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West Ham Cottee: Memories of my Dad and the legend that is Billy Bonds

PUBLISHED: 12:00 26 April 2017

West Ham legend Tony Cottee

West Ham legend Tony Cottee

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Our Hammers columnist is mourning the death of his inspirational father this week

Tony Cottee scores against Spurs Tony Cottee scores against Spurs

I would like to start this week’s column with some sad personal news.

My dad Clive, the reason I have been a lifelong West Ham fan, sadly died over the weekend.

It was he who brainwashed me from such a young age into being a Hammer, he took me on the North Bank at Upton Park and I have been hooked on the club now for over 50 years.

He was a proper fan. He was at the 1964 FA Cup final and European Cup Winners’ Cup final the following year.

Everton's Ross Barkley (left) and West Ham United's Havard Nordtveit battle for the ball during the Premier League match at London Stadium. Everton's Ross Barkley (left) and West Ham United's Havard Nordtveit battle for the ball during the Premier League match at London Stadium.

When I became a player, he followed me all over the world to see me play and was such a vital part in my career.

I was with him when he died in the hospital and I will miss him very much.

I guess the least said about Saturday’s game the better as it was no spectacle, but we set out to stop Romelu Lukaku scoring and we did just that.

Bearing in mind the amount of injuries we had and playing against a good team, I think it is a fantastic result and though we are still not mathematically safe, we took another stride towards it.

West Ham captain Billy Bonds takes to the air to volley the ball goalwards in the First Division match against Everton (who won 1-0 at Upton Park.  Goalkeeper Dai Davies (putting up hands) was able to deflect the shot. West Ham captain Billy Bonds takes to the air to volley the ball goalwards in the First Division match against Everton (who won 1-0 at Upton Park. Goalkeeper Dai Davies (putting up hands) was able to deflect the shot.

Havard Nordtveit had his best game for the club on Saturday and I think the problem with him was we didn’t know his best position.

I think we do now and I see him as a good squad man next season.

N’Golo Kante was voted the footballer of the year at the weekend and you will get few arguments from me.

I prefer the flair players myself like Eden Hazard, but there is no doubting what a great contribution he makes.

He won the title last year and he looks like doing it again this time round.

Talking of awards, I see that Billy Bonds is being inducted to the National Hall of Fame and I have to say it is thoroughly deserved.

When I first started watching West Ham, Bill was my hero and I worshipped him.

I watched him lift the FA Cup twice and I was lucky enough to play with him when I got into the team.

He was a swashbuckling player who was still turning out at over 40 and was still one of our best players.

He could play in so many positions and he wasn’t just a player who would kick people, he was also a good technical player.

It is Stoke City on Saturday and you are never sure which Potters team are going to turn up.

They are not bad at home and they have some good players who need watching, but I will go for a 1-1 draw all day long.

COYI!

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