Big Mal - your tributes

Hammers supporters and football fans everywhere have gathered in great number to pay tribute to club great Malcolm Allison. One of the founding sons of the 'West Ham way' and arguably one of the finest to ever wear the claret and blue, Allison's death last week has prompted a huge response to

Here prints just a small selection of the tributes received that sum up the general mood from fans young and old, some of whom never saw him play but knew what he represented.

Without Malcolm Allison's foresight and technical attributes, there would probably not have been Bobby Moore, and the Academy, and all the good things that flowed from that in terms of West Ham's success in the 1960's and its reputation for playing attractive and constructive football.

Neil Kirby, Brentwood

I am a true West Ham fan. For sixty years I have followed them and have seen many legends both on and off the field pass through those iconic gates, Malcolm Allison was one of them. We at West Ham owe him a debt we cannot repay.


Malcolm was a legend in his own lifetime and if it was not for the likes of him West Ham would never have achieved what they have. Rest well old friend, you will never be forgotten at West Ham.

John Bradley

He was one of the founders of the 'West Ham Academy' and was in many ways years ahead of his time. He was a true football man, the likes of whom will never be seen again. God bless you Malcolm... say 'Hi' to Bobby for me.

Big Micky

Larger than life
Ahead of his times
A real leader
It should never be underestimated just what his contribution was to the West Ham way
What he did for West Ham in the 1950's laid the foundation of our success that followed.

John Skinner

RIP Big Malc.

Who would have thought those chats about how football should be played, in a café near Upton Park after training, would have such a huge influence and create a legacy that lives on to this day. You Sir, created the Academy and will forever live on in the hearts and minds of all West Ham fans.

Thank you.


Malcolm Allison, the man who planted the first seed for our academy and helped create our greatest legend Bobby Moore

RIP big fella

Peter Davis

Like so many other things that are great about our national sport, they stem from the home of football's 'Academy'.

Imagine you have a club with:

Director of Football Ron Greenwood

Manager John Lyall

Head Coach Malcolm Allison

Captain Bobby Moore

You pick the other ten, ANY other ten, and I defy any true football fan not to want to pay to watch that team play.

Rest in peace Malcolm, with at least three other guys who understand you completely.

To paraphrase a national daily from February 1993, Heaven's 1st Eleven just got a big boost. The Coach has just arrived.

Hawkins Family

There was no greater man than Malcolm Allison, you will be sadly missed.

West Ham through and through.


We admired him as a coach, loved him as a TV pundit and are forever thankful for his influence in the West Ham Academy. What a combination of coach and pupil......Allison and Moore. Unbeatable!

Rest easy Malcolm

Best wishes

Chris and Eirwen Kemp

You only have to look at the England team sheet these days to see all the players with links to West Ham of one kind or another. Malcolm's groundwork laid the foundations for THE Academy of football and, as can be seen today, it is alive and flourishing therefore his legacy lives on. Its West Ham's good fortune to be linked with another football legend from that era.

Mark Webber

As a 68 year old lifelong fan, I always look back to the fifties when I first went to see my 'favourite team'. All the players in those days made a big impression on a young boy from Bow, but none more so than Malcolm Allison who was my idol. It was Malcolm above everyone who was responsible for getting the Hammers out of the second division and into the big time, and I shall never forget him.

Alan Burgess

A truly great football man. He was Bobby Moore's mentor and a great influence over him. His football thinking was years ahead of it's time and what a fantastic coach he was as well. Always wanted to play the game the way it should be played.

God bless & RIP Malcolm.

From a football fan.

Jean Langdon

The Irons have produced some great players, coaches and football people throughout their history, and Malcolm Allison must be one of the very best of all. He was a great personality when I first got interested in football as a kid in the 60's. You've either got it or you haven't, and he had it in droves. RIP.

D A Young

Big Mal was a great centre half who fitted the West Ham way and it was a massive shame illness cut his career at the Hammers so short.

People will talk about lots of things regarding Malcolm as they reminisce after his passing but I will always remember Bobby Moore saying that when he was a kid at West Ham there was one man who took real care of him from the start when others hadn't spotted his talent yet.

That man was Big Mal.

A great man. RIP.

Deniz from Hornchurch

A larger than life character, and a true football visionary. West Ham would not have been the team, with the history that I love had it not been for Malcolm Allison and the likes of Noel Cantwell and John Bond meeting up at Cassettari's cafe on Barking Road, to discuss training and instigating the Academy.

Gone too soon, but never to be forgotten.

Jason Roche

Thanks for your vision, way way ahead of your time. Thanks for steering the young Sir Bob of Barking onto his route of immortality, and laying down the foundations that led to the creation of The Academy and the standards that us IRONS hold in our hearts, its why 36,000 of us turn up every home game.

Thank You for making me proud to support the IRONS. You just can't beat it.

The Boleyn and Cassettari`s are going to miss you Big Man. I don't smoke cigars, but I will raise a glass of whisky to you this evening, and at half-time next home game.

Chicken Run Sharpy

It's a sad day as we learn of the death of one of footballs great characters. Malcolm retired just before I became a supporter in 1959 so unfortunately I never got to see him play. He was a leader and his influence on the squad in the 50's was immense. I would have loved to have been in his company when he had those get togethers with Noel Cantwell, Ernie Gregory and John Bond - all Hammers stalwarts.

John Northcutt

A big character with a big heart. A gentleman with fantastic knowledge of the game.

A top player and a fantastic coach.

Thank you for passing on your knowledge of the game,and finding some of our cluband country's top players.

RIP Big Mal

Chris Bowen

I count myself very lucky to have met, bought him a glass of red wine and spoke to him about football. It was really odd.

West Ham playing home to Villa in the 90s. I walked into the Central Pub back bar on the Barking Road around 5 o clock. I fancied a early beer, the bar was empty. I bought a beer and sat down by myself, looked across the bar to one guy sitting down having a glass of red, I remember thinking 'Brave man drinking wine in here...Jesus that's Malcolm Allison.'

My late Granddad always banged on how good he was - 'like an ox that boy, great football brain'. So feeling brave I walked over and asked him if he minded!

Absolute gent. He started to tell me in a shy way how this was the first time in over 20 years that he had been back to the Hammers. We talked about the café, the old days. It struck me that he was proud and in awe of being a part of Bobby Moore's progress.

We talked about loads of players past and present. Having watched him on TV, he always struck me as a little brash and big headed. He told his stories proudly but with great modesty. For once in my life I just sat there with my jaw on the floor.

I am sure he was thinking 'Get control of yourself lad'. We chatted or he chatted and I listened, just every now and again asking about other players or managers for over an hour.

One of my mates who had travelled up from Bristol walked into the pub, Mr Allison had lost track of time and the amount of people that had come into the pub.

He stood up and said 'Thanks for the drink, nice chatting and enjoy the game' and walked out. My buddy came over and said 'Cor that looked like Malcolm Allison'.

'It was!' I replied with a big knowing grin.

Tony Ward