Hat-trick Hero: David Cross

9 Apr, 2024
written by Nigel Kahn

Hat-trick Hero: David Cross

In December 1977, West Ham struggled at the bottom of the table. Nearly halfway through the season, the team sat 20th in the relegation places, and after 19 games, it had only scored 21 goals. Derek Hales, a new signing from Derby, had scored only four goals, while last season’s striker signing, John Radford, had yet to score at all.

Lyall needed to act, and Radford was moved on to join Blackburn Rovers. This allowed him to sign a new striker, and he turned to a player who had played against the Hammers only four weeks earlier for West Brom, helping to set up one of their three goals in the 3-3 draw. David Cross arrived and was put straight into the team to face the club he had just left.

Three goals in fourteen games, no wins in seven going into facing Ipswich Town at Upton Park in an easter Good Friday game, still stuck in the bottom three, against Ipswich, who were also struggling in the league.

Today was to be a Good Friday for both West Ham and David Cross as he notches his first hat trick in our 3-0 win for the club to help in our battle to survive. The very next day, West Ham faced Chelsea again at Upton Park. Cross failed to find the back of the net, but West Ham still won 3-1. He would only find the net three more times as we narrowly failed to survive and were relegated to Division 2 for the first time in 20 years.

August 1978, Notts County were the opening fixture of the next season, and West Ham couldn’t have got off to a better start, winning 5-2 with Cross notching his second Hat-trick for the club, just the start West Ham fans were hoping for as we wanted a quick return to the top flight. Only six games separated his first Hat-trick from his second.

Cross scored 18 goals in 40 league games that season, but that was not enough, as we finished two places out of the automatic promotion places.

David’s third Hat-Trick for the Hammers would come on a special night under the lights at Upton Park in the European Cup Winners Cup tie against Castlla. It was called the Ghost Game, as it was played without paying fans in attendance after trouble had occurred in the away tie in Spain.

West Ham was 3-1 down from the first Leg, and Pike scored first to get us back into the game. Cross added a second, and Paul Goddard put West Ham in front in the tie for the first time, all before half-time.

Banal, the Spanish side captain, scored the goal of the night. He thundered a second-half shot into the top corner to equalise the tie. Extra time was where Cross did the damage, scoring in either half to get the Hammers into the next round. He became the first West Ham player in the the club’s history to score a European competition hat-trick, a feat not equalled until this season by Jarrod Bowen.

 

Hat trick number four was scored away at Grimsby in April of 1981, With Cross scoring four times in a 5-1 away win as West Ham, already promoted, now secured the Division 2 title with this win.

His fifth and last Hat Trick is possibly the most famous in his career.  The now-promoted Hammers first away game of the 1981-82 season back in Division 1, against Tottenham at White Hart Lane. Spurs 1st home game since winning the F.A Cup in May but West Ham came to spoil the party, and they did it in style.

The first goal was scored from a low shot on the edge of the 6-yard area. The England keeper and new Tottenham signing was left grasping at air. The third was one of the Greatest West Ham goals scored in the 1980s, ball played into Paul Goddard by Lampard, Goddard one touch out wide to Geoff Pike, who hit a 1st-time cross on the run that Physco slammed home on the Volley.

He added a fourth to finish off the rout, which put West Ham third in the early season table.

 

After the game, Cross revealed he had given the match ball to keeper Phil Parkes who had complained after the Grimsby game that keepers never get a chance at winning match balls.

At the end of the 1981/82 season, David Cross moved on to Manchester City after scoring 97 goals in 224 appearances for the Hammers.

 

 

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