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Boleyn Ground
West Ham United
  Saturday, December 1st 2012, 3pm
  Premier League
By Daniel Gosbee
(Chelsea fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

I was looking forward to going to see Chelsea play at West Ham because it was a big London Derby, East V West, Blue v Claret & Blue and also I have heard good and promising things about the Boleyn Ground via this website and from Aston Villa fans that went earlier this season. Also this could be the last time that Chelsea play at the Boleyn Ground as West Ham are wanting to move to the Olympic Stadium.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

I live just outside of London so I got the train to King's Cross. From Kings Cross it was easy finding the tube station and getting onto the Hammersmith & City line. It was the case of getting onto that one train and getting off at Upton Park station. At the tube station there are signs showing which exit to use for going to Boleyn Ground and also there are plenty of signs showing the direction of the ground.

On arriving at the stadium the stewards told us that you have to walk along Tudor Road and go behind the stadium for the away fans turnstiles. This was awkward and there were no signs telling away fans where to go, usually you would expect this seeing as away fans have probably never been to the stadium.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Before the game I didn't go to the pub or a chippy because I couldn't find any. I did see one pub but it was full of West Ham fans singing bubbles and it didn't look very welcoming for Chelsea fans. I must say the home supporters were very friendly, I certainly found this out after the game when talking to West Ham fans.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

The exterior of the main entrance of the ground is incredibly unique. It is two castle turrets. The exterior of the away end is not at all impressive, there are about 4 or 5 turnstiles that are like walking through an old fashioned doorway, the concourse behind the stand is incredibly tight and very dull. However, I like how there is a programme seller there as there are no programme stalls outside the ground. The programme was actually well worth the 3.50.

The view from the away end is rather impressive. The stand to the right is large and so is the 2 tier Bobby Moore Stand opposite. The stand to the left of the away stand is not impressive. It is very tiny and very old fashioned. Walking out at the Boleyn Ground feels like walking into a time machine.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

When I purchased the ticket our manager was Di Matteo but for the game our manager was the unpopular Rafa Benitez. The first half was all Chelsea and we went in at half time 1-0 up, but the second half it all fell apart. Benitez took off both Hazard and Moses, our best two players and we lost 3-1. The atmosphere was excellent if you don't mind strong language. West Ham fans were mocking us and we were mocking them too. Chelsea fans would all go "shhhhhhh" and then chant "Upton Park is so quiet". The home fans atmosphere was really poor, but the stand to the left of us was by far the loudest. Stewards were pleasant.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

I found getting away from the ground was very very easy, just a walk to the tube station. At the tube station the staff were constantly saying "move to the end of the platform, don't stop moving" but to be honest with you, I didn't like being herded about, its common sense to walk to the end of the platform. At King's Cross I went to the pub at the station and met some nice Chelsea fans and also some West Ham fans. It was actually a nice pub. And on the train I got chatting to a West Ham fan who was very nice.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

It was an excellent day, despite the result. I met some very nice people and Boleyn Ground isn't bad. It is one of those grounds that doesn't look that impressive but you have to feel it before you can comment. It could be the last time Chelsea play at the Boleyn Ground, but I would love to go again sometime.

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