Last summer the “Galacticos” of Real Madrid rolled into Houston to play Bayern Munich in a star-studded, historic match in Houston soccer history in front of a packed house at NRG Park.
The secret here is that most in attendance, and probably playing, had no idea this was the second visit to Houston by Real Madrid and it would take 52 years, 3 months and 11 days later before “Los Blancos” returned to Houston from their first visit.
A bit blurred but a bit special too…1967. #westham #realmadrid pic.twitter.com/6bylEWd37G
— Tim Crane (@EXHammersMag) July 30, 2019
Lets jump in to our “Houston Soccer History” time machine back to April 1967 and Judge Roy Hofheinz’s “8th Wonder of the World” the Houston Astrodome. Hofheinz had served as Mayor of Houston and began to get into sports with the Houston Colt .45s baseball team, and was a visionary with the first domed stadium which opened in 1965.
This was the first ever professional match in the Astrodome and first ever match indoors and in a domed stadium. And who did it feature but none other than reigning European Cup Champions Real Madrid against West Ham United of England First Division.
Real Madrid would go on to win the match, 3-2, with Gento starring and the teams scoring 3 goals in the opening nine minutes of play in front of 33,351 fans. Real Madrid would get goals from Amancio, Jose Veloso, and Ramon Grosso.
#OnThisDay in 1967 West Ham were defeated 3-2 by the great @realmadriden in the Houston Astrodome ⚒ #WHUFC pic.twitter.com/r39HcgAcOx
— West Ham United (@?) (@WestHam) April 19, 2016
West Ham came in as a mid level team in England which was surprising as they had names like Bobby Moore (who one year earlier lifted the 1966 FIFA World Cup as Captain of England), Geoff Hurst (hat trick in World Cup final against West Germany in 1966 and only man to do it in World Cup history), and Harry Redknapp who would go on to a long managerial career as well.
West Ham were managed by Ron Greenwood, who later took England to the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain. Moore, Hurst, John Sissons would all come to play in the United States at the end of their careers.
In fact, Moore would play for the San Antonio Thunder in Texas and later become and assistant coach with Rodney Marsh at the Carolina Lightning in the ASL. Hurst would play for the Seattle Sounders and Sissons in Tampa Bay with the Rowdies.
Real Madrid v West Ham United at the Houston Astrodome pic.twitter.com/CEKg0jwACQ
— The League Magazine (@Theleaguemag) July 19, 2015
I would love to have been transported back in time to that day to have witnessed this live!
As a young kid I remember one of my Uncles had driven to Texas to see the “8th Wonder of the World” and he would visit in New Jersey, where I grew up in his VW Camper with my Aunt and tell these amazing stories about the Dome!