We All Follow The West Ham!

Mabel Arnold, a 100-year-old supporter of West Ham United, has more memories than most of time spent at the Boleyn Ground
100-year-old supporter Mabel Arnold has supported West Ham all her life, and still attends as a season ticket holder. She will continue to watch every home game when the Hammers move to their new home next season, and she shared with us some of her greatest West Ham memories...

One of the things I’ve most loved about coming to West Ham is meeting all the people on a matchday. You’re all laughing and watching the same thing, and some of the comments are very funny. I saw Johnny Sissons’ first game in 1962 and he used to try and shoot from all the way out on the wing. “You’ve got two left legs, John!” was one of the shouts. We all killed ourselves laughing.
I first brought my son to the football and to the Boleyn Ground when my husband was working during and after the war. For his first game, I looked down at him, and he’s fixated on the pitch and on the ground. I didn’t hear a word out of him, hardly. When half time came, he said “they’re coming out again Mum!” and he was so excited. “Isn’t it good! All these people!” When the match finished – and I’m certain we won that day because we were so happy – he said to me “can I come again Mum?” That was the start of his love for West Ham. I’ve been taking him since he was four-years-old and he’s 60 now.
When we all went to the 1964 FA Cup final, we were all invited to the dinner afterwards, as my husband used to work with the youngsters at West Ham. I helped out for a number of years as well, at the Club. After we won that Cup, the following weekend, Ron Greenwood had arranged to go down to Clapton and he took the Cup with him!
He stood it on a little table and all of a sudden, it was missing! I said to Ron “where’s the Cup gone?” and he looked as if “oh crikey!” We looked around and saw a man carrying it round the pitch with it in his arms! So he put it back down on the table and Ron said “Mabel, will you sit here so it doesn’t go walkabout again?” I thought that was handy, as I could see the FA Cup close up!
After the 1964 dinner, we were going to stay there the night, and it was very lovely. That night, Bobby [Moore] asked me to dance with him. Blimey, I only got about twelve steps forward with him and all the other women wanted him! He said to my husband Richard, “is it alright if I dance with Mabel?” because he knew we were ballroom dancing East End champions one year. Bobby asked if I could show him a few steps, and we all had a great laugh.
I said “I can’t do it in here, Bobby, we’ll need to go in private for that!” We all laughed, and Richard said “oi there, watch it!” It was hilarious!
He had two left feet, did Bobby. My new shoes I had on, he trod all over them! I said “move your feet ordinary like you do at football!” He said “I know what I’m doing at football!” We did have a great laugh.
I’ve had some great times at the Boleyn Ground and I’ve got my ticket sorted for the new Stadium too. I’m starting to struggle with the steps to my seat these days, but I’ve said to myself that I’ll make it up them to the end of the season and then at the new ground I won’t have any steps to get up! It will be sad to see it go, but it’s exciting for the Club too.  
On my 100th birthday, I had all my family with me – all my grandchildren. A couple of them, twins, flew in from their university in Belfast and they arrived 11am in the morning. Then my son said, “come on Mum, somebody wants to interview you at the Ground!” and I said, “oh, let’s have a cup of tea first!”
When my name was read out for my birthday on matchday at the Boleyn Ground, it was something I’ll never forget. That, and all my other memories here. It’s been brilliant.