West Ham United FC
- Name: West Ham United Football Club
- Nickname: The Hammers / The Irons / The Academy 'of football'
- Founded: 1895 (as Thames Ironworks)
- Renamed: 1900 as West Ham United FC
- Ground: London Stadium
- Ground capacity: 60,000 (football use)
The Boleyn Ground - (aka Upton Park)
- Tennants: West Ham United (1904–present) & Charlton Athletic (1991–1992)
- Capacity: 35,345 - Opened: 1904
The club rented Green Street House and grounds in the Municipal Borough of East Ham from the Roman Catholic Church from around 1912. Green Street House was known locally as Boleyn Castle because of its imposing nature and an association with Anne Boleyn, who had either stayed at, or as some believe, owned the house, the ground is said to be haunted by one of her maids who died in childbirth. Hence renting the grounds of "Boleyn Castle" the name Boleyn Ground came into being. Today the ground is far more commonly known as Upton Park, after the Upton Park, London area in which it is located.
In August 1944, a V-1 flying bomb landed on the south-west corner of the pitch. This forced the team to play its games away from home while repairs were undertaken, but it did not affect performances as West Ham managed nine consecutive victories. Upon their return to the ground in December, they lost 1–0 to Tottenham Hotspur.
The record attendance is 42,322, against Tottenham Hotspur in a Division One (Old) match on 17 October 1970, when the North and South Banks were terraced, as was the old 'Chicken Run' to the front of the East Stand. The record attendance at Upton Park since it has become an all-seater is 35,550, recorded against Manchester City on 21 September 2002 in a Premier League match.
The stadium has a total capacity of 35,345 all seated. The stadium has been subject to considerable redevelopment since the early 1990s:
1993: South Bank replaced by a new 9,000 seat, two tier stand named in honour of former captain Bobby Moore, who had died earlier that year. The stand also incorporates executive boxes as well as a digital clock.
1995: North Bank replaced by a new 6,000 seat, two tier stand named the 'Centenary Stand' now renamed as the "Sir Trevor Brooking Stand". The East Stand Lower is also made all seater.
2001: West Stand replaced by a new 15,000 seat, two tier stand named the 'Dr. Martens Stand'. The stand also incorporates executive boxes on two levels as well as the West Ham United Hotel.
Plans were submitted to increase the capacity to approximately 40,500 through the building of a new larger East Stand, that would additionally use the spare space that was created when the Doctor Martens stand was built further West than the old West Stand. This will result in a fully enclosed stadium by joining the new stand to the Centenary Stand and the Bobby Moore Stand. Relegation to the Football League Championship in 2003 resulted in the development being delayed. However promotion to the FA Premier League via the Play-Offs in May 2005 resulted in the immediate re-submission of plans to Newham London Borough Council.
Throughout 2006, talk was rife of West Ham moving to the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Olympics, with speculation increasing after new club chairman Eggert Magnusson confirmed he was interested in a move there.
However, talks broke down between the club and the Olympic Committee after it was announced that the Stadium would be reduced to a 25,000 all seater after the Olympic Games, which is over 10,000 less than the Boleyn Ground's current capacity, and that the stadium would be keeping its running track, leaving supporters further away from the pitch and affecting the atmosphere within the stadium on match days. Rumours suggested that West Ham could move to a new stadium located at the Parcelforce depot near to West Ham Underground/mainline station. On 7 November 2007, London mayor Ken Livingstone announced that a new site had been identified for West Ham to build a new stadium.
On 23 March 2010, the club announced they were working on a joint bid with Newham London Borough Council to move into the Olympic stadium. In November 2010, West Ham United commenced a search for potential developers for "informal discussions" about what would happen to the ground if it wins its bid to take over the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games. On 22 March 2013 it was announced that the bid had been successful and West Ham would take over a 99-year lease and move there in August 2016.
Upton Park has been an all-seater stadium since the early 1990s, after professional clubs had to meet new FA regulations for stadium safety after the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989. Upton Park has four main stands, which are named The Sir Trevor Brooking Stand, The Bobby Moore Stand, The East Stand and The Alpari Stand.
Sir Trevor Brooking Stand The Sir Trevor Brooking Stand (formerly the North Bank then the Centenary Stand) was built in 1995 which coincided with the club's 100th season, after being formed in 1895 as Thames Ironworks. Its name was changed from the Centenary Stand to the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand in July 2009.
The stand holds around 6,000 seats, and has two tiers, with the Upper Tier seating known as the Family Section, as supporters can only purchase tickets up there if with a child. The lower tier behind the goal is split between both home and away fans. West Ham United initially give around 2,500–3,000 tickets to away supporters, going from the furthest side to the left of the bottom tier right up to behind the goal.
If the away side cannot sell all their tickets, they are returned and re-sold to home supporters, as there is big demand from West Ham fans to purchase seats in the lower seating area. Home fans in the lower area generally prefer to stand during games and sing throughout. It is known as one of the more atmospheric sections of the stadium, especially with the two sets of supporters next to each other (separated by stewards and police). There is also one of two large LCD screens situated in the corner between the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand Stand and the East Stand.
East Stand The East Stand is situated on the far side of the Boleyn Ground, opposite the Alpari Stand which houses the offices and dressing rooms. The stand is the oldest and smallest stand in the stadium, being built in 1969 and holding only 5,000 seats due to its narrow width. The stand used to be known as the loudest and most intimidating stand at Upton Park back in the 1970s–80s, but since the advent of all-seater stadiums and the conversion of the old 'Chicken Run' terrace at the front of the East Stand to seating, and with the Upton Park pitch being moved further back from the East Stand nearer the new Dr. Martens Stand, the East Stand has seemed to have lost its famous atmosphere from past years.
However a small section in the far corner of the stand next to the away fans recently have been standing and is now known as one of the loudest parts of the ground. The real 'Chicken Run' was an old wooden stand (standing room only) on the east side of the pitch. It was surrounded by a similar sort of wire to that used on chicken runs and when you viewed it from the opposite side of the ground it looked just like a chicken run. It was knocked down and rebuilt in 1969.
The stand used to have the words Dagenham Motors written into the bottom tier through the seats, but was changed during the 2006/2007 season, despite the club splitting from their sponsorship with the car company back in 1997.
The stand is also the only stand left at Upton Park to still have a small minority of wooden seats, in the middle of the Upper Tier. There were also plans to build a new East Stand soon after the Dr. Martens stand was completed in 2001, which would have seen the stadiums capacity rise from 35,345 to around 40,500, but the plans were put on hold after a combination of resistance from the local residents behind the stand and the club's relegation from the Premier League in 2003, which spiralled the club into debt at the time.
Bobby Moore Stand The Bobby Moore Stand (formerly the South Bank), was built in 1993 and holds up to 9,000 spectators all seated. The stand was built originally to comply with new stadium all-seater regulations, and the name of the stand was decided after the death of the club's legendary captain from the successful mid-1960s side in the same year of construction. The stand has two tiers, and spells the words West Ham United through the seats of both tiers.
The lower tier of the Bobby Moore stand, like the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand, is well known for its supporters' passion and the atmosphere they create through standing and singing. The stand has executive boxes situated between the Upper and Lower tiers, and includes a digital clock. The stand also had a small amount of renovation in 2001 after the construction of the new Dr. Martens Stands, with a new second LCD screen in the stadium being introduced between the two stands and new seats added on the end of the stand to join with the new Dr. Martens Stand.
The Alpari Stand The Alpari Stand is the newest and by far the largest stand inside Upton Park, holding up to 15,000 spectators and was renamed after Alpari (UK) Limited became the official sponsors of WHUFC. The stand was built in 2001 as the Dr. Martens Stand, bringing the stadium capacity up from around 26,000 to 35,647.
The Alpari Stand is the main stand in Upton Park, as it includes two tiers for paying home supporters, separated by two tiers of executive boxes. The stand also hosts all of the club's offices, board rooms, suites, dressing rooms, official shop, and the West Ham United Hotel. It is also the largest single football stand in London. The stand's main feature is seen from the exterior of the stadium, with two large turrets built onto the stand with the club badge embedded on both, going with the theme of the club's badge.
The terrace also has two scoreboards at both corners joining with the Centenary and Bobby Moore Stands, displaying the score and time of the game in process. The stand is so large, it is visible from the A406 North Circular Road and from The A13 Newham Way, where you can clearly make out the roof of the stand over the tower blocks. The stand was officially opened by HM The Queen, where Her Majesty was introduced to the manager and captain at the time, Glenn Roeder and Joe Cole.
In 2009, following the end of Dr. Martens sponsorship, the stand resumed the old name of the West Stand.
In 2011 the club signed a 3 year agreement to name the stand 'The Alpari Stand'
On Tuesday 10th May 2016, West Ham United played their last Premier League game at The Boleyn Ground with a hotly contested 3-2 victory over Manchester United.
The club will now play their football at The Olympic Stadium
West Ham United Football Club is an English professional football club based in Upton Park, East London, England currently playing in the Premier League, England's top tier of football.
The club was founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks FC and reformed in 1900 as West Ham United and in 1904 the club relocated to their current Boleyn Ground stadium.
They initially competed in the Southern League and Western League before eventually joining the full Football League in 1919 and subsequently enjoyed promotion to the top flight for the 1923 season.
1923 also saw the club feature in the first FA Cup Final to be held at Wembley against Bolton Wanderers. In 1940 the team won the inaugural Football League War Cup.
The club has won the FA Cup three times: in 1964, 1975 and 1980 as well as being runners-up twice, in 1923 and 2006. In 1965, they won the European Cup Winners Cup, and in 1999 they won the Intertoto Cup.
They are one of eight existent clubs never to have fallen below the second tier of English football, spending 56 of 87 league seasons in Division 1 to 2014.
However, unlike the other seven (Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur), the club has never won the league title.
The club's best final league position is third place in the 1985–86 First Division.
Three West Ham players played significant roles in England's victory in the 1966 World Cup final; captain Bobby Moore, and both goalscorers, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters.
For further information check out their Official website
Martin Peters - 1959 to 1970
Bobby Moore - 1958 to 1974
Sir Geoff Hurst - 1959 to 1972
- First Division (Second Tier):
- First Division (Second Tier):
- Runners-up (1) – 1993
- Second Division (Second Tier):
- Winners (2) – 1958, 1981
- Runners-up (2) - 1923, 1991
- Football League Championship Play-Off:
- Winners (2) – 2005, 2012
- Runners-up (1) – 2004
- FA Cup:
- Winners (3) – 1964, 1975, 1980
- Runners-up (2) - 1923, 2006
- League Cup:
- Runners-up (2) – 1966, 1981
- FA Charity Shield:
- Winners (1) – 1964 (shared)
- European Cup Winners Cup:
- Winners (1) – 1965
- Runners-up (1) – 1976
- UEFA Intertoto Cup:
- Winners (1) – 1999
1892–1895 – Pre-history, Castle Swifts F.C. and Old Lukes F.C. The core of the Thames Ironworks, and thereby West Ham Utd, team originated in the remains of the bankrupt Old Castle Swifts F.C. in 1895. Old Castle Swifts had formed in 1892 as simply "Castle Swifts" at the behest of Castle Shipping Line employer Donald Currie and played their football opposite what is now the West Ham Police station. The club was the first professional football team in Essex, with players drawn from his predominantly Scottish work force paid extra in addition to their works wages when they made appearances for the team.The team won the 1892–1893 West Ham Charity Cup against Barking Woodville;
"After the match the crowd made a rush to the Grand Stand where the Mayor presented the large silver cup to the captain of the Castle Swifts and Mr. Comerford of the Cup Committee announced that ‘the medals had not yet come to hand, but they would be forwarded to the winners as soon as possible’. With that the captain was lifted on to the shoulders of several of his followers and carried from the ground."
The team amalgamated with Old St Lukes in 1894, renaming themselves Old Castle Swifts, acquiring several players in the merger and also the tenancy of Hermit Road.
In 1895 Currie allowed the team to go bankrupt when he refused to further bankroll the team. With both the club, and their tenancy at Hermit Road now up for grabs, the philanthropic Arnold Hills (a local business owner, keen amateur sportsman, and well known enthusiast for sports, healthy living, tee-totalling, works and community orientated functions) stepped in to take up the lease and absorb some of the players into his new club including former Woolwich Arsenal player Robert Stevenson the club's first captain and player of note.
Further connections between these clubs include the presence of Old St Lukes honorary secretary Mr A. C. Davis (who later served as a West Ham Utd director), whilst several Thames Ironworks players had also turned out on an amateur basis for Old St Lukes on several occasions (including against Castle Swifts prior to their merger).
The Castle Swifts colours were re-used on several occasions by the Thames Ironworks team in contrast to their traditional Oxford Blue kit.
1895–1900 – Thames Ironworks F.C. and the legacy of Arnold Hills The club was founded in 1895 as the works side Thames Ironworks F.C. by Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Co. Ltd company chairman Arnold Hills and works foreman Dave Taylor (who also worked as a local league referee). It was announced in the Thames Ironworks Gazette in June 1895 under the heading "The importance of co-operation between workers and management" in an effort to "wipe away the bitterness left by the recent strike":
"Mr. Taylor, who is working in the shipbuilding department, has undertaken to get up a football club for next winter and I learn that quoits and bowls will also be added to the attractions."
Arnold Hills had joined the board of the company in 1880 at the age of twenty-three, and eventually progressed to the position of Managing Director. During this time the company had grown producing ironclads and steam ships (such as HMS Albion) and already had a fine history of working government contracts (producing HMS Warrior in 1860 for instance). Unfortunately they also suffered through a period of unionised dock strikes (1889, 1890, 1891) that stretched from the boilermakers to engineers, joiners and labourers on issues of pay, working hours and safety. The use of scab labour further lowered the workforce's opinion of Hills and in 1892 he faced considerable pressure from management and workforce alike to find some recourse.
In direct response to this he began a series of initiatives that (little to his knowledge) would have further reaching consequences than improving workplace morale. Hills already sponsored cricket, running, rowing and cycling teams and went on to add a full works brass band, operatic society, ambulance corps and even a debating society in an attempt to improve works relations after these several years of tense stand-offs and strike action. All this was undertaken as part of his "Good Fellowship system" and "Profit Sharing scheme" that also featured bonus pay on top of wages and reduced working hours. After a serious strike in 1897 he took it upon himself to negotiate directly with his workers, circumventing the Unions and cutting their power and influence off at the root. The works still experienced strike action despite his best efforts in the years after but never to the same extent.
"Thank God this midsummer madness is passed and gone; inequities and anomalies have been done away with and now, under the Good Fellowship system and Profit Sharing Scheme, every worker knows that his individual and social rights are absolutely secured."
Following the success of the 1895 F.A. Cup Final between West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa F.C., the growth of local sides and the success of competitions such as the London League and the West Ham Cup he took more readily to the suggestion of a true works football team as a method of further improving morale. There had been for some years a Thames Ironworks Juniors side (formed in 1892) that had racked up 75 victories from 81 matches providing a solid grounding of young talent, along with several former Castle Swift players such as George Furnell, Johnny Stewart, George Sage, John Woods, George Gresham and Walter Parks (some of whom were employees of the ironworks) to create a starting eleven.
Hills made enough funds available for the formation of the team, posting flyers and leaflet to the shop floor as well as the Ironworks Gazette, and saw a fine opportunity to take up the ground rent of the recently dissolved Old Castle Swifts at Hermit Road.
Not content with just that Mr Hills, as a former Oxford Blue in cricket, association football (earning a Corinthians cap for England against Scotland) and running, also contributed the club's first kit – an all navy blue strip. Also as determined vegetarian, good Christian and member of the temperance movement, he regularly preached the evils of alcohol, at least initially some players were "tee-totallers" and the team was reported as such in several journals (and pushed by Mr Hills in society as such a thing) as a result Hills is also the origin of the club and players first 'nickname'. As an aside; some years later Hills, after his influence had waned, was to offer to clear the club's debts if each player swore temperance.
Dave Taylor went back to refereeing prior to the start of the season after sorting out the initial round of friendlies, so for the first season the club's first coach was company employee A. T. (Ted) Harsent, with the Francis Payne (secretary of Thames Ironworks company) taking up the role of Chairman and Chief Director. Tom Robinson took up the role of trainer and physio, a position he had held with Old Castle Swifts.
Mr. Hills's initial concept was for a purely amateur team for the benefit of works employees. Each who wished to take part paid an initial annual stipend of 2s/6d (12.5p) and attracted fifty would-be players for the first season alone. Such was the response that a dual schedule of games was arranged to cater for the number of players, with often entirely different line-ups taking to the field at the same time. Training took place on Tuesday and Thursday nights in a gas-lit schoolroom at Trinity Church School in Barking Road. Training mainly consisted of Army physical training exercises led by Tom Robinson. They also went for runs along the Turnpike Road now known as Beckton Road. The state of amateurism was to become a bone of contention between Arnold Hills and directors due to the growing professionalism of football as espoused by future manager Syd King in 1904:
"In the summer of 1895, when the clanging of "hammers" was heard on the banks of Father Thames and the great warships were rearing their heads above the Victoria Dock Road, a few enthusiasts, with the love of football within them, were talking about the grand old game and the formation of a club for the workers of the Thames Iron Works Limited. There were platers and riveters in the Limited who had chased the big ball in the north country. There were men among them who had learned to give the subtle pass and to urge the leather goalwards. No thought of professionalism, I may say, was ever contemplated by the founders. They meant to run their club on amateur lines and their first principal was to choose their team from men in the works."
The team played on a strictly amateur basis for 1895 at least, with a team featuring a number of works employees including Thomas Freeman (ships fireman), Walter Parks (clerk), Johnny Stewart, Walter Tranter and James Lindsay (all boilermakers), William Chapman, George Sage, and William Chamberlain and apprentice riveter Charlie Dove who was to have a massive influence on the club's future at a later date.
"As an old footballer myself, I would say, get into good condition at the beginning of the season, keep on the ball, play an unselfish game, pay heed to your captain, and whatever the fortunes of the first half of the game, never despair of winning, and never give up doing your very best to the last minute of the match. That is the way to play football, and better still, that is the way to make yourselves men. —Arnold Hills letter to players, 16 March 1896."
They won the West Ham Charity Cup in their first year and competed only in friendlies and one off exhibition games for their first season. Their first ever game was against Chatham Town F.C. on 12 October in front of a crowd of 3,000 and saw Chatham run out 5–0 winners.
They joined the London League in 1896, finishing runners up after only gaining entrance due to the withdrawal of the Royal Ordnance Factories F.C.. They sported the earliest known example of floodlights (utilising docking equipment and a ball dipped in whitewash) in a game against Arsenal and several games thereafter (including a match against the aptly named "Vampires"). In 1896 the team were evicted from their ground after the council revoked their ground rent and as a result spent over a year playing their home games on the home grounds of other local sides including those of Millwall and Tottenham. Arnold Hills, at great personal cost, proposed, secured the land, then funded the development of what became the Memorial Grounds. The venue would not merely be a playing ground for the football team (indeed Hills himself described it foremostly as "the largest cycle track in London") but would incorporate all Thames Ironworks societies as well as open access for the community at large. The team celebrated by winning the London League at the first attempt at their new home, pipping the amateur precursor of Brentford F.C. by a single point.
In November 1897 Arnold Hills secured an agreement with London, Tilbury and Southend Railway (LT&SR) to build a station at Manor Road. The LT&SR board approved this in February 1898 and Mowlem was given the contract to build a four platform station, allowing for the proposed quadrupling of the line. The station was completed in May 1900 but did not open until 1 February 1901 as West Ham.
Thames Ironworks turned professional upon entering the Southern League Second Division (the bottom level in those days) in 1898. The idea of the club as a 'works' team had gradually become less plausible with the growing professionalism in the game, and gradually the team drifted away from its original conception (though works men could still sign up and take part in training and trials). In 1898 Francis Payne had been given a sum of £1,000 by Arnold Hills to find the players required to push the team on as a result of which an approach was made to a player from Birmingham that ultimately resulted in Payne being suspended from football for 'tapping up' in 1899, but not before signing Charlie Craig, Syd King (two of the best fullbacks in the league), and David Lloyd (who scored close to a goal a game in his time with the club).
The team won the Southern League title at the first attempt and were promoted to First Division proper. The following year they came second from bottom, but had established themselves as a fully fledged competitive team. They comfortably fended off the challenge of local rivals Fulham F.C. in a relegation play-off, 5–1 in late April 1900 and retained their First Division status.
West Ham United under Syd King - 1900 to 1920
In June 1900, Thames Ironworks was wound up but was immediately relaunched on 5 July 1900 as West Ham United Football Club with former player Syd King installed officially as club director, but acting as 'manager', and Charlie Paynter as assistant trainer. Club secretary was L. M . Bowen. Despite the shift in team name the club (and its fans) are to this day referred to as "The Irons" and "The Hammers" due to the original connection and still retains many rivalries (both friendly, and competitive) and community associations from these formative years. In particular they are perceived to have retained many 'working class' values even with the rapid changes in the footballing climate.
The reborn club played their games at the Memorial Grounds in Plaistow (rented at favourable terms by Arnold Hills who was a major shareholder in the new club). In the 1901-02 season the team did well on the field and made a small profit. The 1902-3 season the directors were shocked by a loss £151 caused by a wage bill that had gone up by 50 per cent. The 1903-04 season an even greater loss of £793 caused by the loss of season ticket income from supporters because the club had become more distant from the workers at the ironworks and with fewer local players being employed. At the beginning of the 1904-05 season the directors were looking to move to the Boleyn Castle, a site of a catholic school surrounded by small shops and residential streets, everything the Memorial Grounds did not have.
A growing estrangement between Hills and West Ham, regarding rent and services at the Memorial Grounds and rejection of Hill's nominees as directors, culminated at the end of the 1903-04 season with Hills telling West Ham to vacate the Memorial Grounds as it was needed for the amateur Thames Ironworks team and to leave office space in buildings owned by the ironworks. The ultimatum forced the directors hand and they signed a lease for the Boleyn Ground. The rental provisions included the amalgamation of West Ham United with the incumbent Boleyn Castle football club taking their best players into the West Ham reserves. The Boleyn Castle directors would be allowed to purchase stock in West Ham and one or more recommended to be elected to the board of West Ham United.
The first season 1904-05 at the Boleyn Ground despite more expensive running cost realised a profit of £400 because gate receipts rose from £2900 to £4300. They made an operating profit every year between 1905 and 1914.
The new ground was originally named "The Castle", for the 1904–05 season (a local pub in Plaistow to this day is called "The Castle") sited on a plot of land near Green Street House. The original gates to the ground, with the original Hammers crest (now painted in claret and blue), can be seen in Grange Road, London E13.
1904 also saw the introduction of the newly renamed club emblem. It incorporated the crossed hammers of the old Thames Ironworks emblem, and introduced the "castle" in the background meant to reference the fact the land they played on was home to an old Tudor castle for Anne Boleyn.
Funded through local collections, sponsorship and breweries the club eventually constructed a 20,000 capacity stadium with 2000 seats. The stadium was eventually named The Boleyn Ground (in honour of being constructed upon the grounds of a former residence of Anne Boleyn, Green Street House) it is, however, generally known as Upton Park in popular media. Their first game in their new home was against local rivals Millwall F.C. (themselves an Ironworks team, albeit for a rival company) drawing a crowd of 10,000 and with West Ham running out 3–0 winners, and as the Daily Mirror wrote on 2 September 1904:
"Favoured by the weather turning fine after heavy rains of the morning, West Ham United began their season most auspiciously yesterday evening; when they beat Millwall by 3 goals to 0 on their new enclosure at Upton Park."
The early history of both clubs are intertwined, with West Ham initially coming out on top in a number of meetings between the two teams as part of a budding and friendly local rivalry (even momentarily ground sharing when made homeless the following year) but eventually resulting in West Ham being promoted at the expense of Millwall. Millwall later turned down joining the fledgling Football League only to see West Ham go on to the top division and an F.A. Cup final. Later in the 1920s (rumoured to be 1926) the rivalry was supposedly spiced up during strike action made by East End companies (perceived to be West Ham fans) that Isle Of Dogs based companies (i.e. Millwall fans) refused to support breeding ill will between the two camps. The rivalry remains pronounced to this day.
West Ham Utd F.C. had joined the Western League for the 1901 season in addition to continuing playing in the Southern Division 1. In 1907 West Ham were crowned the Western League Division 1B Champions, and then defeated 1A champions Fulham 1–0 to become the Western Leagues Overall Champions.
1920–1930 Still under the leadership of Syd King and growing influence of Charlie Paynter they won election to the Football League Second division proper in 1919 for the first post-war football season. They were first promoted to the top division in 1923 as runners-up to Notts County (on goal average ahead of Leicester City F.C.) and subsequently enjoyed 9 top flight seasons, though regularly in the lower half and only twice broaching the top ten (in 1926/27 and 1929/30). Syd eventually built an attractive footballing side built around the skills of players such as Vic Watson, Jimmy Ruffell and Syd Puddefoot, and the goalkeeping of Ted Hufton.
Also in 1923 the club took part in the first ever FA Cup to be held at the newly constructed Empire Stadium more popularly known as 'Wembley' against Bolton Wanderers. The event is notable, aside from the football, for its record attendance far in excess of the organisers' expectations or stadium capacity, and the presence of 'Billie' (a horse) ridden by PC G.A. Scorey (sometimes given as "Storey") that was required to clear the pitch in order for play to start. As a result the final is commonly referred to as "The White Horse Final". The team lost 2–0 on the day in what became the marquee event for Football.
Sometime during the late twenties the club acquired one of its other longstanding monikers. At the time a Pears soap commercial featuring the curly haired child in the Millais "Bubbles" painting who resembled a player in a local schoolboy team for whom the headmaster coined singing the tune "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" with amended lyrics. Through this contrivance of association the club's fans took it upon themselves to begin singing the popular music hall tune before home games, sometimes reinforced by the presence of a house band requested to play the refrain by Charlie Paynter. The team and fans have since on occasion been referred to as "Bubble Blowers.
West Ham Utd under Charlie Paynter - 1932 to 1950 The Syd King and Charlie Paynter partnership was dissolved acrimoniously in 1932 after the club's 9th straight defeat, and with allegations of alcoholism and belligerence towards the Directors from King. King died a few months later, taking his own life in an alcohol fuelled depression, at the age of fifty-nine.
Long term servant Charlie Paynter, now nearly fifty and having spent more than 35 years at the club in a variety of roles, was installed as the club's manager and immediately oversaw the club's relegation to Division 2. West Ham weren't to see the top flight again before WW2 broke out.
He oversaw the redevelopment of the team, investing heavily in a youth policy and shunning for the most part signings from other teams in an effort to usher in an entirely new public image. His plans were in tatters soon enough as the war call-up stripped the club of practically all its starting squad and several in the administration. Paynter himself was exempt due to his age. With the government insisting life carried on as normal as possible, the team (often utilising visiting players as 'guests', and a number of foreigners from the armed forces) continued to play regularly. In the League Cup however no such guests were allowed, and West Ham secured the first trophy with a 1–0 win over Blackburn Rovers in 1940 whilst watched by survivors of the Dunkirk evacuation. The club spent the majority of its next 20 years in Division 2 under the leadership of first Charlie Paynter.
West Ham Utd under Ted Fenton - 1950 to 1962 Ted Fenton had been brought back to the club in 1948 to assist Paynter in re-developing the team after the war. Previously Fenton had played for West Ham from 1934 through to 1946 (he had been on the field when the club triumphed in the War Cup over Blackburn) making 201 appearances and scoring 44 goals and garnering five caps in the process as a wing half for England. In 1950 he assumed the reins fully as Paynter retired, severing the final link to the club's foundry origins.
Fenton was praised as a forward-thinking manager. He pushed for the establishment of "The Academy" that brought through a series of young players to augment a side that could not be improved with the limited finances available. Two of the signings he did manage to make were those of John Dick and Malcolm Allison. Other players of the day included John Bond, Dave Sexton, Jimmy Andrews and Frank O'Farrell (later swapped for Eddie Lewis) and Tommy Moroney all part of an original 'Cafe Cassettari' club started by Fenton as a result of the restrictive budget. Longstanding custodian in goal was Ernie Gregory.
"There (Cafe Cassateri), Allison would hold court and the players would exchange views on the game and make tactical plans around the dinner table, illustrating their ideas with the use of salt and pepper pots. The culmination of those years of hard work, on and off the field, was the Second Division championship in 1958 – the springboard to great cup successes at a much higher level in the mid-60s ... no one should underestimate the positive influence of Malcolm Allison's earlier role in Hammers' history. —West Ham Club History, John Hellier."
Cafe Cassettari sat opposite the Boleyn Ground, and Fenton organised a deal that saw meals and a warm welcome for the players of the club at a price the club could manage. It became a place for routine discussion of the team, and ideas and wisdom freely passed back and forth. The tradition lasted long into the 1960s even after Fenton had moved on and saw the likes of John Lyall and Harry Redknapp pass through.
Dick was on his National Service when spotted by Fenton and brought into the team. Meanwhile Allison played for local rivals Charlton Athletic but had made only two league appearances and was nearing 24 years old. Fenton acquired Allison by selling off one of the young players coming through the system. The pair went on to feature for the club for the remainder of Fenton's tenure with the team, though Allison had to retire through illness and instead became mentor to Bobby Moore alongside Irish international full back Noel Cantwell and all the other young players on the squad. Moore had been scouted inititally in 1955 after Fenton had reportedly been tipped to his presence in the East Ham side, but it took two bites of the cherry for Jack Turner (then West Ham scout) to encourage his signing. In the end Fenton put the lad on the books at £7 a month.
O'Farrell and Moroney were both acquired from Ireland in 1949 prior to Fenton becoming manager, but the pair were Irish internationals that had even featured in the 2–0 defeat of the England team at Goodison Park in 1949. John Bond had been brought in as Fenton's first signing in 1950 and was to be with the team for the next 15 years as a popular goalscoring right back playing opposite Captain Cantwell. Jimmy Andrews was brought in from Dundee in 1951 to play left wing, but eventually lost his position to Malcolm Musgrove.
Fenton introduced continental ideas to the team, revamping training methods and taking inspiration from higher ranked teams, and even inspiring some. Fenton had been impressed greatly by the all conquering Hungarians of the 50s led by Ferenc Puskás and the Casseteri program and development of the academy were at the core. Ernie Gregory said (of the 50s diet) "We'd usually eaten fish or chicken and toast before then, but Dr. Thomas advised us all to eat steak and rice two hours before kick-off. All the other clubs copied us after that". However not all the changes were strictly down to Fenton; Musgrove attributed much of the training regime to Allison, going so far as to state that once the players were at the club (signed by Fenton) they were pretty much Allison's property. As well as being a student of the game himself, Fenton encouraged all players to take coaching badges and many of his former players went on to coaching and managing roles after they retired. The Academy also involved, beyond the routine training and development of the youth and squad, actual tactical discussions between the players.
West Ham slowly improved through the 1950s culminating in achieving promotion to the top division again in 1958 thanks primarily to the goals of John Dick. West Ham have since stated that much is owed to the structure put in place by Allison.
West Ham United under Ron Greenwood - 1962 to 1974 West Ham United first established themselves in 1964, when manager Ron Greenwood guided the club to their first major trophy in the shape of an FA Cup final victory over Preston North End. Ronnie Boyce scoring a last minute goal to secure a 3–2 victory, with striker Sissons becoming the youngest ever scorer in a cup final. The success of 1964 was repeated a year later, this time with a 2–0 European Cup Winners Cup triumph over 1860 Munich at Wembley.
Greenwood had been appointed to the position after 4 years as Arsenal assistant manager and took charge for 1962. West Ham had been promoted to the top division in 1958 and subsequently managed to finish first 6th, then 14th and 16th before Greenwood led the team back into the top ten with an 8th place finish in 1962. The team didn't trouble the top 10 for 6 years, but became perennial challengers in the cup where they showed they were equal to any team over single games.
They followed up defeating Division 2 Preston by winning the European Cup Winners Cup the subsequent season. The team defeated Real Zaragoza and Sparta Prague on their way to the final where they took on Munich 1860. Moore stated that the secret to their success was the presence of the newly established Martin Peters "In Europe you need more skill, and Martin added an extra quality to our game". Moore was gracious in victory as the team defeated Munich 2–0, with young untested Alan Sealey forced to play up front after injuries to first choice strikers Byrne and Brabook. He responded with a brace, whilst at the back Greenwood reflected "This was Bobby Moore's greatest game. Technical perfection". Moore deflected the attention away stating "There was a lot of good football and we played really well against a good side".
The following season the team made it to the final of the League Cup, but lost 6–3 on aggregate to West Bromwich Albion.
The most successful team of this period was ultimately founded upon the England international trio of Club and International Captain Bobby Moore in defence, Martin Peters in midfield and Geoff Hurst up front (all promoted through the youth system during Fenton's tenure). Moore had made his debut for West Ham in 1958 replacing an unwell Malcolm Allison who had been a stalwart for the team at the back for a decade, taking the number 6 shirt at age 17 and was not to relinquish the position for another 16 years. He was Captain at 20. He made his England debut in 1962, and subsequently became Captain a year later going on to lead the team out 90 times in total until 1973.
Peters has been described as the first "modern midfielder". Alf Ramsey remarked that he was at least "ten years ahead of his time". In his 11 years with the club, though his debut only came in 1962, he managed to score nearly a goal every three games from midfield, and had played in every position for the club including as goalkeeper.
Hurst meanwhile was routinely dormant in the league, but was the leading cup goalscorer in England (both FA Cup and League Cup) until his records were broken some thirty years later by Robbie Fowler. Originally a midfielder, Greenwood converted him to be a front running striker and it paid dividends as he led the team to consecutive cup appearances before capping it all with become a regular England International and World Cup winner in 1966. The following season he scored 41 goals in the league, nearly a quarter of his eventual tally.
The club also sported the likes of long time club servants John Bond and England international Ken Brown (father of Kenny Brown, who went on to play for the club in the 1990s), talented wing half Eddie Bovington, midfielder and forward Ronnie Boyce, leftback Jack Burkett (the first man to ever be substituted for the club) and rightback Joe Kirkup. Up front were the prolific striker Johnny Byrne and the slightly less prolific Brian Dear. Future manager Harry Redknapp played on the wing, the goalkeeper was Jim Standen; about this time, the club hired its first black player John Charles.
Over the next few seasons Greenwood added some of the club's best known, and long serving, youth products. 20 year servant, and future manager, Billy Bonds, fellow (almost) 20 year servants Trevor Brooking (who also had spells managing the club) and Frank Lampard Sr. (assistant manager during Redknapp's tenure), Clyde Best, John McDowell, Alan Sealey. In addition the team acquired Bobby Ferguson as goalkeeper.
The moves ultimately helped to guide West Ham to another FA Cup success in 1975, this time against Fulham. Ron Greenwood subsequently was appointed England Manager as replacement for Don Revie after his unsuccessful premiership.
West Ham United under John Lyall - 1974 to 1989 He was succeeded as team manager by John Lyall (a former youth product who retired through injury), who guided West Ham to another UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final in his second season in charge (1975–76). But this time West Ham were on the losing side, going 4–2 down against Anderlecht. Two years later in 1978 and the club were relegated to the Second Division but the manager was not replaced; in addition, many players were retained long enough enjoy a second FA Cup victory under Lyall's leadership whilst still in Division 2 in 1980, a feat no side outside the top division has since achieved. This time the win was over another London club, the much-fancied Arsenal. In his time Lyall had added Phil Parkes as goalkeeper, and had the fortune of having Alvin Martin, Geoff Pike and Paul Allen emerge through the ranks to add to the defence and midfield. In addition he had captured skilful winger Alan Devonshire from non-league football, penalty taking fullback Ray Stewart from Scotland and Stuart Pearson from Cup winners Manchester United.
The game ended 1–0, with Brooking stooping to head home a goal he would have probably more easily scored with his feet as the second division side more than held its own. Young Paul Allen became the youngest player to appear in a Wembley cup final, and at one point looked set to score what would have been a goal by the youngest player also – until a professional foul from Willie Young brought him down whilst clean through in behind the defence. This 1980 FA Cup is still West Ham's most recent major trophy.
In 1981, the Hammers finished runners-up in the League Cup. Between 1982 and 1985 West Ham achieved three consecutive top ten finishes. Lyall helped them achieve their highest league finish of third in 1986, but was sacked three years later as they suffered relegation to the Second Division. By the time of his departure, Lyall was the longest-serving manager at any club in the Football League, having been at West Ham for 15 years.
The Macari and Bonds eras - 1989 to 1994 Lyall was replaced by Lou Macari for the 1989–90 season, but Macari resigned after less than one season as manager to concentrate on clearing his name in connection with financial irregularities at his previous club Swindon Town. The next manager to occupy the hot seat at West Ham was Billy Bonds, who guided them to seventh place in 1989–90 (just missing out on the playoffs) but in 1990–91 they attained runners-up spot in the Second Division and returned to the First Division. But West Ham struggled throughout the 1991–92 season and were relegated in bottom place, missing the first season of the new Premier League. The following season changes to the West Ham saw Clive Allen as Trevor Morley's strike partner following the departure of Frank McAvennie and the previous season's top scorer Mike Small. Also signed were midfield players, Peter Butler and Mark Robson. Left-back Julian Dicks managed twelve goals (eleven of them in the league) but missed a total of twelve games through suspension after being sent off three times during the season and was stripped of the club captaincy. Morley's return to fitness was a success as he topped the club's goalscoring charts with twenty goals in the league and a further goal in the FA Cup. Clive Allen was the second highest scorer with fifteen goals (fourteen of them in the league). West Ham regained their top flight status at the first attempt, finishing Division One runners-up in 1992–93 and securing promotion to the Premiership following a 2–0 home defeat of Cambridge United on 8 May 1993.
With the team in the Premier League there was a need to rebuild the team. Oxford United player Joey Beauchamp was recruited for a fee of £1.2m. Shortly after arriving at the club he complained that he should not have made the move as it was too far from his Oxford home. Bonds found this attitude hard to understand compared with his own committed, never-say-die style. This was the first evidence of his losing appetite for the modern game and modern player. 58 days later Beauchamp was signed by Swindon Town for a club-record combined fee of £800,000, which included defender Adrian Whitbread going in the opposite direction. Whitbread was valued at £750,000 in the deal.
Assistant manager Harry Redknapp was also now taking a bigger role in the transfer of players, with the club's approval. With rumours of his old club, AFC Bournemouth being prepared to offer him a position the West Ham board and their managing director, Peter Storrie made a controversial move. Anxious not to lose Redknapp's services the West Ham board offered Bonds a place away from the day-to-day affairs of the club, on the West Ham board. This would have allowed them to appoint Redknapp as manager. Bonds refused the post offered and walked away from the club. His accusations of deceit and manipulation by the board and by Redknapp have continued to cause ill-feeling. Peter Storrie claimed they that they had handled the situation correctly, saying, "If Harry had gone to Bournemouth, there was a good chance Bill would have resigned anyway, so we were in a no-win situation. We're sad that Bill is going, and it's a big blow but it's time to move on and we have appointed a great manager".
West Ham United under Harry Redknapp - 1994 to 2000 One of Harry Redknapp's first actions as West Ham manager was to re-sign striker Tony Cottee from Everton. He also signed Liverpool's Don Hutchison and brought back Julian Dicks, as well as re-signing striker Iain Dowie from Southampton. Redknapp also attempted to bring through the young talent of Matthew Rush, Steve Jones and Matty Holmes. Cottee started the second spell of his West Ham career well, and formed a solid partnership with Trevor Morley aided by the Ian Bishop, Dale Gordon and the aggressive Martin Allen in midfield. The team defied the popular belief that they would return to the First Division by finishing thirteenth. In addition John Moncur was added from relegated Swindon Town.
West Ham avoided relegation again in 1994–95 and played their part in the final-day drama of the season, holding Manchester United to a 1–1 draw at Upton Park and denying them a third successive Premiership title. On paper the team was routinely outclassed by opposition, but on grass put in a series of superb performances. Old hand Alvin Martin partnered Steve Potts, Tim Breacker and Dicks with longterm custodian Luděk Mikloško in goal to form a stout defence that made up for the deficiencies elsewhere in midfield and up front which had seen a number of players move on – including fan favourite Matthew Holmes, to newly christened league champions Blackburn Rovers, for £1.5 million.
Redknapp spent the summer adding to the team's defence. He had previously captured Danish International centrehalf Marc Rieper in one coup and quickly followed this up by signing another international, this time the Croatian Slaven Bilić in January 1996 for a then club record £1.65 million. West Ham progressed to 10th place in 1995–96.
Crucially at this point the Jean-Marc Bosman case finally came to an end resulting in the Bosman ruling. This meant no longer would Redknapp have to balance his team based upon nationality – a problem the previous year when Mikloško, Rieper and were all classed as 'Foreign', thus leaving only one slot open for Irish/Welsh and English players. The change in ruling opened the door for a number of foreign internationals, and at the same time had seen a great number of established players within the team being shown the door (Hutchison, Burrows, Morley, Marsh, Holmes, Boere and Gordon were all released or sold on).
The following summer, going into the historic 1996–97 season, Redknapp continued looking abroad and made two of the most ambitious but perhaps least productive signings in the club's history – the Romanian national team's striker Florin Răducioiu and Portuguese winger Paulo Futre (formerly a £10 million man) from AC Milan. The deals failed to work out; Răducioiu left after six months at the club and returned to Romania after falling out with the manager (famously being christened a "tart, a fairy, a little girl" by Redknapp in his autobiography for complaining about the physical nature of the English game), while Futre played just one first-team game before being beaten by a long-term knee injury and announcing his retirement (and equally famously storming out after being denied the number 10 shirt for a friendly). Coupled with the equally disastrous Marco Boogers affair, the drawn out Work Permit wrangle involving Răducioiu's compatriot Dumitrescu who had been signed 6 months earlier from Tottenham Hotspur (but had failed to play the required number of games whilst at Spurs) and the lack of a quality second striker West Ham struggled.
The 1996–97 Hammer campaign nosedived towards disaster after starting in an average fashion. Injuries to key and back-up players were critical (losing Lazaridis to a broken leg for instance, and what turned out to be the career-ending injury to the promising Richard Hall signed only months before for £1.5 million from Southampton), but so were the failed signings and some poor performances. The form of Michael Hughes (signed permanently after 2 years on loan from RC Strasbourg) and performances of loan signing Hugo Porfirio were a rare bright spot, as was the emergence of future England teammates Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard. Răducioiu's chief contribution – a curling left footed shot around a full stretch Schmeichel in a 2–2 draw – was considered by some to be almost worth the transfer in itself. At Christmas the team sat low in midtable with only 5 wins and 7 draws from 19 games at which point they added only 1 point from the next 6 games sending the team to the bottom of the table.
Faced with relegation the board financed two key acquisitions. Firstly young Arsenal striker John Hartson in a £3.3 million move (again breaking the club's transfer record) and in addition the signing of Newcastle United forward Paul Kitson in a £1.2 million move and battling Manchester City midfielder Steve Lomas for £1.6 million. The strike pair were an instant hit, scoring 13 goals between them in 12 games as a pairing including those in a vital 4–3 win against close rivals Tottenham, a 3–2 against Chelsea and a hat-trick for Kitson and brace for Hartson in a 5–1 rout of Sheffield Wednesday in the next to last game confirming the club's survival and saving Redknapp's job.
Despite the close shave the hopes for the following 1997–98 season were high. Hartson and Kitson gave the team an exciting frontline, whilst in the midfield Redknapp added Eyal Berkovic from Southampton and Trevor Sinclair and Andy Impey from QPR. The team unfortunately had to contend with the season-long loss of captain Julian Dicks (who had played on the previous year despite needing urgent knee surgery) and the sale of Marc Rieper to Celtic, and Slaven Bilić to Everton. The profit from the sale went to acquire former England under-21s David Unsworth and Ian Pearce from Everton and Blackburn respectively.
This season marked a change in Redknapp's tactical approach, the team changing to a 5–3–2 formation for the most part of the season. This allowed Redknapp to blood the young talent of Rio Ferdinand in his preferred role as a sweeper whilst pairing him with two extremely competent defenders. The pacey Lazaridis and Impey took over wingback roles, whilst the centre of midfield was contested by Lampard, Lomas and Berkovic with Moncur preferred over Ian Bishop in reserve and Michael Hughes out in the cold. In goal, Mikloško started out but injury curtailed his season (and by the next summer had moved on to QPR) resulting in Craig Forrest stepping in. However, Redknapp also managed to pluck Bernard Lama on loan from Paris St. Germain, which helped maintain West Ham's late-season push.
The season did not go entirely to plan. Kitson struggled (as he was for the remainder of his West Ham career) with niggling injuries limiting him to only 13 appearances (and 4 goals). Redknapp acquired Samassi Abou for a bargain £250,000 to add depth, and he performed admirably if sometimes lacking in quality. Nonetheless, he became a crowd favourite for his languid style, skill and lampooned name (having to have it explained to him that the crowd were not 'booing' him, but in fact 'abouing' him). Hartson however scored consistently, notching 24 in his first season across all competitions, whilst Lampard flowered in midfield. The acquisition of Sinclair at Christmas revitalised West Ham as he shone in the wing back position. His seven goals in 14 games helped propel the team, for the first time, into the upper half of the table resulting in the side finishing 8th.
For 1998/99, Redknapp again went foreign and signed former French International Marc Keller, Cameroonian midfielder Marc-Vivien Foé and World Cup star Javier Margas. However he did not neglect home-grown talent, adding the experienced Ian Wright and Neil Ruddock, whilst also bringing Scott Minto back from abroad and Shaka Hislop in as goalkeeper on a free from Newcastle. (Hislop went on to win the Hammer of the Year award in his first season.)
West Ham started slowly and by Christmas were facing a crisis. First the club sold Andy Impey under the nose of the manager (literally removing him from a game in which he was tabled to start) and then made it clear to the manager that he would find no further funds forthcoming due to the absenteeism of Javier Margas (which was taken to highlight Redknapp's continued failure with foreign talent).) John Hartson was found to be involved in a training ground incident involving Eyal Berkovic and the owners were forced to act. Hartson was sold to Wimbledon for £7.5 million as a result after having an already disappointing start to the year where he did not score until 10 games in and was notably overweight and out of shape.
Redknapp was given some of the funds to buy in replacements. His first choice was Paolo Di Canio – who famously the previous year had pushed referee Paul Alcock to the ground – and he signed for an initial fee of £1.25 million. He also signed former Manchester United target Marc-Vivien Foé for £3.5 million to solidify the midfield.
By the end of 1998/99, West Ham had achieved a 5th-place finish, but, for the only time in league history, were denied a UEFA Cup place due to new UEFA Coefficients. (The seasons to either side had seen every team down to 7th feature in the UEFA Cup.) The team instead was entered as one of England's Inter-Toto cup competitors (and a place in the UEFA Cup proper up for grabs). A victory over Metz in the two-legged final eventually earned the Hammers a place in the UEFA Cup – ending an absence of almost 20 years from European competition. Redknapp brought in Paulo Wanchope from Derby County to complement Paolo Di Canio and Igor Štimac to replace the outgoing Unsworth.
In 1999–2000, consolidation was supposed to be the key, but once again plans were interrupted by injury. The Inter Toto and UEFA Cup expedition took a lot out of the players – but the team started the season sharper than the others, resulting in a comfortable upper-midtable position by the halfway point of the season. Tiredness, loss of form, and a build-up of injuries resulted in a slide downwards towards the end of the season, eventually resulting in a 9th-place finish and a third consecutive year in the top half.
The year was noticeable for the introduction of Joe Cole and Michael Carrick to the first team proper, the ignominious exit in the League Cup to Aston Villa due to an enforced replay after it transpired that last minute substitute Emmanuel Omoyimni had featured in the competition whilst on loan earlier in the season (this event saw the resignation of Martin Aldridge), and the barracking Paulo Wanchope received for the early part of the year. The striker failed to settle despite scoring 12 league goals in 33 games (an above average output). Unfortunately his erratic form and the unpredictable nature of his game meant he would move on at the end of the year.
Marc-Vivien Foé was sold at the end of the year (his final act was a plunging tackle from behind that saw him sent off against Arsenal) and Redknapp acquired Frédéric Kanouté with the money.
End of Redknapp - 2000 to 2001 The 2000–01 season was Redknapp's final year. They got off to a dismal start, hampered by further injuries (Sinclair notably, but also Ian Pearce continued absence), a number of failed loan transfers (Christian Bassila and Kaba Diawara) and unimpressive signings (Davor Šuker, reportedly on £50,000 a week who only managed 8 starts, Ragnvald Soma, and the continued absence of Margas who had turned up for half of the previous season). With the team in the doldrums the board eventually accepted a bid for the team's prized asset – Rio Ferdinand – in an £18 million move to Leeds United for both the British transfer record and a world record for a defender. The deal has since been criticised, as the fee was neither upfront, nor was a sell-on bonus included; meaning the club missed out on his later £30 million move to United and also a sizeable chunk of the initial transfer.
Redknapp proceeded to spend a chunk of the transfer money on a string of coolly received signings (in addition he was given a £300,000 bonus for agreeing not to spend the entire transfer sum and arranging the transfer to Leeds) forcing what was to be the end of his time at the club. Redknapp signed the Liverpool pairing of Rigobert Song (a solid, if erratic and unsuited to the physical Premiership, player with over 60 Caps to his name for £2.6 million) and Titi Camara (an exciting attacking player who arrived massively overweight, unfit and devoid of form after being forced out of the Liverpool first team for £2.2 million), along with Scottish International Christian Dailly (who had never lived up to his great early promise for £1.75 million), for a total of some £8 million (including fees and final cost adjustments). These transfers were later used as ammunition against the departing Redknapp, with aspersions cast regarding agent fees and the expensive nature of Camara's alleged Pay-As-You-Play contract that would have seen further monies paid after a relatively small number of games. His only solid moves from a fan's point of view, the loan signings of Hannu Tihinen from Viking FK and Svetoslav Todorov, did little to improve the paucity in quality of the first team. The team's fortunes improved imperceptibly but survival was ensured thanks to the poor performances of lower sides and the team finished in 15th place, comfortably out of the relegation zone.
At this point Redknapp's relationship with the board, already strained since the Andy Impey incident, fell apart. Redknapp requested a warchest of £12 million to get the club back into the top six, with a sizeable portion of this to go towards bringing in Paris St. Germain left-winger Laurent Robert, a client of football agent and close associate of Harry Redknapp Willie McKay.
Slanderous comments soon followed in the direction of the West Ham board as Redknapp gave an interview in the unofficial West Ham fanzine Over Land and Sea, focusing his tirade on the lack of funding. The outburst caused so much friction that his position as manager became untenable, and Redknapp was sacked before the end of the season.
In the aftermath Frank Lampard Sr. left the club, and due to the obvious fall-out his son Frank Lampard was sold off to Chelsea for £11 million. The money was subsequently granted to incoming manager Glenn Roeder.
West Ham united under Glenn Roeder - 2001 to 2003 Several big names were linked with the vacant manager's job. Former West Ham player Alan Curbishley, who had rebuilt Charlton Athletic F.C. on and off the field since becoming their manager in 1991, instantly became favourite for the job but insisted he wasn't interested. Steve McClaren, who had been assistant manager of Manchester United in three successive title-winning seasons (including the 1999 treble campaign), was also linked with the job, but he was then appointed manager of Middlesbrough. So West Ham turned to youth team manager Glenn Roeder to fill the role. People doubted Roeder's suitability for the job, as his only managerial exploits had been short-lived and perceived to be unsuccessful with Gillingham over 1992–93 and Watford from 1993–96.
West Ham had a slow start to the 2001–02 season, hampered by injuries to key players. New signing David James was injured before he even made an appearance whilst on International duty; Frédéric Kanouté, Michael Carrick and Paolo Di Canio nursed groin and knee problems). The board made money available for strengthening the squad and Glenn acquired respected Czech International defender Tomáš Řepka from ACF Fiorentina, and Don Hutchison for his second term with the Hammers. However, Glenn Roeder was soon under immense pressure from fans who were calling for him to be sacked, especially after witnessing back to back maulings at the hands of Everton (5–0) and Blackburn (7–1). He responded by guiding the club to a seventh-place finish in the final table, just one place short of European qualification – although there was a 12-point gap between West Ham and sixth-placed Chelsea.
The summer of 2002 did not bode well for the season ahead. Despite a glaring need for squad reinforcements, only positive transfer activity involved Irish international Gary Breen signing on a free transfer. Leaving were Paul Kitson and a hatful of youth and fringe players. Another poor start plagued West Ham United through to 2003, and this time Roeder was unable to turn things around. The loss of Kanouté for nearly 1/3 of the season, and Di Canio at exactly the same period resulted in the teenage Jermain Defoe leading the line on his own. The loss of form of key players such as Trevor Sinclair, 2001–02 Hammer of the Year Sebastian Schemmel and Michael Carrick, who was still nursing a groin problem, combined with the absence of a dependable left back or left midfielder merely exacerbated an already difficult situation. The Hammers failed to win a single home game until January and suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Manchester United in the FA Cup. The much attacked Gary Breen was pointedly at fault for a number of errors, but his play was not helped by the lack of any cohesive team.
During the transfer window the club acquired Les Ferdinand and Rufus Brevett, and more importantly got Di Canio and Kanouté both back on the pitch and off the treatment table. The club's form improved and they began to claw their way up the table towards safety. In April Glenn collapsed in his office and was diagnosed with a brain tumour. He was immediately given a leave of absence and 1980 FA Cup final hero Trevor Brooking took over for the final 3 games of the Premiership season. But, despite an upturn in the team's form (winning 2 and drawing 1) they were unable to overhaul Bolton Wanderers F.C. and finished 18th in the final table, 2pts short of the safety zone. West Ham drew early in the season and then lost against Bolton during the run in; a draw against Bolton in their second match would have been sufficient to see West Ham survive. Their 10-year spell in the Premiership was over.
Not since 1994–95 had a club been relegated from the division with more than 40 points (West Ham had 42), but this was no consolation for a disappointed West Ham side filled with some of the most promising young English players, all tipped for international honours. The relegation forced the sale of key players Joe Cole and Glen Johnson (both to Chelsea), Kanouté and later Jermain Defoe to Tottenham Hotspur, Trevor Sinclair to Manchester City later followed by David James in the same direction, in a bid to prevent a financial crisis at Upton Park. Glenn Roeder was sacked soon after the start of the 2003–04 season.
West Ham United under Alan Pardew - 2003 to 2006 Alan Pardew was the eventual replacement for Roeder, following Brooking's second brief stint as caretaker manager. Pardew was head hunted from fellow Division One rivals (and promotion hopefuls) Reading by West Ham with the objective of promotion back to the FA Premier League. With a team whose talent had become marginalised over the previous 6 months since relegation the task did not appear to be a simple one.
The team saw over 15 new players brought in on both short and long term deals including Rob Lee, David Connolly, Marlon Harewood, Matthew Etherington, Kevin Horlock, Hayden Mullins, Nigel Reo-Coker, Andy Melville, Bobby Zamora and Brian Deane. The turn-over of players continued however with these and other acquisitions funded by the loss of David James, Jermain Defoe and Ian Pearce. The squad was bolstered with a contingent of loan signings such as Wayne Quinn, Neil Mellor, Matthew Kilgallon, Niclas Alexandersson, Robbie Stockdale and Jon Harley. As a result the team routinely lacked cohesion, and without Defoe for a large part lacked a quality striker in front of goal – though Connolly's immediate impact (5 in the 9 opening league games) and positive attitude coupled with Harewoods form went some way to make up for the loss of the future England International.
The team's form had picked up noticeably under Trevor Brooking, rising from 10th in the table to second by mid September. With Pardew installed as manager on 18 September the fans didn't have to wait long for their first win with the team taking a 3–0 over Crystal Palace on 1 October. A subsequent victory against Derby however was the last for almost a month until title run-away leaders Wigan were beaten 4–0 at Upton Park. By this point the team had slipped to 8th, and were more than six points off the pace of the top six sides. Mixed form throughout January to March saw the team below the top six but a late run gave them 4th place in the table. In the Play-Off final they were defeated 1–0 by Crystal Palace who finished 6th that year.
The following year promotion was achieved through the play-offs. The team had only just sealed the last play-off place with a 2–1 win over Watford on the last day of the season. This time having played twice against Ipswich Town, West Ham drew 2–2 at Upton Park and won 2–0 at Portman Road over the two legs to qualify for the final at the Millennium Stadium, they achieved their aim with a 1–0 win against Preston North End, with Bobby Zamora scoring the only goal of the game in the second half.
Following promotion, the club exceeded expectations and achieved the ultimate target of survival for 2005–06 with a top-half place in the 2004–05 Premiership. Pardew claimed that he will not sell the club's best players, and appeared to have the backing of the board on this issue; he in fact spent a club record seven million to bring Dean Ashton to Upton Park. Ashton has been touted as "the next Alan Shearer". In January and February 2006, following a 3–1 home defeat by Chelsea, West Ham embarked on their best sequence of results for twenty years, winning seven games in a row in all competitions (five in the league and two in the FA Cup). The 3–2 win away to Arsenal on 1 February, on West Ham's last visit to Highbury Stadium, was the most noteworthy victory during this run, with the Hammers recording their first win over Arsenal at their stadium since 1995.
This seven-game winning streak ended when they drew 0–0 with Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup Fifth Round, however their unbeaten run continued when they drew 2–2 against Everton in the Premiership, before coming to an abrupt halt with a heavy defeat against Bolton Wanderers, losing 4–1. However Alan Pardew fielded a weakened team in that game in preparation for the FA Cup replay against Bolton again, where they won 2–1 after extra time with a Marlon Harewood goal. They then played, on 18 March, their former manager and player Harry Redknapp's club Portsmouth, on his first return to Upton Park. Portsmouth won 4–2 as Pardew rested some key players. However, two days later the Hammers beat Manchester City 2–1 to reach the FA Cup semi-finals. On Sunday 23 April, less than a week following a loss to Middlesbrough in a league fixture, West Ham defeated them 1–0 at Villa Park in the FA Cup semi, with Marlon Harewood again scoring the goal that sent the Hammers through to their first FA Cup final since they beat Arsenal in 1980. This also secured the Hammers a place in the 2006–07 UEFA Cup, as Liverpool, their final opponent, are now assured of no worse than a spot in the final qualifying round of the that season's Champions League.
The Hammers, with a place in next year's 2006–07 UEFA Cup and a FA Cup Final, now had to secure a top 10 finish, a position they had held since the start of the campaign. With this in mind and the FA Cup final on 13 May, Pardew had a dilemma, whether to stick out his first team and run the risk of injuries and suspensions or hold back. A mock run up of the FA Cup final saw Liverpool beat the Irons 2–1, with a late confrontation involving Mullins and Luis Garcia seeing them both sent off, missing the Final. Mullins, a key to their Premiership success would be dearly missed as he had been a defensive stronghold against many a worthy attacking force. On the back of that troubled match, the Hammers beat an already relegated West Bromwich Albion team 1–0, in which Dean Ashton limped off with a hamstring injury, a huge doubt for the final. This win was the sixth time the Hammers had played on a Monday night and their sixth win was a huge step towards achieving a top ten finish.
West Ham won their final game of the season 2–1 over arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur, cementing 9th place in the Premier League. Tottenham's loss to West Ham on the final day would result in Tottenham being overtaken in the league by Arsenal and therefore missing out on a Champions League place. The match was marred by controversy as many of the Tottenham players were ill on the evening before the match; this was initially believed to be "food poisoning", but was later found to be a virus that had gone round. The FA offered Tottenham a delayed kickoff which they refused. Tottenham ended up losing the match by a final score of 2–1. West Ham scored first when midfielder Carl Fletcher struck past Spurs keeper Paul Robinson. Tottenham then equalised through former Hammer striker Jermain Defoe. The Hammers had a chance to win the game when former Spurs player, Teddy Sheringham took a penalty kick. Sheringham's kick was saved. Israel international Yossi Benayoun was the hero and scored the game-winning goal with a stunning strike.
Also this season, two of West Ham's longest serving managers died, Ron Greenwood and John Lyall. Greenwood and Lyall both led West Ham to FA Cup victories in 1964, 1975 and 1980.
If Pardew had guided West Ham to FA Cup glory, he would have been the first English manager to win the trophy since Joe Royle won it with Everton back in 1995. It would also have ended West Ham's 26-year wait for a major trophy which began after their FA Cup triumph in 1980. However, the game ended 3–3, despite West Ham taking a two goal lead early in the match. Eventually West Ham lost 3–1 on penalties, in what was considered by many as the best Cup final in recent years.
During the summer break before the start of the 2006/2007 season, Pardew suffered a huge blow to his team with the loss of Dean Ashton. During training whilst on international duty, Ashton broke his ankle. He was training for England's football match the following day against Greece, which was about to be England's first match under the new manager Steve McClaren.
On the transfer deadline day for the new season, 31 August, West Ham seemed to have surprised world football when speculation mounted that two of the most promising young footballers in the world would be joining on permanent move. Carlos Tévez announced on his website that he and Javier Mascherano would be joining West Ham from Brazilian club Corinthians. West Ham confirmed shortly afterwards that not only had they signed the two Argentinians, but that they had signed on permanent deals. West Ham reportedly had to beat off competition from some major European clubs to sign the two young Argentinians.
West Ham's return to European competition, in the UEFA Cup in 2006, was ultimately short-lived as they lost 4–0 over two legs in the 1st round proper to Italian club, Palermo. This marked a major down turn in form leading to eight losses in succession in all competitions as of 24 October, including a shock 2–1 loss away to League 1 side Chesterfield in the third round of the Carling Cup. The Hammers finally stopped the record-breaking run on 29 October at home to Blackburn with a 2–1 win in the Premiership, with goals from Teddy Sheringham, who in the making became the oldest ever goalscorer in the Premier League, and Hayden Mullins getting the winner in the 79th minute. They made it two wins in a row when they beat Arsenal at Upton Park with Marlon Harewood getting an 89th minute winner. The game was overshadowed by the arguments between Arsène Wenger and Alan Pardew in the manager dugouts, both have been charged by the FA. On 21 November, the proposed takeover of West Ham United by a consortium headed by Icelandic businessman Eggert Magnusson went through, fuelling speculation over Pardew's future. After just 4 games with Magnusson as the new chairman of West Ham United, Pardew was sacked from the manager's role on 11 December, after a 4–0 drubbing at Bolton on the Saturday before. Pardew eventually found work again on 24 December 2006, at Charlton Athletic, ironically where Pardew's replacement Curbishley had spent 15 years of his managerial career, building his reputation.
Magnússon takeover On 21 November, West Ham announced that they had reached an agreement with a consortium headed by Icelandic businessman Eggert Magnússon for the sale of the club, worth £85 million.
On 26 November, The Guardian reported that West Ham may move to the Olympic Stadium in 2012, with the running track left intact.
On 1 September, the Board of West Ham confirmed, following press speculation, that they were in takeover talks with an unnamed party. They announced that there was no link between this prospective takeover bid and the signings of Tévez and Mascherano the day before. Media Sports Investment (MSI), the company which owns the contracts of those two players, and chose to bring them to West Ham, confirmed that it had no interest in investing in European football clubs, thereby ruling itself out of being behind these talks. However, a consortium headed by former MSI frontman Kia Joorabchian entered into talks with the club on 5 September. These talks broke down in early November after further debts that had not been declared by West Ham were revealed in the due diligence process. This was compounded by the announcement that West Ham would be unable to move into the 2012 London Olympic Stadium after the event, which was to be reserved for athletics use.
On 11 December, it was confirmed that Alan Pardew has been sacked from his job as manager of West Ham after a dismal run of results, including a 4–0 loss to Bolton. In the first few days that followed the departure of Pardew it was confirmed that West Ham were in talks with Alan Curbishley, who played for the Hammers between 1975–1979.
West Ham United under Alan Curbishley - 2006 to 2008 Former West Ham United player and Charlton Athletic manager Alan Curbishley officially took over the vacant West Ham United job on 13 December 2006, just 48 hours after Alan Pardew had been sacked by new chairman Eggert Magnusson. Curbishley had been the odds-on favourite for the West Ham job straight after Pardew's departure, so it came as no surprise that Curbishley was unveiled at a press conference on 13 December. Curbishley's managerial CV reads well, as he was manager at local rivals Charlton Athletic for 15 years leading up to May 2006. During that time, he took Charlton from a struggling side languishing in old Second Division to a recognized Premiership side.
Curbishley had been linked with the West Ham job five years earlier, in the summer of 2001 after Harry Redknapp left the club, but decided the time was not right for him and the job went to Glenn Roeder instead. Curbishley made an impressive start with a victory over the current Premiership leaders Manchester United, his first ever victory over them in his managerial career, in which he won the game 1–0 with a late 75th minute winner from captain Nigel Reo-Coker.
In January 2007, with West Ham struggling in the bottom three, Curbishley made his first moves in the transfer market as West Ham United manager. His first signing was pacy Portuguese winger Luis Boa Morte from Fulham, soon followed by West Brom's Nigel Quashie. These signings were backed by defensive reinforcements in the form of young Calum Davenport, from Tottenham (who had previously been loaned to West Ham during their Championship years) and Australian captain Lucas Neill from Blackburn Rovers. Neill shunned the chance to sign for Liverpool after reportedly being offered double their proposed wage (£60,000/week, compared to £30,000 – West Ham's highest ever earner). With Carlos Tevez out through injury, along with first choice Dean Ashton still yet to appear this season, Spanish under-21 striker Kepa Blanco was signed on loan from league-leaders Sevilla.
However, the final weeks of the season saw much improvement in performances and a marked strengthening of confidence and self belief in the team. Couple this with crumbling morale at Sheffield United and Fulham and it appeared as if the Great Escape was now in the bag.
West Ham won 7 of their final 9 games, defeating Blackburn, Arsenal, Everton, Middlesbrough, Bolton, Wigan and Manchester United. On 5 May 2007, West Ham United moved out of the relegation zone with a 3–1 win over Bolton and Wigan losing 1–0 to Middlesbrough. West Ham now sat in 17th place in the Premiership, 3 points ahead of Wigan.
On 13 May, in their last match of the season, West Ham played Manchester United at Old Trafford needing at least a draw to survive in the Premiership. Carlos Tevez sent West Ham 1–0 ahead at the end of the first half injury time (45 + 1"). West Ham were victorious, securing 15th place. Sheffield United were relegated to the Championship.
Curbishley continued to overhaul his squad in the summer of 2007. Yossi Benayoun (Liverpool), Paul Konchesky (Fulham), Nigel Reo-Coker, Marlon Harewood (both to Aston Villa) and, most notably, Carlos Tevez (Man. Utd) all headed for the Upton Park exit door. Midfielders Scott Parker (£7 million), Keiron Dyer (£6 million) and Nolberto Solano (free) all arrived from Newcastle United, wingers Julien Faubert (£6 million) and Freddie Ljungberg (£2 million) were signed from French club Bordeaux and London rivals Arsenal respectively, Craig Bellamy (£7.5 million) and Richard Wright (free) both made the switch from Merseyside to East London, signing from Liverpool and Everton. Striker Henri Camara completed Curbishley's squad, signing on a season long loan from Wigan Athletic.
The 2007–2008 season proved to be one of consolidation for the Hammers. They moved into 10th position in the table during the Christmas period and remained there until the end of the season. A season of disappointing performances (including a run of three consecutive 4–0 losses) and long injury lists has been punctuated by a solid showing in the League Cup (losing in the quarter final to Everton) and some excellent results – a five goal win away at Derby and home wins against title-chasing Manchester United and Liverpool.
The season was somewhat overshadowed by the successful efforts of Sheffield United to win financial compensation for the crimes of West Ham during the Carlos Tevez affair. As of September 2008 the Sheffield United Fight For Justice has been through 3 different courts and has received a positive verdict from an arbitration panel – announced at the end of September (postponed from June). It was once thought highly unlikely they would be awarded anything as the hope was that their relegation could be attributed to their abysmal performances (excepting their 3–0 14 April drubbing of West Ham) rather than West Ham's wrongdoing.
In the 2008–09 season, Alan Curbishley resigned and Gianfranco Zola took over the club. Curbishley took the club to court claiming he was forced to resign due to players being sold without his consent (in regards to George McCartney and Anton Ferdinand). This claim was eventually won and the club was forced to compensate Curbishley.
West Ham United under Gianfranco Zola - 2008 to 2010 Despite a very shaky start under Zola's reign, the Hammers were able to finish comfortably midtable in his first season with the club. Although from the outset, Zola had already got a number of factors going against him unlike previous managers at the club. West Ham were in a poor financial state due to the crash of former sponsor XL.com and of the Icelandic banks. Transfer fees and player wages had been generous for injury prone players such as Kieron Dyer and Freddie Ljungberg.
Zola faced many difficulties when it came to try and strengthen his already injury prone squad. Dean Ashton looked set to retire from the game, Craig Bellamy was not replaced and "new star" Savio had several poor outings. This left Zola at the start of his first full season in charge with only Carlton Cole as his only experienced and tested option in attack. Help from Sponsors SBOBET allowed the club to fund the transfer of attacking option Alessandro Diamanti whilst it was claimed Scott Duxbury funded himself, along with footballing director Gianluca Nani, the deal to bring in Guillermo Franco to ensure the Hammers had some strikers for the new season.
Despite a good start to the 2009–2010 season against newly promoted Wolves with a 2–0 away win, the club went on to struggle badly in the first 12 games, picking up just 1 more win and finding themselves in the relegation mix around November 2009.
News of a possible takeover to save the Hammers was announced at the end of October, with an American group ready to launch a £120 million bid whilst former Birmingham City co-owner David Gold, a West Ham fan and previous share holder of club, also announced he would to be interested in taking control of the East London outfit with a rumoured bid of around £40 million being offered.
By December 2009, no takeover had happened, and the current owners held creditors meetings to try and get the banks to give them more time to raise vital funds. Results on the pitch improved slightly with November finishing with 2 wins, 1 draw and a defeat, but Zola's men were given a swift reminder of the up hill battle they faced to survive in the Premier League at the hands of Manchester United, as they lost 4–0 at home. More bad luck followed with the loss of top goal scorer Carlton Cole for 2 months to injury along with young Zavon Hines with a knee injury leaving Zola over the Christmas break with just Franco and Frank Nouble up front. West Ham also lost Valon Behrami for most of December along with facing a scare with goalkeeper Robert Green who went off early during the Manchester United game.
This since proved to be just down to illness rather than injury. In January 2010 former Birmingham City owners David Gold and co-chairman David Sullivan took a 50% holding of the club valuing it at £105 million. this gave them the final say on all matters at the club. West Ham won two games in February, against Birmingham City and Hull City but then lost six games in a row. However wins in April against Sunderland and Wigan Athletic and a poor run of results by relegation rivals, Hull City and Burnley, ensured another season of Premier League football; West Ham finishing in 17th place five points above the relegation places. West Ham's away record of only one away win all season equalled their lowest number of away wins for a season, last achieved in season 1960–61. On 11 May 2010, two days after the end of the 2009–10 season, West Ham announced the termination of manager Gianfranco Zola's contract with immediate effect.
West Ham United under Avram Grant - 2010 to 2011 On 3 June 2010, Avram Grant signed a four-year deal with West Ham subject to a work permit which was secured on 8 June. Grant said " I am proud and honoured to be the manager of West Ham. It will be an exciting challenge and I'm ready to do my best". On 5 June 2010, Thomas Hitzlsperger became Grant's first signing at the club on a free transfer. On 16 July Mexican international Pablo Barrera signs on a four-year contract, with a one-year option, for a fee of £4 million. He becomes West Ham's second summer signing of 2010. Also on 16 July Frédéric Piquionne joins West Ham for an undisclosed fee on a three-year contract. In an attempt to bolster the side's defence Grant signed Tal Ben Haim on loan from Championship side Portsmouth until January 2011. and New Zealand international Winston Reid. Reid signs a three-year contract for an undisclosed fee. On 27 August Nigerian international Victor Obinna is signed on a season-long loan from Inter. and on 31 August: Danish international, Lars Jacobsen signs a one-year contract, moving on a free transfer from Blackburn Rovers.
Grant's team does not win its first game until 25 September moving off the bottom of the league by beating their London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, 1–0 with a goal from Frédéric Piquionne. With the club at the bottom end of the league Crazy Gang member and Brentford manager Wally Downes is appointed as defensive coach. By 15 December the league position has seen no improvement and Grant is handed an unusual ultimatum: win one of the next three games or face the sack. These included an away game at Blackburn (drawn), another away game at Fulham (won), and a home game against Everton (drawn). Christmas sees West Ham at the bottom of the table, hoping to reverse the 'Curse of Christmas', where the team in that position is relegated at the end of the season. On 26 December West Ham finally get an away win in their 28th game since the last away victory. A 3-1 win at Craven Cottage sees 2 goals by Carlton Cole and one from Frederic Piquionne. It is the first time Cole has scored two goals in a Premier League game.
1st January sees West Ham lift themselves out of the relegation zone and into 15th place with a 2-0 New Year's Day win over Wolves, with Freddie Sears scoring his first goal since March 2008. Still believing the problems lie with the defence on 12 January Wayne Bridge signs on-loan from Manchester City until the end of the season. Following two hefty losses to Newcastle and Arsenal, Grant's job again comes under speculation with rumours of former Aston Villa and Celtic boss Martin O'Neill's inevitable takeover at the club.
The entire board is 100 per cent behind Avram, he is a really decent person who deserves our support. West Ham United is a club that does the right thing and the right thing at this time is to support the manager. — David Sullivan, West Ham co-owner
On 5 March: West Ham string back-to-back Premier League wins together for the first time this season, against Liverpool and Stoke City. January signing Demba Ba scores in both games, and following the Stoke game had scored four goals in four Premier League appearances. In May Manager Avram Grant is booed by West Ham fans during his side's 1-1 home draw with Blackburn Rovers. The Hammers are in bottom position, three points from 17th place with two games remaining. On 15 May 2011, West Ham's relegation to the Championship was confirmed after a comeback from Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium. With West Ham leading 2–0 at half-time by two Demba Ba goals, Wigan battled back to win 3–2 thanks to an added-time strike from Charles N'Zogbia. Following the loss, West Ham announced the sacking of manager Avram Grant just one season into his tenure.
West Ham United under Sam Allardyce - 2011 to 12 Following the dismissal of Grant, on 1 June 2011, West Ham appointed Sam Allardyce as their manager. He signed Abdoulaye Faye, Kevin Nolan, Joey O'Brien and Matt Taylor. Faye, Nolan and O'Brien had all played under Allardyce at his former club Bolton Wanderers whilst Taylor was a Bolton player he had joined after Allardyce had left the club. His first game in charge, on 7 August 2011 was a loss by a late goal to Cardiff City. He made striker John Carew West Ham's fifth signing of the season, on a free transfer, followed by defender George McCartney from Sunderland on a season-long loan, strikers Sam Baldock from MK Dons and midfielder Papa Bouba Diop on a free transfer. He concluded his summer business with late scoops on deadline day for midfielders David Bentley from Tottenham Hotspur and Henri Lansbury from Arsenal, both on season-long loans and utility man Guy Demel from Hamburg for an undisclosed fee making him Allardyce's 12th purchase of the 2011 summer transfer window. Nicky Maynard, Ricardo Vaz Te and Ravel Morrison followed in the 2011 winter transfer window. In March 2012, despite standing in third place in the league Allardyce's style of football was questioned as at his previous club Newcastle United. Fans called for more passing of the ball and football played on the pitch and not in the air. Despite only eight defeats all season and a record 13 away wins they finished third in the Championship behind Reading and Southampton and entered the play-offs.
In May 2012 West Ham were promoted back to the Premier League after only one season in The Championship after winning the 2012 Football League Championship play-off Final.
2012-13 A busy transfer window for the summer of 2012 saw Allardyce bring in eleven players for West Ham, including Jussi Jääskeläinen, Mohamed Diamé, Modibo Maïga, James Collins, Alou Diarra, Matt Jarvis, Andy Carroll and Yossi Benayoun.
The highlight of the first half of the season was a 3-1 home win against reigning European champions Chelsea on 1 December 2012 which saw them in 8th position and 12th at the end of the year. There was less activity in the January transfer window and although Allardyce brought in several loan players the most significant deal done was the return of former player, Joe Cole from Liverpool. On 22 March 2013, West Ham secured a 99-year lease deal on the Olympic Stadium, with it planned to be used as their home ground from the 2016–2017 season. 10th place was secured at the end of the season with nine home wins and only three away from home. Only eleven away goals were scored, the lowest of the entire league. In June 2013, Carlton Cole was released by the club having been with them since July 2006.
2013-14 The pre-season again saw West Ham beating their transfer record, as with Matt Jarvis in 2012, by the purchase on 19 June 2013 of Andy Carroll from Liverpool. Carroll signed a six-year contract with West Ham for a fee undisclosed by the club but said to be £15m. July saw the signing, "for about £5m", of Liverpool player and England player, Stewart Downing. Several injuries prevented Carroll from playing again in 2013. He returned to training in November 2013 and was not expected to play again before January 2014. A shortage of available strikers caused the re-signing of Carlton Cole and the signing of Croatia player Mladen Petric in October 2013. Both players were without a club permitting their signatures outside of the transfer window. West Ham started poorly without Carroll and by the end of 2013 they had won only three Premier League games and were in 19th and a relegation place in the table. A run of four wins in a row in February saw West Ham pull away from the relegation places and manager Allardyce awarded with the Premier League Manager of the Month award. The end of the season saw them finish in 13th place win 40 points. Kevin Nolan finished as the top scorer in the league with seven goals, Carlton Cole was second highest league goal scorer with six goals. The last months of the season also saw protests by some supporters against Allardyce and his perceived style of play. Banners calling for his dismissal were raised at an away game at The Hawthorns and outside the home of club chairman, David Sullivan.
West Ham qualified for Europa League via The Fair Play ruling at the end of the 2014-15 season.
Allardyce left West Ham on 24 May 2015, the final day of the season, after his contract was not renewed. Informed of the club's decision not to renew his contract on 22 May 2015, Allardyce said that he had already decided not to renew saying, "I didn't want to stay. I suppose you could say it was mutual if they didn't want me to stay either". His West Ham side had finished 12th in the 2014–15 season, one place higher than in the 2013–2014 season, but after a promising start to the 2014–15 season poor results meant supporters had turned against him.
Pre-season saw the purchase of Argentine player Mauro Zárate from Vélez Sarsfield, Cheikhou Kouyaté from Belgian champions, Anderlecht, on a four-year contract for an undisclosed fee, left back Aaron Cresswell from Ipswich Town on a five-year contract for an undisclosed fee, midfielder, Diego Poyet, Charlton Athletic's Player of the Season for 2013-14, on a four-year contract, Ecuadorian Enner Valencia for an estimated £12m fee from Mexican club Pachuca on a five-year contract, Carl Jenkinson of Arsenal on a season long loan, Senegalese forward, Diafra Sakho, on a four-year contract from French club Metz for an undisclosed fee and Alex Song of Barcelona on a season long loan. He becomes West Ham's eighth signing of the summer transfer window. The season started well for West Ham and after 15 games they were in third place in the Premier League. Highlights in the early months had included victories against both the previous season's champions, Manchester City and runners-up, Liverpool.
In the second half of the season their form deteriorated with manager Allardyce receiving criticism for the teams' performances. In February 2015, they exited the FA Cup in the 5th round following a 4-0 away defeat to West Bromwich Albion. The season ended with West Ham in 12th position with 47 points. The top scorer with 12 goals in all competitions was Diafra Sakho. Three minutes after the end of the final game of the season, a 2-0 away defeat to Newcastle United, Allardyce announced his departure from the club with immediate effect.
West Ham United under Slaven Bilić On June 9th 2015, West Ham announced former player, Slaven Bilić as their new manager signing a three-year contract. The following day the first signing of the season, Spanish player Pedro Obiang from Italian club Sampdoria, was announced. Bilić's first game in charge was a 3-0 home win in the Europa League against Andorran side, FC Lusitanos although youth team coach Terry Westley took control of the side from the bench. Sixteen-year-old Reece Oxford made his debut in the game becoming the youngest ever player to play for West Ham. West Ham played six games in the Europa League before the 2015-16 Premier League started. They were knocked out in the third qualifying round by Romanian side FC Astra.
New signings for the 2015-16 season included Angelo Ogbonna from Juventus, Darren Randolph from Birmingham City, Dimitri Payet from Marseille and Manuel Lanzini on loan from Al Jazira Just days after their exit from the Europa League, West Ham played their first game of the Premier League season, winning 2-0 away against Arsenal. Premier League debutant, Reece Oxford was named as man of the match. Despite losing their next two league games, at home to Leicester City and A.F.C. Bournemouth, their fourth game resulted in a 3-0 win against Liverpool at Anfield, their first win there since 1963. On 1 September, transfer deadline day, West Ham added four more players to their squad bringing in Alex Song, again on loan from Barcelona, Victor Moses on loan from Chelsea and the purchases of striker Nikica Jelavić from Hull City and midfielder Michail Antonio from Nottingham Forest.
West Ham sacked Slaven on 6th November 2017 after a run of poor results saw the team in the relegation zone.
On 7th November 2017, West Ham hired David Moyes untill the end of the season.
On 22nd May 2018, West Ham confirmed the appointment of Premier League-winning boss Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager.
The 64-year-old Chilean signed a three-year contract with the Hammers.