Today, the sad news of David Gold’s passing was announced, with the West Ham Co-Chairman living to the age of 86.
Anybody that had the pleasure of meeting David will agree that he always had time for the fans and was happy to offer support. In fact, his support of my initial ‘West Ham presenter’ showreel is one of the main reasons I’ve ended up where I am today.
While we all know him for his time at West Ham, he also has one of the most inspiring ‘rags to riches’ stories. The son of an East End criminal, who David spoke openly about, he was forced to provide for his family while his father was in prison… and that was where his journey began.
Here are 6 things you might not know about David Gold.
1. He was brought up on Green Street
After being born in Stepney, David Gold was brought up in East London at 442 Green Street. This was just a two-minute walk from the Boleyn Ground and is now home to a shop called ‘Mr P. Taste of Home Takeaway’.
2. His family life was not simple
This is putting it mildly. His father, who later in life went on to steal David’s shares, led a life of crime. Known as ‘Goldy’, David’s father was a getaway driver for a gang that hauled a barge off the Thames and up Greenwich Creek, with the aim of unloading £75,000 worth of copper ingots. Goldy was caught when he fell asleep in the cab of his lorry, stopping the gang’s escape and resulting in them being caught by the police.
3. He had an eye for a business opportunity
From a young age, David wanted to support his mother to get them out of poverty. He began by helping her sell buttons from a stall outside their house. After this, they converted the front room into a card and sweet shop. David went on to run a book kiosk in Charing Cross and go into publishing, before launching the Ann Summers brand. As this grew in popularity, David launched The Sunday Sport, before buying a stake in West Ham United in 2009.
4. He played for West Ham’s Youth Team
As a left-footed, fast winger, Gold was selected for every game between the ages of 13 and 16 for West Ham boys. At 16, he then progressed into the West Ham ‘A’ team, playing alongside first year professionals and seniors looking to make their way back after injuries.
5. His Dad refused to let him sign as a professional footballer for West Ham
David Gold was offered an apprenticeship to sign as a professional footballer for West Ham’s first team, however his father refused to sign the paperwork, as he wanted him to finish his apprenticeship as a bricklayer.
He continued to pursue the dream of playing football until the age of 21, when he decided to prioritise working in his shop on Saturdays, as that was his busiest day.
6. He bought the oldest surviving FA Cup trophy
In May 2005, David bought the oldest surviving FA Cup trophy for £488,620, explaining that he wanted to make sure it could be preserved as a piece of history that stayed within the country. After purchasing it, he then asked the National Football Museum to display it, so visitors could enjoy it until it was sold in 2020.
RIP David Gold
While there is no denying that ownership of a football club can bring criticism, there is also no denying that David Gold loved West Ham. Thanks for everything David x