

Biggar, Eccles, King, Bigden, Yenson, Blythe, Allan, Grassam, Farrell, Wallace, Barnes

PORTSMOUTH : Southern League

Memorial Grounds

1 - 1 (Grassam [pen])

10 April 1903

Att: 10,000

Griffiths, Fair, Eccles, Bigden, Yenson, Blythe, Allan, Farrell, Grassam, Wallace, Barnes

SOUTHAMPTON : Southern League

The Dell

0 - 6

13 April 1903

Att: 6,000

Biggar, Eccles, Dow, Bigden, Yenson, Blythe, McAteer, Farrell, Grassam, Wallace, Campbell

KETTERING TOWN : Southern League

Rockingham Road

1 - 1 (Bush)

15 April 1903

Att: 2,000

Biggar, Yenson, King, Bigden, Kelly, Parkinson, Bush, Farrell, Grassam, Wallace, Miecznikowski

HARRY PARKINSON and ROBERT BUSH both make their Hammers debut against KETTERING TOWN at Rockingham Road

LUTON TOWN : Southern League

Dunstable Road

0 - 4

18 April 1903

Att: 2,000

Griffiths, Eccles, Fair, Bigden, McAteer, Blythe, Miecznikowski, Bush, Evans, Wallace, Barnes

ROGER EVANS makes his Hammers debut against LUTON TOWN at Dunstable Road

MILLWALL ATHLETIC : Southern League

North Greenwich

1 - 2 (Grassam)

25 April 1903

Att: 3,000

Biggar, Eccles, Dow, Parkinson, Yenson, Blythe, Allan, Bigden, Grassam, Wallace, Barnes