A LIFELONG West Ham United fan was given a great surprise...when club legend Tony Cottee popped around his house for a cup of tea!

Season ticket holder Fred Dent was set to spend the game v Hull City earlier this month in a hospitality suite as a gift for his 91st birthday.

However, the game had to be rescheduled for next week and Fred couldn’t attend.

So, as a surprise, his friends managed to set up a home visit from one of the Hammers all time goal scoring greats.

Tony presented Fred with a shirt with his name and “91” on the back, and the pair then spent the next couple of hours chatting about West Ham through the years.

Fred, who lives with his wife of 65 years, Muriel, 88, highlighted Cottee’s legendary partnership with Scottish striker Frank McAvennie in 1986, when the Hammers so nearly won the old Division One title. And Fred says Tony would make it into his all time West Ham team.

Tony responded by saying: “I take that as a great honour when you think of some of the guys that we’ve had over the years upfront, like Sir Geoff Hurst for instance.”

Fred of College Avenue, Grays, said having a club legend in his home was something he’d never forget.

He said: “When I was told the night before that Tony was coming, I couldn’t sleep.

“It’s a great memory to have and I can still see him playing now.

“In fact I wish he was still playing now!”

Fred, who has lived in Grays since in 1960, said the best team he’s seen at Upton Park was in the sixties, when the likes of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters helped the club win the FA Cup in 1964 and European Cup Winners Cup a year later. Then all three played vital roles for England in the country’s only World Cup win in 1966.

Tony was delighted to visit Fred and said if he wasn’t lucky enough to play, he would’ve been just like him watching every week.

Southend Standard:

He added: “When you meet someone like Fred it’s great to hear their story and how they’ve followed the club.

“I had a long career so it’s nice to give something back to people who spend their money following the team.”