Goodbye Upton Park

Goodbye Upton Park

I was disappointed. The last game at West Ham’s Upton Park was played without an invitation. My game for London Broadcasting against Capital Radio in 1973 airbrushed out of history. So be it.

My soccer career on the field was ten years playing for the Villagers, based on a sloping pitch in Richmond. Colours black and green. Named after a small casino in Chelsea. Playing results poor, we once  went two years without winning a game. That ended with a famous victory on an all weather pitch against Hampstead Libraries. Not only Upton Park but my boots took me to Wormwood Scrubs and Hackney Marshes. No Londoner is worthy of  the name unless he has  chopped  an opponent in these barren, wind swept places.

My year as a LBC soccer correspondent had a wonderful high. A bunch of us had been recruited from the  radical “When Saturday Comes” magazine to give an alternative voice. Another boring game at Craven Cottage, Fulham versus Everton. The eyes only just stayed open. My report from the  press box went out on the air. Legendary manager Alec Stock took exception to “they looked like office boys, they played played like office boys.”

In rushed the bantam weight, legendary manager Alec Stock. Who the f*** are  you, those are dedicated professional footballers, where did you learn to play you tosser.” Ouch. I rose to my nearly six feet. Actually at school we played rugger (code) and since you ask captain.

LBC was  banned from Fulham for the rest of the season. The beautiful game. Goodbye Upton  Park hello Olympic Stadium.


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