David Gold was a good friend, and his death has come as a real shock. He was first and foremost a gentleman and we both loved all the banter that marked our dinners at Due Amici in Chislehurst with my close friend Karl Howman. He hated the fact that I always predicted what he would order for dinner. It was always skate washed down with a glass or two of Pinot Grigio. He never once turned down any other diner seeking a word or an autograph. We were able to confide in one another on any subject knowing that confidentiality would never be breached on either side. He invited me over to the West Ham boardroom three of four times a season and together with his family and friends the humour and camaraderie was always evident, but we always started lunch with an update on our respective health and ailments. The fact his friend Charlie from school days was always on his table was evidence of his loyalty to his friends. He loved to tell a story and I heard many of them several times! He was never precious about the poverty that defined his upbringing and never hid the fact his dad was a petty criminal who gave his mum Rose a torrid time. At the regular Premier League meetings, we formed a bond mainly because Birmingham City and Charlton shared similar views about the League, the issues facing it and its future direction of travel. Anyone who travelled to St Andrew’s was always sure of a warm welcome. The boardroom was managed by his mum Rose (who he adored), who made sure you left the stadium well fed. In fact, she always insisted you took a food parcel with you to eat in the car. Her whole focus was to make sure you had a good time whatever the result. David was naturally elated if his team won and disappointed if it lost but he was a true sportsman and was always fully respectful of his opposition guests. In recent years, he did a number of charity events for me and was always good value. If he was subjected to any form of aggressive questioning, he always handled it so well and more often than not he turned the pressure back on the questioner. David was one of the first people I spoke to when Charlton was looking for a new investor in 2010. At the time we started discussing it he was clear that he and David Sullivan wanted to buy West Ham but they felt Tony Fernandes was in pole position and that they might lose out to him. The indications were that if they lost out on West Ham then they would seriously consider Charlton. In the end, the banks got behind the bid from the two Davids and the rest is history. He loved West Ham with a passion and of course he played for them in his youth. He was fiercely loyal to his closest friends. I am going to miss his friendship and I know that his lovely partner Lesley, his daughters Jacqueline and Vanessa and their families have lost the pillar of the family. My thoughts are very much with them at this time. Rest in peace David.
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