Soon after I first posted on the now mordant org, there was a very good discussion about our memories of “the great escape”. I contributed with the story of my son who, seven years old at the time and an Arsenal fan like his grandfather, watched the first win in our amazing run. For one reason and another he watched every game thereafter and became a kind of talisman. Anyway, I incurred the wrath of the reverend delMonte for my failure to ensure that my son worshipped at the claret and blue altar. When I admitted that it was indeed partly my fault, even the normally mild mannered archbishop Aycliffe saw fit to castigate me with words that to this day send a shiver down my spine.
But then, last summer whilst walking down the architecturally staggering streets of the city of Milton Keynes, who should I bump into? Only the legend that is Billy Bonds. “Look son” I said “that’s Billy Bonds, my favourite player from when I was a lad!” He didn’t believe me, so I walked up to Billy and, gentleman that he is, he gave me a few minutes of his time. My lad’s jaw dropped and when he saw that around the corner were the boys of ’66 doing a signing, he was star struck. I pointed out to him that the one’s on either end (perhaps there is truth in that rumour) were Hurst and Peters, also, I told my son, West Ham legends; and that dear old Bobby Moore should have been there too.
Later that afternoon he said to me, “Dad, when you get me a new football kit can I have a West Ham one?” The clouds parted, the sun burst through and a chorus of angels sang. “Haaaaallelujah!! Hallelujah, Hallelujah” I was onto the club shop next morning and within forty eight hours I was dropping him off at training……………in claret and blue.
“Nice kit” said his coach, who was fed up with seeing the usual big four colours. My little heart fair burst out of my chest with pride.
And so we come full circle; he will be receiving his first communion at the holy chapel of the Boleyn when we play Sunderland………… and I can’t wait!!
(Story told by El Martillo. Any other stories of conversions on the way to John Lewis or of fond memories that are West Ham related - let me know and I will post them!)