In this week’s edition of our weekly Throwback segment, we hear from Bobby, 15 and a lifelong Hammers fan and Season Ticket holder about a Boleyn Ground afternoon to savour six years ago.
“We came into the 2012 Championship Play-Off Semi-Final second-leg feeling fairly comfortable as two Jack Collison strikes gave us a two-goal advantage, however, I never felt 100% sure that we would do the job this time around, which is a pretty routine feeling being a West Ham fan.
The 2011/12 season was a vital season for me as I feel that I was fully converted to a proper West Ham fan, I’d been to a few games before this season but was probably too young to know what it was really like to be a Hammer.
Although the tense, dog-eat-dog season in the Championship allowed me to successfully follow the Hammers with full interest.
Being eight years old in that season also allowed me to keep track and stay full interested in West Ham’s whereabouts in the table.
In that campaign, I had gone to quite a few games that season sitting in many different areas like the Chicken Run and the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand.
However, we managed to secure a four-game ‘Season Ticket’ (if you like) which gave us the same seats for the last four games in the season, including the Play-Off Semi-Final with Cardiff.
This was also vital because it gave us an opportunity to renew our ‘Season Tickets’ at the end of the season for the 12/13 campaign in the Premier League.
But anyway, back to the match in question. I remember a party atmosphere although my increasing tension was not approving of such confidence in this game shown by other fans, as I had a gut feeling West Ham would do a ‘West Ham’ and allow the Cardiff boys back into the game and see them proceed into the Final.
However, as the inflatable balls and sheep were being thrown around the beautiful fortress of Upton Park, the Claret & Blue boys had got off to a good start.
Then in the 15th minute, Captain Kevin Nolan headed home from a Mathew Taylor corner putting the hammers 1-0 up on the day and 3-0 up on aggregate.
When that went in, a great feeling of reassurance came across me and I started to believe that we could actually get the job done today.
Well, that reassurance increased when Ricardo Vaz Te, a much-loved figure that season after his arrival from Barnsley in January, fired a superb drive past the Cardiff City keeper.
This was heaven for me as I realised the job was done, we were heading to Wembley! The atmosphere became so enjoyable for me as I punched an inflatable Beachball up into the sky.
The task had been completed early, so the third goal from Nicky Maynard was enjoyed humbly by all the West Ham fans there at the Boleyn that day.
That win was very sweet and just what we needed, a bit of confidence, heading into the Play-Off Final against Blackpool on the 19th of May 2012”.