May 10, 1980. The last time West Ham United won a major piece of silverware.
Sir Trevor Brooking’s header in the 13th minute was enough for the Hammers to usurp Arsenal -regulars at Wembley Stadium and heavy favourites on the day.
However, 39 years have passed and the West Ham faithful dream of the day to replicate that baking-hot occasion. Fans of a certain age will of course remember it in all its glory, while many, well, all they have to go off is grand old stories from their elders.
The closest West Ham have come to getting their hands on a long overdue trophy was in 2006 – otherwise known in the media as “The Steven Gerrard final”.
From Jamie Carragher’s own-goal to Paul Konchesky’s over-hit cross, destiny looked as though it was going to prevail that day, with that group of players set to be as hero-worshipped as the boys of 1980.
Everyone knows the final outcome, though, so I shall cut that tale as short as the majority of West Ham’s cup runs.
Since then, it has all been a bit bleak in the Hammers’ quest for silverware.
Seven managers have tried (or not – perhaps you can think back to Sam Allardyce sending out West Ham under 11’s in that thrashing against second-tier Nottingham Forest) and ultimately failed in this regard.
Along with that infamous defeat in Nottingham, West Ham have also crashed out of both domestic cup competitions against the likes of Chesterfield, Wigan Athletic and Sheffield United, just to name a few.
Last season’s fourth round FA Cup exit to AFC Wimbledon still came as a shock to many though, as Manuel Pellegrini came into the club with his impressive cup pedigree, looking to set the record straight.
History, though, is just that – history. West Ham fans can only look to the future. With a thick squad and hopefully a thinner injury list than the previous campaign, Pellegrini will look to have another crack of his Chilean whip as he looks to guide the Hammers to Wembley.
You can’t blame any West Ham supporter for partially giving up by this point, but the positive vibes around the club this summer, with exciting new signings both on board and in the pipeline, may convince even the most disheartened of fans to trust that Pellegrini will work his magic this time around.
With the ‘big six’ all battling it out in Europe – joined by the impressive Wolverhampton Wanderers, it is as good a chance as ever for West Ham to mount a good cup run or two and present the long-suffering fans with what they’ve been missing out on for what seems like an eternity.
Failing that, we’ll just try again the next season.
By Louis Pye (@lou_pye)
[Featured image from whufc.com]