A Day at West Ham – Two Boys’ Dreams Come True04/19/2017 Steve Add Comment
I’m a bad West Ham fan, in that after decades of supporting them, until this month I’d never seen them live, let alone at their home ground, which is now the London Stadium, home of the Olympic Games in 2012. Without going into detail, I’ll just say that thanks to some great friends, I got offered that chance, something that thrilled my 8 year old son Lucas and I greatly. We chose Swansea as the game to see, or more correctly Lucas chose Swansea, as a couple of months ago he decided they’d be a team we’d (we being West Ham) definitely beat. Leading up to that game on April 8th I wasn’t so sure, as we could hardly get a draw, let alone a win, and that was against teams we should be beating handily.
On that Saturday we set off for London, Lucas in his full West Ham kit and me in my West Ham cap, spotting other West Ham fans along the way. We were blessed with a glorious sunny day and approaching The London Stadium as it stood out in the sunlight, elicited gasps from the both of us. 1 game day scarf, 2 programmes and a copy of Blowing Bubbles and we were ready to enter the stadium and get to our seats. We ended up entering via the wrong turnstile, which wasn’t actually our fault, but thanks to some friendly staff and security we were allowed to walk around half the stadium to get there – on the inside! That meant we could see the famous Bobby Moore Stand, that was our destination, from some way away, and stare lovingly at the hallowed turf as we walked around.
At our seats we were high up and in the corner, but with a fantastic view of the whole pitch. Well I looked at the pitch and all the stands, while Lucas read the programme, gaining some last minute insight before the game started. When the players came out Lucas excitedly told me each and every one of their names, and I have Match Attax cards to thank for his encyclopedic knowledge of the West Ham squad. We were disappointed that Andy Carrol wasn’t in the starting lineup, and even more so that he never actually played at all, but thankfully Lucas’ favourite player Manuel Lanzini played, and pretty well too.
The game wasn’t a beautiful display of football, but we were sitting in The London Stadium watching our team, with thousands of other West Ham fans. The atmosphere was incredible and Lucas spent the whole game literally on the edge of his seat, until just before half time, when Cheikhou Kouyate fired off a thunderous strike into the corner of the Swansea goal to put The Irons up one goal to nil! We both leapt to our feet and joined all the Happy Hammers in thunderous applause and cheers. Bear in mind that the last time Lucas saw a whole West Ham game was on television in the FA Cup when Manchester City put 5 past us. At last, a West Ham goal, and we were in the lead!
At half time the guy in front turned around and said how much he’d enjoyed Lucas’ commentary for it’s innocence and honesty. It was non stop, and continued all the way through the second half too! At one point Lucas shouted with excitement and then looked sheepish and up at me as if to say sorry. I had to reassure him that showing your passion, however vocally that may be, at a West Ham match was not only allowed but encouraged. He certainly took that to heart and enjoyed cheering West Ham, and admonishing the referee at times too. No, not by singing that song, though give it a few years and I’m sure he will.
Though Swansea gave us many causes for concern in the second half, West Ham managed to hold on to the lead and win, their first victory in quite some time, and since. What a way to experience West Ham live for the very first time, because any other game recently would have had our emotions ranging from disappointed to bitterly disappointing. Everyone around us was great and we saw nothing but well natured fans on both sides. We had a truly magical time, and it was one of those special father and son days I’d hoped it would be, and have we’ve even talked season tickets. Earlier in the afternoon on the way to our seats Lucas had looked up at me and said this is a dream come true. It was one of those moments I’ll remember for the rest of my life as it melted my heart. Me too son, me too.
Sport, West Ham