David Gold rose in business and attended West Ham training in his helicopter
West Ham boss Avram Grant was training at Chadwell Heath when the players were distracted by the whirring of helicopter blades. A £1million five-seat Eurocopter EC120 parked in a neighboring pitch banged out the pilot – David Gold.
He’s wearing a £700 Dolce & Gabbana blazer that read ‘Determination. Persistence. Courage’ embroidered on his chest, the West Ham co-owner stopped to chat with a group of reporters present at Grant’s weekly press conference.
He spoke of his heartache over the club’s impending relegation from the Premier League but promised they would come back, bigger and better.
West Ham vice-chairman David Gold died on Wednesday morning after a short illness
A West Ham shirt with Gold’s name on it and flowers was placed in its usual spot at the London Stadium
It was a rite of passage for West Ham managers that their training session was interrupted by David Gold and his helicopter
Grant, confused by all this, was released two days later but was at least allowed to fulfill this rite of passage. As Sam Allardyce and Slaven Bilic will attest, you are not a West Ham manager until your practice session is interrupted by Gold and his helicopter.
He knew how to make an entrance, this rags-to-riches businessman. But now Gold has made his exit and died on Wednesday morning at the age of 86 after a short illness and with his daughters Jacqueline and Vanessa and his fiancé Lesley at his side.
West Ham will no longer see that helicopter coming over the hills. The burgundy Rolls-Royce with the personalized number plate “D GOLD” will no longer drive onto the training ground. The staff will no longer be able to shake Gold’s hand, which he’s sure to do on every visit.
West Ham paid tribute to the man who took over the club in January 2010 in David Sullivan. While their ownership has not always been popular among supporters, there is no denying that Gold was West Ham through and through.
He was born in September 1936 and grew up at the aptly numbered 442 Green Street, across from the Boleyn Ground. The introduction to Gold’s autobiography is called The Stink of Poverty because it describes his difficult upbringing in a family of four with no breadwinner and a stench that permeated the house through a leaky roof.
West Ham paid tribute to gold on Wednesday after his death aged 82
Not wanting to forget where he came from, Gold kept pictures of his old life at his mansion in Surrey as a reminder.
There were also photos of him playing football. Representing West Ham boys’ teams until the age of 16, he was offered an apprenticeship but was unable to take it after his father Godfrey appeared to refuse to sign parental forms.
Ugly jobs followed. Gold described being an apprentice bricklayer at £4 a week as “nothing short of slave labor” as he fetched the Senior Brickies’ coffee and copies of the Daily Mirror.
But after making his fortune by founding lingerie chain Ann Summers, Gold got into football in Birmingham before securing co-chairmanship of West Ham more than a decade ago.
Sullivan spoke of his pain at the death of his mate. “It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of our colleague and friend,” he said.
“Of all our joint ventures, none has made us more proud and happy than the day we took over West Ham United, our club. He always wanted what was best for West Ham and his passing is a great loss for all of us.
Gold (pictured with David Sullivan) took over at West Ham in January 2010 after playing football at Birmingham City
Gold with his fiancee Lesley Manning at the London Stadium before a game
Gold (bottom row, second left) celebrates West Ham’s success in the play-off final in 2012
Manager David Moyes, who was told the news while traveling to Leeds for West Ham’s Premier League match, added: “I am extremely saddened by this news and would like to do it on behalf of all the players and my staff at the training ground Sending our deepest condolences to the family of David Gold at this very difficult time.
“Mr Gold has been a regular visitor to Rush Green and has always been a source of great support and encouragement. It was clear he genuinely and genuinely loved the club, a true supporter at heart. He was very interested in people who worked behind the scenes and was always willing to help. He will be greatly missed.’
The finale of Gold’s autobiography feels fitting. It describes how his life was complete, saying, “I consider myself a fortunate man who has scaled a mountain that at times seemed insurmountable.”
Reaching new heights has never been a problem for Gold, not with this helicopter. But now West Ham must navigate further and upwards without their pilot.
West Ham are now having to navigate their way forward and up without their pilot Gold
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-11599929/David-Gold-soared-business-drop-West-Ham-training-helicopter.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 David Gold rose in business and attended West Ham training in his helicopter