Saturday, 9 February 2013

When Saturday Comes – The Homes of Football: West Ham

West Ham United Football Club was founded in 1900 and grew out of the works team of the Thames Iron Works & Shipbuilding Company. A fingerprint of this history can be found in their nickname, The Irons.

Their home stadium is The Boleyn Ground – named for Boleyn Castle that once stood nearby. It is commonly known as Upton Park, the name of the district in which it is located, but also goes by a nickname of its own: The Academy of Football, almost always shortened to simply The Academy.

The nickname The Academy dates back to the early 1960s when the club was managed by Ron Greenwood, whose plaque adorns the main entrance to the stadium…

… and refers to West Ham’s habit of schooling local boys in the ways of the game. Many of those boys, particularly in the 60s, became legends. None more so than Bobby Moore, who has both a plaque at the ground and a statue nearby…

Moore held aloft as England captain by (L to R) Martin Peters, Geoff Hurst (both West Ham) and Ray Wilson (Everton) 

Ask any Englishman from the East End of London who won the World Cup in 1966, and without a blink he will answer: West Ham. All four of England’s goals against West Germany were scored by Hammers (Martin Peters and a hat trick for Geoff Hurst) and Bobby Moore captained the side.

Ken’s Café on Green Street, on the way to the Boleyn Ground from Upton Park, is an essential part of a trip to West Ham…

The interior is bedecked with pictures from the glory days…

…and a cup of tea and a bacon roll will cost you £2.20. Which is less than a cup of tepid brown milk from Starbucks.

The 2015/16 season is West Ham's last at the Boleyn Ground – they move to the Olympic Stadium next season


A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at

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