FORMER West Ham goalkeeper Peter Grotier fought back tears at the sight of his most treasured piece of football memorabilia after it was restored on The Repair Shop.
The football legend got emotional over a 50-year-old memento from his heyday during his appearance on last week’s episode of the BBC show.
Peter, 72, played for West Ham United from 1969 to 1974. During that time, he played in what he calls one of the greatest matches of his career.
In 1970, right after Brazil won the World Cup, Peter and his West Ham teammates flew out to New York for an exhibition match against Brazilian football club Santos FC and he was surrounded by football legends.
He played alongside his hero Sir Bobby Moore and they faced off against his other footballing hero, Pelé.
Peter recalled the time fondly. He revealed: “I’m 19 years of age and I’m flying out in a jumbo jet out to New York, and I’m going to play against the greatest goal-scorer that’s ever been.”
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During the match, Peter defended the net for the entire first half and the first minute of the second half and was thrilled to get to see his hero in action. He didn’t even mind when Pelé got two goals past him.
The match ended with a 2-2 draw and a special meeting between Peter and his hero. And, he ended up with a special memento to remember the say – a programme from that match which Pelé had signed for him.
But, unfortunately, over the years, the memento had faded and become increasingly fragile and unstable so he decided to take it to The Repair Shop.
On the show, Peter admitted: “The reason why it got in such a bad condition was because my family, we moved around to eight different houses, so it was packed away and folded, something I should never have done.”
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Thankfully, The Repair Shop’s paper conservator, Angelina Bakalarou, was able to restore the programme to its former glory.
The transformation made Peter quite emotional.
“Oh, wow! Oh, wow!” he reacted upon seeing the restored programme.
“Yeah, that’s unbelievable. I actually feel I can open it now without – fantastic,” he said, getting a better look at the programme.
After examining it closely, he said: “The signature hasn’t been damaged at all. That looks really good, really good.
“Of all the things I’ve kept, this is the one that means the most to me,” Peter added.
The former footballer started to well up and fought back tears as he recalled the “good memories” that the programme evokes.
“Just picking that up, I could see myself standing on the touchline before we went out to play.”
“It was a big thing in my life to play in that game and it all comes flooding back now. So, thank you very much.”
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Angelina appeared equally emotional at Peter's words and was touched when the former West Ham star shared his plans to leave his cherished memento to his 17-year-old grandson Joseph, who has promised to never sell it.
Joseph has followed in his grandfather’s footsteps by captaining the Essex side Wivenhoe Town FC Under-18s.
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