The Repair Shop restores West ham goalie's Pele-signed match programme

Great save by The Repair Shop! Jay Blades and co restore West Ham goalie legend Peter Grotier’s Pele-signed match programme

  • Hammers goalie played against Brazilian legend in a 1970 US exhibition match
  • He was bested by the forward twice – then asked for an autograph after the game

West Ham United legend Peter Grotier was left ‘quite choked’ after a football programme he had signed by Pele was restored to mint condition by The Repair Shop.

The famed Irons goalkeeper, 72, played against Pele in an exhibition match between the London side and the Brazilian legend’s domestic team Santos in 1970 that also featured the likes of Bobby Moore.

The match took place on September 22 that year in New York – and saw England captain Moore and Pele face off again three months after Brazil won the World Cup in Mexico.

Pele scored twice against Grotier, then 19, and after the match ended the Stratford native took the chance to get his hero’s autograph on a match programme.

Grotier joked that he had hoped Pele would not be on his usual top form – but added that he couldn’t have been happier to have been bested by one of football’s all-time legends.

West Ham goalie Peter Grotier (centre) proudly holds the programme with Angelina Bakalarou and Jay Blades of The Repair Shop

Peter Grotier playing for West Ham during the 1969/70 season

Grotier beats Tottenham Hotspurs’ Alan Gilzean to the ball in a match at White Hart Lane

The Hammers goalkeeper added: ‘Pele scored twice against me and I didn’t mind at all.’

Described as ‘quick and clean’ by a New York Times match reporter, the West Ham-Santos clash ended with a 2-2 draw – and was reportedly interrupted by a pitch invasion of fans who took up position behind the goal line.

Any hopes of a face-off between Pele and Moore were dashed, as Pele’s forward position and Moore’s imposing defensive position rarely came to clash.

Grotier told the Mirror that, when asked to sign the programme, Pele simply replied in broken English: ‘My pleasure.’

But after he brought the programme home it was parcelled up and buffeted around over the course of several house moves – something he came to regret. 

Grotier said: ‘The reason why it [the programme] 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.’

After Pele died last year at the age of 82, the goalie’s future daughter-in-law recommended taking the programme to The Repair Shop to have the truly irreplaceable souvenir restored.

In scenes set to air on BBC1 tonight, Angelina Bakalarou can be seen using the most delicate care to mend the guide – and Grotier is visibly emotional.

He added: ‘I got quite choked really, to look at it and see it as it was 53 years ago. It took me right back to that time when we were lining up and I’m looking along the line at our team and I’m looking at Pele standing in the line.’

Bobby Moore and Pele at the New York exhibition match between West Ham and Santos in 1970, in which Peter Grotier played as goalkeeper

Peter Grotier as he appears in the programme commemorating the exhibition match

Grotier said he was ‘choked’ when he saw the restored programme 

He plans to leave the restored programme to his grandson Joseph, 17, who captains Essex side Wivenhoe Town FC Under-18s.

Grotier made 50 appearances for West Ham in league matches, later playing for Lincoln City, Cardiff City and Grimsby Town, where he became a coach and caretaker manager.

Pele remained with Santos for almost his entire domestic career, scoring 643 goals in 659 games. 

The Repair Shop, hosted by furniture restorer and presenter Jay Blades, sees Brits bring beloved mementoes and tokens of family history – from train sets and teddy bears to crockery and ornaments – to experts to have them lovingly restored, sharing the stories of the artifacts along the way.

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