A bird's eye view

West Ham United fans get very possessive over their seats in the East Stand, Bobby Moore Upper or Lower, or anywhere else in the ground that takes their fancy.

But one man has a unique vantage point to watch the Hammers and you could call it a bird’s eye view.
Look upwards at a quiet moment during a game and chances are you saw a figure watching every move from the 14th floor of the Seymour Road flats which overlook the Boleyn Ground.

“I probably see about 90 per cent of the games from up there, I’ve even taken time off on annual leave to watch matches,” said Mark Gardner, who has lived there for more than 25 years.

“It is a unique spot to see the game, I don’t think there are many other grounds where you can do the same.”

So what it is like up there?

“It is hard to describe,” he said. “You can’t appreciate it unless you see it, but it is a brilliant view. The atmosphere for night games is incredible and the sound reaches up to me as well. To me though, it is just an ordinary view, it is not a massive issue.”

Mark lives there with mum Jane and dad Brian, who is an armchair Chelsea fan, as well as brother Daniel.

“There has been plenty of banter this season with Dad, because we are doing so much better than Chelsea,” said Mark, 29. “This season really has been amazing and I have seen some of my best games this year.

“The Tottenham game was a brilliant atmosphere and the Manchester United FA Cup tie as well.”

The Final Game victory over the Red Devils on 10 May signalled the end of Mark’s unique view on Hammers history, but he is determined to carry on watching the Hammers.

“It will be so sad to see the old stadium go,” said Mark, who does go inside Upton Park on occasion, including three times last season.

“I will definitely look to go to the Olympic Stadium, but I don’t think there are any flats near the new Stadium to move into!”

*The Recorder’s 72-page Bye Bye Boleyn magazine is out now, with interviews with West Ham legends Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking, Paolo Di Canio, Pop Robson, Alan Devonshire and many, many more, plus the ARP man who saw the Doodlebug hit Upton Park in 1944, 100-year-old fan Mabel Arnold and much more…