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First game: 17 December 1994. West Ham 3-0 Man City. Cottee (3).
I was 7 years old and lucky enough to be taken by my dad.
21.5 years later and we'll be in the same seats for the final time. East Stand Upper K99 and K100.
I can remember growing up not being able to get to sleep every night before a game and the excitement seeing the green grass as I went up to my seat.
We've migrated from Cassetaris to the Green Street Cafe and now the Cafe next to the book shop on the Barking Road.
One final time we'll walk down the Barking Road and place our bets at Ladbrokes before turning left up Priory Road and though the turnstiles.
This is where I grew up. From Cottee to Paolo to Carlos to Carlton to Payet. The is where I've come to see my (cult) heroes in claret and blue. I've sung until I've had no voice. I've jumped around all over my dad when we've scored. I've moaned with the great guys i've come to know in the seats around me.
Bye Boleyn. And Thank you.
This is aimed at a guy called Roger Logan who emigrated to Aus when I was in my mid 20s. Rog and I shared many a laugh together, first at Bromley Tech and then in various pubs around Farnborough where he lived. We also shared a passion for West Ham and we attended out first game at UP together. Memories abound, Rog, and on the off chance that you are reading this your old mate Ken says hello. Lets hope for a huge send off to the Beautiful Boleyn...
It's finally arrived, calling time on the Old Lady that has been my constant companion for some 30 years, tonight my 269th and final visit (well 270 if you count a dodgy Leeds away game beam back in the late 80s). I know it's sad that I know, but it's a record of my life, a recollection of games, players, mates, events, relationships and family entwined with football, against the backdrop of the Boleyn. For the last 10 years, I've had the privilege of being a season ticket holder along with my two sons, seeing them grow from boys to young men, sharing the passion, the disappointments and the highs. It will never be the same, but here begins the next chapter. Tonight the sun sets on the West and East stands, and the North and South Bank, farewell Boleyn it's been emotional.
An interesting analogy, but of course as "true" fans will tell you, the soul of Pink Floyd went with Syd Barrett, just as the soul of West Ham was torn out with the old Chicken Run. Or maybe it's just a memory left at the Memorial Grounds.
For me - and I just about remember the Chicken Run - nothing dies today. There are a lot of memories tied up in the old place, and like many I will be fighting back the tears tonight. Without doubt, it's the end of an era, but it's still the same club, taking a step forwards into a new era.
For what it's worth, I quite like The Division Bell.
A bit how I feel to be honest...spent my youth in the North or South Bank and apart from the odd game here and there after it went all seating (4-3 against Spurs, the Ipswich semi final etc) , it was never the same and I drifted away from my ST and regular appearances a few years ago.
Farewell to the Boleyn
Trigger (Only Fools & Horses) said he’d had his broom for 20 years. He’d replaced the head 17 times and it had had a few handles but he was adamant it was the same broom. Triggers Broom, the Ship of Theseus, The Boleyn Ground! Rebuild the stands, re sow the pitch, renew the generations of people who have been coming year in year out. I’m with Trigger on this one, it is still the Boleyn to me!
When I was a kid growing up in Mile End, we used talk about going “over West Ham”. From my first time going to watch the reserves in 1964 it was always referred to in this way. Those who went back then will remember it for the North and South Banks with narrow, uneven terrace steps, the wooden Chicken Run, and the West Side with its terrace below pitch level. We knew it as West Ham, we knew it as Upton Park, and we knew it as the Boleyn Ground. And this ground was always something special to me from day one. It was always a thrill to be the first to see the floodlights from the upstairs of a bus going along the Barking Road as it went over the sewer bank at the old monastery.
I moved to East Ham as a teenager – my family still live there - just 300 metres from the ground. “The Ground” was what we called it when I became one of the East Ham boys (or the “Upton Park Mafia” as we loosely called ourselves!). I passed the ground every day going to the station, to and from school, to and from work, to and from day to day life. I must have passed it thousands of times and yet it always felt special to me. There was always that little thrill inside – I felt so lucky to be that close to it.
I’ve been in there when it was empty, and I’ve been there when it was full (42,000 so they say, but those of us who went know it was more, much more). I graduated from the different terraces – first the North Bank, then the South. I never had a decent view – in fact it was mostly rubbish! The terrace was so low you couldn’t see the goal line from 5 metres back! Eventually I ended up standing in the Chicken Run lower, and found the best view had been waiting there for me all along. My final years as a season ticket holder in the Chicken Run upper from the late 70’s into the 80’s coincided with Johnny Lyall’s finest. I left for Australia in late 1988 and sadly, my visits to the ground have been few and far between ever since. Yet I still hold this affinity to the ground.
The best times – without question the electric atmosphere of those European nights in 1976 when we turned over Ararat Yereven, Den Haag, and then Eintracht Frankfurt to reach the ECWC Final. That thick purple haze of the old distinctive floodlights we had. Those nights still raise hairs on the back of my neck. They simply have no equal. There was always something very special about games under the lights at West Ham.
I simply can’t come to terms with the leaving of the ground. I would have liked to see us utilise the full potential of it first. I always felt it could be made into a 50,000 stadium with a bit of ingenuity. I will always be disappointed we never really tried. There is no football ground in England with better transport access than the Boleyn. It is within good walking distance to so many stations, overground and underground. It is on numerous bus routes, and, it is just four sets of traffic lights away from Scotland (three if you know the short cut)! But, above all that, it is our home. It will be many years, possibly never, when we can say the same about the OS. Obviously I’m against the move, and I’m quite sure that those who I stood alongside on the terraces back in the day feel the same. But it’s not fair for me to protest when I can’t go any more. Time will tell for the future. Don’t be fooled by the euphoria of the first season or so. I hope I’m wrong of course. But to get it out of the way now, I told you so, I told you so, I told you so. There!
To some, a football ground is just a pitch surrounded by bricks, mortar and steel. If so, is Shakespeare merely squiggles of ink on paper? Are people are just flesh, blood and bones? Of course not. It’s memory, feeling, good times, bad times, sentiment, achievement, sorrow, celebration – this so much more. The ground is us, and we are the ground. From those whose ashes have been scattered there, to those whose last wishes have been fulfilled there. It is something special. It has always been that way. To me, and I’m sure many others, the Boleyn has been both the true theatre of dreams and the realisation of nightmares. It has seen our finest, and it has seen our worst. But above all, it has been ours. It can never be taken away.
Every living cell in my body will change many times in my life time, and yet I will always be me. I’m with Trig on this one. Theseus and Aristotle agree with us too. The Boleyn is The Boleyn. It will always be.
I am glad you did not say Miomentary Lapse of Reason, but accept what you posted.
Back to memories. When I was a kid we would walk from near the Iron Bridge in Poplar to go shopping at Rathbone Market. Halfway across the bridge I would always stop and gaze at the four tall and proud floodlights sitting atop the North and South Banks. It was reassuring to know we were so close to the ground, and I would be going their to pay worship on the Saturday.
Houses have gone, family members have passed away and the Rathbone Market is merely a memory, but even in it's more modern guise, the Boleyn was the last bastion of the East End of my childhood. The strange thing is I was born closer to Stratford than to Upton Park, (St Andrew's Hospital), but I have never classed Stratford as the East End.
This cartoon made me chuckle.....David Squires (of the Guardian) on … his memories of working for West Ham at Upton Park http://www.theguardian.com/football/picture/2016/may/10/david-squires-on-his-memories-of-working-for-west-ham-at-upton-park
Last edited by POP POP POP Robson on Tue May 10, 2016 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Liam Brady's screamer in his last game & subsequent pitch invasion...Dicks tormenting Perry Groves for what seemed like a 90 minute personal vendetta...Tim Breaker going headlong into an advertising hoarding (still don't know how he escaped a broken neck)...Stewart Robson putting his body on the line in the all too infrequent opportunities he got to wear the claret & blue...Leeds away on a rubbish temporary big screen at UP. Glaring sun & poor sound meant you couldn't see or hear a thing from the North Bank...Chopper Slater cup quarter final masterclass v Everton, the North Bank Peanut Man, the programme seller who looked like Danny DeVito's The Penguin, Fortunes Fanzine, the Portacabin club shop, Wolves at home after Mooro passed away....Mad Dog's 2 footed lunacy against Wimbledon in League Cup... Di Canio v Bradford....Potts' goal....the Bond scheme protests....the good times & the not so good times. Its in my DNA & always will be. Farewell Boleyn.
Worth looking at for the Stevie Potts, Potts, Potts frame alone.
I dont know why but today i just keep thinking back to Savio's debut and the buzz around the place
Players like Sebastian Carole, Youssef Sofiane, Petr Mikolanda, Sekou Beradji....I'm in a weird mood today
God that was hilarious. Absolutely dire.
I remember one of the fanzines doing a cartoon of it showing something like Star Trek in one screen, one a porno etc.
It's a day of feeling slightly strange. It's thirty-six years to the day since I became a West Ham supporter, and it's also the end of an era, with the last game at the Boleyn. But I feel a bit disconnected from it all. Because of finances and distance, I've not attended.that often, and I knew I wouldn't be able to go tonight because of work, as well as having pretty much no hope of getting a ticket.
Will I miss the BG? I don't know. I don't have that connection that so many of you do. I can understand all your emotions tonight, but while I recognise what it means, I can't feel as involved. But whatever happens tonight, the summer will bring a new dawn, an exciting rebirth for our wonderful club. And as always COME ON YOU IRONS!
Having said all that, I was there for the last game on both North Bank and South Bank. So I'll always have that.
London E13 9AZ
The Greatest Football Ground in the History of English Football
A Huge Honour to spend over 40 years supporting West Ham at this wonderful address
The Memories will Never Fade and Die
Boleyn Ground R.I.P