New Series: The Day I Met a West Ham Player

I’ve been thinking of a new series for the blog and have come up with an idea which we’ll call THE DAY I MET… Essentially, I want to hear from you with anecdotes of occasions when you have met West Ham players. The anecdotes can be just factual, amusing, emotional. All I ask if that they are interesting. Please don’t leave them in the comments – email them to me directly and I will post the best ones regularly. My email address is listed at the top of the right hand column.

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13 Responses to New Series: The Day I Met a West Ham Player

  1. scott says:

    I once met Shaka Hislop, asked him for an autograph and he dropped the pen.
    (This may or may not be true/funny)

  2. pjd says:

    i met paolo di canio at a book signing,i was with my father and my nephew.when paolo saw this he asked his agent to take a photo of all of us with him and said it was an honour to have three generations of hammers fans present.he was an absolute gentleman and the photo has pride of place in my home.he was quite a good player too …..

  3. Martin says:

    Scott–whether it was true or not it made me laugh–short and sweet and very funny

  4. Chris says:

    In a club, a friends sister’s accidently stepped on Frank Lampard Jr’s foot and he turned round and said ‘watch it, that foot is worth more than your life’. Fact.
    Still, best wishes to his mother.

  5. DevoDevo says:

    My mate crashed into Ray Stewart’s car.

    Neil Orr gave me a football medal at a presentation night.

    Tony Cottee’s mum knows ny mum.

    I beat Alvin Martin at pool once.

    Feel free to use any of these in your new series, iain. 😉

  6. Scott says:

    I met Shaka in a Chippy in Billericay, Jack Collison today in Lakeside, Carlos Tévez outside choice in Bluewater and Stevey Potts in HMV in Chelmsford.

  7. wickfordriver says:

    does anyone remember bak in the 60;s …the whole team would gather at fairlop cricket club to play cricket and mingle with fans,cant say i formally met anyone, but it was nice just to be standing around informally and up close to all the greats…..hurst, peters,moore, sissons bryne, brabrook to name only to name afew,…….great childhood memories….i think they did it a few years on the trot….sunny sundays in fairlop.

  8. JohnC says:

    I met Dean Ashton on holiday in Cyprus just after the FA cup final. Whilst congratulating him on being part of the best final for decades, my wife came up to us and asked who he was (she hates footy), she obviously fancied him bigtime!
    I wished him well, told him he was going to be a legend for WHU and then he promptly broke his ankle and was out for the next season.
    I have decided never to approach players again as obviously I bring them and us bad luck!

  9. Mac says:

    Bobby Moore at a post-match meal at Wembley after an international.

    I had just read Lyall’s autobiography and asked him about the piece in it where he, Peters and Hurst spanned the width of the pitch and, starting at one end, volleyed the ball to each other without it touching the ground, one touch, until they reached the other end. An amazing feat I thought. Bobby just gave me a wry smile and typical of the man, played the whole thing down, unsurprising given there were a lot of people at the table.

    Lovely bloke.

  10. OzzytheIron says:

    loved the 1st comment about Shaka – made me laugh.

    Met Anton Ferdinand & Carlton Cole at last year’s NBA Europe London game. I managed to sneak into the VIP section and was completely Star-Stunned (which dosen’t happen often) but there were:
    Anton & Carlton
    Didier Drogba (who listened to his Ipod throughout the game)
    All the NBA players
    Lewis Hammilton
    and a bunch of others.

    I said ‘Anton Ferdinand!’
    he turns ’round and saye ‘yeah alright mate’
    i said : yeah pretty good just now
    then i turned around and walked into Carlton Cole

    also JUlian Dicks before the Derby Game today where he signed my programm – seemed v. nice

    luv the one about Lampard Jr. – sounds like him

  11. Peter says:

    Around 1980, I bumped into Alan Devonshire in the toilet at the Green Man Pub Stratford (I didn’t know whether to wash my hands afterwards or what). I remember we were playing Newcastle away on the weekend, can’t remember what the result was.

  12. Chicken Run Ken says:

    West Ham’s promotion back to the old first division in 1958 that ended 24 years in the wilderness, also signalled the start of the club’s golden years. We didn’t know it then of course, but as a 12 year old who had already been indoctrinated in the tradition of family support, I had to pinch myself every day during that close season of 1958/9 to remind myself that it was real.

    Yes, we were actually in Division One. We would be seeing the mighty Wolverhampton Wanderers (who were current champions and would retain their title), Preston North End and Blackpool who boasted the legendary Tom Finney and Stanley Mathews respectively, and along with the London giants Spurs and Arsenal the mighty Man United. What a prospect!

    The reader must remember at this point, that supporting your team was a vastly different proposition than it is today. With so many different sources of information available to us we are instantly informed of even the most trivial piece of news about our heroes. In those days, information came via the club programme, local newspapers and very occasionally (major transfers and the England team), the wireless.

    We’d had a wonderful start to the season, winning at Pompey 2-1 on the opening day, then beating the champions Wolves at home 2-0 four days later, followed by a 7-2 thrashing of Aston Villa. An away draw at Molineux and a typical 4-1 defeat at Luton brought us to the eagerly awaited visit of Manchester United.

    I lived on the East Ham/Barking border as a kid and usually used to walk to the ground, but on this occasion my old man had given me a shilling so I decided to take the bus.

    As was usual in those days, one had to queue up early to ensure entry, so I caught the already crowded bus about 5 o’clock and found a spare seat upstairs. Most of my fellow passengers seemed to be going to the match and there was a general feeling of bon-homie.

    I sat next to a well dressed young man of about 17 who seemed rather detached from the general hubbub going on around him. “Are you going to the game mate?” I asked. He nodded, and smiled when I asked him if he thought we would win, “We are playing very well at the moment, so I don’t see why not” he replied.

    The bus eventually arrived at The Boleyn and we went our separate ways. I made my way to the back of the already considerable queue for the kid’s entrance to the South Bank and waited patiently for the gates to open.

    Once inside, there was the usual scramble to secure a position by the wall, and once ensconced, I settled down to soak up the atmosphere and await the kick off, which was still over an hour away.

    All the talk around me was about the great start we’d had to the season, how various players had been performing, who was injured, much the same as it is today. One old boy who I’d seen at the ground before, was talking about an injury to Bill Lansdowne, and with Malcolm Alison out with a long term problem, they were going to play a 17 year old in his place.

    The atmosphere was electric, dusk was falling, anticipation high. A magical feeling. The public address system was totally useless – unless you could afford to go up in ‘the riches’, as we used to call The West Stand – so players had to be visually identified. During the kick about I looked around for the players that I knew. There was Johnny Dick – my hero of the time – and his striking partner Vic Keeble. John (Muffin) Bond and his full back partner and skipper, Noel Cantwell, flying winger Mike Grice, Andy (The General) Malcolm, all familiar faces. I then spotted another familiar face but couldn’t put a name to him.

    A ball was kicked over to the corner where I was standing and the unidentified face came over to retrieve it. I was gob smacked. Bill Lansdowne’s replacement was the lad I had sat next to on the bus, one Bobby Moore. (As I sit here typing this, I can feel the same ‘tingle’ I felt when I recognised him).

    To be honest, the match is a bit of a blur to me now, but I do remember watching the ‘new boy’ very closely – he was the first professional footballer I had ever had a conversation with and I felt that I knew him – and remember that I was very impressed with his calm attitude and a maturity beyond his years.

    Many years later I met Bobby again, this time it was on Westcliff station when he was manager of Southend United. We got chatting and I related the above story to him, he said that he remembered that day very well because he didn’t know he was going to play. Although he didn’t recognise me (understandable), he recalled chatting on the bus! Whether he did or didn’t matters not one jot, either way, he was the perfect gentleman.

    I can’t remember when Bobby became my all time hero, probably when he started playing for England, but suffice it to say, he will never be replaced in the hearts and minds of thousands of my generation.

    And the result…? We beat Manchester United 3 – 1 and went to the top of the league! Happy days… We still miss you Bobby.

  13. Ben says:

    My grandfather, Bill Lansdowne is a former west ham footballer in the 50’s. He lives in barkingside now and is in a few west ham books.

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