‘We don’t have anything like it’ says West Ham star Vladimir Coufal as he reflects on something he has witnessed in the last week.
The world was brought to a standstill when it was confirmed the Queen had passed away on Thursday aged 96.
West Ham supporters paid a stirring tribute to the Queen, replacing a planned minute’s silence ahead of their European game against FCSB with applause and several renditions of God Save The Queen.
There were also several chants of ‘She’s one of our own’.
West Ham fans were universally praised for a spontaneous and stirring tribute to the Queen when they replaced a planned minute’s silence with rapturous applause and renditions of God Save the Queen before and during the game against FCSB.
Hammers co-owner David Gold has been full of praise for West Ham fans too.
Queen Elizabeth II opened West Ham’s redeveloped West Stand at their former and beloved Boleyn Ground just over 20 years ago in 2002.
The stadium was named after Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, who was Queen between 1533 to 1536. The ground may now be gone but the famous pub bearing the same name endures to this day, recently refurbished and revitalised.
So the connection between West Ham and Her Majesty the Queen was a strong one.
Now one Hammers player in particular has admitted to being not only saddened by the Queen’s passing but also totally engrossed and fascinated by the official processes and tradition involved in this historic moment in time.
‘We don’t have anything like it’ says West Ham star Coufal as he reflects on something he has witnessed in the last week.
Coufal was referring to the events and outpouring of national grief as the UK mourns the Queen. The Czech Republic international says it has been particularly interesting and emotional because they do not have a monarchy in his homeland.
“It was a very sad day for the whole nation…” Coufal said in an interview with the club’s official website.
“Somewhere in your head it is like: is it right isn’t it right (to play the match)? How can I be focused on the game when the whole nation is very sad? It was really strange. It was a mix of feelings.
“I am a foreign player, but I am grateful I could live here in Great Britain when Queen Elizabeth (II) was here. I don’t want to just live here and play football – I wanted to find out about the country and the history.
“All I could do at the weekend was watch a TV show about Queen Elizabeth and the new King – Charles III. I watched it with all my family – and it was like a fairy-tale.
“I have never seen it before. We have a president in the Czech Republic. What I saw on the TV it was something amazing.”
It warms the heart to hear a foreign player speaking with such affection about our country and traditions.
Especially at a time when others are using it to drive division and hate.