When reports emerged claiming West Ham United and Rangers were set to make history, it was the moment one family in particular had been waiting a lifetime for.
Before football was shutdown as a result of the global health crisis, West Ham were said to be lining up an historic pre-season friendly against Scottish giants Rangers in pre-season.
According to Claret & Hugh, which regularly claims to have a top level source inside West Ham – believed to be the club’s owners themselves – the Hammers want to play Rangers at the London Stadium.
The proposed match would be momentous because West Ham and Rangers have never played one another before in the 125 years the Hammers have been in existence. Rangers were founded in 1872 and West Ham in 1895.
Hammers vs Gers a dream come true for one family
It would see the Hammers come up against FA Cup heartbreaker Steven Gerrard once again.
The match would no doubt be a treat for West Ham’s Scottish contingent David Moyes, Alan Irvine and Robert Snodgrass.
But for one Scottish family it would be a dream come true.
Billy and Alan Keene have lived in Scotland all their lives, the sons of a Glaswegian mother and an East Ham father.
Memories of Upton Park are still held dear.
The connection with the claret and blue runs deep. Hailing from Cumbernauld, their junior team play in West Ham colours thanks to the Keene brothers’s dad Frank, who was once on the Irons’s books.
Cumbernauld themselves are famous for helping to produce one of the best footballers of all time, none other than Liverpool great Kenny Dalglish.
Scots by birth, Billy says he and his brother were always destined to follow the mighty Glasgow Rangers.
But the West Ham affiliation has always burned bright for the Keene family. And they would love nothing more than the West Ham vs Rangers pre-season friendly talk to come true.
The Scottish club that plays in West Ham’s claret and blue and produced Kenny Dalglish
“My English granddad was on the turnstiles at Upton Park in the years before we were born,” Billy told us at Hammers News.
“And my father was on the books of the club until the Second World War put paid to his career before it had really started. We live in Cumbernauld which has a junior team that play in claret and blue due to the connections of my father with both teams. The most famous player to come from Cumbernauld juniors was Kenny Dalglish.
“My earliest memory of West Ham is sitting in the kitchen of our Cumbernauld home listening to the game on the radio between the Hammers and Preston North End with my dad which thankfully we won 3-2. I was just about to turn 11 years old in the June of that year.
“When Cumbernauld United was starting up my dad used his connection with the club to obtain old strips to get the new junior side up and running I was lucky enough to go to Upton Park with my dad and get a kind of a VIP tour. I’ll always remember the claret and blue tiles in the changing rooms and the old leather ball hanging from the gymnasium roof.
“We have grown up all our lives with a West Ham affiliation and a love of the mighty Rangers so we are already hoping that the fixture will happen.”
While Rangers make strides in closing the gap on bitter rivals Celtic, Billy keeps a close eye on West Ham’s efforts south of the border too.
And he cannot understand why the Hammers had struggled so badly this season before football was shut down.
“I watched West Ham playing Liverpool in that Monday night game. They were so unlucky and I’ve no idea why West Ham are so far down the league on performances like that.
‘He’s no longer with us but I know he would love a mention in anything related to West Ham’
“My dad Frank and mum Janet are sadly no longer with us. But I know he would love a mention in anything related to the Hammers, he was brought up at 52 Springfield Road, East Ham which I have visited several times, with fond memories of my English nan and all my English cousins who I still keep in touch with, sadly the males of the family seem to have drifted towards Chelsea.
“My dad ended up in Scotland because when he came back from the war he ended up being barracked in Edinburgh, he met my mum in Glasgow at the dancing and there after met his future father in law who at the time was the trainer at (the now defunct) Third Lanark Football Club.
“He managed to get my dad a game for Hibernian Football Club and Third Lanark as a guest player. My dad followed all sports with a passion but his biggest love was football, he took me to Scotland vs England at Hampden and stood with me at the Scotland end with his great big England rosette on proud as punch. Great memories.
“Good luck to West Ham for the rest of the season.”