West Ham United’s five greatest Boleyn Ground moments

With a stirring 3-2 win over Manchester United Tuesday, West Ham played its final match at the Boleyn Ground, commonly referred to as Upton Park.

The stadium has been the home of West Ham United since it opened in 1904, and in the years since, the ground has been through quite a bit.

From bomb damage in 1944, a Billy Graham crusade event in 1989 and Wayne Rooney’s England debut in a 2003 friendly, the Boleyn Ground has its own unique charm and history.

Most of the park’s best moments, however, were provided by the Hammers. Here are the five best Boleyn Ground moments:

5. Alvin Martin’s odd hat trick — On April 21, 1986, West Ham entertained Newcastle in a League One clash. Martin, a central defender, scored 27 goals in his 20 years in the heart of the Hammers defense.

Three of them came on that Monday afternoon against Newcastle. It’s not unheard of for a defender to end up with a hat trick, but for him to do it against three different keepers is a feat that has yet to be matched in world football.

He beat Martin Thomas, Chris Hedworth and emergency keeper Peter Beardsley to complete his hat trick.

4. Bobby Moore’s debut — Moore was the captain of England’s 1966 World Cup winning side, the captain of West Ham for more than a decade and was, according to Pele, the best defender the Brazilian legend ever played against.

But it all began on Sept. 8, 1958, when Moore came on for Malcolm Allison. Moore never relinquished that spot in the lineup, and went on to a sparkling career.

A stand at the Boleyn Ground bore his name, and his No. 6 shirt is no longer in use for the club.

3. Geoff Hurst scores six — Sir Geoff Hurst is the only man to record a hat trick in a World Cup final, as he achieved that feat in England’s 4-2 win over West Germany in 1966.

He also scored 180 goals in a 13-year Boleyn Ground career, including six in one match in an 8-0 trouncing of Sunderland on Oct. 19, 1968. It was quite a day in club history, as the other two goals were scored by fellow club legends Moore and Sir Trevor Brooking.

2. Paolo Di Canio’s wonder goal — Modern Premier League fans know Di Canio for his bizarre antics as a manager. But the volatile Italian is also the owner of perhaps the most impressive goal ever scored at Upton Park.

It was on March 26, 2000, against Wimbledon — and it was one of the ages.

1. West Ham 3, Eintracht Frankfurt 1 — On April 14, 1976, West Ham needed to overturn a 2-1 deficit in the second leg of its Cup Winners Cup tie with the Germans.

Two second-half goals from Brooking and another from Keith Robson saw the Hammers through to the final, which they lost in Belgium, 4-2, to Anderlecht.

 

About Randy Capps

South Carolina native, Fulham apologist, writer and sports fanatic.

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