Homes & Property, the housing guide from the Evening Standard, lists that homes are now for sale where West Ham used to play. At the aptly named “Upton Gardens”, 842 new homes are for sale starting at 350,000 pounds. 18 new buildings are built, with communal gardens between the buildings. The number of West Ham United fans that will line up to purchase homes at the new “Upton Gardens” will likely be less than what the developers think and more than the die-hard Hammer faithful think, with some fans willing to forgive modernity to live where they used to see their beloved team, but the number will not be high.
While it still may seem odd, if not offensive, that one of the historic and hallowed grounds of English football is now housing, it is the result of the club’s move to the London Stadium. And some fans will surely jump at the chance to live at the same place where they saw their heroes play football, from Bobby Moore to Mark Noble.
The gentrification of London is something that has been going on for years, and with the population of London growing every year, the pressure on neighborhoods to redevelop are getting greater every year. In addition, the areas around the old Upton Park are quickly growing, with areas such as Hackney and Tower Hamlets having had dramatic demographic changes with poor neighborhoods being pushed out of the centre of London.
Demographic shifts and change in neighborhoods are nothing new, of course, but it remains to be seen what these changes mean for football clubs. Not every club can “win” the Stadium Lottery and move into a the London Stadium, and the tearing down of paradise, the place where some of the greatest players on the planet once ran up and down the pitch to the roars of the crowd clad in claret and blue, has resulted in a “Legacy Way” in the new development that “honors” the history of West Ham, as the memory eternal of the Boleyn Ground becomes faded and the last links to football are replaced with shops and fancy restaurants.