Farewell Boleyn Ceremony

West Ham United brought 112 years of football at the Boleyn Ground to a close with an unforgettable closing Ceremony
West Ham United bid a poignant farewell to the Boleyn Ground with an unforgettable closing ceremony enjoyed by a worldwide audience of millions.

They joined more than 30,000 supporters and 150 former players in enjoying a unique event that brought an end to 112 years of West Ham in Upton Park.

West Ham TV were on hand to capture this amazing occasion, and you can watch the unforgettable ceremony again and again by clicking on the video above.

Having been thrilled by West Ham’s dramatic 3-2 comeback win over Manchester United – during which every home supporter wore complimentary commemorative Claret or Blue Farewell Boleyn t-shirts – fans and viewers alike were treated to a show the like of which had never been seen before in English football history.

The 45-minute tribute brought together everything that is special about the Club, kicking-off with spectacular pyrotechnic and light shows, with the Claret and Blue Army playing their full part by lighting up the stadium with sparkling Claret and Blue clap bands.
Attention then turned to the dozens of former Hammers who had been invited back to attend the Final Game by the Board, including fans’ favourites Carlton Cole, Marlon Harewood and Anton Ferdinand.

“I have enjoyed a number of memorable moments under the lights at West Ham but that was one of the best and I was cheering like a proper fan for once!” Cole revealed.

Alongside them sat more than a hundred players spanning more than 50 years in West Ham history, including FA Cup winners Peter Brabrook and Eddie Bovington and Boys of ’86 Ray Stewart, Frank McAvennie and Mark Ward.

An eye-catching parade of Hammer of the Year winners in traditional London taxis, including 1966 FIFA World Cup winner Martin Peters, Tony Cottee, Alan Devonshire, Robert Green and Matty Etherington.

“Thank you West Ham United for inviting me to the Final Game,” Etherington tweeted. “I will never forget it. Until you have played, supported or worked for this Club, you will never know how special it is. ”

One legend who was unable to attend due to prior commitments was Sir Geoff Hurst, but the World Cup final hero sent his best wishes after watching the events on television on Wednesday morning.

“I watched the game and the closing ceremony on TV this morning and it was a fitting end to 112 years for the most atmospheric ground and best and most loyal supporters in the land,” Sir Geoff wrote on his official Facebook page. “[The team achieved] A great result that will live long in our memories.”

Also watching on from afar was Los Angeles-based lifelong Hammer and broadcaster James Corden, who tweeted: “I'm actually watching the West Ham v Man Utd game again before I go to sleep! What a game! What a day!”
Next came a stunning segment that put three Hammers of the Year and truly iconic figures in Boleyn Ground folklore – Paolo Di Canio, Sir Trevor Brooking and Billy Bonds – in the spotlight one final time.

For Di Canio himself, the opportunity to return to the spot where he scored the greatest goal in the stadium’s history and have his name sung one final time was one to savour.

“It’s an emotional moment and it’s difficult to explain how I feel but I can say only one thing – every time I come into this place I feel something special,” said the Italian with typical passion. “For me it means heart, love, passion, loyalty and my Claret and Blue family.”

The montage also featured moving memories from long-serving supporters, including 100-year-old Mabel Arnold, champion fundraiser Jonjo Heuerman, the Belgian Irons and their fellow Season Ticket Holders.

Mabel, who attended matches at the Boleyn Ground for 82 years, even won acclaim for her loyalty from a certain David Beckham.

“Ok I've had some special moments at this ground but I think this is my favourite… How amazing!” Beckham wrote on his Instagram page alongside footage of host Ben Shephard introducing the Club’s longest-serving supporter.

Son Graham was naturally delighted with the reception his mother received, adding: “The reception that Mabel received will live with me forever and the David Beckham Instagram was the icing on the cake. I would like to thank the staff that were involved in making her birthday celebrations and the final farewell such a special occasion.”

Representatives of legendary managers Ron Greenwood and John Lyall were honoured with loud applause – while earlier every Hammer who is no longer with us had received a moving visual and musical tribute featuring the Romford Drum and Trumpet Corps. 
It was then time to honour the greatest of them all, Bobby Moore, with daughter Roberta and grandchildren Ava, Freddie and Poppy receiving the warmest of welcomes as they appeared in front of the stand that bears the late captain’s name.

“Tuesday's match was a very special and emotional occasion for both me personally and for us as a family," said Roberta. "It was an honour for me and Bobby’s three grandchildren to represent my father at the Boleyn Ground one last time and it was a moment that we will all cherish forever.

“We loved every moment of the evening; the atmosphere was electric and what a great game - I should perhaps point out that when dad made his debut for West Ham on September 8th 1958, it was against Man Utd and they happened to win that match 3-2 also!

“It meant the world to us to be part of the closing ceremony in such an intimate and meaningful way and it was particularly poignant and moving to see dad turning off the lights and saying goodbye to the Ground for us all.  I am so grateful to the Club for going above and beyond in making sure that the final memories of the Boleyn Ground for both us and the fans will stay with us all forever."

The first-team squad were then introduced to loud cheers before Shephard invited captain Mark Noble to make a heartfelt speech about his own three decades of watching and playing at the Boleyn Ground.

“What a night!” Noble reflected. “It was undoubtedly the best night I’ve ever had at the Boleyn – the match, the result, all the old players being back and of course the amazing ceremony afterwards.

“I must admit I thought I was going to lose it and start crying a couple of times, but I managed to get through it and I hope what I said was a fitting tribute.

“As I said on the pitch, we delivered something we hope made the fans proud on the pitch, then our amazing staff delivered a show that the whole West Ham family could be proud of.”

Shephard himself tweeted that hosting the ceremony was one of the best moments of his life: “There are moments in life you’ll never forget – for me that was one. What an occasion!”

After a rousing rendition of I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles from East End rockers The Cockney Rejects, the ceremony closed in spectacular style.

In a moment that truly brought tears to the eyes of thousands, the Club’s greatest son Bobby Moore returned to walk down the tunnel and turn out the Boleyn Ground lights one final time.

And with that, 112 years of victories and defeats, enjoyment and despair, laughter and tears were brought to a fitting close.