I attended my final game at the Boleyn yesterday. As a former season ticket older, I find it a hard pill to swallow that location and circumstance do not allow me the opportunity to go more often.
How will you all feel on our last game when Man Utd visit? If it is anything like I did yesterday at the final whistle, then you’ll be very emotional with a mixture of nostalgia, sadness, excitement and a huge lump in your throat.
The game itself wasnt a very memorable affair, I enjoyed Antonio’s goal and performance, managed to see Payet for the first time this season (been to other games while he was sidelined with injury) and apart from Noble’s crossbar rattling screamer, I cant honestly remember much else about the game.
However the day it self provided many fond and funny memories:
The fact I almost didn’t make the game, the drama of finding out my lift had bailed on me (I live in Wales) and the scrambling around to try and ensure I could still go in itself provided an unscripted yet thrilling dramatic spin to the “last ever visit” to the Boleyn.
As it happened, after sitting awake the night before at two in the morning, in tears at the thought of missing out and hardly any sleep, I decided to drive there and managed to (finally) track down a few of my pals from the Gwent Hammers and after an alcohol soaking fry up and picking up a straggler as my passanger and navigator, I ended up deciding to drive all the way to Upton Park.
Once we arrived, I started my last ever two mile hike up Barking Road towards the supporters club, my last ever drink and a baguette at the supporters club and my last ever glance through those John Lyall gates.
I was lucky enough to be greeted by the lads from Sex Drugs and Carlton Cole and some of the team from here at the West Ham Way. Finally put some faces to names and enjoyed some pre-match banter by the gates whilst soaking up the atmosphere and taking in my surroundings.
I was kind of dreading getting to my seat. I managed to only be able to find a ticket in the West Upper, right at the back, where usually my passionate singing and chanting is frowned upon. But as luck would have it, once I had managed to haul my fat and hungover self to the top of the never ending staircase to row BB (only to realise I wanted a drink and went back to get one) I found myself in the company of some good ol’fashioned east end cockneys who were there as some sort of 80’s reunion.
The whole game was full of singing, chanting, just like the good ol’ days. One of the lads, a Ray Winstone lookalike, drunk as a skunk and really funny geezer, kept cracking jokes that had us all wetting ourselves laughing. It really was top notch east end banter and I felt for all intents and purposes that I had attended the game back in my early days as a season ticket holder with a good bunch of mates. To them, whoever they are, I thank you for making my last visit to the old girl a very eventful and memorable one.
I really hope, that to those who read this, whenever your last game is this season, that you manage to soak up every last minute of the day and enjoy it. It will be a sad day, but a new dawn awaits, give the old girl a great send off and let us look forwards to a new stadium and new era in Statford.
This blog is dedicated to the Gwent Hammers who travel from Wales every week and have become dear friends of mine.
We managed to chat to Richard (first one in the video) after the game here are his thoughts on the match: