Question Number 2: What are some of your favorite stories from your dad’s and brother’s time in East London?
Ironically, even though I’d steadfastly decided there was no way I could possibly support West Ham after what they’d done to my Dad, my brother was still playing for them! A couple of weeks after my Dad left, Billy scored a hat-trick for the first team in a League Cup tie at home to Southend United. That was an earlier return to the ground than my Dad was expecting!
I didn’t go to that game, but I do remember going to watch West Ham reserves v Arsenal reserves the following season (1980-81) and being particularly displeased with my brother for scoring twice in a 4-2 win for The Hammers.
I recall in the car ride home telling my brother he might have scored two goals, but he still had a bad game! Our household clearly had a love of scoring against Arsenal as my Dad scored against them for West Ham in a Division One match in April 1962 (a 3-3 draw). As I wasn’t born at the time, I can forgive him for that!
Panini stickers, West Ham United, and Greg Lansdowne
It seemed like it was meant to be that in my first season as a football supporter, my chosen club, Arsenal, met West Ham, the team it seemed I was destined to support, in the FA Cup final. The day before was my birthday, so I was wearing my new Arsenal tracksuit to watch the Cup final.
By the end of the match, I was in tears, even though my brother was part of the West Ham first-team squad, so you might ordinarily have expected me to be jubilant! I recently saw a picture of Billy on the team bus going to Goodison Park for the semi-final.
Strange how I couldn’t share his joy! After the final, my Dad took me straight out to the park – in my new tracksuit – telling me I should keep my head up and still be proud of who I supported despite the disappointment. Wise words!