A Busy Christmas

Sportswear manager Kate Bouchard admits that demand for items in the club stores is "manic."

She admits the staff are "run off their feet" and that demand is even busier than last year.

But she can lay one rumour to rest: that Jermain Defoe shirts are outselling the others by four to one.

"Popular as Jermain's shirt is, that is not the case," laughs Kate.

But she does put him in the top four sellers along with Fredi Kanoute, Paolo Di Canio, and Joe Cole.

And this year's big seller?

"A singing football shaped sponge that plays 'Bubbles'," she says.

All of the shops are open right up to and including the 24th December with the stadium shop also open on Boxing day.

All shops are open from the 27th to the 31st, while three shops - Ilford, Lakeside, and Bluewater - are open on January 1st.

The Bluewater, Lakeside, Basildon, and Romford shops all sell match tickets.

The phone numbers are as follows:

Basildon - 01268 521212

Southend - 01702 393799

Bluewater - 01322 427230

Lakeside - 01708 890258

Ilford - 020 8533 3306

Romford - 01708 766111

Barking - 020 8591 7445

Beckton - 020 8591 7445

Mail order - 020 8548 2730