1966: England won the World Cup. Bobby Moore captained England, Geoff Hurst scored a hat-trick and Martin Peters also scored in the glorious 4-2 win. To this day, we Irons supporters claim that West Ham won the World Cup!
That year, my brother and I really discovered football. We hadn’t chosen our side at that time, but all we wanted was to go to a First Division football match. My father would see to it, one year later, that there was only going to be one choice of who to support, by taking us to the Boleyn to see West Ham v Burnley.
Once you are in, win or lose, your veins run claret and blue.
In those days you couldn’t buy a ticket in advance. You had to get there on match day around 10.30am and queue. That is a long time for any youngster. Nevertheless, just standing there by the gates bearing the legend “West Ham United” was exciting enough to keep us occupied.
Suddenly the queue began to move, then we were through the gates and standing under the concrete mass of the stands. We could hear ‘Bubbles’, and couldn’t wait to be out there singing too. We walked up the steps, and emerged for our first look at the pitch. Emerald green, the crowd, the noise, we were transfixed.
As the team walked out, we were all singing ‘Bubbles’ fervently. It sent shivers down my spine, and it still does to hear it today. The players included: Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters, Frank Lampard Snr. Yes indeed, we were lucky to grow up watching such legends. The match passed so swiftly I couldn’t tell you what happened, but I do know we won 3 – 2!
Then we were in the car and heading back through the old Dartford Tunnel on our way home, the radio giving us all the football results. We could not wait to return, and bless you Dad, you took us as often as you could.
In memory of my father, Alan A T Marsh, and his friend Ron Albon, who made so many visits to Upton Park possible.