When David Gold took over failing Ann Summers in 1971, few would believe the sex shop would one day become a global mega-brand.
But the West Ham co-owner, who died on Wednesday aged 86 after a short illness, was on to a winner.
It was perhaps unsurprising for a working class boy from London’s East End – a grafter from day one.
Born 1936 in Stepney to Rose and gangster dad Godfrey ‘Goldy’, who wound up in prison, young David was forced to flog buttons to support his struggling mum.
He did this from the family home on Green Street, directly opposite West Ham’s former Boleyn Ground – he’d later play for the youth team, and go onto buy it in 2010.
Gold worked as a bricklayer before going into business with brother Ralph, spending £10,000 on the Ann Summers store at London’s Marble Arch.
The pair got to work transforming the run-of-the-mill sex shop into a quality lingerie and sex toy boutique worthy of the high street.
Business boomed, and in 1979 Gold was joined by 19-year-old daughter Jacqueline who would go on to build the firm into one of Britain’s most iconic brands.
Ann Summers grew and grew, banking millions of pounds of profits each year as it expanded into Tupperware-style parties for women.
The explosion of his business came alongside ventures into the adult entertainment industry – where he launched Gold Star Productions which ran porno mags Raider and Rustler.
He joined forces with West Ham co-owner David Sullivan in 1972, later launching the Sunday Sport newspaper in 1986.
The millionaire – who could fly helicopters and planes – also set up Gold Air International which flew the rich and famous, he sold the firm in 2004 for £4.4 million.
But Gold – who drove around in a red Rolls Royce complete with a ‘D GOLD’ number plate – was never far from controversy with his sex empire.
In 2007 when Ann Summers launched the iGasm – which plugged into iPods – Apple brought in the lawyers.
Today Ann Summers has 145 stores across the UK and Republic of Ireland, and an annual turnover of £150m.
A string of celebrities, including Love Island favourites Tasha Ghouri and Megan Barton-Hanson, have since modelled for the chain.
Gold would go on to embody his namesake amassing a monster £500 million fortune.
In an emotional statement following the tycoons Death, David Sullivan said: “On behalf of everyone at the football club, it is with profound sorrow and a heavy heart that we mourn the passing of our colleague and friend, David Gold.
“Of all our joint ventures, none gave us more pride and happiness than the day we took ownership of West Ham United, our Club, in January 2010.
“David had a long-standing connection with the Hammers, having grown up opposite the Boleyn Ground in Green Street, and represented the Club at junior level.
“He always wanted what was best for West Ham United, and his passing is a great loss for all of us.”
David Gold, who lived in Surrey, died peacefully with his daughters Jacqueline and Vanessa, and his fiancée Lesley, by his side.