The west stand from Green Street
|Public transit||Upton Park|
|Owner||West Ham UTD F.C. (Will own until late 2020)|
|Operator||West Ham UTD F.C. (Stopped operating on 30 May 2016)|
|Surface||Grass (110 x 70 yards)|
|Architect||Henri Pillipe Tiite Parker|
|West Ham United (1904–2016)
Charlton Athletic (1991–1992)
The Boleyn Ground, often referred to as Upton Park, was a football stadium located in Upton Park, east London. From 1904 to 2016, it was the home of West Ham United. The club previously relocated from the Memorial Grounds, with the forerunner Thames Ironworks playing their home matches at Hermit Road.
The stadium was also briefly used in the early 1990s by Charlton Athletic during their years of financial difficulty. The seating capacity of the ground at closure was 35,016. From the 2016–17 season, West Ham United play their home matches at the London Stadium in nearby Stratford. The last first-class match played at the Boleyn Ground was on 10 May 2016, a 3–2 West Ham win in the Premier League against Manchester United.
The stadium is set to be demolished to make way for a new development.
The club rented Green Street House and grounds in the Municipal Borough of East Ham from the Roman Catholic Church from around 1912. Green Street House was known locally as Boleyn Castle because of its imposing nature and an association with Anne Boleyn, who had either stayed at or, as some believe, owned the house. Hence renting the grounds of "Boleyn Castle" the name Boleyn Ground came into being. The ground is often referred to as Upton Park, after the Upton Park, London, area in which it is located.
In August 1944, a V-1 flying bomb fell on the south-west corner of the pitch. This forced the team to play its matches away from home while repairs were undertaken, but it did not affect performances as West Ham managed nine consecutive victories. Upon their return to the ground in December, they lost 1–0 to Tottenham Hotspur. The record attendance is 42,322, against Tottenham in a Division One (Old) match on 17 October 1970, when the North and South Banks were terraced, as was the old "Chicken Run" to the front of the East Stand. The record attendance at Upton Park since it has become an all-seater is 35,550, recorded against Manchester City on 21 September 2002 in a Premier League match.
- 1993: South Bank replaced by a new 9,000 seat, two-tier stand named in honour of former captain Bobby Moore, who had died earlier that year. The stand also incorporates executive boxes as well as a digital clock.
- 1995: North Bank replaced by a new 6,000 seat, two-tier stand named the "Centenary Stand" now renamed as the "Sir Trevor Brooking Stand". The East Stand Lower is also made all seater.
- 2001: West Stand replaced by a new 15,000 seat, two-tier stand named the "Dr. Martens Stand". The stand also incorporates executive boxes on two levels as well as the West Ham United Hotel.
Plans were submitted to increase the capacity to approximately 40,500 through the building of a new larger East Stand, that would additionally use the spare space that was created when the Doctor Martens stand was built further West than the old West Stand. This will result in a fully enclosed stadium by joining the new stand to the Centenary Stand and the Bobby Moore Stand. Relegation to the Championship in 2003 resulted in the development being delayed. However, promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs in May 2005 resulted in the immediate re-submission of plans to Newham London Borough Council.
Throughout 2006, talk was rife of West Ham moving to the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Summer Olympics, with speculation increasing after new club chairman Eggert Magnusson confirmed he was interested in a move there. However, talks broke down between the club and the Olympic Committee after it was announced that the Stadium would be reduced to a 25,000 capacity all-seater after the Olympic Games, which is over 10,000 less than the Boleyn Ground's current capacity, and that the stadium would be keeping its running track, leaving supporters further away from the pitch and affecting the atmosphere within the stadium on match days. Rumours suggested West Ham could move to a new stadium located at the Parcelforce depot near to West Ham Underground/mainline station. On 7 November 2007, Mayor of London Ken Livingstone announced a new site had been identified for West Ham to build a new stadium.
On 23 March 2010, the club announced they were in fact working on a joint bid with Newham London Borough Council to move into the Olympic Stadium. In November 2010, West Ham commenced a search for potential developers for "informal discussions" about what would happen to the ground if it wins its bid to take over the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games. After a long and protracted bidding process involving judicial reviews from rival bidders and the deal collapsing at one point, on 22 March 2013, it was announced West Ham's tenancy bid had been successful and West Ham would take over a 99-year lease and move there in August 2016.
The final game
When the Premier League fixtures were drawn-up at the start of the 2015–16 Premier League season, Swansea City were planned to be West Ham's final opponents at the Boleyn Ground, on 7 May 2016. However, due to Manchester United's involvement in the FA Cup on 23 April when they were due to play West Ham, the fixture was rearranged to 10 May 2016. The match was preceded by violence on Green Street when the coach carrying the players and staff of Manchester United was pelted with missiles resulting in broken windows. With the coach delayed, the players were late arriving at the ground and the scheduled 19:45 kick-off was moved to 20:15.
In the 2,398th match played at the ground, with both sides looking to qualify for European football in the 2016–17 season, in front of a crowd of 34,907, West Ham took the lead in the tenth minute through Diafra Sakho, only for Manchester United to make the score 1–2 with two goals from Anthony Martial. However, Michail Antonio equalized for West Ham and Winston Reid scored a third in the 80th minute to make it 3–2, the final score. It was West Ham's 384th Premier League match at the ground, the win signifying 601 home Premier League points won there. Mark Noble was named Man of the Match. The match was followed by a 45-minute display on the pitch in celebration of the history of the ground. The following day, the club condemned the violence aimed at the Manchester United coach, vowing to ban for life any person convicted. Three people were arrested on the night of the game, two for pitch incursion and one for throwing a bottle at the police. The following day, the Metropolitan Police issued pictures of four men they hoped to identify in connection with the coach attack.
By July 2016, the seats had been removed from the ground and it was boarded-up and handed over to developers for demolition and redevelopment.
The Boleyn Ground has been an all-seater stadium since the early 1990s, after clubs had to meet new FA regulations for stadium safety after the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989. Upton Park has four main stands, which are named The Sir Trevor Brooking Stand, The Bobby Moore Stand, The East Stand and The Betway Stand.
Sir Trevor Brooking Stand
The Sir Trevor Brooking Stand (formerly the North Bank then the Centenary Stand) was built in 1995 which coincided with the club's 100th season, after being formed in 1895 as Thames Ironworks. Its name was changed from the Centenary Stand to the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand in July 2009. The stand holds around 6,000 seats, and has two tiers, with the Upper Tier seating known as the Family Section, as supporters can only purchase tickets up there if with a child. The lower tier behind the goal is split between both home and away fans. West Ham United initially give around 2,500–3,000 tickets to away supporters, going from the furthest side to the left of the bottom tier right up to behind the goal.
If the away side could not sell all their tickets, they were returned and re-sold to home supporters, as there was big demand from West Ham fans to purchase seats in the lower seating area. Home fans in the lower area generally preferred to stand during games and sing throughout. It was known as one of the more atmospheric sections of the stadium, especially with the two sets of supporters next to each other (separated by stewards and police). There was also one of two large LED video screens situated in the corner between the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand Stand and the East Stand.
The East Stand is situated on the far side of the Boleyn Ground, opposite the West Stand which houses the offices and dressing rooms. The stand is the oldest and smallest stand in the stadium, being built in 1969 and holding only 5,000 seats due to its narrow width. The stand used to be known as the loudest and most intimidating stand at Upton Park back in the 1970s–1980s, but since the advent of all-seater stadiums and the conversion of the old "Chicken Run" terrace at the front of the East Stand to seating, and with the Upton Park pitch being moved further back from the East Stand nearer the new Dr. Martens Stand, the East Stand has seemed to have lost its famous atmosphere from past years. However a small section in the far corner of the stand next to the away fans recently have been standing and is now known as one of the loudest parts of the ground. The real 'Chicken Run' was an old wooden stand (standing room only) on the east side of the pitch. It was surrounded by a similar sort of wire to that used on chicken runs and when you viewed it from the opposite side of the ground it looked just like a chicken run. It was knocked down and rebuilt in 1969.
The stand used to have the words "DAGENHAM MOTORS" written into the bottom tier through the seats, but was only changed during the 2006–07 season, despite the club splitting from their sponsorship with the car company back in 1997. The stand is also the only stand left at Upton Park to still have a small minority of wooden seats, in the middle of the Upper Tier. There were also plans to build a new East Stand soon after the Dr. Martens stand was completed in 2001, which would have seen the stadiums capacity rise from 35,345 to around 40,500, but the plans were put on hold after a combination of resistance from the local residents behind the stand and the club's relegation from the Premier League in 2003, which spiralled the club into debt at the time.
Bobby Moore Stand
The Bobby Moore Stand (formerly the South Bank), was built in 1993 and held up to 9,000 spectators, all seated. The stand was built originally to comply with new stadium all-seater regulations, and the name of the stand was decided after the death of the club's legendary captain from the successful mid-1960s side in the same year of construction. The stand had two tiers, and spelt the words "WEST HAM UNITED" through the seats of both tiers. The lower tier of the Bobby Moore stand, like the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand, was well known for its supporters' passion and the atmosphere they create through standing and singing. The stand has executive boxes situated between the Upper and Lower tiers, and includes a digital clock. The stand also had a small amount of renovation in 2001 after the construction of the new Dr. Martens Stands, with a new second LED video screen in the stadium being introduced between the two stands and new seats added on the end of the stand to join with the new Dr. Martens Stand.
The Betway Stand
The West Stand is the newest and by far the largest stand inside Upton Park, holding up to 15,000 spectators and was renamed after Betway became the official sponsors of WHUFC. The stand was built in 2001 as the Dr. Martens Stand, bringing the stadium capacity up from around 26,000 to 35,647. The West Stand is the main stand in Upton Park, as it includes two tiers for paying home supporters, separated by two tiers of executive boxes. The stand also hosts all of the club's offices, board rooms, suites, dressing rooms, official shop, and the West Ham United Hotel. It is also the largest single football stand in London.
The stand's main feature is seen from the exterior of the stadium, with two large turrets built onto the stand with the club badge embedded on both, going with the theme of the club's badge. The terrace also has two scoreboards at both corners joining with the Centenary and Bobby Moore Stands, displaying the score and time of the game in process. The stand is so large, it is visible from the A406 North Circular Road and from The A13 Newham Way, where people can clearly make out the roof of the stand over the tower blocks. The stand was officially opened by HM The Queen, where Her Majesty was introduced to the manager and captain at the time, Glenn Roeder and Joe Cole.
In 2011, the club signed a three-year agreement for the stand to be named "The Alpari Stand".
In 2006, chairman Eggert Magnússon made clear his ambition for West Ham United to move to the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Olympics. In 2009, club CEO Scott Duxbury revealed, in an interview with a West Ham fan website, that there was planning permission to expand the East Stand to take capacity to over 40,000. In 2010, new club owners David Gold and David Sullivan made it public they intended West Ham United to move to the Olympic stadium after the 2012 Olympics. On 30 September 2010, the club formally submitted its bid for the Olympic Stadium with a presentation at 10 Downing Street, and on 8 October 2010 the world's largest live entertainment company Live Nation endorsed the club's Olympic Stadium plans. Three days after Live Nation's endorsement UK Athletics confirmed its formal support for West Ham United and Newham Council in their joint bid to take over the Olympic Stadium in legacy mode. In November 2010, West Ham commenced a search for potential developers for "informal discussions" about what would happen to the ground if it wins its bid to take over the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games.
On 11 February 2011, the Olympic Park Legacy Committee selected West Ham United as the preferred club to move into the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games. The decision, in favour of West Ham's bid, was unanimous. On 3 March 2011, West Ham United's proposed move to the Olympic Stadium was approved by the British government and London mayor Boris Johnson. Due to ongoing legal challenges to the arrangement, by Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient, the deal to sell the Olympic Stadium to West Ham collapsed on 11 October 2011, West Ham announced plans to become tenants of the stadium and on 22 March 2013 after months of voting and negotiations, West Ham won the Olympic Stadium bidding, hoping at the time, to move into the new ground in time for the 2016–17 season.
In February 2014, West Ham announced the sale of the ground to the development company the Galliard Group once the move to the Olympic Stadium had been completed. This transaction was completed on 15 July 2016, at a sale price of £40,000,000. The developer's plans include 838 new homes, retail outlets and leisure facilities which will be available by 2018. The possibility of a statue of Bobby Moore and a landscaped garden named after him has also been revealed. The plans have caused controversy for only including 51 "affordable" homes and no social housing. In March 2016, plans were approved for 800 homes to be built on the site, 25% of which would be affordable housing. On 14 March 2016, the dismantling of the ground began with the removal of the John Lyall gates for transfer and reinstallation at the Olympic Stadium. In September 2016, the ground was used as a film-set for the film Final Score and on 27 September 2016 it hosted a charity match shortly before demolition commenced.
In June 1989, evangelist Billy Graham hosted a three-day Christian mission to London to which free tickets were given away. He gave away more tickets than seats, not expecting them all to be used. In the event they were used and many were locked out. After negotiations between the club and Graham's representatives, the crowd were allowed to use the pitch.
On 12 February 2003, England played Australia at the Boleyn Ground in an international friendly, with Australia winning 3–1. The match is best known for marking Wayne Rooney's international debut.
On 9 May 2012, the Boleyn Ground was confirmed as the venue for the fight between David Haye and Dereck Chisora, a fight sanctioned by the Luxembourg Boxing Federation on 14 July 2012. The fight caused controversy at the time as neither fighter held a license from the British Boxing Board of Control.
In October 2014, a friendly game between Argentina and Croatia on 12 November, at the Boleyn Ground was played. The match finished 2–1 to Argentina and saw the return of former West Ham striker Carlos Tevez to the Boleyn Ground.
|7 April 1982 Quarter Final||England U-21||2–2||Poland U-21||London|
|Hateley||Stadium: Boleyn Ground
|9 October 1998 Qualifier||England U-21||1–0||Bulgaria U-21||London|
|Lampard||Stadium: Boleyn Ground
|6 October 1999 Qualifier||England U-18||0–2||Spain U-18||London|
|Trashorras||Stadium: Boleyn Ground
|12 December 2002 Friendly||England U-20||0–2||Switzerland U-20||London|
|Stadium: Boleyn Ground
|12 February 2003 Friendly||England||1–3||Australia||London|
|Stadium: Boleyn Ground
|19 August 2003 Friendly||England U-21||0–3||Croatia U-21||London|
|Stadium: Boleyn Ground
|10 August 2010 Friendly||Italy||0–1||Ivory Coast||London|
|K. Touré||Stadium: Boleyn Ground
|12 November 2014 Friendly||Argentina||2–1||Croatia||London|
|Sharbini||Stadium: Boleyn Ground
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