Defoe speaks of emotional return to Upton Park

The Sunderland strike was emotional as he visited the Boleyn Ground for the final time.

Defoe speaks of emotional return to Upton Park
Defoe couldn't mark his return and farewell with a goal. | Photo: Sunderland AFC

Sunderland fell to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham United yesterday as their struggles in the league continue. However it was a sad day for Jermain Defoe for more than one reason.

Yesterday marked the last time the ex-West Ham striker would play at his old ground, as the Hammers prepare to bid farewell to their current stadium and move into the Olympic Stadium for next year.

Defoe's feelings

Defoe started his career in East London with West Ham when he was a teenager and he spent five long years at the club. His time there made him the player he is today and allowed him to break onto the scene in England. The 33-year-old explained, speaking to Sunderland's official website, that it had been an "emotional" day and spoke of being "disappointed" with not getting on the scoresheet to mark the special occasion.

Defoe spent five years with West Ham in the early stages of his career. | Photo: Mirror
Defoe spent five years with West Ham in the early stages of his career. | Photo: Mirror

The Englishman said you could tell West Ham was a "family" club as soon as you stepped in the door and was full of praise for the work the club does for the young players coming through the ranks. 

Defoe finished by saying he would "never forget" the Boleyn Ground and that it was a "special" place.

Relegation worries

Despite an upturn in form of late, Sunderland losing again means they may not even be able to face West Ham at their new stadium when the 2016/2017 season rolls around. The Wearsiders have been thrown further into a relegation battle as a couple of their rivals at the bottom of the table picked up points over the weekend.

Sunderland welcome fellow strugglers Crystal Palace to the Stadium of Light on Tuesday and they will be hoping Defoe can add to his tally of 13 goals for the season in order to help them climb out of the relegation zone, at the expense of Norwich City or Newcastle United.