The First Hat-trick Hero (Part 1 Of Series)

22 Mar, 2024
written by Nigel Kahn

The First Hat-Trick Hero – Part One of Hat-trick Hero Series

Jarrod Bowen’s hat-trick against Brentford was the first by a West Ham player at the London Stadium since we moved into the arena in 2016. He became the 73rd West Ham United player to score a hat-trick since the 1st one, scored by William Grassam in 1900.

Billy Grassam scored four in West Ham United’s 7-0 rout of Wellingborough Town, the club’s first game after the demise of its predecessor, Thames Ironworks F.C. The match was played on September 1, 1900, in front of a crowd of just 2,000 fans at the Memorial Ground in Canning Town.

The team that day was

1 – Hughie Monteith, Scottish-born keeper, signed from Bristol City, played for two seasons before joining Bury in 1902. Starred as Bury won the FA Cup in 1903, beating Derby County 6-0

2 – Walter Trantor, a defender born in Middlesborough, was listed in the 1901 census as a boiler maker and professional footballer living in Plaistow. He left Thames to join Chatham in 1899 but rejoined the new West Ham United in time to start the new season. Left again after 1 season, joining Distillery in Belfast.

3- Charles Craig, Another Scott, Joined from Dundee and initially worked at Tates factory before jumping over to the Thames Ironworks, possibly to be able to play football for the works team. Left West Ham to join Nottingham Forest

4 – Charlie Dove, Poplar Born Star of the Ironworks team, was a shipwriter by trade. He followed his father into the Ironworks. Legend has it that West Ham’s switch to claret and blue was indirectly due to him. The story is that his father was supposed to be a sprinter of some note. At a fair in Birmingham around 1899, he was challenged to a race by a group of players from Aston Villa.  Villa were the league champion’s then and a dominant force in league football. Charlie’s father is said to have won the race and taken a supply of Aston Villas kits to settle the debt. The problem is that many reports say that the race winner, Charlie’s dad, was called Bill Dove, but Charlie Dove’s father was named George. The story may have merit, but we must acknowledge the race was held in 1899, and West Ham didn’t use Claret & Blue Kit until 1903, by which time Charlie Himself had joined Millwall, a contentious move even back then.

5 – Luke Raisbeck, Scottish-born Luke was recruited from Middlesborough for the new season. He only managed to play four games for the Hammers before departing at the end of the season. While at West Ham, he lived with Albert Kaye and his family in Benson Avenue, East Ham.  Also lodging there was the keeper Hughie Monteith.

6 – Rod McEachrane, Another Scot, is said to have stood only just over 5ft 6″ tall. He played for the Ironworks and West Ham and was the first to accumulate over 100 games between the combined clubs, scoring six times.  Worked as a Boilermaker in the Ironworks, Lived in Poplar in the same house as former Thames Ironworks coach Tom Robinson, who would rejoin the Hammers coaching staff. He left to Join Woolwich Arsenal in 1902, where he helped gain promotion and played over 300 games for the then South London-based team without scoring a goal.

7 – Fergus Hunt, born in Rotherham, Yorkshire, joined West Ham from Woolwich Arsenal; he continued to live in Plumstead and played 48 times for West Ham in 2 seasons, scoring ten goals, including 1 in this opening game, before moving back to Arsenal in 1902. He also played for Fulham later in his career.

8 – William Grassam joined the Hammers from Port Vale, lived in Canning Town while playing for West Ham. He became the first West Ham United player to score a goal and a hat trick after netting four times in this game.

9 – James Reid, Another Scott who Came from Port Vale with Billy Grassam, boarding in the same house as Grassam in Canning Town. He scored five goals in 13 games before moving on to Gainsborough Trinity.  Scored 2 Goals in this game

10 – Albert Kaye Born in Derbyshire, his first club was Sheffield Wednesday. he was signed from Chatham, along with Trantor, and stayed only the 1 season, scoring just two league goals in 14 games Lived with Luke Raisbeck and Hughie Monteith in digs in

11 – Frederick Fenton, born in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, joined from his home time club. Another who only lasted one season, playing 19 games but scoring only three goals, moved on to Swindon Town.

Billy Grassam was a Scot who had joined the Hammers from Port Vale, known as Burslem. The same season, he scored the first club hat-trick in the F.A Cup when he scored three against Clapton. Billy would play 83 games and score 44 goals before leaving us to join Celtic in 1903, playing only three times, the last being in the first game Celtic wore their now famous Green & White Hoops.

He joined Man United and Leyton before returning to West Ham in 1905, where he is now playing at the Boleyn Ground.  In 1906, Billy would score another Hat-trick, this time against Portsmouth at Fratton Park in a 4-3 defeat. His second spell with us was less prolific than his first. He managed just 24 goals in 96 games before leaving for a final season as a professional at Brentford.

Billy is among only 13 players in the club’s history to score four times in a single game. He was the first to do so, cementing his place as a club legend.

Bill Grassam is middle row far right in the suit.

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