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Ground Guide: West Ham

Ground Guide: West Ham
The Boleyn Ground - West Ham United

By SeasideEssexXile

West Ham away. It has the sound of a game that should be an enjoyable fixture.

It was last season and there`s no reason to suggest that it won`t be this. If anyone has ever seen a less exciting 0-0 draw, which this fixture produced, then I`ve yet to meet them. Forget Upton Park, West Ham play at the Boleyn. It`s something I learned whilst living down there that the Irons are quite passionate about, they don`t just like it, they love it..

The Ground

The Boleyn Ground and has been the home of West Ham United since its opening in 1904.

The club rented Green Street House and grounds in the Municipal Borough of East Ham from the Roman Catholic Church from around 1912. Green Street House was known locally as Boleyn Castle because of its imposing nature and an association with Anne Boleyn, who had either stayed at, or as some believe, owned the house, the ground is said to be haunted by one of her maids who died in childbirth. Hence renting the grounds of 'Boleyn Castle' the name Boleyn Ground came into being.

In August 1944, a V-1 flying bomb landed on the south-west corner of the pitch. This forced the team to play its games away from home while repairs were undertaken, but it did not affect performances as West Ham managed nine consecutive victories. Upon their return to the ground in December, they lost 1-0 to Tottenham Hotspur. The record attendance is 42,322, against Tottenham Hotspur in a Division One (Old) match on 17 October 1970, when the North and South Banks were terraced, as was the old 'Chicken Run' to the front of the East Stand. The record attendance at Upton Park since it has become an all-seater is 35,550, recorded against Manchester City on 21 September 2002 in a Premier League match.

The ground has been subject to considerable redevelopment since the early 1990s:

1993: South Bank replaced by a new 9,000 seat, two tier stand named in honour of former captain Bobby Moore, who had died earlier that year. The stand also incorporates executive boxes as well as a digital clock.

1995: North Bank replaced by a new 6,000 seat, two tier stand named the 'Centenary Stand' now re-named as the 'Sir Trevor Brooking Stand'. The East Stand Lower is also made all seater.

2001: West Stand replaced by a new 15,000 seat, two tier stand named the 'Dr. Martens Stand'. The stand also incorporates executive boxes on two levels as well as the West Ham United Hotel.

Plans have been submitted to increase the capacity to approximately 40,500 through the building of a new larger East Stand, that will additionally use the spare space that was created when the Doctor Martens stand was built further West than the old West Stand. This will result in a fully enclosed stadium by joining the new stand to the Centenary Stand and the Bobby Moore Stand. Relegation to the Football League Championship in 2003 resulted in the development being delayed. However promotion to the FA Premier League via the Play-Offs in May 2005 resulted in the immediate re-submission of plans to Newham London Borough Council. The timing of the development is now dependent upon the club establishing itself again as a regular member of the Premier League.

Throughout 2006, talk was rife of West Ham moving to the Olympic Stadium of the 2012 Olympics, with speculation increasing after new club chairman Eggert Magnusson confirmed he was interested in a move there. However, talks broke down between the club and the Olympic Committee after it was announced that the Stadium would be reduced to 25,000 all seater after the Olympic Games, which is over 10,000 less than the Boleyn Ground's current capacity, and that the stadium would be keeping its running track, leaving supporters further away from the pitch and killing the atmosphere within the stadium on matchday. Recent rumours have suggested that West Ham could move to a new stadium located at the Parcelforce depot near to West Ham Underground/mainline station. On 7 November 2007 London mayor, Ken Livingstone announced that a new site had been identified for West Ham to build a new stadium. On 23 March 2010, the club announced they were working on a joint bid with Newham London Borough Council to move into the Olympic stadium. Ironically this week there`s talk of all bets being off due to the fear of legal challenges meaning the Olympic Stadium being empty long after next Summer.

The Boleyn has a capacity of 35,333 last season we were given an allocation of 3000, this season we`ve been given considerably less and I expect around the 1000 mark to travel.

How To Get There

55, M6 South, all the way and on to the M1.Follow the 1 until it hits the inevitable stationary traffic sat on the M25.

Leave the 25 at J27, and go on to the M11 southbound. Follow the M11 south until it divides to join the A406 (North Circular Road). Take the Left Hand fork signposted A406 South. Do not follow the signs for the City.

The end of the motorway joins the A406 from the left, creating a 4 lane road for a short distance. You need to be in one of the outside 2 lanes. Proceed south (dual carriageway with slip roads) passing the junctions for Redbridge, and Ilford.

Leave the A406 at the Barking junction. At the roundabout at the bottom of the slip road, turn right, taking the 3rd exit towards East Ham (Barking Road). Proceed West along Barking Road through several sets of traffic lights until you have passed the lights at East Ham Town Hall (big red Victorian building on the left just before the lights). 3/4 mile further, you pass the ground on your right.

For the sat navvers amongst us - E13 9AZ.

For the Virgin lovers amongst us - train to Euston then you`ll need the district line (green) to Upton Park. Exit the station turn right. The stadium is then a two-minute walk (400yds) on your left hand side.

Last season we parked up at Upminster tube station and travelled in from there.

For those flying via Samm Airways the nearest airport is London City.

Where to Drink

Most pubs around the ground are not for visiting fans. The Boleyn Pub, and you won`t be seen again; Queens is pretty similar; The Greengate good luck; Wine Bar, no ta; the Village and the 'Central Pubs` are all no-goers. Instead try the Wetherspoons (Millers Well) opposite East Ham Town Hall. Either take the twenty minute walk along Barking Road or travel to East Ham tube station, have a couple and walk to the ground. Denmark Arms nearby is another option.

Last year we drank pre match at Upminster, afterwards we walked 10mins away from the ground (past the Queens) and drank happily with the Hammers fans.

Ale is on sale inside the ground.

Plod & Stewards

ood leniency to the standing rule, just the Pool moaners to contend with.

It`s the met - say no more.

Fear Factor Rating - Forget the Football Factory & the GSE a great day out - 3.

Last season saw us denied a win by a dubious liner. We`ve put some decent performances in on the road yet it`s now over 2 months since we managed to win on our travels. West Ham are`nt unbeatable at home and now is as good as time as any to put one over Big Sam and the West 'Am mob.

Onwards + Upwards

Date:Wednesday October 12 2011
Time: 9:21PM

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