West Ham United F.C. says farewell to Boleyn

West Ham United F.C. said goodbye Tuesday to the pitch the team has called home since 1904, taking on hated Manchester United. Prior to the game, West Ham fans vandalized the Manchester United team bus causing a lot of social traction.

112 years of football history comes to a close

Football fans line up for tickets at West Ham's home ground Boleyn Ground - or Upton Park - for a game against Manchester United in 1972. (Peter King/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Football is like religion in England.

For West Ham United fans, their home of Upton Park — or Boleyn Ground — is like Vatican City and St. Peter's Basilica rolled into one. And Tuesday they had to say farewell to the football chapel that has housed their beloved Hammers for 112 years. 

But that's a lot easier said than done for a football fan. 

Five reasons why the Boleyn Ground is sacred land to West Ham United F.C. fans:

1. The birth of West Ham United's home

Boleyn Ground is located in East London, and holds 35,000 . (In the early years, the pitch was also used by Charlton Athletic.) West Ham's new venue will be the 60,000-seat Olympic Stadium in Stratford, London.

2. Bobby Moore (1941-1993)

A football legend and former captain of England's national team, Moore played for West Ham United for more than 10 years. He was part of the English national team that defeated West Germany 4-2 in the 1966 World Cup final. Moore ended his career with 108 national team caps and to this day is considered one of the best defenders the game has seen. One so esteemed as Pele cited him as the "greatest defender he had ever played against." All in all, Boleyn Ground was a blessed pitch after having Moore play on it. 

3. Celebrity sightings

English actress Keira Knightley was born in Teddington, just a little over an hour away from Upton Park. The actress expressed her support for West Ham United fans and her love for Boleyn Ground in a video that was promoted Tuesday: 

Even English actor and comedian Russell Brand supports The Hammers, and didn't pass up the opportunity to watch his side play for the final time at the historic venue. 

4. Generations of memories

The Boleyn Ground has lived a long life and has encompassed many unforgettable memories. These are the types of moments that parents want their children to remember ... even if it costs them. 

5. Evolution

In their 112 years at Boleyn Ground, West Ham solidified its reputation in one of the top football leagues in the world. From its first FA Cup final at Wembley in 1923, to being crowned FA Cup winners three times (1964, 1975, 1980), to reaching two European finals, to winning the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1965, to winning the Intertoto Cup in 1999, to reaching its highest position in English Premier League Standings in 1985-86 (third place) in the First Division, the Boleyn Ground was always there to come home to. As West Ham United evolved over the years, so did its beloved football chapel. 

So with all that history behind us, we can now understand why joint-chairman David Gold sent this message out to fans prior to the final game:

Unfortunately, West Ham United fans weren't looking forward to their last visit to their homeland and decided to vent their frustrations on Manchester United's team bus prior to the game.

It's a hard day for West Ham United fans, but this also marks the day of new beginnings, new traditions and new memories. The stadium will be torn down and replaced with housing.

R.I.P. Boleyn Ground [1904-2016]


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.