A modern day tragedy

  • by Staff Writer
  • Tuesday, 14th March 2023

The decision to demolish West Ham United's former home has been described as "a modern day tragedy" by one of the club's former Academy graduates.

Adi Coker, now 68, only made a handful of first team appearances for West Ham during his four years as a first team player but cemented his place in club folklore when he was one of three black players to feature in a 2-0 defeat of Tottenham on 1 April 1972 - the first time three non-white players had featured in a First Division team.

Embed from Getty Images

Recently the Seattle-based Coker was back in the UK for a brief spell during which he visited the site of The Boleyn Ground, which has since been demolished and converted into accommodation blocks.

And it was a sobering sight for the former forward, who made his debut for the club aged just 17 on that historical day 51 years ago.

"I found the entire experience very emotional and upsetting," he told The West Ham Years. "'Devastated' is not a word that can describe how I felt as it doesn’t go deep enough.

"112 years it took to build and develop that ground and just like that it has been destroyed beyond all recognition. There is not a tuft of grass left.

"Sure, they have named the buildings after West Ham legends but there is nothing here to suggest that one of the greatest football stadiums ever existed! To me it is the destruction of a lifetime.

"Nothing meaningful has been left for future generations to visit and appreciate the amazing memories which were born there," he continued. "When future Cokers come to look at where I played they will be walking up and down Green Street saying "Where is it?" That is devastating to me.

"It is bewildering that nobody has thought about it. West Ham was started by Iron, and the Ironworkers, but it has been well and truly finished off by the bulldozers. It is a modern day tragedy."

Coker meets current Hammers boss David Moyes [pic: West Ham Years]

Despite the disappointment at seeing the club's former home razed to the ground, Coker admitted that he was impressed by West Ham's new home in Stratford.

"The new stadium is great," he stated. "It was a very well built venue for the 2012 Olympics and West Ham has made it their home for the Hammers."

* Something to say about this story? Please visit the KUMB Forum to leave a comment.

More News