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Brian Belton

Days of Iron. The story of West Ham United in the Fifties

Days of Iron. The story of West Ham United in the Fifties

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In 1958, West Ham United emerged from a 26 year hibernation outside top flight football winning the Second Division championship with 101 points. This is the story of how this was achieved starting with the foundation in the early 50's.

Throughout a decade when the East End of London still struggled to shrug off the cloak of World War II, the West Ham manager built a formidable team. From 1956 to 1959 West Ham United fielded six full internationals.

In 1958, the young Bobby Moore came into the side and by 1959 Geoff Hurst was emerging. The Championship side was full of talent with the likes of Ernie Gregory, John Bond, Noel Cantwell, John Dick and Vic Keeble.

But the foundation had been laid earlier in the Fifties, a bedrock made up of sweat and lesser known players like Doug Wragg and Gerry Gazzard and the leading members of the famed 'Football Academy', Allison and Frank O''Farrell.

This is a story of those days, and all of the days of the Fifties, through the eyes of those who played - it is the story of West Ham's 'Days of Iron'

About the Author

Like so many West Ham supporters Brian Belton was born only five minutes walk from the club ('I heard 'em cheering in me cradle'). As a teenager Brian worked primarily to support his habit of following West Ham around England.

In his twenties the Mayflower Centre shanghaied him to work with young people in the Canning Town area. Brian was now a youth worker and eventually was persuaded/ bullied/ bribed into taking a professional qualification with the YMCA College in London.

He gained a degree at City University and then became a Senior Youth and Community worker in Islington, whilst gaining a Masters Degree at Essex. He has published over 50 books, mainly on football.

For more information on Brian Belton please see his "About our Authors" page


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