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The OS and The Boleyn - Head vs Heart

Article by Max Dosad

Ever since it was first discussed as a possibility, the move to the Olympic Stadium has split opinion, not just among West Ham fans but the wider footballing community. It has been at the heart of the West Ham community, and has sparked outrage from rival clubs, politicians and other sporting bodies. For any fan it’s the argument of past vs future, and it’s something that is almost impossible to choose between.

As a season ticket holder in the East Stand Lower, my walk to the stadium is part of my weekend ritual. We park up every Saturday wherever we can find space (normally over a mile away due to parking regulations but that’s a different article altogether),get our sav and chips from the same place, get the program from the same man, bump into the same people, have the same discussions. Any football fan will know exactly what I’m getting at. All of the pre-match, is as much a part of the club as the bricks and mortar from which the stadium is built or the eleven players wearing the shirt.

For most fans, it’s the past that makes us what we are. We all speak of ancient rivalries with other clubs, victories against impossible odds, and goals that will forever echo in our memories (Di Canio vs Wimbledon anyone?). To walk away from that even in the face of undoubted progression is something that we cannot accept willingly.

West Ham have had to face the facts that our scenery will change, and that we will be leaving the hallowed turf that was blessed by the likes of Moore, Hurst, Devonshire and Bonds, much as other clubs before us have. I’ll never be able to get Fish and Chips at the same place again, I’ll never walk through the same streets or sit in the same seat, yes the future is bright, I’m sure crossing the Stratford City Bridge will develop it’s own sense of nostalgia and beauty but for now, it’s walking away from a lifetime of memories and we’re into the unknown with a sense of nervousness and trepidation.

For me personally, I’m excited to see the next steps of the club and what the future holds, we are definitely moving in the right direction, and with the additions over the last couple of weeks, this has only been confirmed. We without doubt, become one of the most exciting propositions for external investment, along with the possibility of higher gate receipts, larger sponsorship deals and more commercial exposure, it’s definitely what is in the best interests of the club.

The move makes complete commercial sense, it’s the logical next step, and as much as it pains me to say it, it can move us into the same class as the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea. But it is departing from where West Ham became a key part of my life, it’s moving away from all of the memories created, the good and the bad. The Boleyn is etched into all of our lives and I cannot imagine seeing West Ham anywhere else. It’s head vs heart, and for me, heart wins every single time.

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