In this week’s edition of our weekly Throwback segment, we hear from James, 56 and a lifelong Hammers fan and Season Ticket holder about a magical afternoon at Upton Park.
“I took my young kids to their first Hammers game in the 2010/2011 campaign but from what I can remember of it, it was a torrid and ill-fated season.
What should have been a special campaign for both me and my children was ruined, by a mixture of poor Management, poor Players, and an uncanny tendency to not be able to defend.
I still remember my first game at the famous and much-missed Upton Park, seeing the likes of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters at such a young age was incredible.
In an odd way, I feel empathetic toward my young that they didn’t get to see heroes of that stature for their first taste of live Football.
Instead, Players in Avram Grant’s starting Xl on February 27, 2011, included such forgettable Players as Lars Jacobsen, Wayne Bridge, and Gary O’Neil.
Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool were the visitors to East London on that day with their team including the likes of Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, and Jamie Carragher.
However, on an afternoon that was so contradictory to the rest of that season, my boys didn’t care about the team or our tricky predicament, just the incredible atmosphere and the hallowed green turf of our spiritual home.
Scott Parker, a shining light in that dark campaign, spearheaded our midfield that day and put in a performance that was more than worthy of the Badge, quickly becoming the favourite Players of my two sons.
Parker would also score the first goal that they saw to cap off an uncharacteristically brilliant team move, before Demba Ba doubled our lead just before half-time.
We were treated to a classic nail-biting second period after half-time as The Reds inevitably pulled one back in the last 7 minutes through former Hammer Glen Johnson.
At points in the final five minutes, me and the lads could barely watch, but in the dying embers of the clash, that man Carlton Cole struck a sweet low shot that squeezed under Pepe Reina and secured the three points.
My young family and the whole of the famous Chicken Run were sent into delirium by the vital goal and a new found euphoric sense had swept over E13 yet again.
At one stage after that incredible win and the thrashing of Stoke City that followed, it looked like we were going to stay up, but five consecutive League defeats left us with little hope and we were eventually sunk to The Championship.
However, if there was one positive thing that I took from the 2010/2011 season, it was the look on my sons’ faces when they saw The Boleyn Ground today and although we have moved Stratford, that same look still shines through them every time we descend on The London Stadium”.