I’m Ryan, an 18 year old who travels to various football grounds around the UK and then writes about his experience on his visit to the game. Target: 100 Grounds - Visited: 82 Grounds | Doing The 92 - Visited: 9 | Every ground within the M25 - Visited: 50
Score: West Ham United F.C. 2-0 Queens Park Rangers F.C.
Competition: Barclays Premier League
West Ham United, one of the richest clubs in the world and a club that I have a soft spot for because when I was around 8 years old, I weirdly liked West Ham and I developed a soft spot for them and ever since them, I have always looked out for their results and ever since I have developed a soft spot for them, I have wanted to go to the Boleyn and seeing as I recently started following QPR and they had been promoted back to the Premier League, I would have the chance to go to the Boleyn.
It was the start of September and my dad had got the dates of the days off he had for the rest of the season so we started looking at what possible QPR and Sutton games we would both be able to go to this season and my dad was looking through the QPR fixtures for October as he had nearly every weekend off in October and he saw that QPR were playing away to West Ham on the 5th and he told me and as soon as he said QPR are playing West Ham away I said "I wanna go" because now I knew that if we could get tickets for the game my dream of finally going to watch West Ham would finally come true and to top it off it would be against QPR and another reason why this would be a special game is because it will be my first ever QPR game.
We then looked on the QPR website to see if the West Ham game was on general sale for QPR fans and it was and there was around 500 tickets left when we looked so we booked the tickets immediately because it is a London derby so the tickets will go quick especially for the away end and the tickets were confirmed 10 minutes later and my dream had come true, I am finally going to watch West Ham United. One of the disappointing things about the game is the game is a 4:15pm kick off which means I would have to wait a little bit longer for the game to start as the game is on TV. So the tickets were booked and I was really excited so now all I have to do is wait 2 weeks for the game. I then looked into the history of West Ham United to refresh my memory.
West Ham United were founded in 1885 but the club was founded under the name of Thames Ironworks F.C. In 1900 Thames Ironworks was reformed as West Ham United F.C. The clubs nicknames are "The Iron", "The Hammers" and "The Academy of Football". The club play in claret and blue. The club was previously based in West Ham in East London until 2016 when the club moved to the new London Stadium which was previously the Olympic Stadium which was used in the 2012 London Olympics. Before West Ham moved to Stratford they played their home games at the Boleyn Ground but is known to many football fans as Upton Park and is currently being demolished. The Boleyn Ground was the home of West Ham from 1904-2016. The stadium had a capacity of 35,016 and is all seated. The club is much linked with England's win and only World Cup win back in 1966 because three players were West Ham players and the captain Bobby Moore was the England captain and Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters were also West Ham players and in the winning team.
West Ham are a team that has spent most of its history playing in the Championship and the Premier League. West Ham won the Second Division (Championship) in the 1957/58 and in the 1980/81 season which took them to the First Division (Premier League). Then they were relegated back down to the Championship and returned in the 2004/05 season and spent 7 years in the Premier League and was relegated in the 2010/11 season and they were promoted the next season via the play-offs and since then they have stayed in the Premier League. West Ham also have a strong FA Cup history as they have won it 3 times in 1964, 1975 and in 1980. They were also runners up in 1923 and 2006. They have been runners up in the League Cup twice which were in 1966 and 1981.
So Sunday October 5th 2014 had finally arrived and I pretty much stayed up most of the night because this game no matter what the result is will be in my top 10 best ever games that I have ever been to. Last night I ended up staying up until around 2am watching my QPR highlights DVD from the 2013/14 season and I ended up waking up at 6:30am in an energetic mood because I was going to see West Ham for the first time, it was my first QPR game, my first QPR away game and my first ever Premier League game.
The plan for today was to leave my house at 11am and then walk to the bus stop and get the bus into Wimbledon and then get on the District Line all the way to Upton Park and we would hopefully get there for 12:30pm. Then we would get something to eat near the ground and then go in the stadium at around 2pm and then soak up the atmosphere inside the Boleyn Ground.
My dad finally arrived at my house at 10:45am and we both had clothes with blue on them to show that we are QPR fans. I would wear a QPR shirt but I have not got on yet. I was wearing white shoes, blue jeans, a blue polo shirt, a QPR hat and a QPR scarf. We drove down to Morden and got on the 93 which took us to Wimbledon. The journey on the District Line from Wimbledon to Upton Park takes around an hour and is very long but it was not bothering me because I just looked out the window and admired the city that I love and live in.
As we neared the centre of London many West Ham fans got on our train and they did not give us dirty looks, some of them said hello and some smiled at us which made us feel very welcome to the area especially as away fans. I have always loved the West Ham fans because they are very friendly and very loyal to their club. We finally got off a packed tube train at Upton Park and followed the crowd and we also followed the signs to the ground.
The station was packed with around 50 QPR fans and around 300 West Ham fans so I could definitely soak up the football atmosphere that Upton Park and West Ham United provides for both the home and away fans. After heading out of the station we walked away from the station and went in Greggs for lunch and had a sandwich and a sausage roll. When then headed towards the stadium and passed the main area of Green Street and walked to the Trevor Brooking Stand which is for the away fans and some of the home fans.
After heading through security we finally walked through the turnstiles and the moment that I saw the ground for real I immediately thought "fucking hell this is massive". Still to this day I remember that moment when I saw inside Upton Park for the first time and it will be a memory that will stay with me forever. It was like the excitement of all those years of wanting to go to the Boleyn Ground was finally around my body and I had never felt so happy in all my life.
Upton Park is one of the best stadiums that I have ever been to and to this day it still is in my top 5. On the whole the stadium is an impressive one, being of a good size and having three modern stands. On one side of the ground is the impressive looking Betway (West) Stand that was opened in 2001. This large two tiered stand (which is reputedly the largest league ground stand in London), has a capacity of 15,000. Located between the tiers are two rows of corporate executive boxes. Opposite is the East Stand, which was opened in 1969. This stand in comparison, although two tiered, is rather on the small side and looks somewhat out of place compared to its larger shiny neighbours. Both ends are large, smart, two tiered stands. In the North East and South West corners there are video screens installed as well as an electronic score board in the South West corner. Also in the South West corner is a large image of Booby Moore who overlooks the ground.
Probably the most striking feature of the stadium can only be seen externally, where an elaborate comprising of two castle turrets has been built around the reception area entrance. The turrets have been modelled on those appearing on the club crest. It is nice to see a Club actually trying to install some character into a new stand. Just outside the ground near the Boleyn Pub, is the handsome statue of England Captain Bobby Moore, holding aloft the World Cup Trophy which England won in 1966. The statue shows Moore being hoisted aloft by fellow West Ham players Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters with Everton defender Ray Wilson. (Description of Upton Park is sourced from Football Ground Guide).
So we sat down and admired Upton Park and then I headed to the tea bar and got a steak pie which tasted unbelievably tasty and is to this day the best steak pie that I have ever had at a football match. Then the teams came out and started warming up and I stood up and clapped Rob Green and he clapped me back and say "alright" which made me proud to be a QPR fan because the players love the fans and the players will happily have a picture or say "hi" to you. Whilst the QPR goalkeepers were warming up without looking the ball was saved by Rob Green and landed straight in my nuts which hurt a lot and Rob Green said to me "great save" and I said that I am a goalkeeper and he said "cool".
After the QPR players had warmed up, they came over and clapped our fans and this gave me a buzz of excitement and passion for QPR. Me and my dad then spent 10 minutes or so on our phones looking at the other results so far and they weren't doing too badly and some of the other teams that I quite like weren't losing which put me in an even better mood. It felt like everything was going right for me today. The teams then came out and there was a roar from the 36,000 or so people inside the Boleyn Ground.
The game finally kicked off and the QPR fans chanted through the whole game yet going 1-0 down after 5 minutes. At half time the score was 1-0 to West Ham and in the second half West Ham scored again to make it 2-0 and QPR had some good chances to get back into the game but it looked like it was not to be our day. We did have a bit of banter with the West Ham fans because they are surrounding us as we are in a corner of the ground which did make the game a bit more lively especially as it is a London derby.
The game ended 2-0 to West Ham and we headed back to the tube station feeling sad that QPR had lost but I was very happy that I had finally visited the Boleyn Ground. We had to wait around 15 minutes in a long queue to get into the station and we got on the District Line all the way to Wimbledon and was home at 7pm. I was shattered when I got home, probably due to me having to travel over an hour on the tube home but also because I had been chanting for 90 minutes which had ruined my voice. I had really enjoyed my day at Upton Park and I would highly recommend going.
Rating: Stadium: 10/10 Bar: 7/10 Food & Drink: 10/10 Atmosphere: 9/10 Friendliness: 8/10 Value For Money: 9/10 Overall Rating: 8.5/10