Welcome to the Private memorabilia collection of 'theyflysohigh'
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My recollections of my visits to the Bobby Moore sports shop are somewhat more vivid than my actual early matches attended at the Boleyn Ground.
My Dad, Bill, first took me to see the Hammers when I was three years of age in season 1962/63. When people ask me what my first game was I haven’t got a clue.
But ask me of my visits to the shop I can tell you exactly what I was treated to. I must have been a good boy because I distinctly remember a selection of black and white player portraits, Moore, Hurst and Sissons were some of the photos obtained.
Later, one Christmas, I was bought a pair of white socks. Mum subsequently MADE me a pair of white shorts and then, three months later, the home shirt for my birthday! The full kit was paraded for the first time over Hackney Marshes one Sunday morning for a kick-about with my Dad when I announced that “when I grow up Dad, I'm gonna play for West Ham”. He replied "You'll end up here like everyone else"!
That mid 60s kit was stunning and remains my favourite to this day. I’ve never been a jealous person, but I was gutted when a mate of mine, who used to go to West Ham no more than once a season, came to school one morning clutching a personally signed 'Bobby Moore Book of Football' by the great man himself.
His Dad had taken him to the shop the day before for a treat. What luck!
Another former Hammer who ran a side line was former West Ham United youth player from the late 1950s and Millwall legend, Harry Cripps. In the early 1970s tough tackling Harry opened a paint shop in Ilford High Street.
Before the days of Champions League competition and inflated wages many of the stars of the top flight game would set up businesses, whilst still playing, to help secure their financial security.
In the 1970s I recall Harry Redknapp venturing into menswear, Geoff Hurst and his sportswear brand Unique Sports, and ex-Hammer Harry Cripps tackling the DIY market with his paint shop. But many Hammers’ fans of this era will recall Bobby Moore’s Sportswear shop, opposite the Boleyn Ground. Nestled in between residential houses it looked a modest affair, but of Bobby’s commercial enterprises his shop was one of his longest running and most rewarding.
542 Green Street
For any young Hammers’ fans attending Upton Park on match day in the 60s and early 70s, the Bobby Moore Sportswear shop was a treasure trove not to be missed. In a time before replica shirts were mass-produced, the shop’s stock of football gear and memorabilia was an Aladdin’s cave. The “Bobby Moore” biography written by Jeff Powell includes an insight to how the Bobby Moore Sportswear shop was set up and how it turned into a little gold mine.
Jack Turner, who can be described as Moore’s business manager and financial adviser, helped establish the West Ham United captain's sportswear shop. The premises were situated inside a small house directly opposite the main entrance to West Ham United’s ground which Turner had been using as a warehouse for an unsuccessful venture into football boot manufacturing. Bobby Moore Sportswear turned into one of Moore’s most successful business enterprises.
Just how well is explained in Jeff Powell’s book:
542 Green Street viewed from the Boleyn Ground
The sports shop was already progressing well. Under the expert management of Tina’s mother (Bobby’s mother-in-law), Elizabeth, and with the help of Bobby’s frequent attendance behind the counter, the fans flocked in. Consistently, down the years, it made Bobby as much as he was earning from his football, doubling a salary which was itself constantly increasing as his reputation grew.
Opened in 1961, Bobby Moore’s Sportswear shop stayed open for over a decade and closed around the time Bobby transferred to Fulham in 1973.
A piece of advertorial in the Newham Recorder celebrated the shop’s 10 year anniversary in November 1971.
The newspaper feature included an image of Bobby with his shop manager, Mr. Squibbs, and explained how his shop catered for more than football fans. Bobby Moore Sportswear also looked after those who preferred tennis, squash, badminton, cricket and swimming. But going back to the football gear on offer, his shop was ahead of the times as it offered complete kits of all First Division clubs and could supply team strips for schools, youth teams and soccer clubs.
Newham Recorder Advertorial - November 1971
Special offers were also available. Bobby advertised a new service for local soccer teams where he would collect, wash, fold and press the team’s kit – all for £1 a strip.
Another unique offer coincided with 1971’s Christmas: West Ham United’s colours in a special presentation box. If only we could turn the clock back 46 years and pop in again!
Football Kit Cleaning Service
West Ham United kit in presentation box
I loved that hooped shirt - Roger Hillier
Bill and Rob Jenkins’ Physiotherapy Clinic
In the doorway to the right of Bobby Moore’s shop in the image above, you can see a “Physiotherapy Clinic” sign. At the time this photo taken in the 1980s, these were the second premises of West Ham United’s physio, Rob Jenkins.
Rob’s father Bill became the Hammers’ physio back in 1958 and six years later Rob joined him as his apprentice. Together they set up their first clinic directly above Moore’s Sportswear shop before later moving their clinic into the premises next door.
Fans Anecdotes of Bobby Moore’s Sportswear Shop
The following are three Irons’ fans recollections of visiting Bobby Moore’s shop on Green Street.
A Peter Bonetti Goalkeeper’s Shirt : Andrew Loveday
Bobby Moore Book of Football - Autographed by Moore : Vic Lindsell
From 1958 up until Rob Jenkins broke his association with the club in 1990, an estimated 150 first-team players would have visited the clinic opposite the Boleyn Ground for treatment. The Jenkins would typically be busy leading up to Saturday's game and then again post-match on the Sunday.
In March 1990, after 1,750 matches Rob stood down as first-team physio Though he continued to run the clinic for the local community and ex-Hammers stars including Geoff Hurst, Trevor Brooking, Billy Bonds and Frank Lampard Sr. In 2015 the builders moved in and converted the most famous clinic in east London into new flats.
Bill Jenkins gives heat treatment to Jack Burkett
It's no good son, I'm going to have to put you out of your misery
Rob Jenkins and goalkeeper Peter Grotier
where does it hurt
I lived within spitting distance of Upton Park & Green Street from 1969 to 1987 so would have passed and looked in the shop window many times during the early 1970’s.
However, I only remember ever buying anything in there on one occasion and that would have been around the start of the 1971/72 season.
I purchased a replica Peter Bonetti goalkeeper’s shirt and a pair of goalkeeper’s gloves. I bought the shirt because it was different in that although it was the traditional green colour but it had a black collar and black shirt cuffs, which made it distinctive as Goalkeepers at the time almost universally wore a plain green top. The replica shirt did not carry any Chelsea badge / initials etc as I very much doubt that I would have bought it if it had.
The gloves were a quite thick pair of a polyester type material in fairly bright orange and on the back of the fingers were strips of table tennis pimples, presumably stuck there to aid punching the ball.
The other thing about the shop that sticks in my mind is that the shop had a pull-down awning to keep the sun out of the shop window.
What made it special was that it was Claret & Blue striped with Bobby Moore written across it. This awning survived several changes in occupancy of the shop and may well have still been in situ into the 1990’s.
My first memory is of buying Martin Peters’ first biography “Goals from Nowhere” in 1969. I visited the shop on a match day and saw the book displayed in the shop window and advertised as “last of stock”. Without a moment’s hesitation I entered the shop and bought the book for a heavily discounted price. I opened up the book to find an added bonus, it was signed by Peters. Not some ineligible scrawl favoured by today’s players, but a clear and carefully written signature.
Two years later and close to Geoff Hurst’s testimonial in 1971-72 season was the time of my second anecdote.
Pre-match, I was in the shop and noticed a colour poster of the West Ham United squad all posing in Geoff Hurst’s sportswear tracksuits. Since then I have never seen this rare group photo and regret not having asked the shop assistant if I could have the poster when they had finished with it. A rare, and most likely extinct, piece of West Ham United memorabilia from over 40 years ago.
The third recollection was of buying a West Ham shirt, the second strip of blue with two claret hoops. The shirt lasted many years and I continued wearing it as a training top during my athletics career. Eventually, after countless washes it disintegrated. I wish I had kept the shirt’s Bobby Moore Sportswear label.
Martin Peters’ Biography, a West Ham Shirt & West Ham Squad Poster : Roger Hillier
Other West Ham Players’ Commercial Ventures
Harry Redknapp and R&J Menswear
In 1971, winger Harry Redknapp opened up “R&J Menswear” - a shop selling a “variety of shirts, knitwear, etc, to suit everybody’s taste and pocket”.
The R&J advertisement read that the shop provided “the relaxed atmosphere that surrounds R&J’s makes shopping a pleasure”.
The 1970s advert explained that prices ranged from £27.50 for a three-piece dinner suit to £50 for the man who was looking for something really special.
It sounds like Harry Redknapp honed his wheeling and dealing skills in menswear before turning to football’s transfer market.
Harry Redknapp serving team mates Clyde Best,
Bobby Ferguson and Bryan Robson
Geoff Hurst and Unique Sports
West Ham and England striker Geoff Hurst tried his hand at designing and distributing sportswear under the brand name Unique Sports. The brand specialised in football boots, trainers and tracksuits.
Harry Cripps and his Paint Shop
Support photographs courtesy of Dave Alexander, Paul Ford and Andy Little
Uwe Seeler and Geoff Hurst wearing Unique Sports track tops
On the occasion of Geoff’s testimonial match in November 1971, West Ham United versus a European XI, both squads warmed up wearing Unique Sports track suits, many personalised with the player’s initials, and posed for pre-match squad photos in the gear.
Below is an image of Hurst with the 1966 West Germany World Cup star Uwe Seeler, modelling Geoff’s company’s tracksuits as the captains for the night lead out their respective teams.
Later in another commercial enterprise Geoff joined forces with Martin Peters to form a successful joint venture into the warranty insurance market.
Bobby behind the counter
First in line on store opening day, Harry Cripps and Dennis Burnett watch on as 9-year-old Andy Little shakes hands with West Ham United captain Bobby Moore.
Handwritten note from Bobby Moore to Graham Bullock who wanted to purchase a tie for 7/6
Image courtesy of Graham Bullock