Well I’ve only just come back down to earth. What a rush! What a buzz! We really couldn’t have scripted it any better.
West Ham’s 3-2 win over Manchester United really was a wonderful farewell to the Boleyn Ground and I feel really privileged to have played a role in the closing ceremony. Putting that night into words and describing exactly how I felt isn’t easy. I’d attended the rehearsal the previous night so I had an idea of what was coming but when I walked in and felt the energy in the air it took my breath away.
People say ‘the atmosphere was electric’ and it’s a well-worn cliché but it’s the only phrase that comes close. The whole place was literally buzzing. Everything was alive! Every cell and atom of every single being was jumping. You could hear it! I’ve never felt anything like it in my life.
I went straight up to the offices to meet Ben Shephard for the final run through with the events team. The entire place was in full song. The chorus of Bubbles that surrounded us was deafening. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so exhilarated.
I was also petrified. Not because it was a live event in front of 35,000 football fans (although that was a pretty daunting prospect) but because I wanted the night to be special for every single person in the place.
I loved, and will always love, the Boleyn. I virtually grew up there. I’d had the best and worst days of my life in those stands. I’d shared incredible moments with my family and friends. I’d hugged total strangers in the sheer joy of a goal celebration. I’d commiserated and laughed and cheered and cried. This was our last goodbye. I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted to do it justice.
I went to take my seat with my boyfriend James, my brother Billy and my step dad. We were pumped. Teams out. Bubbles filled the air. Kick off! The match was unbelievable. I don’t need to tell you that. We couldn’t have written a more perfect script. The universe conspired to give us the most fitting end to a superb season. It was a fitting end to the Boleyn Ground. We were in raptures.
I tried to take it all in so I could remember and savour every single flawless moment. An easy win would have been better on the nerves, but it wouldn’t have been West Ham. Then I had to leave for the ceremony. My stomach churning. My jaw set. My eyes burning with excitement. I was focused. I watched full time flash by, the lap of honour, the stage was set and presenter mode switched on. It was time! I went to my place and convinced Marlon Harewood, Carlton Cole and Anton Ferdinand to remain in their seats at full time to be interviewed. Most of the former players had scarpered off to the bar before the event started so I was grateful they hung around.
It was a nerve-wracking few moments while Ben did the opening segment. Live on Sky is monumental enough, live in front of thousands West Ham fans was initially terrifying. But once we started I could relax and really enjoy it. It was a lovely little chat and I was stoked they got such a nice reception. All three of those players feel so strongly connected to our club and I thought that came across really well.
The rest of the night whizzed by in a flash. The heavens had opened but it certainly didn’t dampen our spirits. Seeing Paolo Di Canio and Sir Trevor Brooking under the spotlights and having the experience of speaking to them both on the pitch was an incredibly powerful feeling.
Introducing the Hammers of the Year, welcoming Slav, Nobes and the rest of the squad onto the stage, watching the best Upton Park moments on the big screens and seeing Bobby Moore turn the lights off forever. Mr Moon has left the stadium.
It really hit home. We are never to return. It was truly one of the most incredible moments of my life. I feel extremely grateful to have been given that honour and I will never forget it.