In this week’s edition of our weekly Throwback segment, we speak to Jay, 57 and a lifelong Hammer about an exciting Cup tie from a golden era in the history of West Ham United.

“West Ham United vs Ipswich Town, Saturday 25 January 1986, F.A Cup Fourth Round was not a fixture that got the pulses of many Hammers fans racing. But for me at the age of 15, it was an incredible game because it was my first ever taste of live Professional Football.

I attended with members of my Claret & Blue-blooded family, but I was still neutral at the stage. However, it didn’t stay that way for long. West Ham were in the midst of a magical season, lying in fifth place in The Canon League Division One, the equivalent of today’s Premier League.

I didn’t really know what to expect for this upcoming experience. As we got closer to the ground there was an atmosphere that was hard to describe. Hints of expectation, excitement and even a slight touch of hostility filled the air around Upton Park.

Stepping off the bus along the Barking Road, we joined the masses en-route to the ground. I was struck by the level of claret and blue, with scarves, hats, banners, and flags in every direction, and I was fascinated by all the stalls selling badges and all forms of memorabilia. The smell of hot dogs was irresistible and the occasion got even more real when I was presented with my own hat and scarf from my uncle.

Even before I entered the Boleyn Ground, I felt this was the start of me joining family members and becoming a Hammer. We got programmes from a stall and I still have mine to this very day. The front cover depicting Tony Cottee battling with a Charlton Athletic player from the previous round, which we won 1-0 and Cottee scored the winner.

As we got closer to the turnstiles, we joined the queue to get into the Chicken Run which was a standing area in the lower East side. After going in I was transfixed by the sight that awaited me. The grass seemed to glow a vibrant shade of green. The stands looked imposing as they surrounded the playing surface and were filled with claret and blue adorned supporters.

The noise was fantastic as the players from both teams ran out, we lined up with Parkes, Stewart, Walford, Gale, Martin, Devonshire, Ward, McAvennie, Dickens, Cottee and Parris, with Goddard on the bench.

To a hardened West Ham fan or a neutral this wasn’t a memorable game and even though it finished goalless, it was a game that I will never forget as it was the start of a life that’s included West Ham United and forever will.

As we made our way out of the stadium there was a lot of glum faces with the prospect of an away replay, but I had a smile on my face that lasted all day with my experience.

The replay ended 1-1 with Cottee again scoring our goal. In those days, penalties didn’t decide the outcome so the tie went to a second replay. In that tie, we finally won 1-0 with, you guessed it, Cottee scoring the winner”.