John made 381 first team appearances between 1950 and 1966, scoring 32 times. He was a member of the 1957/58 side that won promotion from Division 2 and the side which won the FA Cup in 1964. John also played with some of West Ham’s greatest players – Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters, Ronnie “Ticker” Boyce, Ken Brown, Phil Woosnam and Vic Keeble. I could go on forever.
On hearing the news I started to recall all of my happy memories when I watched Muffin, as he was affectionately known by the fans, from my vantage point of the shelf in the North Bank. The shelf was approximately where the big screen is today adjacent to where the away supporters are seated.
The game that stood out from all others was on 19th April 1958 we played Liverpool in our last home game of the season. We needed a win to keep up our promotion challenge.
Billy Liddell scored for Liverpool and time was ticking away. With a few minutes to go we got a free kick in a central position about 25/30 yards from goal. The pitch was a sea of mud, like a ploughed field. The crowd were restless as this was our last opportunity to level the score. With one voice the crowd roared “give it to Muffin.” Up steps John “Muffin” Bond and thumps the waterlogged leather ball into the net. The keeper never had a chance. I was 11at the time and can remember this moment as if it was yesterday.
We drew the match 1-1 which meant we had to go to Middlesborough the following Saturday and win to be sure of promotion. And win we did!
This is just one of my happy memories of “Muffin.” I hope you enjoyed sharing it with me.
RIP John Frederick Bond the West Ham legend who died yesterday aged 79
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