Last night I was thinking, as you do, about the autographs I have owned. I've seen plenty of celebrities but never asked for an autograph for myself. I was always too shy and my mum and dad asked for me. In fact I didn't want them to but they felt they had to. Part of being a parent is embarrassing your children in front of all and sundry.
When I was five we were at a local fete and Eric Sykes was there. He was there in some official capacity so I presume his services were paid for. My mum dragged me up to Eric. I didn't know much about him but he signed his autograph for me. "To Geoffrey, best wishes, Eric Sykes".
Then when I was about seven a Tesco supermarket was opening in Crayford. My mum thought it would be a good idea to go along to the opening. Two Millwall footballers, Dereck Possee and Eamon Dunphy were there in an official capacity so they must have been paid for their services. My mum dragged me up to the two men and they signed their autographs. "Derek Possee" and "Eamon Dunphy". This was in the days before I wouldn't piss on a Millwall player if he were on fire.
Then when I was about ten my dad took me to Loftus Road to see Q.P.R. v West Ham and sitting behind us was the great Frank Lampard. (His son, the current scumbag Chelsea player will always be "Junior" to me). My dad turned to Frank and said "Frank, can we have your autograph, please?" Frank obliged and wrote "Frank Lampard".
In each of these cases I was egged on by my parents to ask the other adults for their autographs. In each case I was terrified I might have to, almost to the point of tears and my parents asked the men themselves. But each time they convinced themselves they were doing it for me, the boy who was too shy and needed to come out of his shell.
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