Manager – Sam Allardyce
Captain – Kevin Nolan
Nickname – The Hammers
Ground – Boleyn Ground/Upton Park
Rivals – Millwall, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea
Nicknamed the “The Irons” or “The Hammers” West Ham United was founded in the year 1895 as “Thames Ironworks”. They are one of the only eight clubs to have never fallen below the second level of English football.
West Ham have never managed to win the top flight league title with their best placing in the top flight being a third placed finish in the 1985/86 season. West Ham however have tasted reasonable amount of success in cup competitions winning the FA cup three times and European Cup Winners Cup once.
West Ham play their home games at the Boleyn Ground since 1904. They are a part of the 2014/15 edition of the Premier League and finished 13th in the 2013/14 Premier League campaign.
Founded in the year 1895 West Ham United was initially known as “Thames Ironworks” and they were a highly successful amateur club winning several amateur competitions during that time such as the “West Ham Charity Cup” in 1895 and the London League in the 1897.
The Hammers turned professional in 1898 and entered the Southern League 2nd Division. They had an impressive first season and managed to get promoted to the 1st division on their first attempt itself. Numerous internal disputes among the club’s board members resulted in Thames Ironworks being disbanded in 1900 but the club would soon be reformed as West Ham United F.C. with former player Syd King as manager.
After their reformation West Ham entered the Western League for the 1901 season while still playing in the Southern League. The club initially played their home games at the Memorial Grounds in Plaistow but moved to the Boleyn Ground also known as Upton Park in 1904.
They had a memorable debut in their new ground beating arch rivals Millwall 3-0. In 1907 the Hammers went on to win both the Western League division 1A and 1B and thus becoming the overall Western League champions.
The Hammers entered football league 2nd division in 1919 and so after got promoted to the 1st division at the end of the 1922/23 season by winning the 2nd division.
The Hammers also reached the final of the FA cup for the first time that season and faced Bolton in the final in a game that is now remembered as the “White Horse Final”. It was called so because the crowd trouble during the game was brought to a halt by a White Horse Billie and his jockey. Bolton went on to win the game 2-0.
Over the next decade West Ham would establish themselves as a top flight club but their stay in the top flight would come to an end in the 1931/32 season when they finished bottom of the table and ended up getting relegated from the top flight for the first time.
The relegation also resulted in the sacking of Syd King thus bringing to an end his 32 year old reign as Hammers manager. Syd King was replaced at the top by his assistant Charlie Paynter who also had been with the club in different roles since 1897. West Ham would remain a 2nd division club during Paynter’s reign which lasted for 18 years.
Paynter left the job in 1950 and was succeeded by former Hammers player Ted Fenton as manager. West Ham’s 26 yr old stay in the 2nd division would come to an end under Fenton as he got them promoted at the end of the 1957/58 season by winning the 2nd division.
Glory Glory Glory
Promotion back to the top flight were followed by some of most successful days for West Ham United. Fenton left the club in 1961 a few seasons of getting them promoted and he was replaced by Ron Greenwood.
Success followed Greenwood’s appointment as the Hammers won their first major trophy by winning the 1963/64 FA Cup beating Preston North End 3-2 in the final.
The FA Cup success was followed by a European Cup Winners Cup trophy in the next season beating TSV 1860 Munchen 2-0 in the final.
The Hammers team at that time had the likes of Sir Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters in their team all of whom would play a big part in England’s World Cup win in 1966.
After over a decade with the club Greenwood was replaced by his assistant John Lyall as manager after a tough start to the 1974/75 season. Under Lyall West Ham would win their 2nd FA Cup trophy in 1974/75 beating Fulham 2-0 in the final.
West Ham would reach a second European Cup Winners Cup final in 1975/76 but ended up losing to Belgian club Anderlecht 4-2.
Days of Struggles
West Ham would get relegated back to the 2nd division at the end of the 1977/78 season. West Ham’s last major till date came while they were in the 2nd division in the 1979/80 season when they defeated Arsenal 1-0 in the FA cup final and lifting the trophy for a third and final time. It also would the last time that any time outside the top division would lift the trophy.
They got promoted to the 1st division the next season and maintained themselves as a top flight club for the next few years even finishing 3rd in the 1985/86 season behind Everton and winners Liverpool.
There stay at the top wouldn’t be for long though as they would get relegated back to the 2nd division at the end of the 1988/89 campaign which also resulted in the sacking of John Lyall.
Lyall was succeeded by Scottish manager Lou Macari but his stint at the top was cut short as he left after a single season. Macari was succeeded by former player and club legend Billy Bonds.
Bond’s got them promoted in his very first season (1990/91) but their stay at the top would last for only one season as they got relegated back to the 2nd division in their first season itself. Hammers would immediately bounce back as they got promoted to the newly formed Premier League at the end of the 1992/93 season by finishing 2nd in the second division.
Premier League Era
Harry Redknapp who was Billy Bonds’ assistant at that time was seen as an invaluable asset by the West Ham board. At that time there were rumors linking Harry with AFC Bournemouth who were preparing him an offer for him to take over as their manager.
The West Ham board didn’t want to let go of Harry and offered him the post of manager and asked Bonds to oversee the club matters. Bonds disgusted by the proposal walked away for his beloved club.
Harry officially took over as the Hammers manager just a few days before the start of the 1994/95 season. Harry time with the club was particularly notable for the number of players that passed through the club.
Harry had the habit of being a big spender in the transfer market while some of his transfer buys like Trevor Sinclair, Stuart Pearce and Pablo Di Canio did wonders for the club other accusations such as Ragnvald Soma, Paolo Futre, Christian Bassila and Marco Boogers ended up being major transfer bloopers.
The second leg of the Intertoto Final between West Ham and French side FC Metz which the former club won 3-1:-
West Ham were relegation contenders in Harry’s first season but survived and finished 14th. After another couple of mediocre seasons West Ham finished 5th in an impressive 1998/99 campaign that also saw them winning their first ever Intertoto Cup and qualifying for the Uefa Cup.
Harry’s reign would come to an end when the board lost patience with him and his demands for more transfer funds. Harry’s contract was terminated with just one game remaining in the 2000/01 season.
Harry was replaced by the then reserve team coach Glenn Roeder. He did wonders with the team as the Hammers finished 7th in his first season in charge. Medical emergencies however forced him away from the club during his 2nd season and as result his assistant Trevor Brooking as appointed as interim manager.
West Ham didn’t lose a single game under Roeder but the team still ended up getting relegated at the end of the season despite accumulating 42 points.
Roeder came back to take charge as manager in the 2nd division but after a bad start to the campaign he ended up getting the sack. Brooking was again appointed as interim manager and this time West Ham would lose only one game under him.
Alan Pardew was eyed up by West Ham board as a potential replacement for Roeder but Reading weren’t prepared to let go of their manager. Hammers ended up having to pay Reading 380,000£ in compensation to lure Pardew away.
Pardew took his Hammers team to the Play-off final in his first season but ended losing to Crystal Palace. West Ham would finally gain promotion in the 2004/05 season beating Preston North End 1-0 in the play-off final.
West Ham finished 9th in their first season back to the top-flight and even reached the FA Cup final that season but ended up losing the final to Liverpool on penalties. West Ham had a disappointing start to the 2006/07 season and it resulted in the sacking of Pardew.
Alan Curbishley was brought in as replacement for Pardew. His first season with them was a bit of a struggle as they narrowly avoided relegation largely thanks to the efforts of Argentine Carlos Tevez.
West Ham United’s own version of the great escape:
West Ham picked up 21 points from their last 9 games of the season a run during which they defeated the likes of Arsenal and newly crowned champions Manchester United on the final day of the season to survive by a margin of three points.
West Ham underwent investigation by the FA after it was alleged that some transfer records were absent from their official records. They were found guilty and were fined 5.5£ million but escaped without any points deduction.
The 2007/08 and 2008/09 were good for the Hammers finishing 10th and 9th respectively. Alan Curbishley left after the start of the 2008/09 season after disputes with the board and was replaced by Gianfranco Zola who became the club’s first ever non-British manager.
West Ham struggled in Zola’s second season but survived from going down however staying up couldn’t save his job as he got his contract terminated at the end of the campaign. Avram Grant was Zola’s successor but finally ran out for Hammers as they got relegated at the end of the campaign.
Sam Allardyce was appointed as the Hammers manager for the 2011/12 season. He brought stability back to the club and got them promoted at the end of the season by winning the Championship Play-offs beating Blackpool 2-1 in the final.
Hammers finished 10th in 2012/13 and 13th in the 2013/14 season both under Sam Allardyce. They’ve had another successful campaign in 2014/15 spending most of their time in the upper half of the table.
Most appearances: – Billy Bonds (804)
Most Goals: – Vic Watson (326)
Photos and videos featured on this post are used under a creative commons license, free to use and edit – Wikipedia Commons www.commons.wikimedia.org and Youtube permission to feature under its TOS.