I started my 365 Sporting Days at The Boleyn Ground – Upton Park and just over halfway through the year I decided to make a visit again!
I was told at the London Skolars match that the Hammers were playing a European game and charging a mere £10 – that in my books, was way too good to miss!
Ticket bought and my working week over I headed to Upton Park, again that meant a drive to Shenfield then a train into Stratford, one stop to West Ham, then 2 to Upton Park.
The evening was to say the least warm, and a packed train wasn’t much fun, but I got there in plenty of time. Two season ticket holders kindly directed me to the turnstiles I needed.
I wa surprised to see there weren’t any bag searches being carried out; I guess my recent visits to venues with big crowds are presumed to be of a higher risk. I imagine one day it’ll be standard procedure for all stadiums.
I had a good seat on the lower tier – but in retrospect it wasn’t best placed for taking photos; I’ll pick the higher tier next time.
In a crowd of 35,000 I was coincidently sat next to a Bath rugby player, a young lad breaking into the big time. It was good to have some added rugby chat during the match.
I’m not going to profess to be any sort of expert on the team put out by West Ham, but it was largely a young line up. Slaven Bilic was welcomed by the capacity crowd before the game started.
One of the highlights of going to see West Ham is quite simply – Bubbles! – I love it! Always sung at the top of the fans’ voices it’s a wonderful tradition. That alone would have been worth my £10!
It seemed the crowd expected their young team to be rampant and score a hatful, in such soaring heat and with inexperienced players on the whole that was unlikely to be the case.
The visitors from Andorra had amongst their number a few graduates of the RADA form of football. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever seen such blatant diving! It was actually laughable! The referee dealt with it all pretty well on the whole.
West Ham had one very impressive young man in their ranks in the form of Reece Oxford, a strong, determined player – who was 16 years old! That’s an incredible feat! He played with an assurance that belied his tender years.
Lusitanos really didn’t threaten the goal, other than a daring shot at goal from a kick off, it skimmed the bar!
West Ham however got themselves in front of goal, they missed several chances they should have converted. But Diafra Sakho put that righting the 40th minute heading a cross in to score.
He added to his and West Hams’ tally just before half time – I’m sure that 2 nil lead was a relief to all.
The 2nd half was dominated by the home team and James Tomkins added a 3rd after an hour. The crowd was, on the whole, in really good form, they clearly enjoyed the evening and the 3 nil win.
I’ve found myself gravitating to Upton Park because it’s a place I feel safe; I have no issues with going on my own. I chatted to 2 really lovely men on the way to the station and rather than queue we squeezed into a pub for a couple of drinks.
A very nice end to my evening! The journey home isn’t a bad one, it wasn’t helped by the information boards not working at Stratford, it was a bit of a lottery on picking the right train! But fortunately I picked the right one!
A couple of facts to keep track
- Cost of Ticket – £10
- Ladies loos – Claret and Blue!
- Bottle of Water – £2.20
- Chocolate – £1.30
The food offer at football tends not to be the best, they have a way to go before I’d buy anything more than chocolate, maybe Stratford will make a difference for West Ham on that front.