Dublin Hammers Farewell Boleyn Trip - Arsenal - Saturday 9th April 2016

West Ham 3 vs Arsenal 3.

The last Dublin Hammers trip to the Boleyn didn’t disappoint as we were treated to an unbelievable game that featured 9 goals - three of them disallowed for the Hammers.

As usual we all assembled in the bar in the airport where we found out that Dessie’s grasp of the 24 hour clock is sadly lacking. Dessie had managed to book himself back on the 10.10am flight on Sunday rather than the 22.10 flight!! Boy did we have a great laugh at that one.

The flight left on time and landed 10 minutes ahead of the 90 minutes travelling time that Ryanair say it will take them to fly you from Dublin to London. Onto the bus and then off to throw our bags into the hotel. Due to the early kick off we knew we would be tight for time, our travel team arranged for the bus to wait and then take us to the ground. The poor driver suffered terrible abuse from Galway Eugene and the Owner over his lack of speed – he was even asked to drive like you stole it! As it happens we arrived at the ground an hour before kick off, so he didn’t do too badly in the end.

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Time for a quick bite to eat and a pint in the Supporters Club bar to get us all in the spirit of the day. Some of the lads headed off to the club shop and stalls to pick up Tee shirts, badges etc. We took our seats and the atmosphere was great as the teams took to the pitch. I thought we were playing Tomkins at right full and that he was getting dragged into the centre half position, leaving us wide open on the right. It was only later that I learned we were playing with three at the back, pushing Cresswell and Antonio further up the pitch. This backfired on us as the Gooners took a two goal lead.

However, by the time they scored their first we had been denied two goals for offside – one of which definitely wasn’t... the crowd were not happy with the officials. There was a general frustration at how things were going, then it all changed... minutes before the break, Andy Carroll grabbed two quick goals to see the game go in at at half time level at 2-2!

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The Presidents View... Great performance from the team and even from Andy Carroll. Probably the best game, entertainment wise I have been at over the years. Farewell to the Boylen.

The second half saw us go 3-2 ahead as Carroll grabbed a hat trick – boy did we give the visiting Gooners fans an earful. Carroll is outstanding in the air, but has a tendency to be too far away from goal when the ball is delivered. If he got himself into the area before the ball was delivered he would be well into double figures for the season.

The Gooners managed to grab an equaliser... we had another goal disallowed... Lanzini cleared a ball off our line... it was an action packed second half. In the end, it could have gone either way as both sets of players were dead on their feet. It ended 3-3 and after the final whistle the first of many "farewell boleyn" photos sessions took place. The after match venue was the Central Bar, it was there we met up with previous member Mick, now living in the UK, and our other UK friends and a few refreshments sunk.

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Now the plan was for us to get cabs back to Romford at 4pm, however this plan backfired due to the awful London traffic. We ended up stuck in a cab, crawling along the Barking Road... after 20 minutes of snail paced movement word came to us of a change of plan, all 3 cabs were abandoned and instead we made our way back to the Boleyn Bar and watched the Grand National. We stayed there for a few beers before moving along Green Street up to the Queens.

Along the way we stopped outside the main entrance to the ground for another photo opportunity, then following the President we boldly walked straight through the doors, into reception and then into the bar before we were stopped by the girl on reception. "We would like to see David Gold" says the President, fortunately the girl on reception got in the spirit of things as she apologised and told us that he wasn't about as he was doing some shopping in Westfield Shopping Centre! We persauded her to join us for more photos!

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By now the sun had come out and the photo fest continued, our next stop was the life size team photo with the space/seat left so you could sit in and look like you were in the team photo. We all took turns, the president (who it has to be said was in top form all weekend) started a commentary suggesting that the member currently in the chair was fit, but had missed pre-season training... all photo taking immediately stopped as we fell about the place!

We finally joined the others up at the Queens where more pints were sunk as the Reggae music blasted out. After a while it was decided we should get the train back to Romford, so we made our way to Upton Park Station. We boarded the tube with another group of lads and together we sang our way to Upminster, all the old favourites, they even taught us a new Lanzini song. At Upminster we changed trains and before long we were in Romford.

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arsenal trip 2015 arsenal trip 2015 arsenal trip 2015

We checked into the hotel, washed and got ready for the coming night. A group met in the hotel restaurant and were shown to a cosy alcove were Fran sat at the head of the table, promptly told the waiter that he was the President and then proceed to tell us how he wore the trousers at home, how he never did any ironing, but asked us not to tell his wife! A great hour was spent with the wise cracks and stories going back and forth. My favourite... when going to the toilet earlier the president stuck his head out of the toilet window and called to the passing club sectretary... "I've been locked in the toilet for the last half hour, can't get out"... to which the secretary suggested he "go away" as only the secretary can! We had a lovely meal and then to top it off the waiter gave the bill to Fran... afterall he was the president he said!

We left and joined the others in the Golden Lion pub where a band was playing. When the band had finished playing we had another sing song before we got turfed out as they were closing. It was off to Yeats nightclub where we were all asked for ID. The President and his pineapple shirt failed to make an impression on the dancefloor but it did provide us with a great chant for the evening. Speaking of shirts, the chairman was also sporting a shirt which Jimi Hendrix would have been proud of! At the end of the evening we headed back to the hotel or to the chip shop first, depending on which group you were with.

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The next day saw us head for breakfast or All Day Brunch (you’ll never be forgiven Jimmy!). At breakfast the owner told us that the previous evening someone had shouted out the window at him, saying they were stuck in the toilet? He wasn't sure who it was as he could only see 2 eyes looking out!

After breakfast we hit the West Ham Superstore in Romford and then it was off into London for the pub tour. I had to help Jimmy find the hotel he was booked into for the Sunday night before meeting up with the lads, so we had an unofficial (and unwanted) walking tour of London. Tom Jones brought us to his Mum’s ex-pub near Brick Lane which is now a very trendy drinking place, Tom had run the pub for a number of years with dart boards and snooker tables – there was no sign of them now.

Some of the lads went down to take a look at where the old Memorial Ground (where West Ham played before moving to Upton Park) used to be and then went onto the new stadium. We all met up in the George at Liverpool Street to watch the Spuds bash Man Ure while we waited on the bus to take us to the airport. The journey back on the bus was great fun as love for the club and each other was proclaimed, jokes were told and stories of past trips were recounted.

We had plenty of time in the airport to get a bite to eat (KFC at Liverpool St. has closed!) so as we waited in the bar it was time for the Presidents Quiz which brought lots of laughs and Galway Eugene shone like a diamond in answering the questions, but David McDonagh also showed that he was a bit of a memory man. There was just time for the owner to show us his Guiness juggling skills before we got on the plane and head home, having had a great trip with a cracker of a game to ensure our last visit to the Boleyn will live long in all our memories. Well done to everyone involved in organising the whole trip – it was a classic!

Report by Gerry Murtagh & Paul Smith

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arsenal trip 2015 arsenal trip 2015 arsenal trip 2015

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