There’s only one Stevie Bacon

Official club photographer Steve Bacon speaks to Tim Holland about his time at West Ham, his photography and Stevie Bacon Burgers.

TH: You’ve been a constant at West Ham now for more than 30 years. What has been your favorite moment?

SB: Obviously winning the FA Cup in 1980 springs to mind as do the play-off successes, but being a bit selfish, the 1995 Centenary Tour of Australia sits high on my list of favourite moments. A once in a lifetime three-week trip!

TH: Who’s the best player you’ve seen at Upton Park?

SB: You’re not making this easy are you? Although I only met him a few times and watched him before I began taking photographs, I would say Bobby Moore.

TH: Your book’s title echoes the chants heard from stands and you’ve also got a burger named after you. How does it feel to have such a legendary status at the club?

SB: I’m flattered by the chants from the fans but also a little embarrassed at times, but the way I look at it is if you are around a club for as long as I’ve been, then you become a part of the furniture!

TH: What would you say was the biggest change at the club in your time there? There’s only one Stevie Bacon

SB: Football has become a big business and players come and go far more frequently these days — gone are the days of virtually all our players earning 10-year testimonial matches. I don’t build up the close friendships and relationships that I did with, say, the Boys of ’86.

TH: John Lyall gave you your first break at West Ham. How was your relationship with him?

SB: I had a great relationship with John, who was an outstanding manager and a perfect gentleman. Ask anybody who played or worked under him and you will get the same response. I was proud to become his friend. He was a special man and we won’t see his like again sadly.

TH: Who was the favourite manager to work with and why?

SB: It probably had to be John but I had a great time under Little Lou, Bonzo and Harry for different and varied reasons. I had the same sense of humour as Lou, had known Bill for years and found Harry great company on our travels.

TH: Your book gives a unique view behind the scenes of West Ham. How did it come about?

SB: People have been asking me for many years why I haven’t written my autobiography and as my involvement at the club is unlikely to go back to the good old days of travelling everywhere with the team, I thought it’s now or never really!

TH: Why did you think now was the right time to release it?

SB: I was 60 in August when the book was published so I thought I better not leave it much longer!

TH: You mention that that you didn’t have the best relationship with Alan Pardew. Can you explain that one a bit?

SB: A lot has been made of this, but in any workplace you cannot get on with everybody can you? I, and many others in the game, found Alan a very arrogant personality and it didn’t endear me to him. I didn’t think he gave me the respect my years at the club deserved, as all the other managers had and who embraced the fact! Good luck to him though — he’s doing well.

TH: What is your relationship like with the current set up at the club – Gold, Sullivan & Allardyce?

SB: I don’t have as much close dealings with them these days, but when I do meet them they are all very polite and personable people to get on with.

TH: What are your favourite West Ham photographs?

SB: Trevor’s header in the FA Cup final is one but my favourite is a Bill and Harry relaxing after we had won promotion after beating Cambridge United at Upton Park – they’re all in the book!

TH: What do you make of the transfers that have come in this summer?

SB: Very pleased with the players the manager and coowners have brought to the club it shows a real intent plus Andy Carroll (pictured above) was a massive coup.

TH: Finally what are your predictions for the season?

SB: I don’t like making predictions but just as long as we can survive in the Premier League and build again from there. But saying that top half would be nice though!!

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