Its been well over a week, but i thought it was about time i got the experience down in a blog. Wembley Stadium, the home of English football, and for 90 odd minutes on Saturday 19th May, home to the dreams of 40,000 West Ham fans.
First, some background, this time last year the Hammers had been relegated from the Premier League after a dismal season, optimism wasn't great, but after a new gaffer was appointed in Big Sam & signings were made, we were one of the favourites for automatic promotion when May arrived this year. Obviously that wasn't to be, and the playoffs beckoned. After a 5-0 aggregate demolition of Cardiff, the first date at Wembley for West Ham was made since the League Cup final loss in 1981.
Now clearly i wasn't there in 1981, and i didn't get to Cardiff on our 3 recent appearances there, so i was hoping for a chance to experience what would obviously be a rare day for the club at the national stadium. Not being a season ticket holder or member worked against me though and i took it as a given i had failed to get a ticket. But a lifeline presented itself in the shape of a Facebook message from Mark, who i know online through his sister Adie (who i also met online, there's a pattern to my life here). Well Mark came through with a spare ticket, and i became i giggling little schoolkid at the prospect of going to Wembley to see West Ham!
The day arrived, and it started as it should of, with breakfast down kid local cafe at 8am! I had seen on Twitter that the Globe pub at Baker Street would be a meeting place for drinks before the game, so i promptly arrived at opening time (10am). Match tickets had to be shown to enter, but thanks to some sweettalking, i was in along with some fellow Twitter Hammers. Our group grew as the morning went on, and the atmosphere became electric at times. Every tourist bus that came past the pub was treated to renditions of Bubbles, or Stick ya blue flag up your arse. So polite eh!
Mark arrived around midday with my ticket, prompting much relief from myself! And after another drink it was time for the train journey to Wembley! The walk down Wembley way alongside so many Hammers was an experience all in itself, felt chills as the big arch approaches! Still a bit early for the game though, so we found a bit of greenery outside an old office block & sunk a few tins whilst catching up with more Hammers :-)
Then it really began, getting into the stadium and finding my seat, getting ready to see the teams come out, and singing Bubbles at the top of my voice. 40,000 Hammers were in our end of the stadium, and the noise was simply amazing. I can't remember every detail of the game, but i know it was tense! A quality goal from Cole sent us into jubilant screams & cheers, easing some fears and nerves!
The second half started with a gut punch as Blackpool equalised, and that led to a very tough end to the game. Both teams had chances, and honestly Blackpool were unlucky not to make the most of them. It was to be a Claret & Blue day though, as with 3 minutes left Vaz Te smashed in a rebound from Coles shot to give us the lead. Emotions were running high now, we were jumping around, screaming, cheering, and the kid in front of me was in tears of joy! Didn't take long for me to join him to be honest, as the final whistle went i had tears in my eyes, for the achievement of the club, for being there, and for a dearly missed friend who would have loved to have been a part of that moment.
After the presentation, the journey home began. I didn't care how long it took, i had a smile on my face and nobody could take that away from me. It had been West Hams first day at the new Wembley, and i had the honour and pleasure of being a part of it! A day that no Hammer there will ever forget, now bring on the Premiership!