Boleyn Ground, Upton Park

The move from the Boleyn Ground to London Stadium has divided Hammers fans from the moment the plans were presented right up to the present day.

Many fans have stopped attending games, not renewed their season tickets and following the many blogs and social media sites since the move it is clear there are still very strong feelings about how the club is managed, particularly in relation to the stadium move.

Personally I hate change of any sort and get thoroughly miserable when I have to break from my routine. Don’t we all? Most of us find it difficult to accept changes but eventually most of us accept them as part of life and move on.

But, for many life long Hammers fans, this is one change they still refuse to accept. I remember having discussions with Gary Firminger – founder and editor of Over Land and Sea (OLAS) who sold copies outside the Boleyn Ground standing on his step ladder before every home game gathering a crowd with his loud voice. He refused to accept the change and has, as far as I know, never attended a game at the London Stadium.

Gary was part of the match day experience and my personal routine was to chat and buy a copy of OLAS and read it before the start of the match and at half time with a coffee.

Some life long Hammers have tried the new stadium but find it hard to call it home and say the heart and soul of the club have been ripped out. For sure, the atmosphere is very different and although we now have a world class stadium, it is taking a while to feel like home – if it ever will. Some of these fans – people I know – have stopped attending games as well.

Memories are what many of us hold on to, as a means of keeping the past alive within us, of hoping for a better future but also to remind us of what we had, what we lived through and as a stepping stone to the future.

As the flats are being completed over the old Boleyn Ground, and changes being made to the new stadium to make it feel like home, its worth taking a step back into the past to remember the wonderful times we had on Green Street.


Published by dawudmarsh

Photographer based in London.

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