[Reading time: 8 minutes]
_1 The “Irons”
_2 Long live the Boleyn
_3 The club that won the World Cup
_4 The French Snake
_1 The “Irons”
Before reading this first part of the article, please google “West Ham”. As first result you’ll find the official site of the club and below the Wikipedia page. In The first line there’s written:
It’s wrong, because West Ham United Football Club is not only a professional football club but is something more. It’s a religion and a way of live, something that grow up in you from the childhood, something that you can’t buy.
To explain better what West Ham really is, we must start from the district that gave the name to the team.
West Ham was one of the poorest district of London, and even now nothing changed.
In the past the “West” was a post-industrial neighbourhood and today is a melting pot of different cultures and when you walk around it you don’t feel to be in London.
West Ham United has different nicknames like “The Irons” or “The Hammers” that derives from their association with the Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company, whose workers formed the Thames Ironworks Fc. The club was founded in 1895 and succeeded in winning the London league only three years later.
In 1900 The Thames Ironworks fc was disbanded and after a month only, on the 5th July West Ham United was established. The founders opted for the Claret and Blue as their colours.
The “Irons” played their first match in 1904 at “the Castle” a football pitch just build, that after some years was called “The Boleyn Ground”, which remained their home ground for more than a century. In the first match at the Castle West Ham united defeated Millwall 3-0 thanks to an hat-trick (three goal in the same match) by Billie Bridgeman, then Millwall will became their bitter enemies.
The Thames Ironwork Fc team
_2 Long live the Boleyn
As we said previously The Boleyn Ground remained the home ground of West Ham for more than a century until the decision to move to the bigger Olympic Stadium.
This decision, took by the American owner David Gold, was harshly criticized but despite of the large amount of disappointment demonstrations, on 10 May of 2010 a 3-2 victory in the last minutes against Manchester United ratified the end of the Boleyn.
Last year I decided (with a friend) to farewell The Boleyn and we flew to London to attend at the last London derby against Tottenham Hotspur at the Ground.
The atmosphere was electric and simply amazing.
The Boleyn Ground was settled in Upton Park, an area of the East London and was reachable by the underground, 10’ walk away from the Upton park stop.
My picture of the Upton Park stop
Before attending the match, West Ham’s fans used to meet themselves at the Boleyn, a typical pub very close to the ground.
The Boleyn Ground, known also as Upton park, wasn’t so big, in fact could contain about 35.000 people but every time West ham played there were something magical, as if in the pitch there were not only the players but their fans too.
Continuing the telling, we arrived at the Boleyn late and we ran to collect our tickets as soon as possible.
We had booked our tickets in Italy about one month before the derby and we were very lucky to find the last 2 seats close together in the Bobby Moore lower stand.
We entered inside the stadium just in time while the hymn “I’m Forever Blowing Bubble” was beginning.
It was emotional. I had Goosebumps and everyone were ready to take part in the Derby. West ham didn’t need to win for the League table but wanted to stop the Spurs who were struggling for the premier title against Leicester.
The Derby began with an early header scored by Michael Antonio, one of the most underrated player of the last season. The match wasn’t beautiful but very physical.
The Spurs, who had played and showed the best football of all the premier league teams, in that match didn’t succeed in playing well and at least in scoring.
So West Ham won 1-0 and distanced Spurs from winning the title. Is there anything better?
Antonio celebrating with Payet the goal against Spurs
The view from the Bobby Moore lower stand
The last Game at the Boleyn made me cry. Unlucky I watched the match at home but with my heart I was there, I was playing with team.
The West ham passion is something that you can’t forget. The lights outside the Boleyn, the smell of fries and sausages sold before the kick off and then the anthem. Everything once you feel it is unforgettable.
One of the fans idol, the New Zeeland player Winston Reid gave West Ham the final victory after a dramatic game.
West ham won the lead after 10’ with Sakho and then the “Red devils” scored 2 goal thanks to a double by Martial.
After that the spirit of the Boleyn revealed himself and gave to the “Irons” some energy that they didn’t know to have.
Antonio equalised (76’) and after 4’ Reid succeeded in giving to The Boleyn the best Farewell and ending the Manchester United’s chances to reach the Champions League qualification. 3-2.
Winston Reid celebrating his goal
The last match at the Boleyn
After the Match, the owner organized a party inside the ground in order to let it farewell by all the fans and the Hall of fame players of the club, like the Italian Paolo di Canio, considered one of the best player of Iron’s history.
Fireworks for the Boleyn farewell
Now the place where the Boleyn Ground was settled is becoming a residential area and a lot of new buildings are going to see the light.
A view of the Boleyn under demolition
Long Live the Boleyn
_3 The Club that won the World Cup
West Ham’s history is full of beautiful and strange stories but empty of trophies.
In fact, the Irons won only 3 Fa Cup, a European Cup in 1965 and some other lesser titles. West ham never won a Premier league, indeed their best result was a 3rd place in the 1985-1986 season. But there’s a title that the fans consider belonging to them, The World Cup title of 1966, played in England.
In 1966 England won for the first time the FIFA World Cup and became the third host to win the tournament after Uruguay (in 1930) and Italy (1934).
If you meet a West Ham fans he will tell you that England didn’t win that title but West Ham.
In 1966 the English team was composed by some West Ham players like Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters and Johnny Birne.
England succeeded in defeating West Germany in the final 4-2 at the old Wembley stadium thanks to the hat-trick of Geoff Hurst (who remained the only one to succeed in this challenge).
So this is how West Ham United won the World Cup
_4 The French Snake
“We’ve got Payet, Dimitri Payet!
I just don’t think you understand.
He’s Super Slavs man, he’s better than Zidane.
We’ve got Dimitri Payet!”
Today it would be more correct say “We had got Dimitri Payet” but before telling the end, who is Payet?
Dimitri Payet, a French footballer, 29 years old and an heartless man.
He arrived at the West Ham United training centre for the first time in 2015 from his former club, the Olympique de Marseille.
At that time, he was considered a very talented attacking midfielder but not an hard worker and sometimes (in France) he had problems with the police. So he was looking forward to have a new opportunity to show his qualities and West Ham ( especially his manager Slaven Bilic) decided to give him it.
Payet became soon an idol for the fans thanks to his assists and his goal, most of them scored with amazing free-kick.
After great games, in February 2016, Payet signed a new five and half contract with West Ham that would pay him 125.000 £ per week, committing him to the club until the 2021.
It could seem the beginning of a fairy tale.
Dimitri Payet celebrating a goal
Thanks also to his performance and his goal, West Ham United managed to reach the Europa League qualification and Payet was voted as Hammer of the year.
He played the last world cup, losing a dramatic final in Paris against Ronaldo’s Portugal in the extra time.
Once back to London, Payet was ready to start the new season in West Ham United’s new Olympic Stadium. Something, however, went wrong and team, despite the purchase of new good players, didn’t managed to perform well and after some defeats, began to climb down in the league.
All the players were united to find a solution except Payet. He began to don’t play for “injuries” and when he was called on the pitch, his performance wasn’t at his level.
So, In January, while the transfer window was open, the manager during the press conference told the journalist that Payet wanted to leave the team as soon as possible. This fact shocked the fans, who felt betrayed by their idol and then they began to demonstrate their discontent firing shirts with his name written in the back and singing at the Olympic Stadium:
“We just don’t want you anymore”
Fans love real men, not snake, as they defined Payet
At the end of the transfer window, Payed was sold to his former club Marseille and after the conclusion of the deal, he declared: “Now I’m happy again”.