West Ham defend decision to remove historic gates earlier than expected

West Ham Upton Park

West Ham United have defended the decision to this week remove the famous gates outside their Boleyn Ground home ahead of their move to the Olympic Stadium.

No sooner had the dust settled on the Hammers' thrilling 1-1 FA Cup quarter-final draw with Manchester United than the East London landscape changed forever, literally.

That's because a section of West Ham's famous gates outside their Boleyn Ground home of 112 years have been ripped out ahead of their migration to their new home - the club shop at the Olympic Stadium.

The gates, which were renamed in honour of the club's legendary manager John Lyall back in 2009, were taken out on Monday much to the surprise of many Hammers fans and with seven home games left in their farewell season at the Boleyn Ground - including Mark Noble's sold out testimonial. 

While they will be taking up residence at their new home on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, many fans feel the final matches at Upton Park and the photo opportunities that go with them will now not be the same.

'Ideally the gates would have remained in place'

However, in a story about the gates being removed on the club's official website, a West Ham spokesman defended the timing and the way the situation has been handled.

"Following respectful discussions with the family of the late, great Hammers manager, the decision was taken to relocate three leaves of the landmark gates, which were originally constructed in 1956 before being renamed in Lyall’s honour in 2009," a spokesman said on whufc.com.

"The delicate task of removing the gates was completed on Monday, with installation at the new Stadium Store scheduled to take place later this week.

"While the gates would ideally have remained in place until the end of the Farewell Boleyn season, construction timelines dictate that this week’s move is necessary to ensure they receive pride of place in their new home."

Legendary Lyall

Lyall is a proud figure in West Ham's colourful history.

He led the club to FA Cup glory in 1980 thanks to Sir Trevor Brooking's memorable headed goal, achieved  a record-breaking promotion to the First Division a year later and a best-ever top-flight finish of third in 1986.

Lyall died 10 years ago aged 66 and his legacy will live on with supporters able to visit the gates inside the club shop from the summer.

Just recently the gates were adorned in memory of the anniversary of the passing of West Ham's greatest ever player Bobby Moore.

Lyall's son Murray told the club's official website he and the Lyall family are at ease with the situation.

“Dad left a great legacy at Upton Park and the gates were a testimony to that," he said.

"I think he’d have been thrilled about the move."

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