It’s the year that will always be remembered for England lifting the World Cup.
But while most football fans think of Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst when reminiscing about 1966 – Albion supporters have equally fond memories of John Kaye and Graham Williams.
This Thursday marks the anniversary the Baggies won the League Cup for the first and, so far, only time in their history.
It was on March 23, 1966, that Jimmy Hagan’s side eventually topped West Ham over two legs in a pulsating final.
But it wasn’t just that gripping encounter which had Albion fans on the edge of their seats.
Entering the competition for the very first time, Hagan’s men knocked out neighbours Walsall in the opening round.
The 3-1 victory at The Hawthorns was watched by 41,000 spectators – a competition record at the time.
And the goals continued to flow with the Baggies beating Leeds 4-2, Coventry 6-1, Villa 3-1 and Peterborough 6-3 on aggregate to secure a place in the final.
Hagan’s men entered the showpiece game as slight underdogs with West Ham boasting soon-to-be World Cup winners Moore, Hurst and Martin Peters in their side.
And it was Ron Greenwood’s men who took a first-leg lead thanks to goals from Moore and Johnny Byrne.
Jeff Astle grabbed a consolation for the Baggies as they headed back to The Hawthorns 2-1 down.
And back on home turf they quickly made light work of their London rivals.
Striker Kaye levelled the aggregate scores with a right foot shot that nestled inside the top corner.
Tony Brown – who had scored in every round – then nodded the hosts ahead in the tie as he nipped in to head over Jim Standen.
The 31,925 crowd then saw Albion go further ahead thanks to Clive Clark’s diving header with less than half an hour played.
Skipper Williams scored with a long-range strike that flew in off the post as Hagan’s men ran riot.
The Hammers did go on to get consolation through Peters, but it was the Baggies who were thoroughly deserving of the silverware.
Ever since, West Ham fans have famously claimed their side then went on to win the World Cup due to the key role their players played in Sir Alf Ramsey’s 1966 triumph.
It was Albion though who kicked on from that League Cup victory.
Not only did the win secure their place in the Fairs Cup for the 1966/67 season – their first taste of competitive European football – they also went on to appear in three more finals over the next four years – with the Baggies losing the League Cup showpiece in 1967 and 1970 but winning the FA Cup in 1968.Subscribe to our Newsletter