SO FAREWELL then to Upton Park, which joins Highbury, Maine Road, Roker Park, the Baseball Ground, Filbert Street, Ayresome Park, Leeds Road and Boothferry Park and several other venerated venues in the time-capsule of oft-remembered former footballing homes.
West Ham supporters bade their farewells to the famous East London stadium last week, amid considerable post-match pyrotechnical bombast after the Boleyn Ground – to use its Sunday name – staged the last ever game of its 112-year existence.
Fittingly, the footballing occasion proved a compelling one as the Hammers triumphed 3-2 over Manchester United.
Lest we forget, Upton Park was the place where venerated World Cup winners Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters cut their footballing teeth. Although you probably knew that.
Ditto Trevor Brooking, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard - senior and junior – Joe Cole, Paul Ince, Tony Cottee and Harry Redknapp.
Famous nights for the claret-and-blue have endured over the years. Against the likes of Eintracht Frankfurt, who the hosts beat 3-1 as they booked a finals berth in the European Cup Winners’ Cup in April 1976.
Then, there was the occasion when Geoff Hurst hit a double hat-trick in an 8-0 drubbing of Sunderland in October 1968, while Newcastle were on the receiving end of an 8-1 rout in April 1986 – Alvin Martin scoring a treble with all the goals coming against different goalkeepers.
Upton Park also famously witnessed the Hammers denying Manchester United the Premiership title there on a tense 1-1 final-day draw in May 1995, with the silverware ultimately destined to be paraded at Anfield by Kenny Dalglish, in charge of visiting Blackburn Rovers.
As for Yorkshire teams? Well, they have suffered on a few occasions too, while also sampling better times at E13.
One of the most remarkable White Rose victories at Upton Park arrived in an FA Cup third-round replay way back on January 13, 1960.
It was inflicted by Huddersfield Town, on a freezing night which proved somewhat fateful for a man who went onto become a household name in the game, in Denis Law.
The Aberdonian had netted in 1-1 draw in front of 30,526 at Leeds Road four days earlier, with scouts flocking to the capital to watch the classy forward.
On the recommendation of Eddie Boot – caretaker-boss following Bill Shankly’s departure to Liverpool – Town wore rubber-soled boots similar to training shoes, to combat the frozen surface.
It worked a treat as the visitors tip-toed their way past the hosts en route to a marvellous 5-1 triumph, with the win earning Boot the full-time managerial post at Huddersfield.
Headers from Les Massie and Bill McGarry put Town 2-0 up and despite Malcolm Musgrove pulling one back, Massie restored Huddersfield’s two-goal buffer at the break and a second-half brace arrived from Jack Connor.
Despite not scoring, Law produced an exhilarating performance to mark the card of several clubs and two months later, he was sold to Manchester City for a then British record fee of £55,000.
Another side who famously scored five goals en route to a magnificent Upton Park success were Allan Clarke’s Barnsley, who created a bit of history in a League Cup win in October 1987.
The Reds did it the hard way, staging a remarkable comeback from 2-0 down at half-time to triumph 5-2 after extra-time - to inflict a record home defeat in the competition upon the Hammers.
All looked set fair with goals from Kevin Keen and Stewart Robson giving the hosts a 2-0 interval lead in the second-round, second-leg tie after the first leg ended 0-0 at Oakwell.
But midfielder Steve Agnew inspired a stunning rally, pulling one back from the spot and restoring parity with a free-kick.
An extra half hour ensued with the Reds running riot, with goals plundered by John Beresford, Steve Lowndes and John MacDonald on a famous cup night for Barnsley.
For Leeds United, visits to Upton Park were commonplace once upon a time and rarely have Whites supporters celebrated a 0-0 draw there with as much gusto as they did on the final day of the 1999-2000 campaign on May 14, 2000.
That goalless stalemate famously helped David O’Leary’s young side qualify for the Champions League, with Leeds having West Yorkshire neighbours Bradford City to thank for helping them secure third place in the Premiership table after they beat Liverpool 1-0 to guarantee their own status in the top-flight – thanks to goal from ex-Whites defender David Wetherall.
While Leeds may have enjoyed intoxicating highs the following season, their demise and financial unravelling following those years of excess in the early noughties has ultimately skewed the sense of achievement to that Upton Park result just over 16 years ago – with sobering perspective afforded.
Perhaps the most endearing Yorkshire story arrived back in January 1998 and it was supplied by gallant non-leaguers Emley in front of the Match of the Day cameras – after pundits Brooking and Des Lynam had predicted a 6-0 FA Cup third-round rout beforehand.
Backed by 2,000 travelling supporters – not bad for a village whose population was 1,800 – Ronnie’s Glavin’s side gave the top-flight Hammers a massive scare by equalising before bowing out 2-1, John Hartson netting an 82nd-minute winner.
The White Rose part-timers, billed in the London press as ‘pit paupers’, looked like pulling off the improbable when Paul David scored with a header in the 56th minute to cancel out an early opener from the young Frank Lampard.
Tantalisingly, Emley had a chance to win it with a four-on-two attack before Hartson cruelly ended their hopes of a deserved replay.
Emley were subsequently given a standing ovation at the final whistle by the Hammers supporters, while home manager Harry Redknapp admitted to his counterpart Glavin afterwards that his P45 would have been in the post if the visitors had scored and gone onto win.
Another epic contest ended in defeat with relegation-haunted Bradford City losing out 5-4 in one of the most remarkable Premier League games ever in February 2000.
West Ham looked to be down and out when they trailed Bradford 4-2 with 25 minutes left – through goals from Dean Windass, Peter Beagrie (pen) and Jamie Lawrence (2), only to stage a miraculous rally to take the points thanks to a late Lampard goal.
As for the plain bad occasions? There have been several for Yorkshire teams...
Injury-ravaged Leeds were on the receiving end of a 7-0 League Cup mauling in November 1966, when Hurst and Johnny Sissons fired hat-tricks for the hosts – whose performance was credited as being their best at Upton Park since November 1929, when Leeds were beaten 8-2! Fatefully, it was also the venue where Whites legend Paul Reaney’s World Cup dream cruelly ended with a broken leg sustained in a 2-2 draw in April 1970.
County’s clubs on the move...
1899: Sheffield Wednesday, from Olive Grove to Hillsborough (originally Owlerton Stadium).
1932: York City, from Fulfordgate to Bootham Crescent.
1939: Hull City, from Anlaby Road to Boothferry Park.
1973: Bradford Park Avenue, from Park Avenue to the Horsfall Stadium.
1994: Huddersfield Town, from Leeds Road to the John Smith’s Stadium (originally McAlpine Stadium).
1995: Middlesbrough, from Ayresome Park to the Riverside Stadium.
2002: Hull City, from Boothferry Park to the KC Stadium.
2007: Doncaster Rovers, from Belle Vue to the Keepmoat Stadium.
2008: Rotherham United, from Millmoor to the Don Valley Stadium.
2012: Rotherham United, from the Don Valley Stadium to the New York Stadium.