theyflysohigh : Steve Marsh

Welcome to the Private memorabilia collection of 'theyflysohigh'

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It all began at the start of the 1968-69 season, the acquisition of my first matchday programme 17th August 1968 West Ham United v. Nottingham Forest. A game which saw Geoff Hurst scoring the only goal of the match, even a 1-4 home reverse against Everton two days later didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for my new found passion West Ham United and memorabilia associated with the Claret and Blue. By then It was too late, I was hooked.


Happy collecting and remember...


          Todays throw away is Tomorrow's Collectable

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This site is dedicated to all collectors of

West Ham United Memorabilia

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Last Updated : 10 July 2020

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The hardest decision a collector of football memorabilia is likely to have to make is what to collect. For me, it was a case of trying to draw a line under what not to collect. Thankfully for me I didn’t succumb to that decision.

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Pictorial History of West Ham United programmes

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After being founded as an amateur works team for the Thames Iron Works and Shipbuilding Company in Canning Town, Thames Ironworks FC turned professional on entering the Southern League in 1898. As the club sought to become ever more competitive, professional players were signed from all over the country, with the Southern League Second Division title being won at the first attempt in the spring of 1899.


The following season, 1899-00, the Hammers needed a play-off victory over Fulham to retain their First Division status, and it was clear further improvements were needed if the club was to continue on an upward trajectory.


125th Anniversary Birth of a Footbal Club 1900-01 Minute 001 1900-01 Minute 003 1900-01 Minute 002

Off the field, meanwhile, Thames Iron Works owner Arnold Hills wanted to acquire engineering firm John Penn & Sons in a takeover. To raise capital to finance the deal, Hills decided to turn the Thames Iron Works and Shipbuilding Company into a public company, preventing him from using company money to fund Thames Ironworks FC in the future.


In spring 1900, proposals for a ‘reorganisation’ of the football club were published in the West Ham Guardian newspaper, followed by details of a share offer which would fund the new club. Hills offered four thousand, ten-shilling (50p) shares in the new public limited company, whose headquarters were based at 55 Barking Road, Canning Town. The philanthropic businessman also offered the use of the Memorial Grounds in Plaistow – the stadium he build for the club in 1896 – for a nominal rent.


Anticipating the share offer would be under-subscribed, Hills promised to match the sale by buying one for himself for every other share purchased, while any fan who bought ten shares was promised a position on the Board of Directors. It was hoped that at least 2,000 supporters would buy shares but even the ten-shilling price was out of the reach of many local people. Regardless, the reorganisation went ahead and Thames Ironworks FC was wound up and resigned from the Southern League in June 1900.


A new club, West Ham United, was formed almost immediately and incorporated as a company on this day 5 July 1900 as dated on the official certificate of incorporation. However, the minutes of West Ham United’s first Board meeting, held five days later at 55 Barking Road, reveals the Secretary had reported incorporation of Company on July 9th 1900.

Whatever the date, the pioneering board of directors who would supervise the fledgling football club were A. Brown, J.W. Cearns, G.C. Fundell, G.C. Handley, G.J. Hone and C.E. Osborn (chairman).


The directors’ first task was to recruit Abraham ‘Abe’ Norris as trainer at 35 shillings per week (£1.75p). A number of the players from the Thames Ironworks club were also taken on, as many were still employed at the shipyard. The former Ironworks players who would play a part over the coming season were goalkeeper Tommy Moore, defenders Syd King, Charlie Craig, Charlie Dove and George Neil, half-backs Robert Allan and Roderick McEachrane, and forwards Fred Corbett, Frank Taylor and Len Walker.


King, of course, would go on to become one of the most-important figures in the club’s history, being appointed as the first manager in 1902 and holding the post for three decades. In addition, a number of new players were signed to bolster the squad, including Scotsmen Billy Grassam and Jimmy Reid, who shared six of the goals in the 7-0 Southern League First Division victory over Gravesend in the new club’s inaugural fixture.


The rest they say is history......



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These are authentic match notes for some of the most famous games of the modern era in my own original style. This is what I look down on at kick off.


I made my radio commentary debut in 1976.1 delivered my first television commentary in 1989.1 have hand-written a chart like this for every match. The style, the lay-out and the colour coding have changed little in that time. Commentators are creatures of habit and, even though I could compile the same range of information on a computer spreadsheet, the manual copying out remains part of the learning process.


The neat and precise design of the charts is also a psychological prop. Their tidy appearance provides a kind of comfort blanket, a mental confirmation that I have prepared fully.

Fail to prepare, and you prepare to fail.

Names and title information are always in black, player and match data in blue, goal statistics in red and miscellaneous material in green. I write the charts with standard biros and file them all away for future reference after each match.


I first visited the Boleyn Ground in Upton Park as an away supporter many moons ago and it always possessed a uniquely rousing atmosphere. A winger had to virtually weave between the West Ham fans on the Chicken Run because they were so close to the action.


When the Main Stand was rebuilt, someone had the bright idea to position the television camera gantry at the very rear and the stadium lost some of its intimacy for me. West Ham never seemed like 'a London club'. Walking up the Barking Road past the sculpture of the three World Cup heroes, I always felt that the club belonged to the traditional towns of the east London suburbs.


From the moment the Manchester United coach arrived chaotically late, this was a special night of nostalgia and passion. The visitors led with 15 minutes to go but Winston Reid crowned a Hammers' comeback to sign off the old stadium with a fitting 3-2 win.

Commentary charts are unique to each commentator. We all prepare a little differently. There is no right or wrong way. This is my way.


West Ham United v. Manchester United

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