In this week’s edition of our weekly throwback segment we speak to Sid, 70 and a lifelong Hammer about a supporting West Ham United through thick and thin.

“I was born just after World War Two in The East End of London in 1947 to a family full of Hammers. Although we were free from German invasion, they were still extremely hard times with rationing and poverty prevalent. It was a pretty simple life in the fact that the Dads went to work and the Mums stayed at home with kids and housework to look after. Growing up in that environment made you tough and with little in the way of entertainment, we took to the streets with a makeshift Football to kick lumps out of each other from dusk till dawn.

Our local Football club was West Ham United, of whom we would only find out the exploits of through third hand information. We always felt privileged to speak to someone who had actually been to a live match and was excited to listen to the thrills and spills of a recent encounter at Upton Park. I got to hear of a group of lads from our neighbourhood that would go to The Boleyn Ground and just listen to the noise, waiting for the cheer that signified a goal.

Finally, I tagged along one Saturday afternoon and was mesmerised by the “oooossss” and “aaaaaahhhhhsssss”, and by that first tremendous cheer that could only have been a goal. This became a ritual for season after season with my friends and me just hovering around the ground. Until suddenly, we were running and jumping around the streets as we heard the deafening cheer of a Hammers goal. We stayed at the end of each match for quite some time as well, scouring the floor for any discarded programme sheets that gave us the team line-up. Once in a while, we would bump into a familiar face who we would bombard with questions about the game, such as: How did the game go? Who scored? I could only dream of what it would feel like to experience a live game inside. At the start of the 1960’s I managed to earn a few Coppers from a part-time job that I had secured, I decided that I was going to use this money to fund my first ever game.

Unfortunately, my job prevented me from visiting the ground on match days with my friends, but I looked forward to the day that I could go through those turnstiles myself for the first time. My savings from work slowly started to dwindle away as I had to help the household. Bills would come in on a regular basis and Mum and Dad couldn’t always cope. So, occasionally I was forced to dip into my stash of coins which I kept piled high on the window sill in my room. My part-time job turned into a full-time job in the mid Sixties, but manual work on a building site still didn’t earn me much. Shortly after, my Dad had to stop working due to an injury and I had to support the family.

As we moved into the 1970’s, there was still no spare money for Football and I still longed for the day when I could see my team in a live match. We finally managed to afford a Television set early in the Seventies and even though it was black and white, watching our Hammers on Match Of The Day from our living room was pure luxury. 1975, Still living in my parents’ house and at the age of 28, I found myself in possession of an F.A Cup Final ticket. West Ham were to play Fulham at Wembley that year and incredibly, I was going. It was the best surprise present from my family that I could have imagined and after a meeting with a ticket tout I could barely take my eyes off my golden ticket.

Since my interest, so many Hammers heroes had come and gone, including our greatest Footballing son. Ironically West Ham legend and then Fulham captain Bobby Moore was to grace Wembley, but this time not in Claret and Blue. Billy Bonds, a legend in the making, was our captain and led our team out with pride. The whole experience exceeded my expectations. It was an unforgettable day, joining the crowds down Wembley Way before and after the game. To win was the icing on the cake with two goals from Alan Taylor and Billy Bonds lifting the silverware.

I’m pleased to say that my West Ham live viewing future was bright at that point. Since having a family of my own on the Eighties, I’ve managed to take my children to Upton Park and now just recently my children and grandchildren have taken me to The London Stadium. The former being the location that my growing family will watch our beloved Hammers for generations to come and to think how far I have come from gathering in Green Street to listen to the crowd roar”.