Dave up for the cups

West Ham United are renowned for having some of the most passionate supporters in the country. Some fans choose to show their support by travelling the length and breadth of the country, regardless of whether it's a glorious summer's day in August or a chilly mid-winter game up north. But one die-hard fan has chosen to demonstrate his love for the club in a slightly different way.

Dave Manners has been collecting West Ham United mugs and other memorabilia for over twenty years and has amassed a collection with nearly 350 pieces in it. Despite the vast number, collecting china was not really his choice to begin with.

"My older brother is a big West Ham fan so from the day I was born 'West Ham' were the first two words I said. Then people started buying me mugs when I was eight or nine and if I ever went to the games back then I would pick up a mug from the old club shop.

"It got to the stage then that family members would go off and buy them for me as well. It got serious from about the age of 12 and I'm 34 now so I've been adding to the collection ever since."

Dave now has so many collectables that he has outgrown his house and has had to build a new area to store them in. "I've just spent £20,000 on a new log cabin at the end of my garden. That only went in last month and I'm now in the process of buying wood shelving that will go across and then get in touch with a glass maker to make it enclosed. That should look pretty impressive when it's done as that the moment they are all in the garage."

With his collection growing almost daily, you might think there would be a limit to the amount of mugs out there, but Dave says he is constantly searching for more. "I go on every different forum to talk about the collection to find out if anyone else has got a mug out there.

"The hard part is to make the difference between official and unofficial. In regards to the official mugs, which means at point they were sold through the West Ham shop or through the official means, there probably aren't that many left that I don't own. I'll be surprised if there were 15 or 20 I don't have."

With such a vast collection you might think it would be hard to have a favourite, but Dave appears to hold a few members of his collection above all others. "My favourite is one I bought from ebay and is one of the earliest official mugs ever produced. It's white and has gold around the top and bottom. I've also just bought a white FA Cup that was given out to all of the players and staff after we won the cup in 1980. There were a few left for the shop and I found the guy who owns one and bought it from him."

"I used to do some work for the club and obviously then people used to give me mugs. I went up to the training ground and met up with Harry Redknapp and Frank Lampard Senior and told them about my sad collection. One of my mugs is signed by Frank."

Dave's commitment to the world of mugs is such that he recently applied to have his collection recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest set in the world. He has also set up a website for others to view his collection and discuss any other mugs that he may be missing. It can be seen at www.davemanners.com

With the FA Cup fourth-round tie against Middlesbrough coming up, let's just hope that West Ham United can now match Dave by adding to its own collection of cups this season!


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