The Boleyn Ground holds a special place in the hearts of all West Ham United fans. From our first games to the amazing nights under lights, we all have our favourite memories of trips to Upton Park. Here five fans share their favourite moments at the stadium…
I saw some very bad times and some great times. My favorite? I’d have to say the play-off semi-final against Ipswich in 2004. I’m not a great one for remembering things, but I’ll never forget that night. It was the first time I’d experienced a seriously elated crowd there. We’d turned around a 1-0 deficit from the first leg, which led to deafening choruses of ‘Bubbles’ and copious amounts of clapping, so much so that I ached for days!
Saturday, 17 March, 2001 was my first time watching West Ham and my most memorable Boleyn experience. I was born in America to an English father who supported West Ham and, owing to the lack of football options on TV, I had never watched a West Ham game before. My Dad set out to rectify this and, shortly before my 14th birthday, he flew me to London to watch West Ham play Ipswich at the Boleyn Ground. We lost the game 1-0 but I was hooked. The singing, the atmosphere, the energy – I’d never seen anything like it before.
One of my abiding memories of the Boleyn is being there for an otherwise nondescript match against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, 15 March, 2008. We were 1-0 down with the crowd restless as we’d lost the last three matches 4-0 but then Dean Ashton equalised, and then with about fifteen minutes to go, youngster Freddie Sears came on for his debut. Five minutes later, he scored the winner and the place erupted with joy, relief and new-found hope for the future.
Over the years one game stands out. In February 2000 when we welcomed Bradford to Fortress Boleyn. An early injury to Shaka Hislop triggered a defensive implosion and we found ourselves trying to outscore a rampant Bradford City. Although everybody remembers the argument between Frank Lampard and Paolo Di Canio about taking a penalty, most forget that prior to that Di Canio had asked to be substituted after a series of unsuccessful penalty claims.
But we were treated to one of the greatest comebacks as we won in a 5-4 thriller.