AZ from West Ham United – R is for…
We continue our alphabetical journey through 125 years of West Ham United history with trips to Romania and Rushden …
West Ham United has a number of historic ties with Romania.
Located at the crossroads of Central and Eastern Europe, Romania has nearly 20 million inhabitants and has a long footballing tradition.
Three of the best Romanian players represented the Hammers, but unfortunately none of them produced their best football at Claret and Blue.
The first, in 1996, was attacking midfielder Ilie Dumitrescu. Produced by the famous Steaua Bucharest club in the Romanian capital, Dumitrescu scored at a prolific pace and won the national league and cup.
In 1994, his outstanding performances in the FIFA World Cup final in the United States saw Tottenham Hotspur spend £ 2.6million to bring him to London, alongside his team colleague. national Gheorghe Popescu.
Things didn’t work out at White Hart Lane and, after a Spain loan with Sevilla, he joined West Ham in February 1996.
Dumitrescu helped the Hammers win against Middlesbrough, Manchester City and Southampton in his first four appearances, but his West Ham career lasted just 13 games before leaving for Mexican club America in December of that year.
A second star of USA 94, striker Florin Raducioiu, had a nomadic career with stops in Romania, Italy and Spain before arriving at Boleyn Ground from the Spanish side of Espanyol to join Dumitrescu in July 1996.
Raducioiu has found the net three times in 12 appearances, including a superb result in a 2-2 Premier League draw with Manchester United in December 1996, but he fell out of favor with Redknapp and returned to the ‘Espanyol in January 1997.
The third and last Romanian to play for West Ham was longtime national team captain Răzvan Raț.
Raț played for Rapid Bucharest before playing ten trophy-filled seasons with Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk between 2003-13.
At the age of 32 he joined the Irons but struggled to find regular starts under Sam Allardyce in his only season in east London. He left for Spanish club Rayo Vallecano in February 2014.
The Irons have also met Romanian opponents in European competition four times over the years.
The first came in the 1980/81 European Cup Winners’ Cup when, after beating Spain Castilla in the first round, John Lyall’s side faced Poli Timișoara over two sets.
The first took place at the Boleyn Ground on October 22, 1980 and ended with a complete 4-0 victory, the penalty kick from Ray Stewart and goals from Billy Bonds, Paul Goddard and David Cross making the second leg a formality. As it stands, Timișoara won it 1-0.
Just under 20 years later, the Hammers won the UEFA Intertoto Cup in August 1999 to qualify for the UEFA Cup.
Harry Redknapp’s Hammers beat Croatia’s Osijek to set up a second-round draw with Steaua Bucharest. Laurenţiu Roșu and Sabin Ilie scored in front of a crowd of 24,514 in Romania to leave the Irons with everything to do at Boleyn Ground, and the task proved too difficult as a goalless draw in east London sent the winners of the Romanian Cup through.
West Ham have visited Romania again twice in recent seasons, although Hammers fans will want to forget about the two trips.
The Irons reached the UEFA Europa League in 2015/16 thanks to their fair play record and, after beating Lusitans of Andorra and Birkirkara of Malta, faced Astra Giurgiu in the third qualifying round.
Goals from Enner Valencia and Mauro Zárate appeared to give West Ham control at Boleyn Ground before James Collins’ red card changed the course of the game.
Fernando Boldrin and an own goal from Angelo Ogbonna took the teams to southern Romania at 2-2. There Manuel Lanzini marked his debut with a goal in three minutes, but midfielder Constantin Budescu scored two goals in five minutes in the first half to secure an overall victory of 4-3.
After qualifying again for the Europa League qualifying rounds via a seventh place in the Premier League, the Irons beat Slovenian Domzale to set up a play-off meeting with Astra, who had won Romania’s Liga I title.
The first leg was played in Giurgiu and West Ham took the lead again, this time thanks to a Mark Noble penalty, before Denis Alibec equalized with a powerful finish.
The Hammers dominated the second leg at London Stadium, but couldn’t score, and were knocked out by Filipe Teixeira’s goal at halftime.
Surprisingly perhaps, West Ham has never encountered any Romanian opposition for a friendly match.
The Royal Engineers – commonly referred to as “sappers” – are the body of the British Army which provides military engineering and other technical support to the British armed forces. They also play soccer.
Formed in 1863, Royal Engineers AFC is based in Chatham, Kent, and, by the 1870s, was one of the best English football teams.
The Royal Engineers were known for their exceptional team play and skillful passing play and put them to good use to reach four FA Cup finals in the span of seven years between 1872 and 1878.
In 1875, the Sappers had their finest hour, beating Old Etonians 2-0 in a revival to win the FA Cup.
Six Engineers players were selected by England and two others by Scotland. However, the advent of professionalism meant that amateur engineers, who were of course soldiers first and footballers second, struggled to maintain their position at the top of the game.
But they continued to participate, like the Royal Engineers Training Battalion, in the FA Cup.
Thames Ironworks FC met the FA Cup training battalion in consecutive seasons in 1897/98 and 1898/99, winning both occasions.
Edward Hatton and James Reid scored the goals in a 2-1 victory for the then London League side at Memorial Grounds on September 25, 1897.
Rod McEachrane and George Gresham were on the right track almost a year later as Ironworks, which had moved on to the Southern League, scored a 2-0 victory in the first qualifying round on October 1, 1898.
Surprisingly, the Ironworks faced off against the Royal Engineers – this time the skilled soldiers – for a third straight season in 1899/00.
Once again, the Hammers proved too strong, beating the Sappers 6-0 in the preliminary round, with William Joyce assisting in a hat trick and McEachrane, Kenny McKay and Reid also scoring.
Despite this setback, the Royal Engineers continued to play, winning the FA Amateur Cup in 1908, while various engineers and corps battalions won the Army FA Challenge Cup 20 times.
The most successful was the 28 Engineer Regiment, which won the Challenge Cup no less than ten times between 1981 and 2002.
The Royal Engineers also participate in the annual Army Corps tournaments against the Royal Signals, Royal Artillery, and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.
The seventh West Ham United player to represent England, left outside Jimmy Ruffell spent 16 seasons at Claret and Blue between the two world wars.
Born in Doncaster in August 1900, Ruffell moved south and played for local clubs Essex Road School, Manor Park, Fullers, Chadwell Heath United, Manor Park Albion, East Ham and Wall End United, before West Ham did. sign of the Ilford Electricity Board work team in March 1920.
His first-team debut came two days after Christmas 1921, when he won a 3-2 home victory over Bury in the former Second Division.
Ruffell’s first goal for the Club came nine months later, on September 2, 1922, when he scored the winner at Bradford City.
The 1922/23 season saw the winger score seven times as West Ham won promotion to the Premier League and reached the FA Cup final for the first time. an estimated 300,000 crowd at the all-new Wembley.
Ruffell thrived in the top flight, scoring 104 goals over a seven-year span between 1925 and 1932, when the Hammers were relegated, despite making 15 strikes in 39 appearances.
His consistent form earned Ruffell a call-up to England in April 1926, when he played alongside former West Ham teammate Syd Puddefoot in a British Championship home loss to Scotland at Old Trafford – the first of six senior selections.
Ruffell remained loyal to the Hammers after their demotion and, by the time he left for a short stint at Aldershot in 1937, he had amassed a club record of 548 appearances – a record that was not broken until 1973 by Bobby Moore – and scored 166. goals.
Rushden & Diamonds
Rushden & Diamonds FC has only been around for 19 years.
Formed by the merger of Rushden Town and Irthlingborough Diamonds by Max Griggs, owner of the shoe company Dr. Martens, in 1992, the new club entered the Southern League and won two promotions in three seasons to reach the National Conference.
On August 9, 2000, West Ham United visited the club’s purpose-built Nene Park Stadium for a pre-season game, with Paolo Di Canio scoring a hat-trick and Davor Suker also scoring in a 4-2 victory which also included the first current. team coach Stuart Pearce and youngsters Frank Lampard and Joe Cole.
One title saw the Diamonds claim a place in the Football League in 2001, and a successful first season ended in a final play-off loss to Cheltenham Town at the Millennium Stadium in May 2002.
A year later the Northamptonshire-based club won the Third Division title and three months later were drawn to face newly relegated West Ham United in the League Cup first round.
At the time, the first round was a draw, rather than two sets, and Rushden & Diamonds went to the Boleyn Ground on August 13, 2003.
While some might have predicted an upset, Glenn Roeder’s side avoided potential banana peel and advanced to the second round in front of a relatively small crowd of 13,715.
Jermain Defoe gave the Irons the lead before David Connolly scored two goals on either side of Onandi Lowe’s consolation.
Rushden & Diamonds were relegated at the end of the 2003/04 season, and, after being sold by Griggs to a group of supporters, fell out of the Football League in 2005/06, never to return.
In July 2011, the club went into administration.