A personal story by Alan Knight, Marketing and Bid Manager – The Downwell Group – Demolition, Asbestos Removal and Scaffolding
In 2016 I worked for a small demolition company from the East End. Most of the management who worked there were West Ham Supporters, and the company had corporate seats in the Legends Lounge. As the move to the London Stadium approached the demolition began.
There had been talk of supporters trying to unhinge their seats at the last game against United, but we never did. My son and I had sat in the Bobby Moore Upper for 12 years since he was ten, and the seats had a lot of sentimental value. The family was all West Ham supporters coming from Forest Gate, and my Grandad attended the 1923 Cup final at Wembley.
The perks of working in demolition
I would have had mixed feelings if I had worked for the demolition company awarded the demolition. I would however had no hesitation in securing my seats for prosperity. As someone who has a lot of dreams about the most bizarre things, I dreamt that I had gone into the stadium and removed my seats. Then spookily the next day, my contracts manager informed me that one of our subcontractors was carrying the strip-out work of the seats for the demolition company. He offered to go and get my seats and pass them to me under the gate. Of course, I said yes and headed down to the Boleyn.
Dreams do come true and not necessarily fade and die, as the words of the famous West Ham anthem.
I was delighted to get hold of them, and they still had the bubble gum stuck to the bottom of the seat that had been there for all the time we had sat in them.
On joining Downwell in February 2017 I found out that our asbestos division Inner City Environmental had carried out the asbestos removal
Visit to the training ground.
My son visited the training ground on several occasions and managed to get virtually all the team signatures on his seat and some on mine. As a result, both seats are now in display cabinets as shown above.
Giving back to the supporters
In my current role at The Downwell Group, I know I would have tried to give a lot of the memorabilia from the stadium back to the fans and benefit those charities connected to the club had we been the demolition contractor.
I am not sure what the successful company did, but I hope that some Charities benefited from the stadium’s demise.
I would love to have given away as many seats as possible.
Demolition of other Stadiums
It got me thinking about the other football stadiums that had been demolished. These are the ones I found.
1913 – 2006 Arsenal, Highbury
1910 – 2009 Cardiff, Ninian Park
1890 – 2003 Derby, Baseball Ground
1908 – 1994 Huddersfield, Leeds Road
1901 – 1997 Brighton, Goldstone Ground
1903 – 1995 Middlesbrough, Ayresome Park
and the most famous of all
Wembley Stadium (1923 – 2003)
The original Wembley Stadium opened on 28 April 1923, and West Ham took part in the famous White Horse final. It was demolished in 2003 but hosted a range of high-profile sporting events, including the annual FA Cup final, the 1966 World Cup Final, Euro 96, and the 1948 Summer Olympics.
Where did the memorabilia end up
It would be interesting to see where memorabilia from the Boleyn or other grounds ended up. Maybe post a picture of your club’s bit of history that you have at home or seen somewhere.
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