West Ham United

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Posted by pompos 02/28/2009 @ 13:02

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News headlines
Zola would welcome Tevez - SkySports
Gianfranco Zola has admitted it would be terrific if West Ham could bring back Carlos Tevez. The Argentine forward joined the Hammers in the summer of 2006 and became a fans' favourite with a series of inspirational performances....
Inside story: How businessmen bought United star Tevez, the West ... - Daily Mail
But, because of the mishandling by West Ham of the transfer documents surrounding the arrival of Tevez in England, it is that deal which still draws unwelcome attention to Joorabchian and his business empire — and so many questions....
Lack of goals threaten West Ham United's European dream - Telegraph.co.uk
Gianfranco Zola, the West Ham United manager, has admitted that scoring goals has been his side's "weakest link" in their quest for European football. By John Ley With Craig Bellamy sold to Manchester City, in January, Dean Ashton ruled out for most of...
West Ham United v Liverpool: We can only get better, says Steven ... - Telegraph.co.uk
Ryan Babel's late third put West Ham out of their misery and later Rafael Benitez offered both a wish and a warning. Manchester United, knocked off the top for a day, returned to first place yesterday. They play their game in hand on Wednesday,...
Tevez future clouds Manchester United's expected title glory - The Canadian Press
The Tigers, who visit Bolton on Saturday, are level on 34 points with Newcastle while Middlesbrough and West Brom have 31. Just above the relegation zone are Sunderland (36 points) and Portsmouth (38) who meet on Monday. Everton hosts West Ham (8:30 pm...
Liverpool Striker Fernando Torres To Return For West Ham United Clash - Goal.com
On the duo's return for the West Ham United game at the weekend, Benitez told the club's official website, "Xabi is the main doubt for the weekend. He has been working and hopefully he will be better in a few days. He is improving but we have to wait....
West Ham United's future back in the balance - Telegraph.co.uk
The identity of West Ham's future owners has been placed in fresh doubt after it emerged that a winding-up board had been appointed for Straumur, the main creditors for the club's holding company. By Jeremy Wilson Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, the West Ham...
West Ham To Learn European Fate At End Of Season - Goal.com
A decision on whether West Ham United will be allowed to compete in next season's Europa League, should they qualify for it, should be made two days after the Premier League draws to a conclusion. A panel appointed by an independent specialist dispute...
Soccer-English Premier League summary - Reuters
Wigan Athletic 1 Hugo Rodallega 29 Manchester United 2 Carlos Tevez 62, Michael Carrick 86 Halftime: 1-0 - - - Playing on Saturday (GMT) Manchester United v Arsenal (1145) Bolton Wanderers v Hull City (1400) Everton v West Ham United (1400)...
West Ham Duo Zola & Clarke Accept BBC's Libel Payout - Goal.com
The BBC have offered an undisclosed libel payout that has been accepted by West Ham United's management duo Gianfranco Zola and Steve Clarke, according to various sources today. The Hammers pair were seeking legal advice following claims made on a...

History of West Ham United F.C.

Earliest club shot, during its founding year as Thames Ironworks in 1895.  Arnold Hills pictured top left, with Francis Payne to his immediate right

West Ham United Football Club are based in Upton Park, Newham, East London and have played their home matches at the 35,647 capacity Boleyn Ground stadium since 1904.

The clubs formative roots stretch back to their formation as a professional side in 1900, but existed for at least five years prior to this under the name Thames Ironworks F.C. who themselves were built upon the remains of Old Castle Swifts F.C. (a club formed in 1892).

They were awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Team Award in honour of their UEFA Cup Winners Cup win.

Thames Ironworks, and thereby West Ham Utd, are commonly thought to have originated from the remains of the bankrupt Old Castle Swifts F.C. in 1895. Old Castle Swifts had formed in 1892 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.

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 clubs first captain and player of note.

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 workforces 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.

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 clubs 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 clubs 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 clubs 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.

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 clubs future at a later date.

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 groundrent and as a result spent over a year playing their home games on the home grounds of other local sides including those of Milwall 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 incoporate 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.

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 £1000 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.

In June 1900, Thames Ironworks was wound up but was immediately relaunched on July 5, 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 Ground in Plaistow (funded by Arnold Hills) but moved to a pitch in the Upton Park area when the team officially severed ties with the company (losing their works provisioned offices in the process). 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.

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 rivaly (even momentarily ground sharing when made homeless the following year) but eventually resulting in West Ham bring 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.

Still under the leadership of Syd King and growing influence of Charlie Paynter they won election to the 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 11 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.

I'm forever blowing bubbles, Pretty bubbles in the air. They fly so high, nearly reach the sky, And like my dreams they fade and die. Fortune's always hiding, I've looked everywhere... I'm forever blowing bubbles, pretty bubbles in the air.

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 clubs 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 Syd King and Charlie Paynter partnership was dissolved acrimoniously in 1932 after the clubs 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 clubs 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.

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.

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 Puskas 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 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 first 6th, then 14th and 16th before Greenwood led the team back into the top ten with 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 clubs 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.

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.

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.

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. They survived relegation by a comfortable margin in 1993-94 and finished 13th, but Bonds was informed that Harry Redknapp would take charge of the side for the next season, and to either accept the position of director of football or be sacked. Bonds responded by handing in his resignation.

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 Mike Marsh and brought back Julian Dicks, as well as re-signing striker Iain Dowie from Southampton. Redknapp also attempted to bring young talent to the side, signing Joey Beauchamp from Oxford United and bringing 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 £1.5m.

Redknapp spent the summer adding to the teams 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 £1.65m. 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 £10m 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 £1.5m 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 £3.3m move (again breaking the clubs transfer record) and in addition the signing of Newcastle United forward Paul Kitson in a £1.2m move and battling Manchester City midfielder Steve Lomas for £1.6m. 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 the flamboyant 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 injected some vital cutting edge and propelled the team for the first time into the upper half of the table resulting in the side finishing an impressive 8th.

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 £7.5m 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 a 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 £1.25m. In addition he also signed former Manchester United target Marc-Vivien Foé for £3.5m to solidify the midfield.

By the end of 1998/99 West Ham had achieved an impressive 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 compliment 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 3rd consecutive year in the top half (a first for West Ham).

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 gaffes 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.

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 teams 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 £30m 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 pound 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 £2.6m) 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 £2.2m), along with Scottish International Christian Dailly (who had never lived up to his great early promise for £1.75m), for a total of some £8m (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 was the loan signing 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 £12m 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 £11m. The money was subsequently granted to incoming manager Glenn Roeder.

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 unsuccessfulwith 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 (he was later to be reviled as one of the poorest players ever to wear the West Ham shirt). Out the door went a number of experienced pros such as Paul Kitson, and a hatful of youth and fringe players. Another (by now traditional) poor start plagued West Ham United through to 2003, and this time Roeder was unable to turn things round quickly enough. The loss of Kanouté for nearly 1/3rd of the season, and Di Canio at the exact 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.

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 teams 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 the 18th of September the fans didn't have to wait long for their first win with the team taking a 3-0 over Crystal Palace on the 1st of October. A subsequent victory against Derby however was the last for almost a month until title run-away leaders Wigan suffered a 4-0 hammering at Upton Park. By this point the team had slipped to 8th, and were more than 6pts off the pace of the top 6 sides. Form waxed and waned through January, February and March with early fan opinion divided over their new manager but eventually the team settled into the top 6, and barring a late season dip that for a timebeing had Pardew seemingly close to the chop, the team came through strong to run out 4th place overall. In the Play-Off finals the team were defeated 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 February 1, 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 aet with a Marlon Harewood. 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 May 13, 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. It is generally accepted that Pardew has got closer than any manager in a quarter of a century to restoring the glory years back at Upton Park.

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 October 24, 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 October 29 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 November 21, 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 December 11, 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.

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 £85m.

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.

Former West Ham United player and Charlton Athletic manager Alan Curbishley officially took over the vacant West Ham United job on December 13, 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 December 13. 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 Callum Devenport, 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 (£60k/week, compared to £30k - 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 May 5, 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 May 13, 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 a position in 15th, sending Sheffield United tumbling to the second division. After months of suffering, West Ham had survived in the Premiership.

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 (£7m), Keiron Dyer (£6m) and Nolberto Solano (free) all arrived from Newcastle United, wingers Julien Faubert (£6m) and Freddie Ljungberg (£2m) were signed from French club Bordeaux and London rivals Arsenal respectively, Craig Bellamy (£7.5m) 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 April 14 drubbing of West Ham) rather than West Ham's wrongdoing.

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West Ham United F.C. appearance records

This is a list of Premier League team West Ham United's appearance records, featuring their most loyal servants.

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West Ham United F.C.


West Ham United Football Club is an English football club based in Upton Park, London Borough of Newham, East London. They have played their home matches at the Boleyn Ground stadium since 1904.

The club was originally founded as Thames Ironworks F.C. in 1895 and was later reformed, in 1900 as West Ham United. They initially competed in the Southern League and Western League before joining the full Football League in 1919 and enjoyed their first top flight season in 1923, featuring in the first FA Cup Final to be held at Wembley that year against Bolton Wanderers. The club have won the FA Cup three times: in 1964, 1975 and 1980. They have also been runners-up twice, in 1923 and 2006.

In 1965, they won the European Cup Winners Cup (now defunct), and in 1999 they won the Intertoto Cup (also defunct).

They also won the inaugural Football League War Cup in 1940. The club's best final league position is third place in the 1985–86 (old) First Division.

West Ham currently compete in the Premier League, and finished in 10th position in the 2007–08 season. They have been members of the Premier League for all but three seasons since its creation in 1992, and their highest finish in the Premier League was 5th in 1998–99.

The earliest generally accepted incarnation of West Ham United was founded in 1895 as the Thames Ironworks team by foreman and local league referee Dave Taylor and owner Arnold Hills and was announced in the Thames Ironworks Gazette of June 1895.

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), Tom Mundy, Walter Tranter and James Lindsay (all boilermakers), William Chapman, George Sage, and William Chamberlain and apprentice riveter Charlie Dove.

The club, Thames Ironworks F.C. were the first ever winners of the West Ham Charity Cup in 1895 contested by clubs in the locality, then won the London League in 1897. They turned professional in 1898 upon entering the Southern League Second Division, and were promoted to the First Division at the first attempt. 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.

The team initially played in full dark blue kits, as inspired by Mr. Hills, who had been an Oxford University "Blue", but changed the following season by adopting the sky blue shirts and white shorts combination worn through 1897 to 1899. In 1899 they acquired their now traditional home kit combination of claret shirts and sky blue sleeves in a wager involving Aston Villa F.C. players, who were League Champions at the time.

Following growing disputes over the running and financing of the club in June 1900 Thames Ironworks F.C. was wound up, then almost immediately relaunched on 5 July 1900 as West Ham United F.C. with Syd King as their manager and future manager Charlie Paynter as his assistant. Because of the original "works team" roots and links (still represented upon the club badge), they are still known to this day as 'the Irons' or 'the Hammers' amongst fans and the media.

The reborn club continued to play their games at the Memorial Ground in Plaistow (funded by Arnold Hills) but moved to a pitch in the Upton Park area when the team officially severed ties with the company (losing their works provisioned offices in the process). After being made groundless in 1901 the team became transient, playing their home games on a number of local teams' grounds until moving to its current home, Upton Park (in the guise of the Boleyn Ground stadium), in 1904.

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.

In 1919, still under King's leadership, West Ham gained entrance to the Football League Second Division and were promoted to Division One in 1923, also making the FA Cup final that year. The team enjoyed mixed success in Division 1 but retained their status for 10 years and reached the FA Cup semifinal in 1927.

In 1932 the club was relegated to Division Two and long term custodian Sydney King was sacked after serving the club in the role of Manager for 32 years, and as a player from 1899 to 1903. He was replaced with his assistant manager Charlie Paynter who himself had been with West Ham in a number of roles since 1897 and who went on to serve the team in this role until 1950 for a total of 480 games.

The club spent most of the next 30 years in this division, first under Paynter and then later under the leadership of former player Ted Fenton. Fenton succeeded in getting the club once again promoted to the top level of English football in 1958 and in helping develop both the initial batch of future West Ham stars and West Ham's approach to the game.

Ron Greenwood was appointed as Fenton's successor in 1961 and he soon led the club to two major trophies, winning the FA Cup in 1964 and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1965. During the 1966 World Cup, key members of the England national football team were West Ham players, including the captain, Bobby Moore; Martin Peters (who scored in the final); and Geoff Hurst, who scored the only hat-trick (to date) in a World Cup final. After a difficult start to the 1974-75 season, Greenwood moved himself "upstairs" to become General Manager and without informing the board, appointed his assistant John Lyall as team manager. The result was instant success - the team scored 20 goals in the their first four games combined and won the FA Cup that year.

Lyall then guided West Ham to another European Cup Winners' Cup final in 1976, though the team lost the match 4-2 to Anderlecht. Greenwood's tenure as General Manager lasted less than three years, as he was appointed to manage England in the wake of Don Revie's resignation in 1977.

In 1978, West Ham were again relegated to Division Two, but Lyall was retained as manager and led the team to another FA Cup win in 1980. This was notable because no team outside the top division has won the trophy since that time. West Ham were promoted to Division One in 1981, but were relegated again in 1989. This second relegation resulted in John Lyall's sacking, despite the fact that that stay in Division One saw West Ham achieve their highest-ever placing in the top division, finishing 3rd in 1986.

After Lyall, Lou Macari briefly led the team, though he resigned after less than a single season in order to clear his name of allegations of illegal betting whilst manager of Swindon Town. He was replaced by former player Billy Bonds. In Bonds' first full season (1990-91), West Ham again secured promotion to Division One. The following season they were again relegated to Division 2, which had been renamed Division One as part of the league realignments surrounding the creation of the English Premier League in 1992. West Ham spent the 1992-93 season in Division One. finishing second and returning to the Premier League in May 1993.

After the 1993-94 season, Bonds quit and was replaced by Harry Redknapp in August 1994. Redknapp was active in the transfer market, and gained a reputation as a "wheeler-dealer" especially with foreign players being more available following the Bosman ruling. He led West Ham to fifth place in the 1998-99 season, but missed automatic qualification for the UEFA Cup, and instead qualified as winners of the Intertoto Cup. Despite consolidating the league placings for a handful of seasons, a disagreement with the board of directors during the close of the 2000-01 season, found Redknapp replaced with Glenn Roeder, promoted from youth team coach.

In Roeder's first season the team finished seventh, but West Ham lost by wide margins in several matches (7-1 to Blackburn, 5-0 to Everton and 5-1 to Chelsea) The subsequent season started badly and eventually resulted in relegation. Roeder, who had missed some of the season after being diagnosed with a brain tumour that was treated) was sacked on 24 August 2003, three games into the Championship campaign. Trevor Brooking (who served as manager during Glenn's ill health the previous season) stepped in as interim manager before being replaced by Alan Pardew in October 2003, headhunted from fellow promotion contenders Reading. Pardew led the team to a playoff final, though they were beaten by Crystal Palace. The club stayed in Division One (which at this time became the Championship) for another season, when they again reached the playoff final, but this time won and gained re-entry to the Premiership.

On their return to the top division, West Ham finished in 9th place,. The highlight of the 2005-06 season, however, was reaching the FA Cup final, and taking favourites Liverpool to a penalty shootout, after a thrilling three-all draw. Although West Ham lost the shootout, they gained entry to the UEFA Cup as Liverpool had already qualified for the Champions League through league position.

In August 2006, West Ham completed a major coup on the last day of the transfer window, after completing the signings of Carlos Tévez and Javier Mascherano. The club was eventually bought by an Icelandic consortium, led by Eggert Magnússon in November 2006. Manager Alan Pardew was sacked after poor form during the season and was replaced by former Charlton manager Alan Curbishley.

The signings of Mascherano and Tévez were investigated by the Premier League, who were concerned that details of the transfers had been omitted from official records. The club was found guilty and fined 5.5 million pounds in April 2007. However, West Ham avoided a points deduction which ultimately became critical in their avoidance of relegation at the end of the 2006-07 season. Following on from this event, Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan, supported by other sides facing possible relegation, including Fulham and Sheffield United, threatened legal action.

West Ham escaped relegation by winning seven of their last nine games, including a 1-0 win over Arsenal, and on the last day of the season defeated newly crowned League Champions Manchester United 1-0 with a goal by Tevez to finish 15th, above the relegation zone. Tevez' contributions were arguably important to the survival of the club in the Premiership as he scored seven goals, five of them crucial, in the last couple of months of the season to enable the team to stay up, notwithstanding his ineffectiveness throughout the early part of the season.

In the 2007-08 season, West Ham had a reasonably consistent place in the top half of the league table despite a slew of injuries; new signings Craig Bellamy and Kieron Dyer missed most of the campaign. The last game of the season, at the Boleyn Ground, saw West Ham draw 2-2 against Aston Villa; ensuring 10th place, finishing three points ahead of rivals Tottenham Hotspur. It was a five-place improvement on the previous season, and most importantly West Ham were never under any realistic threat of relegation.

After a row with the board over the sale of defenders Anton Ferdinand and George McCartney to Sunderland FC, manager Alan Curbishley resigned on 3 September 2008. His successor, Gianfranco Zola took over on 11 September 2008 and in so doing became the club's first foreign manager (The Scottish manager Lou Macari was the only other manager not from England), to coach the club and became West Ham's 12th manager..

The original club crest was a crossed pair of rivet hammers; tools commonly used in the iron and shipbuilding industry. A castle was later (circa 1903/4) added to the crest and represents a prominent local building, Green Street House, which was known as "Boleyn Castle" through an association with Anne Boleyn. The manor was reportedly one of the sites at which Henry VIII courted his second queen, though in truth there is no factual evidence other than the tradition of rumour.

The castle may have also been added as a result of the contribution made to the club by players of Old Castle Swifts, or even the adoption (in 1904) of Boleyn Castle FC as their reserve side when they took over their grounds on the site.

The crest was redesigned and updated by London design agency Springett Associates in the late 1990s, featuring a wider yellow castle with fewer cruciform "windows" along with the peaked roofs being removed; the tops of the towers had previously made the castle appear more akin to Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty's Castle than a functioning fortress. The designer also altered other details to give a more substantial feel to the iconography.

When the club redesigned the facade of the stadium (construction finished 2001/02) the 'castle' from the later badge was incorporated into the structure at the main entrance to the ground. A pair of towers are now prominent features of the ground's appearance, both bearing the club's modern insignia (which is also located in the foyer and other strategic locations).

The original colours of the team were dark blue, due to Thames Ironworks chairman Arnold Hills being a former student of Oxford University. However the team used a variety of kits including the claret and sky blue house colours of Thames Ironworks, as well as sky blue or white uniforms.

The Irons permanently adopted claret and blue for home colours in the summer of 1899. Thames Ironworks right-half Charlie Dove received the Aston Villa kit from his father William Dove, who was a professional sprinter of national repute, as well as being involved with the coaching at Thames Ironworks. Bill Dove had been at a fair in Birmingham, close to Villa Park, the home ground of Aston Villa and was challenged to a race against four Villa players, who wagered money that one of them would win.

Bill Dove defeated them and, when they were unable to pay the bet, one of the Villa players who was responsible for washing the team's kit offered a complete side's 'uniforms' to Dove in payment. The Aston Villa player subsequently reported to his club that the kit was 'missing'.

Thames Ironworks, and later West Ham United, retained the claret yoke/blue sleeves design, but also continued to use their previously favoured colours for their away kits, and indeed, in recent years the club have committed to a dark blue-white-sky blue rotation for the away colours. For instance, the 2008-09 squad will wear sky blue away kits, while last year's campaign saw white away kits, the year before saw navy blue, etc. However, last year's away kit will be the Hammers' third kit for the coming season.

West Ham announced on 2 March 2007 their new kit supplier will be Umbro for the next 3 seasons but has since been extended to the 2013/2014 season, with the club also announcing they will be changing the home and away kits at the end of every season for the next 3 years.

On 7 June 2007 the club announced their new kit sponsor will be XL.com.. On 12 September 2008 XL Leisure Group was put into administration, leaving the club without a sponsor.

On 3 December 2008, the club announced that SBOBET, a betting company, will be the shirt sponsors until the end of the 2009/10 season. Their logo will be worn on West Ham's first team shirts and replica adult kits. The Youth Academy and kids replicas will sport the Bobby Moore fund as sponsor due to the main sponsor being a betting firm.

I'm forever blowing bubbles, Pretty bubbles in the air. They fly so high, nearly reach the sky, And like my dreams they fade and die. Fortune's always hiding, I've looked everywhere... I'm forever blowing bubbles, pretty bubbles in the air.

The team's supporters are famous for their rendition of the chorus of their team's anthem, "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" introduced to the club by former manager Charlie Paynter in the late 1920s. At the time, a Pears soap commercial featuring the curly haired child in the Millais "Bubbles" painting who resembled a player Billy J. "Bubbles" Murray in a local schoolboy team of Park School for whom the headmaster Cornelius Beal coined singing the tune "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" with amended lyrics.

Beal was a friend of Paynter, whilst Murray was a West Ham trialist and played football at schoolboy level with a number of West Ham players such as Jim Barrett. Through this contrivance of association the clubs 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.

There is a slight change to the lyrics sung by the Upton Park faithful. The second line's "nearly reach the sky" is changed to "they reach the sky", "Then like my dreams" is also changed to "And like my dreams". In addition the fans begin a chant of "United, United!" to cap it off.

Bow Bells are ringing, for the Claret and Blue, Bow Bells are ringing, for the Claret and Blue, When the Hammers are scoring, and the South Bank are roaring, And the money is pouring, for the Claret and Blue, Claret and Blue, No relegation for the Claret and Blue, Just celebration for the Claret and Blue, One day we'll win a cup or two, or three, Or four or more, for West Ham and the Claret and Blue.

The 1975 FA Cup version - which contains the original lyrics, and features vocals from the teams then current players - is always played before home games, with the home crowd joining in and carrying the song on after the music stops at the verse line "Fortune's always hiding". The song was originally released as a single by the 1975 Cup Final squad and has been covered on occasion by such as the Cockney Rejects.

Like other teams (such as Liverpool F.C.'s adoption of "You'll Never Walk Alone") the team also have a history of adopting or adapting popular songs of the day to fit particular events, themes, players or personas. These have included serious renditions of theatre and movie classics such as "The Bells are Ringing", along with more pun laden or humorous efforts such as chanting former player Paolo di Canio's name to the canzone La donna è mobile by Verdi, or D.I.Canio to the tune of Ottawans D.I.S.C.O., or singing That's Zamora to the tune of Dean Martins 1953 classic That's Amore in honour of former Iron striker Bobby Zamora (this chant was originally created by the Brighton fans when he was at the club).

On the fans' darker side, they gained national attention after giving a torrid time to David Beckham in his first away match of 1998-9 the season after the England midfielder was sent off for a petulant foul on Diego Simeone. Coinciding with the game there were claims (and an image taken) that fans, organised by a hardcore, had hung an effigy of the player outside a local pub. Although it was later revealed that the pub was in South-East London, the heartland of West Ham's greatest rivals Millwall. The West Ham fans did boo Beckham's every touch of the ball during the game, however.

They have also displayed a particular zeal when it comes to abusing former players particularly those who are perceived to have abandoned the club, or performed some disservice. Famously Paul Ince ("Judas, Judas"), Frank Lampard("Fat Lumpolard") Jermain Defoe ("You're just a small Paul Ince") and Nigel Reo-Coker have born the brunt of verbal assaults and a guaranteed hostile reception at Upton Park. However, players such as Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand and Carlos Tevez receive applause and even standing ovations in honour of their contributions during their time at the club.

Many West Ham fans also follow Leyton Orient and Dagenham and Redbridge, West Ham fans can be seen at either Leyton Orient or Dagenham and Redbridge, whenever West Ham are playing away from home, although the warmth felt by West Ham fans for Orient is not usually reciprocated by the Orient supporters.

The origins of West Ham's links with organised football-related violence starts in the 1960s with the establishment of The Mile End Mob (named after a particularly tough area of the East End of London).

During the 1970s and 1980s (the main era for organised football-related violence) West Ham gained further notoriety for the levels of hooliganism in their fan base and antagonistic behaviour towards both their own and rival fans, and the police.

The Inter City Firm were one of the first "casuals", so called because they avoided police supervision by not wearing football-related clothing and travelled to away matches on regular "Inter City" trains, rather than on the cheap and more tightly-policed "football special" charter trains. The group were an infamous West Ham-aligned gang. As the firm's moniker "inter city" suggests violent activities were not confined to local derbies - the hooligans were content to cause trouble at any game, though nearby teams often bore the brunt.

During the 1990s, and to the present day, sophisticated surveillance and policing coupled with club supported promotions and community action has reduced the level of violence, though the intense rivalry and association with Millwall, Chelsea and other major players in the 'firm' scheme remains.

The 2005 film "Green Street" (an allusion to the road on which the Boleyn Ground stands) depicted an American student played by Elijah Wood becoming involved with a fictional firm associated with West Ham, with an emphasis on the rivalry with Millwall. The two teams and their Chairmen moved to distance the clubs from the movie at the time. West Ham hooliganism was again highlighted in film in 2008, with the film based on the life of well known former hooligan Cass Pennant, Cass.

West Ham have strong rivalries with several other clubs. Most of these are with other London clubs, especially with their neighbours Tottenham Hotspur and also with Chelsea, which sublimates the age-old East versus West London rivalry.

The strongest and oldest rivalry is with Millwall. The two sides are local rivals, having both formed originally around the works sides Thames Ironworks and Millwall Ironworks shipbuilding companies. They were rivals for the same contracts and the players lived in the same locality. The early history of both clubs are intertwined, with West Ham proving to be the more successful in a number of meetings between the two teams, resulting in West Ham being promoted at the expense of Millwall. Millwall later declined to join the fledgling Football League while West Ham went on to the top division and an FA Cup final. Later in the 1920s the rivalry was intensified during strike action started by the East End (perceived to be West Ham fans) which Isle Of Dogs-based companies (i.e. Millwall fans) refused to support, breeding ill will between the two camps.

The rivalry between West Ham and Millwall has involved considerable violence and is one of the most notorious within the world of football hooliganism. However, the two clubs have not played each other in 4 years.

Another rivalry which has recently developed is with Sheffield United. The Blades have tried to sue West Ham and the Premier League for damages, over their claim that West Ham had an unfair advantage by playing Carlos Tevez. The FA fined West Ham a record £5.5 million for a third party contract agreement (illegal in the English Premier League) in the deal that brought Tevez to Upton Park, but ruled that the player was registered to play and had always been registered. The FA has sat twice on the matter and has thrown the case out twice. Sheffield United still continue to pursue damages, as they believe that West Ham should have been docked points instead of fined.

The day after West Ham were fined, they continued their fight to stay in the Premier League by defeating Wigan Athletic 3-0. In their last 9 games West Ham picked up 21 points by winning 7 of their last 9 games. Sheffield United only won 2 of their last 9 games, one of which was by defeating West Ham 3-0 at home to initially go 5 points above them. Their 2-1 defeat by Wigan on the last day of the season sealed their relegation. Meanwhile, West Ham won 1-0 away to Manchester United, with Carlos Tevez scoring the only goal, to ensure that they remained in the Premier league. This action by Sheffield United has increased fan and club rivalry and they are now seen as fierce rivals.

The fans and club alike are known as "The Hammers" by the media, partly because of the club's origins as Thames Ironworks company football team (see club crest) and also (incorrectly) due to the club's name. However, they are also known as "The Irons" by their own supporters. They are also known as "The Cockney Boys" from their history of being a Cockney team. Yet another nickname is "The Academy of Football", or just "The Academy", a nickname given, then adopted by West Ham United, by the London media.

West Ham are currently based at the Boleyn Ground, commonly known as Upton Park, in Newham, East London. The capacity of the Boleyn Ground is 35,303. This has been West Ham's ground since 1904. Prior to this, in their previous incarnation of Thames Ironworks F.C., they played at Hermit Road in Canning Town and briefly at Browning Road in East Ham, before moving to the Memorial Grounds in Plaistow in 1897. They retained the stadium during their transition to becoming West Ham United and were there for a further four seasons before moving to the Boleyn Ground in 1904.

Former chairman Eggert Magnússon made clear his ambition for West Ham United to move to the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Olympics. However, the move to the Olympic Stadium was abandoned when it was revealed that the stadium would have a reduced capacity from the current Boleyn Ground, and would have to remain primarily an athletics venue.

The club promotes the popular idea of West Ham being "The Academy of Football", with the moniker adorning the ground's new stadium façade. The comment predominantly refers to the club's youth development system which was established by Manager Ted Fenton during the 1950s, that has seen a number of international players emerge through the ranks. Most notably the club contributed three players to the World Cup winning England side of 1966 including club icon Bobby Moore, as well as Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst who between them scored all of England's goals in the eventual 4-2 victory. Other academy players that have gone on to play for England have included Trevor Brooking, Alvin Martin, Tony Cottee and Paul Ince. More recently, Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Glen Johnson and Frank Lampard have begun their careers at the club. Frustratingly, for the fans and managers alike, the club has struggled to retain many of these players due to (predominantly) financial reasons. West Ham, during the 2007/08 season, had an average of 6.61 English players in the starting line up, higher than any other Premiership club, which cemented their status as one of the few Premier League clubs left that were recognised to be bringing through young English talent and were recognised as having 'homegrown players'.

In the 2003 book The Official West Ham United Dream Team, 500 fans were quizzed for who would be in their all time Hammers Eleven. The voting was restricted to players from the modern era.

The following is a list of the "Hammer of the Year award" won by West Ham United players.

West Ham have had only 12 managers in their history, fewer than any other major English club. Up until 1989 the club had only had five different managers. Before the appointment of Gianfranco Zola in 2008 the club never had an overseas manager, with the only non-Englishman being the Scot, Lou Macari. Former Hammers player and board member Trevor Brooking was briefly in charge during two separate spells as caretaker manager in 2003, first during the illness of Glenn Roeder and again between Roeder's sacking and the appointment of Alan Pardew. Former player Kevin Keen was a brief caretaker manager (just 1 game), prior to Zola's reign.

West Ham United was owned by Terry Brown until 2006, when Eggert Magnússon and Björgólfur Guðmundsson bought the club. Soon after, manager Alan Pardew was sacked and ex-Charlton Athletic Manager Alan Curbishley was hired. In a bizarre twist of fate, the two managers met each other in a relegation battle where the Hammers lost 4-0 to their South East London rivals. However, West Ham eventually stayed up and Charlton were relegated. Terry Brown was criticised by some sections of the fans (including pressure group Whistle specifically formed for this purpose) due to a perception of financial and staff mismanagement. On 18 September 2007, it was announced that Magnússon would step down as executive chairman but would still retain the role as club non-executive chairman overseeing a new management structure, and would keep his stake in the club.

However on 13 December 2007, it was announced that Magnússon had left West Ham and that his 5 per cent holding had been bought by club majority owner Björgólfur Guðmundsson. He has since been blamed for West Ham´s overindulgence in the summer of 2007 when the team agreed sky-high wages for some players who then didn´t live up to expectations, Fredrik Ljungberg being a particular example.

On 11 September 2008, the BBC News Channel reported that the team's main sponsor, XL Leisure Group had been placed in administration, although Simon Calder of The Independent confirmed the group's website was still taking bookings.

The XL Leisure Group confirmed on their website that 11 companies associated with the group had been put into administration on 12 September 2008. This includes XL Airways UK Limited, Excel Aviation Limited, Explorer House Limited, Aspire Holidays Limited, Freedom Flights Limited, The Really Great Holiday Company plc, Medlife Hotels Limited, Travel City Direct, and Kosmar Villa Holidays plc. It does not affect the German and French divisions of the company's operations.

As of 12 September 2008 the club terminated its contract with XL Leisure group.

On December 3 2008 West Ham announced that they had signed a shirt sponsorship deal with Far Eastern betting firm SBOBET. The deal is set to run until the end of the 2009/10 season, and will see the company's logo on First Team and Reserve Team kit, and adult replica shirts; all Academy teams and child replica shirts will carry the logo of the Bobby Moore Fund.

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The Official West Ham United Dream Team

In preparation for their 2003 book The Official West Ham United Dream Team (ISBN 978-0600608356) writers Adam Ward and Dave Smith quizzed around 500 West Ham United fans as to who would be in their all time Hammers Eleven, selecting their teams in a 4-4-2 formation as well as choosing their favourite managers, goals and games. Adverts appeared in the club programme and on the official website. The voting was restricted to players from the modern era, so the list did not include legends such as Vic Watson, Syd Puddefoot and Jimmy Ruffell.

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West Ham United F.C. season 1975-76

West Ham United were unbeaten in their first nine games and sitting in second place at the start of the 1975-1976 season. By the end of the season they had finished in 18th and were only six points away from relegation.

However, West Ham had saved their best form for their third foray into European competition. They managed to reach the final of the Cup Winners' Cup, losing to Anderlecht 4-2.

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Source : Wikipedia