1903-04 Southern League : First Division

Manager: Syd King



1903-04

West Ham United

1903-04


The directors of West Ham were seriously concerned about the financial situation of the club at the beginning of the season. It had lost £900 in the past two seasons and had an overdraft of £770 and assets of less than £200. The main problem was a decline in season ticket sales.

West Ham lost their prolific scorer, Billy Grassam, to Manchester United before the start of the season. Dick Pudan, a local lad from Canning Town, who had played well at full-back the previous season, left for Bristol Rovers. He later went on to play for Newcastle United in the 1908 FA Cup Final.

Syd King, the new manager, brought in Charles Satterthwaite from New Brompton to replace Grassam. William Kirby, a right-winger who had a good scoring record, was signed from Swindon Town. Tommy Allison was brought in from Reading to bolster the defence. Herbert Lyon, a forward, also joined from Reading. Len Jarvis, a talented local boy, was also brought into the team.

The first game of the season was away to Millwall. Both the new forwards, Charles Satterthwaite and William Kirby scored but West Ham still lost 4-2. This was the story of the season, Satterthwaite and Kirby scored 29 goals between them but they could not stop West Ham from losing 17 of their 34 games.

The Hammers did better in the FA Cup, beating Brighton & Hove Albion, Clapton Orient and Chatham Town in the first three rounds. However, they lost 1-0 to Fulham in the 4th round in front of 12,000 people. This was West Ham's largest crowds of the season.

Attendances at games, compared to their close rivals, remained disappointing. West Ham began to verge on the edge of bankruptcy and by the end of the season the club only had had the money to pay the wages of one professional player, Tommy Allison, during the summer.

Arnold Hills was also having financial problems and was unwilling to re-negotiate a rental agreement to use the Memorial Grounds that was acceptable to West Ham United. The club was forced to find another sponsor. A local brewery agreed to advance them a loan to help them purchase a new ground.

Syd King was given the task to find West Ham a new home. It was suggested that he should take a look at Boleyn Castle field, just off Green Street, East Ham. The land was owned by the Catholic Ecclesiastical Authorities and used by the Boleyn Castle Roman Catholic Reformatory School.

A deal was arranged with the Catholic Ecclesiastical Authorities but the Home Office made it clear that they did not approve of the land being used by West Ham United. Syd King went to see Sir Ernest Gray, an influential Member of Parliament. As King later explained, "through his good offices, subject to certain conditions, we were finally allowed to take possession of Boleyn Castle".



NORRIS Fred

14 August 1903

FRED NORRIS (1928-1933) Born this day Aston, Birmingham


Frederick Harold Norris was a man of many parts, occupying all the outfield positions for Hammers with the exception of inside - and outside-left, with equal success. Initially making his mark as an inside-right with Adelaide F.C. in the Birmingham Victorian League, his next move was to sign professional forms for Halesowen F.C. He transferred to Midland giants Aston Villa in 1925 and after three seasons at Villa Park changed his club (but not his colours) when he joined Irons. Fred made his West Ham debut against Cardiff City in a 2-3 defeat at Ninian Park on the 10 September 1928. Despite his versatility, West Ham considered right-half to be Fred's best position, although his appearances there were restricted by the presence of the great Jimmy Collins. Not to be denied, Fred scored a celebrated hat-trick while playing in the forward-line against Oldham Athletic at Upton Park in October 1932, and later continued his career with Crystal Palace.



MILLWALL ATHLETIC : Southern League

North Greenwich 2 - 4 (Kirby, Satterwaite) 5 September 1903 Att: 10,0


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

1/1

CHARLES COTTON, ERNEST WATTS, WILLIAM KIRBY, HERBERT LYON, WILLIAM INGHAM and CHARLES SCATTERWAITE

ll make their Hammers debut against MILLWALL ATHLETIC


KETTERING TOWN : Southern League

Memorial Grounds 4 - 1 (Lyon 2, Allison, Bigden) 7 September 1903 Att: 11,000


Cotton, Fair, Eccles, Bigden, Watts, Allison, Kirby, Butchart, Lyon, Satterthwaite, Barnes


ALLISON Tommy

BUTCHART James

TOMMY ALLISON and J. BUTCHART both make their Hammers debut against KETTERING TOWN



QUEENS PARK RANGERS : Southern League

Memorial Grounds 1 - 0 (Satterthwaite) 12 September 1903 Att: 6,000


Cotton, Fair, Eccles, Bigden, Watts, Allison, Kirby, Butchart, Lyon, Satterthwaite, Barnes



PLYMOUTH ARGYLE : Southern League

Home Park 0 - 2 19 September 1903 Att: 5,000


Cotton, Fair, Eccles, Bigden, Watts, Allison, Kirby, Butchart, Lyon, Satterthwaite, Barnes



LUTON TOWN : Southern League

Memorial Grounds 0 - 0 24 September 1903 Att: 3,000


Cotton, Eccles, Mapley, Bigden, Watts, Allison, Kirby, Hilsdon, Lyon, Satterthwaite, Barnes


MAPLEY Percy

HILSDON Jack

PERCY MAPLEY and JACK HILSDON both make their Hammers debut against LUTON TOWN



READING : Southern League

Memorial Grounds 1 - 1 (Satterthwaite) 26 September 1903 Att: 10,000


Cotton, Eccles, Fair, Bigden, Watts, Allison, Kirby, Lyon, Ingham, Satterthwaite, Barnes


COLLINS Jimmy

28 September 1903 JIMMY COLLINS (1923-1932) Born this day Brentford Middlesex James Frederick Arthur Collins, affectionately referred to by the fans as "Lottie" after the famous music-hall artiest. One of the longest serving players in the club's history. Jim first played at the Boleyn Ground in 1917 as captain of East Ham Boys, and the same year was chosen to represent England against Scotland; but as the game was cancelled, never received his schools cap. Modelling his game on his idol, Syd Puddefoot, he soon put that disappointment behind him, and after doing the rounds with Chelmsford, Clapton and Leyton, signed amateur forms for Hammers in 1921. Two years later he was elevated to full professional status, and the following season made his First Division debut against Tottenham Hotspur at Upton Park in a 0-0 draw on the 9 February 1924. Owing to the abundance of forward talent at West Ham in those days, his baptism versus the North Londoners was to be one of his few appearances in the front line, as he converted to wing-half to win a regular place. He made the switch well enough to make 160 consecutive appearances until a cartilage injury ended the run. A measure of his worth can be gleaned from the fact that he was one of the comparatively few professionals retained after Iron's disastrous relegation season of 1931-32; going on to appear in the gallant F.A. Cup Semi-Final defeat to Everton at Molineux the next season. As well as being a keen motorist (he claimed to be the first West Ham player to own a car in 1921).



BRISTOL ROVERS : Southern League

Memorial Grounds 1 - 4 (Watts) 10 October 1903 Att: 5,000


Cotton, Eccles, Mapley, Bigden, Watts, Allison, Kirby, Bridgeman, Lyon, Barnes, Earl


BRIDGEMAN William

EARL Arthur

WILLIAM BRIDGEMAN and ARTHUR EARL both make their Hammers debut against BRISTOL ROVERS



BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION : Southern League

Goldstone Ground 2 - 3 (Fair, Sattherwaite) 17 October 1903 Att: 4,000


Cotton, Eccles, Mapley, Allison, Watts, Blythe, Kirby, Bigden, Fair, Satterthwaite, Barnes



BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION : FA Cup Third Qualifying Round

Memorial Grounds 4 - 0 (Lyon 2, Satterthwaite, Watts) 31 October 1903 Att: 5,000


Cotton, Eccles, Mapley, Allison, Watts, Blythe, Kirby, Bigden, Lyon, Satterthwaite, Barnes



BRENTFORD : Southern League

Memorial Grounds 0 - 1 7 November 1903 Att: 2,000


Griffiths, Eccles, Mapley, Allison, Bigden, Blythe, Kirby, Birnie, Lyon, Satterthwaite, Barnes

BIRNIE Alexander

ALEXANDER BIRNIE makes his Hammers debut against BRENTFORD




WEALE Robert

9 November 1903

ROBERT WEALE (1925-1926) Born this day Abercanaid, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales


A former Welsh Schoolboy international, Robert Henry Weale was a tricky outside-right who filled the place vacated by Bill Edwards in the London Combination side when the latter stepped up to the First Team. Weale was later given a taste of First Division football, but after making-up his debut versus Notts County in a 1-0 victory at Upton Park on the 10 October 1925, made only two further League appearances before joining Swindon Town in June 1927. His form must have improved dramatically at the County Ground, for in December 1928 Southampton paid a club record £1,000 to take him to The Dell. Later played for Cardiff City, Boston Town, Guildford City, Newport County, Wrexham, Glentoran and finally in 1936 Bath City.

CLAPTON : FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round

Old Spotted Dog Ground 3 - 0 (Lyon 2, Satterthwaite) 14 November 1903 Att: 4,500


Griffiths, Eccles, Mapley, Allison, Watts, Blythe, Kirby, Bigden, Lyon, Satterthwaite, Barnes



TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : Southern League

White Hart Lane 1 - 2 (Kirby) 21 November 1903 Att: 8,000


Griffiths, Eccles, Mapley, Allison, Watts, Blythe, Kirby, Bigden, Lyon, Satterthwaite, Barnes



CHATHAM UNITED : FA Cup Fifth Qualifying Round

Maidstone Road 5 - 0 (Satterthwaite 3, Kirby, Lyon) 28 November 1903 Att: 5,000


Griffiths, Eccles, Mapley, Allison, Watts, Blythe, Kirby, Bigden, Lyon, Satterthwaite, Barnes



NEW BROMPTON : Southern League

Priestfield Stadium 0 - 0 5 December 1903 Att: 4,000


Griffiths, Eccles, Mapley, Allison, Watts, Blythe, Kirby, Bigden, Lyon, Satterthwaite, Barnes



FULHAM : FA Cup (Intermediate Round)

Memorial Grounds 0 - 1 12 December 1903 Att: 12,000


Griffiths

Eccles

Mapley

Allison

Watts

Blyth

Birnie

Bigden

Lyon

Scatterthwaite

Kirbyx


The Rhymester

Rhymester

Albert Craig was commonly known as The Surrey Poet, although he never used the term himself, instead signing his pieces as "A.C. Cricket Rhymester".

Albert would attend cricket and football matches to write verses and short essays describing the players and events, then had them printed on broadsheets and sold to the crowd.

His poetry was not renowned for any literary merit but he was a popular and well-known figure, thanks to his good nature and his ready wit.



SOUTHAMPTON : Southern League

Memorial Grounds 2 - 1 (Kirby, Satterthwaite) 25 December 1903 Att: 10,000


Griffiths, Eccles, Mapley, Allison, Watts, Blythe, Kirby, Bigden, Bridgeman, Satterthwaite, Barnes



PORTSMOUTH : Southern League

Fratton Park 1 - 2 (Barnes) 26 December 1903 Att: 14,000


Griffiths, Eccles, Mapley, Allison, Watts, Blythe, Bridgeman, Bigden, Kirby, Satterthwaite, Barnes



FULHAM : Southern League

Memorial Grounds 2 - 0 (Kirby, Satterthwaite) 28 December 1903 Att: 2,000


Griffiths, Eccles, Mapley, Allison, Watts, Blythe, Bridgeman, Bigden, Kirby, Satterthwaite, Barnes



SECOND-HALF


CONTINUE 2