Much as the present owners would like us to forget all about Upton Park, it is central to our history. Lose touch with our heritage and we are finished as a club, writes Brian Williams.
Central to that link with our past is the Champions Statue, featuring Bobby Moore plus fellow World Cup winners Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters and Ray Wilson, which has stood proudly at the junction of the Barking Road and Green Street since 2003.
Whether or not it stays there, or is uprooted and moved to Stratford, has still to be decided. But the case for leaving it on the present site is compelling – not least because plans for an alternative statue of West Ham’s favourite son have been shelved.
When the club sold the Boleyn Ground to property giant Galliard there was the promise of a Bobby Moore memorial park on the site, complete with a high-profile statue of the great man.
Frances Segelman, dubbed by some newspapers ‘the sculptor to the stars’, was asked to come up with a design.
But since then Galliard has sold the land to house-builders Barratt – which tells me the latest plan for the Upton Gardens development includes what it calls a ‘Legacy Route’ incorporating the old centre circle, but there will be no statue.
Campaigners are fighting hard to preserve the Champions Statue, arguing that agreeing to keep the monument where it is would be an appropriate way for West Ham United to thank the neighbourhood which generously provided 112 years of hospitality.
They also point out that more than half the £750,000 cost of building it came from public funds.
Yes, the club made a financial contribution – but Gold and Sullivan cannot claim to be the statue’s owners.
And if they persuade the council to shift it to the Olympic Park they will be flying in the face of local opinion, which more than one poll has shown to favour leaving things as they are.
Two separate savethe-statue petitions, one of which seeks the legal protection of a listing, have attracted hundreds of signatures online and on paper.
If you would like to add your support you can sign the petitions by going to www.change.org and searching for Bobby Moore statue and/or Champions Statue.
In another attempt to preserve the links between Upton Park and Stratford, the Bike from Boleyn campaign is encouraging supporters to cycle from E13 to the London Stadium. Their next ride is on April 29, before the Man City game.
There are marshals on hand to help and it’s all free. You don’t even need your own bike – they’ll lend you one.
You can sign up via the Bike from Boleyn Facebook page or follow the campaign on twitter at @bikefromboleyn.