Upton Park was a special place to play my football

My fi rst memory of Upton Park as a schoolboy is quite funny as we used to train under the stand and also in the school car park.

They are my first recollections of what was to become an incredible Boleyn adventure. It was, and has always been, a fantastic ground to play in. I loved every game walking out there. Because of the way the pitch was, it was quite tight. As for the night games, the atmosphere always felt like it notched up a level. I never played at West Ham as an opposition player. In fact, I only played against West Ham once. Th at was for Birmingham but we were at home.

I always felt very comfortable playing at Upton Park, I always had a great relationship with the fans, but I imagine it felt like a tough place to come as an opposition player. In particular, I always enjoyed the Chicken Run. You’d put in a strong tackle and put the player in the crowd and the fans would ‘help’ them back onto the pitch.

Or the fans being so close they could take the throw in for you – or off er you sweets! Th e Boleyn Ground has changed a lot from those early days of my career at West Ham. With every change, there is always a level of uncertainty, but hopefully we will move to the new stadium and have another season like we’ve had this year.

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