In this week’s edition of our weekly Throwback segment, we hear from Brian, 66 and a lifelong Hammers fan and Season Ticket holder about a classic Upton Park encounter from all the way back in 1977.
“2017 marked 40 years supporting West Ham United, ups and downs prevailed over time as every Hammer would be in accordance.
My first visit to Upton Park came when I was 26 years old in 1977, I had been an armchair football fan up to that point with no leaning to a club.
Due to a slight fear of crowds, I reluctantly agreed to attend to then match with friends who were all fanatical West Ham supporters.
It was mid-November when we all piled into a mates Austin Cambridge and headed down the A13.
Another mate produced a spare Claret & Blue scarf which was promptly tied around my neck. Something I was quite pleased with in the end as there would be over 23,000 Claret & Blue adorned fans there that day.
We parked the Cambridge in the side street about a quarter of a mile from the Stadium, and all six of us got out, there weren’t any strict seating regulations in those days.
There was a murmur amongst my friends and some were pointing, when I looked, there was a smart Jaguar heading towards us and a mate waved and got a reply from the driver, who turned out to be one of the West Ham full-backs, Frank Lampard Senior.
My mates were all excited about the encounter, but I was yet to be impressed. All that was about to change, however, we turned a corner and in my field of vision were two imposing figures of the South Bank Floodlights.
The stands then loomed in to view and I was beginning to sense an atmosphere and air of occasion. Most fans will talk about the smell of hot dogs and when that happens to me, wherever I am, it reminds me of my first ever game at the Boleyn Ground.
More fans joined us in our approach and walking down Green Street, we passed stalls that were selling scarves, hats, badges and food and sweets. We bought a programme for 15p, a far cry from today’s £3.50.
Getting into the ground was only a few pounds and we entered a part of the stadium behind the East Stand, where the pitch wasn’t yet visible.
We went up a short flight of concrete stairs and then I got the view that I and been waiting for.
After hundreds of games on the Big Match and Match of the Day, I was finally able to see a live game. The noise was increasing, especially from behind both goals. The players came out to the Bubbles song and the atmosphere was building nicely.
A crescendo of noise supported the kick-off and the match began. I was constantly looking around the stands at supporters and taking everything in.
During one of these episodes, I heard a big cheer and I immediately thought West Ham had scored, but when I looked I realised the ref had given a penalty and then there was an even bigger cheer. When Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson converted.
This was to be a very topsy-turvy game, two goals from the brilliant Alan Devonshire twice equalising, meant the game ended 3-3, but I was captivated and completely hooked to live football and with West Ham, I was completely hooked, line and sinker”.