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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Lusitanos really didn’t threaten the goal, other than a daring shot at goal from a kick off, it skimmed the bar!

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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.

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He added to his and West Hams’ tally just before half time – I’m sure that 2 nil lead was a relief to all.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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