On This Day In History - May 7th 1994 Last Day Excitement At West Ham
Thursday, 7th May 2020 10:43
It was one of those 1990's last day nerve janglers at Upton Park on the final day of the 1993/94 season, we saw a game that had everything and at the end of it we were celebrating.
With two places already decided, it was a case of Saints, Everton, Sheffield United and Ipswich sweating out the last day for the final relegation place, Oldham could in theory stay up and Manchester City could go down, but the chances of either happening were remote due to goal difference.
So it was perm 1 from 4 ! Everton started the day in the relegation place on 41 points, with the other 3 including Saints on 42, we had an advantage on goal difference and goals scored that meant we were above the other two.
We travelled to West Ham who were in midtable, Everton hosted Wimbledon, Sheffield United were at Chelsea and Ipswich went to Blackburn.
None of these clubs had anything to play for and aside from Blackburn securely in 2nd place the other three were mid table.
It was a big day for the Hammers who were going to have a big party as it was the last day of terracing at Upton Park with the North Bank to be demolished in the summer, in fairness to them they allocated us the entire opposite end of around 4,500 seats.
Everton were seen as perhaps the most likely to go down, Wimbledon were a tough side to play against and the Toffee's needed to better Ipswich's result at Blackburn, they were the only side whose future wasn't in their own hands. But Ipswich had a tough task too.
Wimbledon were being frightened, their team coach was mysteriously set on fire at the team hotel during the night and death threats had been issued to John Fashanu.
So a big welcome for both sides at Upton Park and superb support for Saints, but it was soon going to be all ears to transistor radios.
4th minute - The first cheers at Upton Park were from the away end, but it wasn't a Saints goal but a Wimbledon one at Goodison Park, a penalty.
11 th minute - But the cheers soon turned to groans as West Ham took the lead.
20th minute - The next twist came 9 minutes later when news came through that Wimbledon were now 2-0 up kept the Saints fans spirits up.
24th minute - Not for long though as within minutes the Toffee's had pulled a goal back, things were now very tense although not desperate.
30th Minute Worse news now, Sheffield United had taken the lead at Stamford Bridge on the half hour.
44th Minute- After a nervous 15 minutes where nothing else developed, Matt Le Tissier equalised It was a trademark free-kick from just outside the area to send the Saints fans wild.
At the break Saints were out of the bottom 3 but only on goal difference from Ipswich, Everton were actually bottom as Oldham had leapfrogged them.
52nd Minute - Suddenly the away fans went mad, pin point cross from Le God and Neil Maddison headed home from close range to spark several fans on the pitch celebrating, this wasn't going down well with the West Ham fans in the Chicken Run to our right.
58th minute - Chelsea had levelled against The Blades
60th minute - Sheffield Utd scored to make it 2-1.
62nd Minute - West Ham equalised.
At this point the table is now back to it's half time standings, we are still 4th from bottom but a goal in the wrong net at any of the grounds could change things, it is going to be a nervous last half hour.
65th minute - Saints penalty when Ian Dowie pulled back in the area, Le Tiss steps up in front of the Saints fans and makes no mistake another minor pitch invasion sees retaliation from the unhappy hammers.
67th minute - Everton have equalised, Wimbledon are now running scared of the crowd who have been baying for their blood.
76th minute - Another Chelsea equaliser, we are now up to our highest position in the afternoon and 3 points clear of Everton.
81st Minute - Everton have scored a third and are out of the bottom three, Ipswich are the side in trouble they now need to score at Blackburn if nothing changes.
83rd minute- The ball is crossed into the Saints area I kick the man in front of me as I try to clear it, Ken Monkou reaches it before me and I apologise to the man in front and explain why, he says "tahs Ok I kicked the fella in front of me too" it was that sort of day.
89th Minute - A pitch invasion from over excited West Ham fans thinking the final whistle has blown sees the players have to get off the pitch fast and the game held up for 5 minutes or so whilst the police and stewards cleared the pitch.
Saints fans spent this time hurling abuse at the thousands of West Ham fans who were being held back from us by a cordon of police across the penalty box.
What the delay did do though was give us the news from elsewhere, Chelsea had scored a last minute winner at Sheffield United, we knew that Everton had beaten Wimbledon and we knew that Ipswich had drawn at Blackburn, this meant that Sheffield United would be relegated as long as we didn't lose.
That meant that when the players came back on to end the game, that as long as we didn't concede two goals we were safe, the only thing we didn't know was how long was left on the clock back then there was no electronic scoreboard with the time on it nor did they hold up the number of minutes for injury time.
The game resumed with West Ham fans encroaching on the touchline and a line of police in front of Saints supporters to prevent the inevitable pitch invasion, the main hope was that the referee having made his point would not play very long.
But within a minute disaster, a hopeful West Ham cross was headed into his own net by Ken Monkou, West Ham were back on equal terms with us and so where Ipswich below us only on goal difference.
Luckily we didn't have long to wait the ref blew the final whistle there and then and the players headed for the tunnel. Initially we didn't know that but it was soon announced over the tannoy.
It had been a nail biter but we had stayed up, the delay in knowing whether the game was finished muted the celebrations a little, but we went wild at the tannoy announcement, for obvious reasons around 10,000 of them to be exact West Ham fans on the pitch, there could be no celebrating with the team, so we headed for the tube station.
I saw a West Ham fan blind side a Saints fan and spark him out for no reason other than he was wearing his colours in the road outside, a typical West Ham sort of thing, not from their ICF but the wannabe's who glorified in their violent reputation, but other than that it was quiet in the streets outside.
All that remained was to celebrate in the pub's near Waterloo, on the train home and then back to what was then our local The Bedford and then the night became a blur.
Photo: Action Images
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