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West Ham Book Review: An emotional look at the Boleyn and the London Stadium

PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 February 2017

Goodbye to Boleyn Book Cover

Goodbye to Boleyn Book Cover

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Upton Park, Ken’s Cafe, the Newham Bookshop and finally saying goodbye

(L-R) Brian Dear, West Ham and Glyn James, Blackpool, jump for the ball(L-R) Brian Dear, West Ham and Glyn James, Blackpool, jump for the ball

‘Goodbye to Boleyn’ - Pete May (Published by Biteback) £12.99

When you leave one stadium to move to another, it is not just the football ground that is taken away from you.

There have been plenty of books on West Ham’s final season at Upton Park and the move to the London Stadium, but maybe none as poignant as Pete May’s ‘Goodbye to Boleyn’.

Ken's Cafe, Green StreetKen's Cafe, Green Street

Pete is a lifelong Hammer and it shows. This book details the matches at Upton Park in their final campaign, but they are interspersed with tales of his family, of the ups and downs of supporting the club and then of the move.

The book is also a homage to the famous Ken’s Cafe; the Newham Bookshop; as well as pubs like the Central and the Black Lion.

It is about the atmosphere of the area, the traditions, the crunch of peanut shells under your feet, the swearing, the characters on the terraces.

May gives us the history of his family’s association with the club.

Newham Bookshop on the Barking RoadNewham Bookshop on the Barking Road

Movingly, he tells us about the first West Ham game his dad took him to back in 1970 and the last one he took his dad to before he died against Portsmouth in 2006.

He tells stories of bringing his two daughters to their first games and how he had to explain to them that the fans were singing ‘you dirty 
northern custards!

May tells us about the move and his impression of the new stadium – ‘going from Upton Park to the equivalent of a Billericay mansion’ he says.

He has found a replacement for Ken’s Cafe too, which does egg, chips and beans with bread and butter for £5.80!

Things change, but West Ham fans do not and this must-buy book for fans is the perfect example of that.


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