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The Upton Park area of London has had close links with West Ham ever since the club moved to the ground in 1904.

Thanks to the statue of West Ham’s three World Cup winners, the area maintains a lasting monument to its contribution to what remains English football’s greatest achievement.

The fascinating story of the other Upton ParkHurst, Moore and Peters were not the first players from the area to earn international silverware that honour goes to players of Upton Park FC who represented Great Britain at the 1900 Olympic Games held in Paris.

Upton Park FC were a resolutely amateur club and as such were given the chance to represent Britain at the 1900 Olympic Games. Founded in 1866 the club competed in the very first edition of the FA Cup in 1871-72, indeed the club’s home ground West Ham Park was the site of the very first goal ever scored in the competition Clapham Rovers player Jarvis Kenrick opening the scoring in 3-0 win for Clapham in November 1871. The club attracted very large crowds to home games and was probably a factor in Thames Ironworks (now West Ham) moving to the area and away from Canning Town where football was not as popular at the time.

The club had moderate success but were unlikely to have been the only team asked to represent Britain merely the first to accept, but James Jones club secretary and goalkeeper accepted the invitation from the FA and except for three players Richard Turner from the brilliant named Crouch End Vampires, William Gosling from Chelmsford and Alfred Chalk from Ilford, Jones’ Olympic side were made up of Upton Park players.

Football was being contested for the first time at the Olympics and as such only held demonstration status, the tournament only consisted of three teams Britain (represented by Upton Park FC) Belgium represented by the University of Brussels and France represented by a French FA XI.

Upton Park soundly beat the French side 4-0 on the 20th September 1900 in what would be judged as the gold medal match. Although at the time no medals were awarded, the game has been upgraded by the IOC and given official gold medal status.

The club continued to play until 1911 and its legacy is still felt today as the Upton Park Trophy which was named to commemorate the clubs tenth annual tour of the islands in 1906, is still being competed for between the League Champions of Jersey and Guernsey.

Although Upton Park FC did not play at the Boleyn and there is no official link between the two clubs many players played for both teams and because of their geographical location there are many connections. So much so that Upton Park FC reformed to play the Royal Engineers in what was the last ever match staged at the Boleyn Ground in 2016.

Originally published at moorethanjustaclub.com

Post written by Ciaran Judge
for Moore Than A Club, Blog: moorethanjustaclub.com, Twitter: @MooreThanAClub

Note: The views expressed within this blog post are those of the contributing author, and may not necessarily reflect those of MatchDayApp Limited, its representatives or associated partners.

Image Credits
© Upton Park FC

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