Upton Park business owners miss the footy fans’ banter
PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 May 2017
A year on from the final match, fans, residents and business owners are still sad West Ham United no longer play their home games in Upton Park.
It was a year ago today (Weds) when 112 years of history came to an end with a display of fireworks and lasers after the Hammers beat Manchester United 3-2 in their final fixture at the Boleyn Ground.
Since that famous victory and the club’s move to the London Stadium, it hasn’t been all bright as councillors, businesses and social clubs have observed a real decline in business.
Cllr Veronica Oakeshott, who represents Boleyn ward, said: “It’s a tough time for people in Boleyn, especially businesses who relied on match day trade.
“Along with residents, I am determined that Boleyn shouldn’t be forgotten. Our statue reminds us that we are at the heart of an English success story – a story which has grown since 1966.
“To me, Boleyn symbolizes the old and the new, as people from all cultures come together to celebrate our heritage and embrace a modern way of loving the British football tradition.”
Pat Sheehan, secretary at Hammers Social Club, said: “We’re running out of money fast - business has plummeted.
“We’re going to have to think of new ways to bring in money, whether its by providing services to the construction companies working to turn the Boleyn ground into flats, or renting out our space for other uses.”
Other businesses are missing the atmosphere that the team and match days brought to the area.
Vivian Archer, Newham Bookshop owner, said: “We miss chats with fans on match day but we can survive at the bookshop because we still have the best collection of West Ham related books in the country.
“Customers come specially to buy their books and then they get a photo by the statue.”
Resident and statue campaigner, Cecilia Welsh, added: “I wish the club could have stayed. We miss them, but the statue keeps the memories alive and my family still gets to matches on our bikes if we can.”
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