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Heartbreak and love as Boleyn bulldozers move in






Emotional Pete Ellis says his final farewell to love of his life 


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As we awake on this autumnal Wednesday morning, a heartbreaking reality is  about to set in… the demolition of the Boleyn ground finally begins.

We have seen the branding hauled down over recent weeks, and have even seen the stadium get blown up thanks to the movie makers. That didn’t really bother me though, the place was still there, still standing.
Now the harshest of realities will hit home.
As someone lucky enough to live a 10 or 15 minute walk from the ground, it’s always seemed like it was “my” club more than anyone else’s. Daft I know as plenty of people who live hundreds of miles away are just as committed (if not more so) than I am.
It’s just the fact that as a kid you would ride your bike from Canning Town to the Boleyn on a school night, despite not being allowed that far from home, just to soak up the atmosphere and the sporadic chants of “Irons” by total strangers with whom ou you suddenly felt a connection with just because they love the same (often rubbish) team as you
Then when I was a bit older, the convenience of rocking up to the ticket office at 10am on a Saturday, getting a ticket, then coming back five  hours later, all seemed like it was tailor made for me and my mates along the Barking Road.
I was like the scene from the movie the wanders, where it starts off with one or two, then gradually, you find your numbers swell with almost every step.
It’s like the family home that you were born in is going to be bulldozed. I will cherish every memory I have of that place for as long as they grey matter will allow. From watching Frankie Mac in my first game to Noble’s West Ham pantomime that was his brilliant testimonial.
For me though, the most emotional moment was the Wolves game after Mooro passed away. I have written about that before on this site so I won’t repeat myself, but let me just say this. If you were there on that day, you will hold that memory in your heart until your last breath.
Complete strangers, whichever  club they followed, came together to remember England’s favourite son. In a time before social media, likes and  retweets, the world convened on the Boleyn, and we were the centre of the footballing world that day.
Nowadays, Twitter and Facebook will immobilise you an army for a water fight in a park, but back then, it would take something monumental to get people out in such numbers, and seeing that as a 12 year old kid made you realise this was your club, this was your family, and this iconic football ground, was your home.
They say if you are not one of us, you will never understand. I could not have put it better myself.
Thank you Boleyn, you have been a massive part of most of our lives, and it’s truly been a pleasure.
You will be gone, but you will never be forgotten…….


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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

3 comments on “Heartbreak and love as Boleyn bulldozers move in

  1. Best of luck Pete, I like you used to head down to the ground with my mates queue up for tickets or in my case because it was a bus ride away we used to get down a bit later sometimes they would all be sold so we would wait for the queue to disperse and haste the security on the gates to let us in, most times we would be successful and like you those were the best days of my West Ham supporting life, I will have a drink to the old girl tonight. Hope you have an otherwise good day as do I to any others that are saddened COYI !!!

  2. Nice article Pete, thank you. We all knew that this day was coming but it’s still a wrench to know that the process has started; there will be heavy claret and blue hearts in all four corners of the globe today. May the ghosts of our family, friends and footballing forefathers who weren’t able to make the move with us rest peacefully there. RIPYI

  3. We all have our memories of the Boleyn,my favourite game and memory was standing in the west lower with two pals who are chelski boys.This was mid eighties,we beat Chelsea 5-3,god I felt so proud ,Cottee n Frankie Mac, scored, a perfect day.COYI

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