theyflysohigh : Steve Marsh

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KINGSLEY Matthew Farewell Boleyn Stats 02 Opposition Gates 99_12_15 WHU v. Aston Villa WC QF

Competition Playing Record:

First game: Millwall (3-0) September 1, 1904   -  Last game: Manchester United (3-2) May 10, 2016

Farewell to the Boleyn Ground ...

by Steve Marsh and Roger Hillier

Most Appearances 386:

Billy Bonds

Farewell Boleyn Stats 01 players

Unsurprisingly Billy Bonds tops the chart as the player to make the most appearances at the Boleyn Ground. The experienced defender chalked up a total 799 appearances in all competitions in the claret and blue. Of those, 386 matches were played out on the hallowed turf at Upton Park.


Bonds was signed from south London side Charlton Athletic in May 1967 for £49,500 the defender / midfield marauder made his Hammers debut alongside other newcomers Bobby Ferguson and John Cushley at the Boleyn Ground against Sheffield Wednesday August 19, 1967 in a 2-3 defeat, in a career spanning 20-years the West Ham captain made his final appearance against Arsenal on April 12, 1988 also another defeat.



Top Ten Opposition:

Tottenham Hotspur

North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur have opposed West Ham United more times than any other football club at the Boleyn Ground. The first of the 75 fixtures began with a 0-0 draw in a Southern League Division One fixture, the third to take place at their new enclosure on September 24, 1904 in front of 16,000.


The first-ever Football League Second Division meeting between the two sides came on March 13, 1920 with the home team winning 2-1. Three-years later they opposed each other for the first time in the Football League First Division, the February 9, 1924 clash ending in a goalless draw. The Hammers were victorious once more in the first-ever FA Cup-tie at the Boleyn, winning the 3rd round January 8, 1927 fixture 3-2 with a Victor Watson hat-trick.


The first Football League Cup contest took place on September 14, 1966 the Second Round tie ended in another victory with a solitary goal scored by Geoff Hurst. The first Premier League clash between the Hammers v. Lilywhites’ went the way of the Spurs' as they headed back to White Hart Lane with a 3-1 victory.


With 32 wins, 19 draws and 24 losses the stats breakdown to reveal we played our London neighbours in the Southern League on 4 occasions, 33 games in the Football League Division One, 10 games in Division Two, 20 Premier League clashes, 4 League Cup-ties and a further 4 games in the FA Cup.

Expunged, Unofficial and Abandoned

Like any statistical record it’s all in the detail, but occasionally weird and wonderful stat protocols take precedence. The 1939-40 season was the 46th season of competitive football in England. The Football League season was only three matches old when everyone's worst fears were realised.


On 3 September Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain went on the airwaves to announce to the nation that a state of war existed between their country and Germany. Fearing immediate mass air-raids, the Government introduced measures to restrict large gatherings at cinemas, race-tracks and, inevitably, football grounds, and as such the League programme was immediately abandoned. The three League fixtures that had already taken place against Plymouth Argyle 3-1 (A), Fulham 2-1 (H) and Leicester City 0-2 (H) were all deleted from the record books.

A fourth game that was expunged from the official records came in a Worthington Cup-tie at the Boleyn Ground December 15, 1999 against Aston Villa, which later became known as “Mannygate”.



But with seconds remaining, Hammers substitute Paul Kitson was tripped in the penalty area, giving Paolo Di Canio the chance to put the game into extra-time from the spot. After a tensely contested 30-minutes of extra time the match was to be decided by penalties.


With scores at 5-4 to the home side, Southgate stepped up to try and level the scores, but only managed to strike the ball against Hammers' goalkeeper Shaka Hislop and West Ham were through to the semi-final stage. Or so they thought.


Days later it emerged that Nigerian, Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Omoyinmi was cup-tied. The striker had previously played in both legs of an earlier round while on loan to Gillingham, but after his loan spell had ended, apparently he did not think to mention that fact to anyone at the club.


The Football League ordered a re-play on January 11, 2000 which the Hammers lost 1-3.

Early goals in the Quarter-final fixture from Aston Villa's Ian Taylor and a reply by Hammers Frank Lampard had left the scores at 1-1, until a Dion Dublin strike in the 89th minute looked to have won it for Villa.

Crossed Hammer Crossed Hammer Spurs Crossed Hammer Crossed Hammer

A Statistical Record

Aldershot and Farnborough Town

Another couple of games that fell into the stat protocol framework came in the early 1990's, coincidently both were in the FA Cup competition.


West Ham were drawn out of the hat as the "Away" side in two consecutive FA Cup ties. The first against Aldershot in season 1990-91 and a year later they followed Farnborough Town out of the draw in 1991-92.


Both ties were deemed unsuitable to be played at the Recreation and Cherrywood Road grounds due to crowd safety concerns and were switched back to the Boleyn Ground with West Ham as the "Away" side.


Both FA Cup ties also went to replays, so the extra gate money both minnows received wouldn't have gone amiss. For the record only the two "Home" replay ties are recorded in the statistics.

91_01_05 Aldershot v. WHU FAC3 92_01_04 Farnborough Town v. WHU FAC3

Abandoned - A Sinister plot

West Ham United like most other football clubs have suffered postponements or abandoned games due to weather conditions. The home Second Division fixtures with Grimsby Town on November 27, 1948 was abandoned after 50 minutes due to fog, six-years later fog also caused the abandonment of the Stoke City game after 83 minutes on January 2, 1954.  However, on Monday evening November 3, 1997 there was a sinister plot that befell the Hammers.


456 Boleyn Ground Debuts

As the curtain fell on West Ham United's Boleyn Ground tenure the record books reveal that a total 908 players have pulled on a claret and blue shirt since their formation in 1900. Of those, 840 players have represented the club in home and away first team games since they moved to the Boleyn Ground in 1904. Furthermore only 456 players can claim to have made their initial debut playing on the hallowed Boleyn Ground turf.

At 10:15pm on Tuesday May 10, 2016 referee Mike Dean blew his whistle to signal the end on West Ham United's 2,398th and final match to have been played at the Boleyn Ground. Never again will a crescendo of I’m forever blowing bubbles be heard in E13 on a Saturday afternoon at 3.00pm.  


For the fortunate Hammers’ fans in the 34,602 attendance at Tuesday evening’s Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester United, it was an emotional and unforgettable occasion. But the E13 closure heralds a new chapter in West Ham United’s history with the forthcoming welcome to their new stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford.


As a farewell to the Boleyn Ground we reflect on the ground’s 112 year history with a mazy run through some of the ground’s statistics.

Farewell Boleyn Stats 01

Although improvements to the Hammers new "Castle Ground" were not finished by the time the 1904-05 season had began. Even so there was provision for 10,000 to watch the first home game against London's dockside rivals Millwall on September 1, 1904.


There was a covered grandstand holding 2,000 people on one side of the ground and opposite was a covered terrace which could hold 3,000. After a poor showing the previous season only five players were retained. Among the new recruits were goalkeeper Matthew Kingsley, full-backs Tommy Bamlett and David Gardner, half-back Frank Piercy and forwards Chris Carrick and Charlie Simmons.


The first game was kicked off by Councillor O. Anstead of East Ham, West Ham won by 3-0 with William Bridgeman, scoring two of the goals with Jack Flynn officially being given recognition for scoring the Hammer's third goal, however a newspaper reports of the time has since thrown doubt over Flynn’s goal by crediting inside-forward Jack Fletcher as the goalscorer.


The clubs handbook that first campaign sheds light on the price of a season ticket which was advertised at 15 shillings, (75 pence) which allowed entry to 17 Southern League matches. At sesason's end West Ham had finished the campaign in 11th place in the table. During the close season the "Castle Ground" would become known as the "Boleyn Ground".


West Ham kick-off their Southern League Division One campaign at their new enclosure against Millwall, September 1, 1904. Nine players started their claret and blue careers that Thursday evening, Matthew Kingsley, Tommy Bamlett, David Gardner, Frank Piercy, John Russell, William McCartney, Jack Fletcher, Charles Simmons and Jack Flynn.

Of the other two that night, Tommy Allison and William Bridgeman, both had previously made their debuts a season earlier against Kettering Town September 1, 1903 and Bristol Rovers October 10, 1903 respectively.


Sam Byram can lay claim to be the last debutant to represent West Ham at Upton Park. Thurrock born, Byram was signed from Leeds United on January 20, 2016 for an undisclosed fee.


The right-back took his place in history when he was introduced to the Boleyn faithful as a 13th minute substitute for injured Carl Jenkinson in the 2-2 Premier League game against Manchester City three days later on January 23, 2016.

Crossed Hammer 97_11_03 WHU v. Crystal Palace Abandoned

Frank Lampard had just struck an equaliser against Crystal Palace after 65 minutes to make the score 2-2 when the floodlights at Upton Park failed, plunging the ground into darkness and forcing the abandonment of the game.


As football fans in east London cursed their luck, 6,500 miles away in Malaysia members of an Asian betting syndicate celebrated a six-figure payout.


The following month, a game at Selhurst Park, south London, between Wimbledon (who were ground sharing with Crystal Palace at the time) and Arsenal was also abandoned with the scores level. Both games were broadcast live to the Far East.


A businessman was later convicted of taking part in an Asian betting scam that fixed English Premiership football matches by sabotaging the floodlights.

Crossed Hammer

Red Carded

Red Card

Last Dismissal ...


Crystal Palace

April 1, 2016



After the match, newspaper reports stated that referee Rudolf Kreitlein had cautioned both Bobby and Jack Charlton, as well as sending off Argentinian Antonio Rattin. The referee had not made his decision clear during the game, and England manager Alf Ramsey approached FIFA for post-match clarification.


This incident started Aston thinking about ways to make a referee's decisions clearer to both players and spectators. Aston realised that a colour-coding scheme based on the same principle as used on traffic lights (yellow - caution, red - stop) would traverse language barriers and clarify whether a player had been cautioned or expelled. As a result, yellow cards to indicate a caution and red cards to indicate an expulsion were used for the first time in the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico.

Crossed Hammer

The idea of using language-neutral coloured cards to communicate a referee's intentions originated with British football referee Ken Aston. Aston had been appointed to the FIFA Referees' Committee and was responsible for all referees at the 1966 FIFA World Cup. In the quarter finals, England met Argentina at Wembley Stadium.

The use of penalty cards has since been adopted and expanded by several sporting codes, with each sport adapting the idea to its specific set of rules or laws.

First Player Carded at the Boleyn Ground

Frank Piercy against Millwall, Southern League (0 - 2)

February 22, 1908

It probably comes as no surprise that Julian Dicks would feature high on most people's list if asked; "who was dismissed the most times whilst playing for the Hammers".


However what you might not know is, the 'Terminator' also shares the unenviable distinction of being 'carded' the most times along with Steve Lomas, both having received five dismissals. In Dicks case the fans favourite would be forgiven by most and saw his sending's-off as taking one for the team and a sort of 'badge of honour' to the supporters.


However, both West Ham players have only been given the early bath treatment once at the Boleyn Ground, Dicks against Wimbledon in a Football League Cup 4th round tie on November 22, 1989 and Steve Lomas in the Premier League fixture against Leeds United May 1, 1999 when Shaka Hislop and Ian Wright also saw ‘red’.

2,398th Boleyn Ground Game

Thames Ironworks’ player Henry Hird was the first player to make the long lonely walk to the dressing room on October 30, 1897, against Leyton in a London League fixture. Senegal international Cheikhou Kouyate followed in Hird’s footsteps 119-years later when he became the 139th player to receive his marching orders playing against Crystal Palace in the Premier League in April 2016, although his 'Red card' was later rescinded.


Goalkeeper Matthew Kingsley became the first West Ham United player to be sent-off, although his lonely walk to the dressing room came at the Goldstone Ground against Brighton and Hove Albion on March 25, 1905.


Three years later Frank Piercy holds the distinction of being the first to receive an early bath playing against Millwall on February 22, 1908.


Over the following 11-years just two more players have fallen foul of the referee, Frederick Shreeve against Bristol Rovers in April 1911 and Jack Tresadern playing against Rotherham County (now United) in September 1919.


Not sure if this is a record in itself, but it would be over half-a-century later before another West Ham player would see red, that honour fell to Ted MacDougall in October 1973 against Burnley. With no victory recorded in the league after nine games the Hammers met Burnley at Upton Park.


Before the match goalkeeper Bobby Ferguson had called the side 'gutless and spiritless'. Ferguson's comments reflected on the field of play where Ted MacDougall was most probably just as frustrated. He saw several efforts on goal that went un-rewarded, made worse by the manner in which Doug Collins had celebrated Burnley's winning goal. In the 71st minute both players went up for the ball and Mac head-butted Collins, and was dismissed by referee Mr R. Crabb.


At the Boleyn Ground there have been a total of 58 players to receive the referee's finger-pointing gesture.


The Terminator

When the 2015-16 season fixture list was first announced most West Ham supporters eyes would have glanced to the bottom of the fixture list rather than the usual first game of a new season. The reality of what they saw was the prospect of playing Swansea City in the final game at the Boleyn Ground, after a 112-year tenure this would be seen as a bit of a letdown.


No disrespect to “The Swans” but a tinge of disappointment would be felt by most in E13 that fate decreed that we wouldn't get the chance to bow out against one of the bigger clubs.


A lot of finger-crossing and an unbelievable campaign by the boys in claret and blue all helped to make our dreams eventually come true. West Ham United and Manchester United had both made good progress in the FA Cup competition which necessitated that each side had Premier League matches that were postponed to be rearranged at later dates as the Cup games took precedence.

Farewell Programme

With the Red Devils also competing in the Europa League our scheduled Premier League fixture with them set for April 23, 2016 was becoming increasingly unlikely. And so it proved as the Manchester club progression to the FA Cup semi-final stage against Everton at Wembley Stadium, which pushed back our April 23 league meeting.


The only possible date now left in both club's calendars' was Tuesday May 10, 2016 three days after the original finale fixture with Swansea City.


The Swans no doubt feeling a bit snubbed by what had transpired had their day at Upton Park, beating the Hammers by 4-1 to make sure of their Premier League survival.


Manchester United travelled to east London knowing that two wins in the final two league games against the Hammers and Bournemouth would clinch fourth place in the Barclays Premier League.


But despite a brilliant double from the in-form Anthony Martial, the Reds were ultimately defeated by strikes from Diafra Sakho, Michail Antonio and Winston Reid as the Hammers turned the game on its head in the final 15 minutes. The rest they say is history.

West Ham United:

Darren Randolph, Angelo Ogbonna, Winston Reid, Cheikhou Kouyate, Aaron Cresswell, Manuel Lanzini (Pedro Obiang), Mark Noble, Dimitri Payet (Enner Valencia), Michail Antonio, Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho (James Tomkins)

Most Hat-Tricks:

Victor Watson 15

Most Goals Scored at the Boleyn Ground:

Victor Watson 200

Of all the great centre-forwards who have worn the number nine shirt for West Ham United over the years, Victor Watson stands out as the finest. Spotted playing for Wellingborough Town, he was duly signed for a £50 transfer fee in March 1920, to give cover for the then polific goalscorer Syd Puddefoot.

The legendary goalscorer made his league debut against Cardiff City in a 0-0 draw at Ninian Park on September 25, 1920. Honours followed thick and fast, with his 22 League goals largely responsible for Hammers' promotion to the First Division, and five counters in the F.A. Cup contributing likewise to the club's appearance in the first Wembley Cup Final during that doubly - memorable 1922-23 season.


Victor Watson is the club's record goalscorer with 326 goals (298 league and 28 FA cup). 200 of Watson's goals were scored at the Boleyn Ground, a feat unlikely to be bettered in the modern era.

The highlight of Watson's claret and blue career came on a rain-lashed afternoon in an unforgettable 8-2 thrashing of Leeds United at Upton Park on February 9, 1929, when he scored six times against the hapless Yorkshiremen. Striker Geoff Hurst would repeat Vic's feat of six goals in a game against Sunderland on October 19, 1968.


Watson scored a club record 42 First Division goals the following season which saw him back in an England shirt in 1930. The six-goal blast against Leeds apart, Victor scored four goals in a match on two separate occasions, and tallied an astonishing eleven hat-tricks during his Hammers' career.

Hat-trick table WATSON Vic

For the Record

Articles Pearson Charity Cup Peacocks Massacred

'theyflysohigh' would like to thank John Northcutt and Richard Miller for contributions

As the final turnstile closes on the 112-year Boleyn Ground's history book the Olympic Stadium’s chapter is about to be written and 'theyflysohigh' will be there to record the club’s first trials and tribulations at their new home.

For the record