I went back to the Boleyn Ground for one last time today, to collect my seat – the seat that I’d sat in for every home game since August 2002 (bar a couple of missed matches).
On the way, I stopped off at Stratford to make my first excursion into the Olympic Park. At a moderately brisk walking pace, it took me 15 minutes to get from Stratford station to the stadium. I would think it will take considerably longer to do the return journey on match days, with 60K fans all leaving at the same time. Unfortunately, you can’t get right up to the stadium at the moment, although you can get quite close.
West Ham’s new stadium store is open, so I popped in for a look round. It’s definitely an improvement on the old portakabin of years gone by! The Lyall Gates, moved from the main entrance of the Boleyn Ground, are now installed inside the store, and I have to say they do look good in there.
There were a few items I was tempted by, mostly the retro gear, but managed to restrain myself and kept my credit card firmly in my pocket. All the new stuff now has the new crest design on it, which looks better in “real life” than it does in the on-line images I’ve seen, but I still don’t like the word “London” being used in it.
So then it was off to the Boleyn Ground to collect my seat. That was a straightforward operation (unusual for West Ham!). It was a bit sad to see the old girl starting to look a bit run-down, with various bits having been removed. Amongst other things, the crests on the West Stand towers have gone. I also saw a double mattress being removed, which made me wonder what the Daves and Karren had been up to, but I guess it must have come from the hotel.
Then off home, going home from Upton Park station – the first time (and now the last time) that I’ve used that station for the homeward journey for many, many years, as I always used to walk to either Plaistow or East Ham after games.
A frivolous purchase, I suppose, I’m not even sure what I’m going to do with it, but hey! I’d paid a few thousand pounds to sit it in for fourteen seasons, so another pony on top doesn’t seem to be too much 🙂 The back is rather faded, but the seat is still a nice shade of claret.