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Heady mix of nostalgia and hope as new season dawns


 By Pete Ellis

So with the season officially starting I started to think about the last 26 years Ive spent marching along the Barking road to my home from home.

Leaving the Boleyn has made us all reminisce about the place, and recall our most poignant memories.

I’ve shared mine on this site, detailing the Wolves game after Mooro passed away. A sad but truly unforgetabble day.

Every trip to our home ground for me has evoked memories of my childhood. Walking along the Barking Road from Canning Town, seeing mates and relatives pour out of the side streets to join me on the jaunt to our footballing temple, feeling the butterflies and the excitement build up with every step you took.

Every person that added to the numbers en route, also added to the expectation, the excitement, and the electricity (especially during a night game).

My journey always took my past the family home of the Izzet brothers, of Leicester and Colchester fame, and also past the home of a young Danny Williamson (remember him)?

It was as if the whole area was oozing football back in the 90s

The Boleyn, being situated in a residential area, with tight knit streets everywhere , made it seem all the more exciting/intimidating.

For those of us lucky enough to be a 10 minute walk from the ground growing up, it does feel that something has been taken from you. Like the family home being sold and you move on to a new area.

It was a “proper” football ground as so many non Hammers fans have already said.

Im really gonna miss the old girl, but I can’t help but feel a sense of sheer excitement of what we are about to enter into.

So we now go from the winding streets of Upton Park, to the landscaped surroundings of the Olympic Stadium.

The Boleyn and the OS are chalk and cheese in most respects, but having visited recently, I’m sure the loss of the atmospheric approach to the Boleyn that I experienced growing up, will be replaced with a new found optimism.

I grew more gutted about it over the final weeks of last season, and this from someone that was all for the OS. Having said that, seeing the new stadium it’s impressive  and when all the bells and whistles are in place, I think we will all be pretty pleased with the result.

I guess like most things in life, it is going to be whatever you make of it.

If you go with a negative attitude, you will only see the cons, if you go with an open mind and a bit of optimism, you will quickly become intoxicated by the pros.

The goodbyes have gone on and on. The longest farewell in history is over.

We all respect what the Boleyn represented, and the memories its given us from childhood but we are a fortunate bunch. We were there when the final farewells were made, and we are here for the start of an historic chapter in our club’s history.

I for one am going to make the most of it, because there are plenty of Hammers who will be kicking themselves in future years, that they did not get to witness that game vs Man United, nor the first ball kicked at the OS.

We are all a part of  our club’s history now, whether you have a ST, a membership, a sky package, or a simple radio.

If you are a West Ham fan right now, you are a part of this historic moment. You will be telling people about that amazing final season in years to come, and about the events that are going to unfold in our first year in Stratford.

The fact that we are in this unique position, and will be the envy of a many a future fan, is enough for me to give the OS the benefit of any doubt  (that said, if we lose to Bournemouth 1st game, I’ll start a petition to leave….…)

Embrace it and enjoy folks, I think  you might actually like it …..



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About Hugh5outhon1895

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