Hammer blow: a noble adieu to West Ham’s Boleyn

This has nothing and everything to do with being a Sunderland supporter. My old colleague Charlie Whebell is a West Ham fan, though he’d never pronounce the H, as you’ll see below. Tonight he’ll be at what we call Upton Park and ‘ammers call the Boleyn – but only in spirit – as his team bids farewell to the old place with one last game, against Man Utd. He’s actually thousands of miles away in Abu Dhabi, where every Premier League game is screened, so will miss nothing except the incomparable feeling of being in the ground itself. He wishes he could be in the East End and probably considered using up his annual free flight home to make it happen.

These thoughts, posted by Charlie on Facebook, will resonate with anyone who remembers leaving Roker Park, anyone whose memories go back to an era before purpose-built stadiums, good as our version undoubtedly is, and also anyone who just values the idea of being utterly passionate about your club and whatever corner of the world it was where you were born or grew up or have an unbreakable bond with …

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