1. Why you were looking forward to
going to the ground (or not as the case may
I live in London so there are a large number
of football clubs in easy travelling distance.
I have enjoyed my visits to Upton Park over
the years as, despite the ground changes in
recent years, it is still an old-fashioned
ground with the fans close to the pitch.
And in a couple of years I could be travelling
to the Olympic Stadium to watch the Hammers.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the
The last time I went to Upton Park Transport
for London were carrying out track
improvements over parts of the District Line,
so it was a long and circuitous journey. It
would appear these have been put on ice until
after the Olympics, so today’s was a
straightforward trip from West to East London.
3. What you did before the game itself:
pub/chippy….home fans friendly ?
I’d bought a sandwich with me, which I ate at
the back of the East Stand before I went in. I
noticed that stewards were confiscating bottle
tops, though whether this was a case of
keeping out offensive weapons or forcing fans
to buy inside I couldn’t be sure. Aston Villa
coaches were parked behind the same stand so
there were plenty of Villa fans milling about
which no home fan seemed to pay much attention
to. It will probably be different when Chelsea
or Tottenham come calling….
4. What you thought on seeing the ground,
first impressions of away end then other sides
of the ground.
Upton Park has been extensively refurbished in
recent years, but the walk to the ground from
the Tube Station is still reminiscent of many
past visits. There is a hot dog stall whose
aroma hits you thirty yards away and is a sure
sign that you are nearing the stadium. I was
sitting in the East Stand which now looks out
of proportion to the rest of the ground.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere,
stewards, pies, facilities, etc…
This was West Hams first game in the
Premiership after a year away. Villa were also
new stewardship after the disaster of Alex
McLeish’s grim reign. The game was played in
the highest temperatures of the summer, but
this could not excuse the lack of sustained
decent football. The Hammers just about
deserved to edge it 1 – 0.
The home fans seemed satisfied and the away
ones could at least sing “We’re passing the
ball” in mock disbelief.
6.Comment on getting away from the ground
after the game.
The fan I was say next to kindly offered me a
lift to East Ham Station after the game so I
was spared the normal long crawl into Upton
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
It certainly didn’t feel right to be watching
football under such high temperatures, but
weather aside, it was a very enjoyable
re-introduction to football. Saturday
afternoons now have a reason again…..