Jack Collison: My Top 5 Magical Boleyn Moments
Author: Brian Knox. Published: 8 January 2016 at 10:27pm
Jack Collison: my top 5 magical Boleyn moments
The countdown continues, with West Ham set to say goodbye to the Boleyn at the end of the season. A stadium enriched with a wonderful history, and some magical memories deeply entrenched within its walls. When the time finally comes it’s going to be a very emotional day for the Hammers and everyone connected with the wonderful arena.
I feel very blessed that I can say I have experienced the incredible Boleyn atmosphere, not only as a fan but as a player as well. It’s hard to explain the intense feeling you get and the goose bumps, walking out to a packed house with bubbles ringing out, it really is a special feeling.
Below I have listed my own personal Boleyn top 5 moments:
West ham 0 v 1 Palermo – September 2006
I was still a young up and coming player at the time, trying to impress in the youth team. I used to love going to the game and watching the players up closer and personal. As a youth team player we often had to ball boy for the first team games. Some of the lads didn’t like it but for me it was a dream come true, it meant you were even closer to the action.
I remember this game for many reasons, but I will never forget the atmosphere that night. It really was special being as it was the first time West Ham had been in Europe for a while and the excitement in and around the stadium that night was there for everyone to see.
The result wasn’t the one everyone had hoped for, but seeing the passion and intensity of the crowd inspired me to want to be out there playing even more.
West ham 1 v 3 Everton – November 2008
This game was special to me as it was my first goal in the famous claret and blue. This is the moment I had rehearsed over and over again in my back garden, down the park and even in my front room. It was the sort of stuff you dream of as a kid and try to imagine how it would feel. But the feeling of the ball hitting the net is completely indescribable, I think you could tell by my celebrations how much it meant to me.
The goal came from a great bit of play from Scotty Parker, he flicked the ball into my path and I opened up with my first touch and bent it round Howard and in to the top corner. It was to put us 1-0 up but unfortunately we had 4 minutes of madness and ended up losing the game 3-1. It really was a special moment and one I will never forget.
West ham 2 v 0 Hull – January 2009
This game will live long in my memory mainly for the type of football we played on the night. We were playing some great stuff under Gianfranco Zola and we absolutely destroyed Hull in this game. It’s always a fantastic feeling playing under the lights at the Boleyn, but it’s even better when you’re playing great football and winning. David Di Michele and Carlton Cole were the match winners in this particular game.
It was a joy to be playing in the team during this period and had I not hit the post from 6 yards out, I may have rounded off one hell of a team goal, which could have been a contender for goal of the season.
West ham 1 v 0 Man City – March 2009
This game V city was a really special game for me personally. It was the first time I had scored a winning goal for the team. It was even more memorable as City were starting to chuck some money around and had some real top class players out on the pitch. The likes of Bellamy, Kompany and Robinho were all playing. It was a cheeky little finish after some fine work from Savio, I managed to lob the rebound back over Given’s head on the volley.
It’s always great to score but it feels even better when it’s a winner. It was even more special as it would have been my Nan’s birthday on this particular day.
West ham 3 v 1 Millwall (AET) – August 2009
This game will live long in my memory for very different reasons as I played days after tragically losing my dad. I have often spoke of the support I got from the fans that night, but I can never repay the way they helped me through the most difficult period of my life. The game was remembered for the crowd trouble, but for me it will be remembered for the way the West Ham family united and carried one of their own through an incredible game of football.
At 1-0 down and time running out it was great to see Junior popping up with a goal to take it to extra time. It was even better when he put us ahead from the penalty spot and great to see my good friend and fellow academy graduate Zavon Hines scoring the third.
Despite all of the trouble that evening I am forever grateful for the support I received. I tried to thank the fans after the game but couldn’t hold back the tears as the emotion of the whole evening finally took its toll. It really was a special night.
These are just a few examples of some special games that will forever be ingrained in my memory. I feel very thankful and very blessed to have stepped out onto the Boleyn pitch. With Mark Nobles testimonial fast approaching I am very pleased that I will get the opportunity to step on to the hallowed turf once again.
It truly will be a momentous occasion, and with the proceeds going to such fantastic charities I’m sure the West Ham family will do as they always do and turn up in their thousands and support such a fantastic cause.