West Ham legend Billy Bonds has called on fans to embrace their new ground
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 21 October 2018 at 9:13pm
West Ham legend Billy Bonds has called on fans to embrace their new ground.
At a reunion event for the 1980 Cup Final players, West Ham United legend Billy Bonds was asked about his time playing at Upton Park. He paid tribute to the memories and legacy we built at our old ground – but also encouraged fans to move on and support the club at the Olympic Stadium.
Bonds cemented his place in West Ham history after an incredible career playing for the Hammers from 1967-88. He helped West Ham to the semi-final of the Football League Cup in 1971-72 and, as captain of the club, led the club to FA Cup final victories in 1975 and 1980 and to the finals of the 1976 European Cup Winners’ Cup and the 1981 League Cup final. He topped the scorers list for the West Ham in the 1973-74 season, and even managed the Hammers from 1990-94.
He’s long been considered a legend for the Irons given his dedication to the club and his excellent career in claret and blue – and it’s natural that Bonds would have an attachment to the ground where he spent his career. He particularly valued the intensity at Upton Park, which made it difficult for teams to play there.
“It was very atmospheric ground, you know, when you walked into it” he said. “I’m sure a lot of teams didn’t like driving through the East End of London, pulling up at those gates, parking out the side, getting abuse!”
“You always felt when we were playing there, that, if you got the crowd really up for it, then it was a great place to play.”
While it would be easy to look back through rose-tinted glasses at the past, he mused that not everything at Upton Park was a happy memory and encouraged fans to move on and embrace the Olympic Stadium.
“We’ve had some bad times, I had some bad seasons with them, we got relegated a few times.”
“I do think we’ve all got to move on now, because what’s done is done at the old ground, and you have to move on – it’s your football club and you support it because it’s the club that you’ve made a very good club to support. A great football club.”
Bonds has long been a leader to Hammers teams and fans, and hopefully his comments will help us focus on the great club we know West Ham can be – and learn, over time, to move on and more forwards in our new stadium.