Saying goodbye to the Boleyn Ground

• Written by Josh

West Ham United will play at the Boleyn Ground for the very last time tonight against Manchester United. The famous London stadium has been their home for 112 years but the club will now be moving on to the Olympic Stadium for the 2016/17 football season. Today Lifeline24 takes a little look back at the history of West Ham’s home.

The Boleyn Ground – or Upton Park as it is often referred to – has been the home of West Ham since 1904. The team will play there for one final time tonight in the Premier League before they make the short move to the Olympic Stadium in the summer.

The 35,000 seater Boleyn Ground has seen plenty of action and top stars over the years and the night is bound to be a sad one for the West Ham fans, especially the elderly supporters of the club.

Here is a little look back at the history of the Boleyn Ground.

Boleyn Ground History

It is believed that the name of the stadium came from the story of Anne Boleyn. West Ham rented Green Street House and the grounds in the Municipal Borough of East Ham from the Roman Catholic Church from around 1912. Green Street House was also known as Boleyn Castle. Anne Boleyn is believed to have owned the house and the stadium is now thought to have been haunted by one of her maids to died in childbirth.

The pitch that was laid at the ground was originally used to grow cabbages and potatoes – which led to it often being called The Potato Field by the West Ham locals. West Ham’s first game at the Boleyn Stadium was against their now bitter rivals Millwall on September 1, 1904. On that day, 10,000 people turned up to see the Hammers win 3-0.

Over the next couple of decades the ground was developed further but it suffered a huge set-back during the war, when a German V-1 Flying Bomb landed on the south-west corner of the pitch. The ground was severely damaged and the club’s offices, which contained historical records, was destroyed by the fire.

As a result the club were forced into playing their next ten home games away from home, whilst repairs were carried out on the ground.

The ground’s record attendance is 42,322. This was a Division One game against Tottenham Hotspur on October 17, 1970. This was back when there were terraced areas around the game where there were no seats.

The ground went under major redevelopment during the 1990’s as the club looked to modernise themselves for the new Premier League. The South Stand was opened in 1993 and named in honour of Bobby Moore. The North Bank was replaced two years later by a 6000 seater stand originally named the Centenary Stand, before being renamed after Sir Trevor Brooking in 2009.

The last of the original Boleyn Ground stands to be replaced was the West Stand. This was rebuilt as an impressive 15,000 seater stand and was opened by The Queen in 2001. The West Stand now also contained a hotel, executive boxes and many other facilities.

Top Moments

The Boleyn Ground has hosted many great games over the years, with many of the all-time greats gracing the field.The club’s fans often say that they won the World Cup for England in 1966, with the likes of Geoff Hurst and Bobby Moore playing in the claret and blue.

The ground saw West Ham give out plenty of ‘hammering’s’ over the years. Examples that spring to mind include the 8-0 thrashing of Sunderland in 1968, when Hurst scored a double hat-trick against the Black Cats. Another huge win came in 1986, against Newcastle United, when Alvin Martin scored a hat-trick – past three different goalkeepers!

It wasn’t always an easy day at the office, some matches at the ground were very close. Games that spring to mind included the 4-3 victory over Spurs in 1997 which ended an eight-game run without a victory and the 5-4 win over Bradford City, where star striker Paulo Di Canio tried to force his manager into subbing him off the pitch.

Speaking of Di Canio, he arguably scored the best goal for a West Ham player at the Boleyn Ground. This came in a 2-1 victory against the old Wimbledon team in 2000. The Italian striker had both feet off the ground and defied gravity by scoring a scissor-kick volley! The ground erupted and so did all of the media outlets around the world. This was not only a classic at Upton Park – this was one of the Premier League’s very best goals.

Other memorable moments for the fans include the 3-1 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt which sent West Ham through to the 1976 European Cup Winner’s Cup Final and the 1-1 draw against Manchester United in 1995 – a result which prevented the red devils from clinching the title.

LifeConnect24 wishes West Ham good luck in the final game at the Boleyn Ground tonight and we hope that all the fans enjoy the atmosphere for one last time. 

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