After 112 years of history and emotion, it’s time for myself and thousands of others to say goodbye to a beloved part of our lives. The Boleyn Ground, home to West Ham United, is being demolished for flats as part of West Ham’s upcoming move to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford.
West Ham United originally moved to the Boleyn Ground in 1904 and it served as the home of the East London club ever since. After the 2012 Olympics, West Ham were selected as the preferred tenant for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium. Starting from the 2016/17 Premier League Season, the Hammers are moving from the home they’ve known and loved for 112 years. It’s a massive move forward for the club, but to leave a cathedral of football highs and lows, roars and rows, yells and tears is a difficult thing to do.
I went on a tour of the ground prior to destruction in order to see all the behind the scenes places, have a run around on the pitch and say goodbye to the hallowed ground one last time. The tours were engaging and interesting – actual ground and security staff took us through the various rooms and levels of the ground while covering all of West Ham’s history at the ground. I do mean all of West Ham’s history, by the way – there’s no glossing over the less savoury parts of the past.
The tour took us into the Chairman’s suites and seats, and allowed for views of the pitch at every level. We got to visit the home and away dressing rooms – spoiler alert, the away ones were awful – and then walk out of the tunnel onto the pitch (which, by the time we had arrived, had certainly seen better days.)
Here’s where our tour took us and what the beautiful ground looks like.
We got to spend some time running about on the pitch, but the best use of the time was made by some wonderful children on our tour who brought their own ball to score the last goal at the Boleyn ground. Clever. Wish I had thought of that.
The remains of the centre circle.
The goal and netting.
Gates leading in from the outside.
The view from the Chairman’s seats.
View from the mid-level box seats.
The hallowed tunnel out to the pitch.
The left-overs from the last game – I wonder who left this one then…?
One last lap round the ground.
And the best bit? I got to sit where my hero, Andy Carroll, sits. What an opportunity!
Please feel free to share your own memories of the Boleyn in the comments below, or come chat to me on twitter @makingthemarrow.
All images © Emily Pulham 2016.