Thursday, May 26

Gatekeeping at the Boleyn in the 1930s

A nostalgic tale of life at the Boleyn Ground comes via the poet and working glasses hero John Hegley. John's mate Terry Allchin tells this story about his grandfather:

"My family connection with the club was through my Granddad, my mum Elsie's dad. (Elsie is soon to be 101-years-old.) My grandad was a gate-man, steward, painter of white lines on pitch, erector of goalposts and any other jobs going in the 1920s and 1930s at the Boleyn Ground. This was the era when footballers earned a couple of quid a week (supposedly) and it was his delight to have the task of slipping them an envelope with something extra inside on their way out after the game. On Sundays there was a standing invitation for any of the team that wished to come round to our place in East Ham, just a few streets away from the ground, for afternoon tea (and beer) and Mum says the front room was always packed during the season. This went on till the Second World War when he was killed in an air raid."

Love the story about the players all coming over for Sunday drinks…

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