Farewell Boleyn: Wolves fans move our hearts


gates (1)By Peter Ellis

Most poignant memory for me was in the most tragic of circumstances.

My dad and two elder brothers took me to a game versus Wolves.
Why would a game versus Wolverhampton’s finest be stuck in the memory to this extent? Quite simply, it was not a football match. It was instead a memorial to the greatest player, the greatest captain, the greatest man, that West Ham and this footballing nation has ever produced.
This was the first home game after our hero, Bobby Moore, had tragically passed away.
The walk along the Barking Road was tinged in sadness; what you would expect when your (footballing) world has seemingly crashed around you?
However, it was complimented by people telling stories of the man himself during his playing days. “Do you remember that tackle on Pele”? “What about when he stopped George Best?” And obviously, “That ball to Hursty for the fourth goal….blimey!”.
You would eavesdrop the stories of people walking alongside you, whom you’ve never met, and there would be a nod of agreement, of admiration, and of respect for the great man’s achievements.
Hitting Green Street was something else. Getting to the John Lyall gates, and seeing nothing but a sea of tributes laid up opposite the famous old club shop. It seemed that every club on earth had sent a shirt or a scarf or a message.
Shirts that you would not recognise, some from Brazil, some from parts of the world you didn’t know had a league, and of course representation of each and every English club.
It felt like it was single file from the gates to the turnstiles in the west stand. Everyone silent, taking it all in. Men that you could tell were a bit “handy”, were sobbing.
My own dad welling up, something many of us would probably have only seen that day. The air was full of emotion. I have goosebumps writing this now it had such an effect on me.
We got to the upper tier of the west stand, and we were lucky enough to be a few rows behind the directors box.
We saw all the planned tributes, and the other 66 winners pay their respects, then almost out of the blue, a couple of wolves fans started walking on the pitch!
I don’t remember any announcement about this, and the people around me all started asking what were they doing, almost as it if we’re some invasion. A show of disrespect.
On the contrary, these Wolves fans went on the pitch to place their own tribute to Mooro, and they applauded all four stands while they did it.
Needless to say they got a standing ovation for everyone.
The minute’s silence was so quiet you could almost hear your own heart beat.
West Ham won, I think it was 3-1, but that’s not why we were there, that’s not why anyone was there.
We were there for the greatest player we’ve ever had, and a gentleman of the game. We, and the rest of world football, ┬ádid him proud that day.
Nothing short of an honour and a privilege to have been there.
That’s my greatest memory.

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon


  • Gonzo says:

    Fantastic Peter, I thoroughly enjoyed that. Emotive stuff.

  • Mr Buddy Lurve says:

    Beautifully put, Peter. Thanks for sharing. I wasn’t there that day, but reading that and coupling it with my own memories of UP makes me feel like I was.

  • firefigterx says:

    Wasn’t there either.was on duty as a firefighter and couldn’t get the time off, But was there in spirit. Beautiful piece FULL of the sentiment we all feel. WELL WRITTEN. COYI

  • COYI247 says:

    Bravo. Brilliant. Beautifully written tribute to one of England’s greatest. Anyone who doesn’t ‘get’ football, should read this.

  • COYI247 says:

    PS – I didn’t mean one of England’s greatest footballers – he is probably THE greatest – no, I meant one of England’s greatest – period! OK; he’s no Shakespeare or Churchill, but as a man of the finest human qualities, few even get close. RIP Bobby!

  • West Ham exile says:

    Great piece Peter,nice one.Spot on mate!

  • oldgit says:

    I have something in my eyes (

  • one_bobby_moore says:

    Guys, thanks very much for the feedback. I’m glad it resonates with you all. I could go on longer about that day, but where will it end. I always felt we as West Ham fans have something over every other football fan in that we had Bobby Geoff and Martin. No one else will every get to have that feeling that their club played such an integral part of England’s greatest moment. Moore and Hurst especially make me feel proud to be a West Ham fan. They put their love for the club above personal glory. They could have gone elsewhere, maybe won more trophies, but they didn’t. They were part of West Ham, just like we are, and they “got” the club, and the fans. They feel it as we all do, and that’s why they invented the phrase footballing legends IMO

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