In this week’s edition of our weekly Throwback segment, we speak to Claire, 18 and a lifelong Hammers fan about a night to remember and a night to forget for so many reasons at The London Stadium.
“My late father was a die-hard West Ham United fan and I had made it my lifelong odyssey to follow my beloved team with all of the zeal and passion that he did.
Unfortunately, living over 60 miles from the hustle and bustle of East London was not ideal, mixed in with the fact that my family doesn’t quite share the same devotion for my Claret & Blue heroes.
From all accounts, my Dad was a great lover of the tradition of Upton Park and it felt like a Pilgrimage that I should have made to Green Street while I could.
That journey never materialised in the end, but our move to The London Stadium did little to change my desire to go to my first West Ham United game.
This is the story of how I finally fulfilled my Football purpose with the help of a fellow Hammer.
I met Jack about a year ago, he grew up in the sort of family that I imagined that I would have if I had known my father. Him, his brother and his Dad are all avid members of The Claret & Blue Army and long-time season ticket holders despite living as far from their spiritual home as I do.
I would always go around to his house to watch my Hammer idols and with thanks to them, I had regained contact with my wonderful football club. But the events that followed would top any opportunity.
One Christmas, Jack’s dad Tim gleefully announced that he had managed to grab an extra two tickets for the FA Cup visit of Manchester City in early January, for me and my sister in law Jess.
The feeling of nervousness and excitement that took hold of my body was immense, I just couldn’t believe that my dream was finally about to be realized.
The Friday night soon came around and I was on Cloud Nine as we made the journey to Stratford. After queuing for what seemed like an age to get in, I stepped out onto the terraces and saw the interior of the magnificent London Stadium, there was a great sense of anticipation in the air.
However, on that hallowed turf, it wouldn’t quite be the live Football debut that I had imagined in what was visibly the highest home attendance of the season.
Goals for the visitors from Yaya Toure, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, John Stones and a Havard Nordtveit own goal ensured that most of the Hammers faithful left Stratford with a very bitter taste.
But for me, the whole experience had been magical, even if it is unfortunate that the night that I will remember for the rest of my life would rather be forgotten by just about every other West Ham fan in the World.
However, the memories of that night will last more than a lifetime and I will always be able to tell that tale.
One day, I desperately hope that kids of my own will have similar memories of seeing our Claret & Blue superstars in the flesh and I can be the one to take them”.