A packed stadium singing “I’m blowing forever” is the start of every home game of West Ham United, followed by ninety minutes of intense support. The club from east London moved in 2016 from Upton Park to the London Stadium, where the fan song now sounds just as good.
For years fans of The Hammers passionately sing to their song “I’ll blow bubbles forever” and they have taken this ritual to the new stadium. Many supporters were not happy at all with the move to London Stadium, the former Olympic stadium. Their old stadium, Upton Park, was in the neighborhood where they grew up in, close to their favorite pub. They didn’t feel like going to a new, bigger stadium three miles away. But the love for West Ham goes far, so they followed their club.
The battle for the Olympic Stadium
The Olympic Stadium was the main venue of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Usain Bolt and the Jamaica team set a new relay world record here. After the Games, three clubs wanted to use England’s third largest stadium: West Ham United, Tottenham Hutspor in Leyton Orient. West Ham won the battle and left at Upton Park, also known as Boleyn Ground, after 112 years.
Goodbye to Boleyn Ground
The last game at Boleyn Ground was an emotional one. In duel number 2398 on this iconic ground, West Ham played against Manchester United. West Ham was having a good season and wanted to end in a good way in the last year in the loved stadium. The score was 2-2 until just before time, but in the eightieth minute West Ham scored the winning 3-2. After the final whistle, the fans rushed onto the field to say goodbye to the grass they carry in so many memories. In 2020, Boleyn Ground is completely destroyed and replaced by an apartment complex.
Away with the cinder track!
For the 2016-2017 season, West Ham sold all 50,000 season tickets. The new stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park near Stratford train station is large, imposing and modern, but West Ham fans hated one part of it: the cinder track, which kept them far from the field. It was a quest to bring the atmosphere of Boleyn Ground to the Olympic Stadium, but partly because the cinder track is now covered with retractable seats, the stadium feels like their home.
Just like at Boleyn Ground, the stands behind the goals are named after two legends of West Ham. The Sir Trevor Brooking Stand on the north side is named after the midfielder who played 647 duels for The Hammers. The southern Bobby Moore Stand has the name of the club legend who captained the English squad during the 1966 World Cup. Near the old West Ham stadium is a statue of Moore, along with two other West Ham players from that successful national team. team, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters.
West Ham signed a 99-year contract in 2016 and can play in the Olympic Stadium for years to come. With the capacity of 60,000 spectators, good accessibility and modern facilities, the club hopes to make the step to the sub-top of the Premier League in the future. In addition, the board listens carefully to the wishes of the fans, because for great performances West Ham needs the unconditional support of its supporters. When the first successes are achieved, London Stadium will really feel like a new home with new memories for the fans.