Bye Bye Boleyn: Five great West Ham victories at Upton Park

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Tonight, West Ham United say goodbye to one of English football’s most iconic and storied venues – the Boleyn Ground.

This is the turf where Bobby Moore sent West Ham into the Cup Winners Cup final, as they became the first British club to win the competition. It’s where Paolo Di Canio stunned the Gunners and where in 2010 champions-elect Manchester United were ruthlessly dispatched 4-0.

Here’s a trip down memory lane, with five of the Hammers’ greatest ever wins at Upton Park, before the gate shuts on 112 years of history in this corner of east London.

West Ham United 2-1 Real Zaragoza (April 7 1965)

The Boleyn Ground faithful certainly were happy Hammers on this famous April night as skipper Bobby Moore led his charges to victory in the European Cup-Winners Cup semi-final.

As this tie got underway, the Rolling Stones were top of the charts with The Last Time and the country was flocking to see The Sound of Music in cinemas.

However, for the bumper crowd gathered here, the most memorable moments of that spring will have been Brian ‘Stag’ Dear and Johnny Byrne knocking out Spanish side Real Zaragoza as the Irons went on to be the first British club to lift European silverware. This grand old ground has certainly seen some history.

West Ham United 2-1 Arsenal (October 3 1999)

Of the 57 goals Paolo Di Canio struck during his five seasons with the Hammers, perhaps none is more memorable than his second in the 2-1 victory over Arsenal in October 1999 as the east London club grabbed a first victory over the Gunners in over 12 years.

The fiery Italian opened the scoring with a tap-in after finding himself in the right place following a scramble in the box. If that goal was a case of ‘they all count’, his second was a goal remembered as much for its skill as its significance.

The ex-Sheffield Wednesday man brought the ball down from the sky with a spectacular first touch before curling past a bewildered David Seaman with his second. Davor Suker – later of the Hammers – grabbed a consolation goal, but this day belonged to Di Canio and the Upton Park faithful.

West Ham United 3-1 Bolton (May 5 2007)

Relegation seemed almost a certainty for the Hammers with 29 games of this campaign gone and only 30 points on the board.

However, with the vocal support of the Bobby Moore stand roaring them on, Alan Curbishley’s men won three of their last four home fixtures before winning at Old Trafford on the final day to complete a truly great escape.

The home game of that run saw a crowd of over 34,000 spur the Hammers on to a huge victory over the Trotters, with Carlos Tevez netting a sensational free-kick before slotting home to double the advantage. The Argentine star then set up Mark Noble to make it 3-0 and there was no way back for the men from the north-west.

It proved a crucial result with the hosts narrowly beating the drop following four wins in a row to end the season. Unbelievable, Jeff.

West Ham United 4-0 Manchester United (November 20 2010)

A repeat of this scoreline would be likely to take the roof off the Boleyn Ground this evening, and the atmosphere was something special for this midweek League Cup tie too.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were unbeaten in the first 22 games of this campaign as they headed to the Boleyn Ground, but they were no match for a sensational Irons side who hit the champions-to-be with four fantastic goals.

Former Manchester United man Jonathan Spector opened the scoring with a deft header before a defensive mishap allowed the American international to double the hosts’ lead before half-time.

Carlton Cole nodded home to secure the win at 3-0 and netted the fourth with ice-cool composure as they halted the Red Devils’ unbeaten run in the most spectacular fashion.

West Ham United 2-1 Chelsea (October 24 2015)

Mauro Zarate fired this game into life with a superb 17th-minute strike, and a breathlessly exciting contest ensued.

A fantastic goal-line clearance from Manuel Lanzini to block Kurt Zouma’s effort kept the Hammers ahead at half-time. Gary Cahill did grab a fortunate equaliser for the visitors before Andy Carroll nodded home his first goal in eight months to clinch victory.

It was only the east London club’s second win over the Blues since 2003 and contributed to Jose Mourinho’s surprise sacking at Stamford Bridge. Oh, and those three points mean Slaven Bilic’s men still have a chance of European football next season. Chelsea, on the other hand…

The Hammers are 23/10 to give the Boleyn a perfect send-off with victory over Manchester United tonight. However, Louis van Gaal’s men have won five of their last six games and are 13/10 favourites, with 23/10 for a point apiece.

Ladbrokes are giving you more reasons to enjoy this famous occasion with two advanced price boosts on the big match. West Ham to win and both teams to score 4/1 – NOW 5/1 and Man Utd to win and both teams to score was 7/2 – NOW 4/1

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.