Mark Gardner has seen the good, the bad and the ugly at West Ham from the best viewpoint in English football.
The window of his mum’s 14th-floor flat overlooks Upton Park, allowing him to watch home games for more than 20 years. But he will soon be giving up his free seat in the sky when West Ham move to the Olympic Stadium at the end of this season.
Gardner, 29, said: “The only part of the ground I can’t see is the touchline along the East Stand.
“But usually they replay any exciting stuff that happens there on the big screens anyway.
“Down the years it has probably saved me about £20,000 in tickets. “Before we had a concierge in the flats, we had strangers knock on mum’s door on a Saturday afternoon and offer us £10 if they could come in and watch the match from the window with me.
“I’ve seen all the legends for nothing. Paolo di Canio, Carlos Tevez and now Dimitri Payet.”
Despite that, Gardner admitted life as a Hammer is not always happy. He added: “It’s not always been good to watch. Most seasons in the first division we have been either mid-table or teetering on the edge of relegation.
You can also see down into the streets below and I’ve seen crowd trouble — especially when we play Millwall.
“I’ve seen fans being ejected and stuff which isn’t very nice. The first game I vaguely remember seeing was an FA Cup tie against Arsenal I think. Julian Dicks scored a penalty for us but as usual with them we just missed out.”