Nigel Kahn’s Column
As many of you know, I am a collector of West Ham memorabilia. Or ‘crap’ as my wife would say.
Housed in my shed, I’ll admit I have a large collection of all different things. Basically, if it has a West Ham logo on it, or it’s attached to West Ham in any way, I’m interested in it.
I am often asked though how I started collecting and what got me into it. Basically, it started with the match day programme. Every game my uncle would buy me a programme, which I kept as a memento of the game. Back then it was handy sized, especially for a kid’s hands. It could fit in a pocket and didn’t have 30 pages of adverts. It basically told you news, both ticket and team, games coming up, and a small history section which is where my love of the history of the club stemmed from. Not forgetting a couple of pics from the previous game and the info on the team we were playing. Once I got through Bill Remfry’s (club DJ back in the day) column, I was basically as happy as a pig in s***.
I am a hoarder but at the age of seven I didn’t know it. I kept everything I had to do with West Ham and football in general. As a kid, I got every week bought for me, again by my uncle, Shoot & Match Weekly magazine. Match started in September 1979 and my mum said I was only allowed to keep one, the other had to go once I had finished reading it, so I kept Match as I had No1. I still have issue 1 now, along with every other issue up to 1988 when I was 18. I then decided I was a bit old for Match Weekly. I don’t know if it was a kid’s football mag but at 18 I suppose I had to grow up at some point.
The appearance of Match in 1979 coincided with West Ham’s run to the cup final, so it made receiving the issues even sweeter as they often focused on West Ham.
Of course, though, I was still keeping my programmes. I moved onto put them in binders to stop them being damaged. The size changed in 1983, not for the better if you ask me. It is not about being misty-eyed in remembering the small programme but it basically did everything we needed from a programme. It listed the 11 starters for both teams in the middle pages as well as telling us who the one mascot was. I was one of those kids armed with a pen that crossed out those not playing and inserted in my scruffy handwriting the names of the replacement.
The match fact section didn’t really tell us about the games but it just listed the Youth team lineup and result – names we didn’t know, like Houghton or Cowie, but hopefully we would. Sadly, Houghton, we would know about, just not playing for us. A Scottish born Irishman learning his trade at West Ham. I’m sure there is a joke there, apart from the fact we let him go. Cowie was George by the way. He never made it for us, or anywhere else that I can remember. But to this day I know I can use these programmes to look back, especially at the youth match facts and see how prolific Tony Cottee was as a 16-year-old, and I can remember the first time I read his name.
As collecting goes, there’s no real value to most programmes, as collecting them is very popular, though living a short stroll from the ground does have its bonuses in that department.
I have a Boxing Day programme from 1979 West Ham at home to Birmingham City, nothing out of the ordinary, except the game was postponed in the morning, I was so upset my uncle took me up to the ground to prove it, where I bought a programme for the game that was later played in April. You know the game, the one where Bonzo was sent off for fighting Colin Todd and nearly missed the cup final. Yup, imagine if he had missed the cup final for that reason, sent off in a game that should have been played before we even started the Journey to Wembley.
So Parents, if you have a football-mad kid and he wants to start collecting, start with programmes, but be warned, over 40 years later their wives may not be thanking you.
Next week I’ll try to share with you some of my unique items that are in my collection, that include West Ham bottled water, (unopened) and even plastic carrier bag collection.
Yes, people, I am that Mad/sad or both.
Lastly, I’m not a great football shirt wearer now, but this season the club have come up trumps with the new kits. We all have our own take on the home kit and the traditional colours of it (shorts) but the away is special, and the fact it comes sponsor free as well. If you want I love, just need to replace the bag on it and it would be a true winner, though sky blue shorts with the white shirt was actually the away kit from 1980. I don’t know why we wore all white in the final as I don’t remember us playing in the all-white away kit in 79/80 until the semi-final.
If you don’t like them, just be rest assured, they will only be here for a season, unlike the good old days or 5 or 6.