West Ham United
The Boleyn Ground

Ground No. 46
Visited - Saturday 2nd October 2004
Result - West Ham United 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Competition - Coca Cola Championship
Attendance - 29,585

Despite looking like a good ground in pictures, and also being one of the better ones in the Championship, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the trip to East London. Last year when we had met West Ham in the cup, there had been a lot of trouble, with one Hammers fan getting stabbed, and with Upton Park not being the friendliest of places at the best of times it was anticipated that this could be a very dodgy trip, but as ever we got our tickets and travelled down hoping for a good game.

I'd decided to go to London early to take some pictures of other grounds for the site, so set off at 8am, and arrived at 10:20, the journey going well, on one of the new Pendolino trains, and we actually reached Euston over 20 minutes ahead of schedule, which was quite good. After grabbing a bite to eat, and walking down to Warren Street to get on the tube (Euston station was packed, and I didn’t have change for the machines) got off up to Arsenal, and took some pictures of Highbury, followed by Ashburton Grove, which really is coming on well, and looking like it will be a great stadium, after that, I got back on the tube down to Chelsea and had a quick dash around Stamford Bridge. The time was getting on by this point, and after meeting a friend we made our way on the district line from Fulham Broadway for the journey east to Upton Park station.

Once there it was 2:20, later than I would have liked, so we walked down to the ground and went around taking some more pictures. From the outside, it's quite a nice ground, and the much talked about towers on the Dr Martens Stand are certainly unique, but give the stadium a nice focal point, and are quite nice, kind of a more modern twin towers at Wembley. The rest of the ground was pretty average, although the rear of the East Stand let it down a bit, looking quite dated and in need of a coat of paint or two! After walking around the perimeter, we eventually went in and found our seats. We were in the lower tier of the Centenary Stand, which offered good views, although the space inside the concourse was a little cramped to say the least, and it was the same in the seating areas, with leg room being OK, but width room a little tight. Also one dodgy thing I noticed was that they had put rails up against one edge of each block of seats, which meant that despite us being right next to an aisle, we had to walk along all of the row just to get to our seats, which wasn’t particularly good.

As for the rest of the ground then it is quite an impressive place, to our left was the oldest stand, the East Stand, which looked alright, although a bit dated compared to its newer, bigger neighbours. Unfortunately though it was quite a way back from the pitch, which was a shame, but it really wasn’t as bad as it’s often made out to be. Opposite was the Bobby Moore Stand which looked a similar design to the stand we were in, with two large tiers, the upper overhanging the lower tier, an odd feature of this was that it had been extended towards the Dr Martens Stand, which was the most impressive one there. With a large lower tier, and a slightly smaller upper tier, it dominates the ground, towering over the other stands, and looked particularly impressive whilst full, there was many a time during the game that I caught myself looking over at it in awe, as it probably is one of the best individual stands in the country, although I wasn’t too sure about the unusual metal work on top of it, which looked slightly odd.

After surveying the ground, and taking yet more pictures the game got started and the only major change for us was that Dave Jones had finally listened to the fans, and realised that Paul Jones is actually useless, so Michael Oakes took his place. Both teams looked solid, if unspectacular, and the first half was quite entertaining, with Oakes staking a claim for a regular start when he made several magnificent saves, one from under the crossbar that was truly amazing. The half ended 0-0, and we were looking much better than in previous weeks. After the break (and a rather nice display from the Hammerettes, if you’ve seen them, you’ll know what I mean!) If you haven’t then you're in for a treat!) West Ham had more of the second half, although it wasn’t until late on, and a slip by Jolean Lescott that they took the lead through Teddy Sherringham. Paul Ince was going all out to try to score a goal against his former team, whose fans had been giving him stick all afternoon, but it wasn’t to be, when the ref blew his whistle to indicate that we’d be travelling home without any points, which seemed a little harsh, as we really were good money for the draw, and matched West Ham throughout. Off the pitch both sets of fans were vocal throughout the game, and created a good atmosphere, which was good, although it never became nasty, just good-natured.

After staying to take some pictures of the ground empty, we eventually left, and walked back up to the tube station. We’d come to the entrance to see a queue winding its way out, and down a side street next to the station, so we walked down it to join the end, only to keep walking, and still keep walking before seeing it going round another corner and deciding to give up! We walked back up towards the ground and caught a bus outside Queens Market, which took us up to East Ham, where after walking down the High Street we got on the tube back through Upton Park, where people were still getting on from the match, and back into central London.

After getting into Euston there wasn’t long until a train home, which went fairly well, arriving back into Wolverhampton just after 9:30. Overall it had been a good day, a nice trip with lots of pictures taken for the site. The Boleyn Ground itself (or Upton Park) is a great ground, and if they can rebuild the East Stand then it will be even better, also it was nice, after a few trips to smaller places, going to a big ground such as this, as it really wouldn’t look out of place in the Premiership. As for the expected trouble, thankfully it never materialised, perhaps surprisingly there wasn’t even a nasty atmosphere, despite there being a heavy police presence, so all in all a good day out, just a pity about the result really, but you get the feeling that that’s something we could say a lot of times this season, with yet another relegation battle apparently looming.

Upton Park Underground Station

Rear of the West Stand

The West Stand's Towers

The Club Shop

Rear of the Bobby Moore Stand

Rear of the East Stand

The East Stand

The Bobby Moore Stand

The West Stand

The West Stand

The Bobby Moore Stand

The East Stand


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