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West Ham United

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West Ham United

Not to be confused with FC West Ham United.

West Ham United F.C.
Full name West Ham United Football Club
Nickname(s) The Irons
The Hammers
The Academy of Football
Founded 1895;  (1895), as Thames Ironworks
Ground The Boleyn Ground
Ground Capacity 35,016[1]
Owner David Sullivan 55.6%
David Gold 30.6%
CB Holding Ltd. 10%
Minority Investors 3.8%[2]
Manager Sam Allardyce
League Premier League
2012–13 Premier League, 10th
Website Club home page
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours
Current season

West Ham United Football Club is an English professional football club based in Upton Park, East London, England currently playing in the Premier League, England's top tier of football. The club was founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks FC and reformed in 1900 as West Ham United. In 1904 the club relocated to their current Boleyn Ground stadium. They initially competed in the Southern League and Western League before eventually joining the full Football League in 1919 and subsequently enjoyed promotion to the top flight for the 1923 season. 1923 also saw the club feature in the first FA Cup Final to be held at Wembley against Bolton Wanderers.

In 1940 the team won the inaugural Football League War Cup. The club have won the FA Cup three times: in 1964, 1975 and 1980 as well as being runners-up twice, in 1923 and 2006. In 1965, they won the European Cup Winners Cup, and in 1999 they won the Intertoto Cup. They are one of eight clubs existing today to never compete below the second tier of English football,[3] however, unlike the other seven, West Ham has never won the league title.[4] The club's best final league position is third place in the 1985–86 First Division.

Three West Ham players were considered an important factor behind England's triumph in the 1966 World Cup. England's captain at the time was West Ham's Bobby Moore, and both goalscorers in the final were then current players Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters.



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[5] 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.[5]

1895–96: First kit[6]

The club, Thames Ironworks[7] 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.[8] 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 in a relegation play-off, 5–1 in late April 1900 and retained their First Division status.[8]

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 players, who were League Champions at the time.[9] [10]

Following growing disputes over the running and financing of the club in June 1900 Thames Ironworks F.C. was disbanded,[7] then almost immediately relaunched on 5 July 1900 as West Ham United F.C. with Syd King[7] 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 as 'the Irons' or 'the Hammers' amongst fans and the media.[7][11][12]

Birth of West Ham United

West Ham Utd had joined the Western League for the 1901 season[13] 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 League Overall Champions.[13] The reborn club continued to play their games at the Memorial Grounds in Plaistow (funded by Arnold Hills) but moved to a pitch in the Upton Park area in the guise of the Boleyn Ground stadium in 1904. West Ham's first game in their new home was against fierce rivals Millwall[7] (themselves an Ironworks team, albeit for a rival company) drawing a crowd of 10,000 and with West Ham running out 3–0 winners,[14] and as the Daily Mirror wrote on 2 September 1904:

In 1919, still under King's leadership, West Ham gained entrance to the Football League Second Division, the first game being a 1–1 draw with Lincoln City, and were promoted to Division One in 1923, also making the first ever FA Cup Final to be held at the old Wembley stadium. Their opponents were Bolton Wanderers. This was also known as the White Horse Final. This is because so many people turned up to the game, (estimated at 200,000), that they spilled out on to the pitch. The pitch had to be cleared prior to kick-off, by Billie, a giant white horse (actually grey) being ridden by PC George Scorey. The Cup Final match itself ended 2–0 to Bolton Wanderers. The team enjoyed mixed success in Division 1 but retained their status for 10 years and reached the FA Cup semi-final in 1933.[15]

In 1932 the club was relegated to Division Two[16] and long term custodian Syd King was sacked after serving the club in the role of Manager for 32 years, and as a player from 1899 to 1903. Following relegation King had mental health problems. He appeared drunk at a board meeting and soon after committed suicide.[17] 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, with the considerable input of player, Malcolm Allison, helped develop both the initial batch of future West Ham stars and West Ham's approach to the game.[18][19][20][21]

The glory years

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.The team was led by the young Bobby Moore.[22] They also won the European Cup Winners' Cup .[23][24] During the 1966 World Cup, key members of the tournament winners England were West Ham players, including the captain, Bobby Moore; Martin Peters (who scored in the final); and Geoff Hurst, who scored the first, and only, hat-trick in a World Cup final.[24][25] All three players had come through the youth team at West Ham.[26] There is a "Champions" statue in Barking Road, opposite The Boleyn Tavern, commemorating West Ham's three sons who helped win the 1966 World Cup: Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters. Also included on the statue is Everton's Ray Wilson.[27]
They also won the FA Cup in 1975 by defeating Fulham 2-0.The Fulham team had former England captains Alan Mullery and West Ham legend Bobby Moore.[28]

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.[29] The result was instant success – the team scored 20 goals in their first four games combined and won the FA Cup, becoming the last team to win the FA Cup with an all-English side when they beat Fulham 2–0 in the 1975 final.[30] Lyall then guided West Ham to another European Cup Winners' Cup final in 1976, though the team lost the match 4–2 to Anderlecht.[31] 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.[32]

Their last major honour was winning the FA Cup in 1980.They made into the finals by defeating Everton.[33] The final was played against Arsenal in which The Hammers won 1-0, for a goal scored from header by Trevor Brooking in the 13rth minute.[34]

Ups and downs

In 1978, West Ham were again relegated to Division Two, but Lyall was retained as manager and led the team to an FA Cup Final win against Arsenal in 1980. This is notable as no team outside the top division has won the trophy since. West Ham were promoted to Division One in 1981, and finished in the top ten of the first division for the next three seasons before achieving their highest-ever league finish of third in 1985–86. However, they suffered relegation again in 1989, which resulted in Lyall's sacking.[35] He was awarded an ex gratia payment of £100,000 but left the club in what Lyall described as 'upsetting' circumstances, meriting only 73 words in a terse acknowledgement of his service in the club programme, Lyall left West Ham after 34 years service.[36]

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.[37] He was replaced by former player Billy Bonds.[38] In Bonds' first full season (1990–91), West Ham again secured promotion to Division One. Now back in the top flight Bonds saw West Ham through one of their most controversial seasons. With the club planning to introduce a bond scheme there was crowd unrest.[39][40][41][42] Bond's West Ham finished 2nd and again gained promotion, this time to the Premier League. With Trevor Morley and Clive Allen scoring 40 goals, they gained promotion on the last day of the season with a 2-0 home win against Cambridge United.[43][44]

With the team in the Premier League there was a need to rebuild the team. Oxford United player Joey Beauchamp was recruited for a fee of £1.2m. Shortly after arriving at the club he complained that he should not have made the move as it was too far from his Oxford home. Bonds found this attitude hard to understand compared with his own committed, never-say-die style. This was the first evidence of his losing appetite for the modern game and modern player.[45] 58 days later Beauchamp was signed by Swindon Town for a club-record combined fee of £800,000, which included defender Adrian Whitbread going in the opposite direction. Whitbread was valued at £750,000 in the deal.[46]

Assistant manager Harry Redknapp was also now taking a bigger role in the transfer of players, with the club's approval. With rumours of his old club, AFC Bournemouth being prepared to offer him a position [47] the West Ham board and their managing director, Peter Storrie made a controversial move. The board were anxious not to lose Redknapp's services and offered Bonds a place away from the day-to-day affairs of the club, on the West Ham board. This would have allowed them to appoint Redknapp as manager. Bonds refused the post offered and walked away from the club.[48] His accusations of deceit and manipulation by the board and by Redknapp have continued to cause ill-feeling.[48] Peter Storrie claimed they that they had handled the situation correctly, saying, "If Harry had gone to Bournemouth, there was a good chance Bill would have resigned anyway, so we were in a no-win situation. We're sad that Bill is going, and it's a big blow but it's time to move on and we have appointed a great manager".[49] Redknapp became manager on 10 August 1994.[50]

Redknapp's time at West Ham was notable for the turnover of players during his tenure and for the level of attractive football and success which had not been seen since the managership of John Lyall. Over 134 players passed through the club while he was manager producing a net transfer fee deficit of £16m even after the £18m sale of Rio Ferdinand.[51] Some were notably successful such as the signings of Stuart Pearce,[52] Trevor Sinclair,[52] Paolo Di Canio,[52] John Hartson,[52] Eyal Berkovic[52] and Ian Wright.[53] Some were expensive, international players who failed at West Ham such as Florin Raducioiu,[52] Davor Suker, who earned as much in wages as the revenue gained from one entire stand yet made only eight appearances,[51] Christian Bassila who cost £720,000 and played only 86 minutes of football,[51] Titi Camara, Gary Charles, whose wages amounted to £4.4m but made only three starts for the club,[51] Rigobert Song, Paolo Futre[52] and Marco Boogers,[52] a player often quoted as one of the biggest failures in the Premier League.[54] His first season in charge saw West Ham fighting the threat of relegation until the last few weeks.[55] His third season saw another relegation battle. Always willing to enter the transfer market, Redknapp bought in the winter transfer window John Hartson and Paul Kitson who added the impetus needed at the season's end.[56][57]

In 1999, West Ham finished fifth. This was their highest position in the top flight since 1986.[52] They also won the Intertoto Cup beating FC Metz to qualify for the UEFA Cup.[52][58] Things started to falter for Redknapp with the sale for £18m to Leeds United of Rio Ferdinand in November 2000. Redknapp used the transfer money poorly with purchases such as Ragnvald Soma who cost £800,000 and played only seven league games, Camera and Song. Redknapp felt he needed more funds with which to deal in the transfer market.[59] Chairman Brown lost patience with Redknapp due to his demands for further transfer funds. In June 2001 called to a meeting with Brown expecting to discuss contracts, he was fired.[59] His assistant Frank Lampard left too, making the sale of his son Frank jnr inevitable.[59] In the summer of 2001 he joined Chelsea for £11m.[60]

With several names such as former player Alan Curbishley now linked with the job chairman Brown recruited from within the club.[59] Reserve team coach Glenn Roeder was appointed manager on 9 May 2001.[50] He had already failed in management with Gillingham, where he lost 22 of the 35 games he managed, and Watford.[61] His first big signings were the return of Don Hutchison for £5m[62] and Czech centre back Tomas Repka.[63] Finishing 7th in his first season[64] Roeder, in his office at Upton Park, suffered a blocked blood vessel in his brain.[61][65] Now needing medical help and recuperation, former stalwart Trevor Brooking stood in as caretaker manager.[65] Despite not losing another game the Hammers were relegated on the last day of the season at Birmingham City with a record for a relegated club of 42 points. Nine seasons of top tier football were over.[66] Many top players including Joe Cole, Di Canio and Kanoute all left the club.

The next season now in the second tier Roeder resumed as manager. Results were still poor and after an away defeat to Rotherham United he was sacked on 24 August 2003.[61] Brooking again took over as caretaker.[67] He lost only one game, a 2-0 away defeat to Gillingham[68] and is known as "the best manager West Ham never had".[69] Former Crystal Palace player and the manager of Reading, Alan Pardew was lined up to be the next manager. Reading and their chairman, John Madejski, were reluctant to let him leave.[70] After serving a period of notice and gardening leave and with West Ham paying Reading £380,000 in compensation he was appointed manager on 18 October 2003, their tenth manager.[71] Pardew set out to rebuild the side bringing in Nigel Reo-Coker,[72] Marlon Harewood[73] and Brian Deane.[74] In his 1st season in charge they made the playoff final only to lose to Crystal Palace.[75] His signings of Bobby Zamora, Matthew Etherington and veterans Chris Powell and Teddy Sheringham saw West Ham finishing 6th and subsequently beat Preston North End 1-0, thanks to a Zamora goal, in the 2005 playoff final to return to the Premier League.[76] Pardew said "It's a team effort. We defended well and we're back where we belong."[77]

Recent seasons

On their return to the top division, West Ham finished in 9th place,[78] The highlight of the 2005–06 season, however, was reaching the FA Cup final, and taking favourites Liverpool to a penalty shootout, after a three-all draw. West Ham lost the shootout but still gained entry to the UEFA Cup as Liverpool had already qualified for the Champions League.

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.[79] The club was eventually bought by an Icelandic consortium, led by Eggert Magnússon in November 2006.[80] Manager Alan Pardew was sacked after poor form during the season[81] and was replaced by former Charlton manager Alan Curbishley.[82]

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.[83] 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.[84] 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 Tévez to finish 15th.[85]

In the 2007–08 season, West Ham remained reasonably consistently in the top half of the league table, with Fredrik Ljungberg in the team, despite a slew of injuries; new signing Craig Bellamy missed most of the campaign with Kieron Dyer out from August 2007.[86][87] 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, manager Alan Curbishley resigned on 3 September 2008.[88] His successor was former Chelsea striker Gianfranco Zola. Zola took over on 11 September 2008 and in so doing became the club's first non-British manager.[89] In the 2008–09 season West Ham finished 9th, a single place improvement.

In the 2009–10 season, West Ham started strongly with a 2–0 win over newly promoted Wolves with goals from Mark Noble and newly appointed captain Matthew Upson.[90] A League Cup match against old rivals Millwall brought about violent riots outside the ground as well as pitch invasions and crowd trouble inside Upton Park.[91][92] In August 2009 the financial concerns of Icelandic owners parent companies left the current owners unable to provide any funds until a new owner was found. The club's shirt sponsor SBOBET provided the club with help purchase a much needed striker, Alessandro Diamanti.[93]

West Ham had a poor season which involved a prolonged battle against relegation.[94] They finally secured their survival with two games remaining by defeating Wigan Athletic 3–2.[95] The club managed to take 35 points from 38 games, seven fewer than the total they had when relegated seven years prior.[94] On 11 May 2010, two days after the end of the 2009–10 season, West Ham announced the termination of Zola's contract with immediate effect.[96] On 3 June 2010, Avram Grant signed a four-year deal to become the next manager of West Ham subject to a work permit.[97] West Ham's form continued to be poor with the team seldom outside the relegation zone,[98] placing Grant's future as manager under serious doubt.[99] A 4–0 Football League Cup quarter-final win over Manchester United was an otherwise bright point in a disappointing season.[100] West Ham's form in the Premier League did not affect their form in the two domestic cups. The Hammers reached the semi-final of the League Cup before being eliminated by eventual winners Birmingham City as well as the quarter final of the FA cup before a 2–1 defeat at Stoke City.[101][102]

On 15 May 2011, West Ham's relegation to the Championship was confirmed after a comeback from Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium. With West Ham leading 2–0 at half-time by two Demba Ba goals, Wigan battled back to win 3–2 thanks to an added-time strike from Charles N'Zogbia. Following the loss, West Ham announced the sacking of manager Avram Grant just one season into his tenure.[103] On 1 June 2011, Sam Allardyce was appointed as manager as Grant's replacement.[104]

The club finished third in the 2011–12 Football League Championship with 86 points and took part in the play offs. They beat Cardiff City F.C. in the play off semi-final 5–0 on aggregate to reach the final against Blackpool at Wembley on 19 May 2012. Carlton Cole opened the scoring, and although Blackpool equalised early in the second half, Ricardo Vaz Tê scored the winner for West Ham in the 87th minute.[105]

West Ham on their return to the Premier League signed former players James Colllins and George McCartney on permanent deals, as well as record signing Matt Jarvis and Andy Carroll on loan.[106][107][108][109] They won their first game of the season, on 18 August 2012, 1–0 against Aston Villa thanks to a Kevin Nolan goal.[110] The highlight of the first half of the season was a 3–1 home win against reigning European champions Chelsea on 1 December 2012 which saw them in 8th position[111] and 12th at the end of the year.[112] On 22 March 2013, West Ham secured a 99-year lease deal on the Olympic Stadium, with it planned to be used as their home ground from the 2016–17 season.[113] 10th place was secured at the end of the season with nine home wins and only three away from home. Only eleven away goals were scored, the lowest of the entire league.[114] In June 2013 West Ham again broke their record transfer fee with the signing of Andy Carroll signed a six-year contract for a fee of £15m.[115]


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 1903–04) 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.[116]

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[117] 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.[118]

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).[119]


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 kit.[120][121]

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.[122]

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 team's 'football kits' to Dove in payment. The Aston Villa player subsequently reported to his club that the kit was 'missing'.[123] This however, is often disputed. The predecessors of Thames Ironworks, Old Castle Swifts FC, played in pale blue shirts, white shorts and claret socks as early as 1892, around the same time Aston Villa played in said same colours.

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.

Supporters, hooliganism and rivalries


Main article: West Ham United F.C. supporters

I'm forever blowing bubbles,
Pretty bubbles in the air.
They fly so high, nearly reach the sky,
Then 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.

—original lyrics to "Bubbles", from John Helliar[124]

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. A Pears soap commercial featuring the curly haired child in the Millais' "Bubbles" was well known at the time. The child resembled a player, Billy J. "Bubbles" Murray, from local schoolboy team, Park School, where the headmaster was Cornelius Beal. Beal was known locally for his music and rhyme and wrote special words to the tune of "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" whenever any player was having a good game.[125]

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.[124]

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.[126]

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.

—Supporters song to the tune of 'The Bells are Ringing', circa 1960[127]

The 1975 FA Cup version – which contains the original lyrics, and features vocals from the team's 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".[128] Bubbles was published as a waltz whereas during the game the crowd sing it in common time.[128][129]

Like other teams 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,[130] or D.I. Canio to the tune of Ottawan's "D.I.S.C.O.", or the chant of "Who Let The Pott's Out?" to the tune of Baha Men's"Who Let the Dogs Out?" when Potts could be seen warming up to come on as substitute late on in his career or That's Zamora, to the tune of Dean Martin's 1953 "That's Amore" in honour of former Iron striker Bobby Zamora. Other former players to be serenaded include Christian Dailly with vastly altered lyrics to Frankie Valli's "Can't Take My Eyes Off You",[131] Joe Cole with Spandau Ballet's "Gold" song title sung as "Cole"[132] and Ludek Miklosko. A song for West Ham favourite, Bobby Moore, "Viva Bobby Moore", is also sung based on The Business's Oi! rendition of the song, based on The Equals 1969 release "Viva Bobby Joe".[133]

Fans gained national attention after giving a torrid time to David Beckham in his first away match of 1998–99 the season after the England midfielder was sent off for a petulant foul on Diego Simeone.[134] 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.[135]

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,[136][137] Frank Lampard,[138] Jermain Defoe,[139] Craig Bellamy[140] and Nigel Reo-Coker[141] have borne the brunt of verbal assaults and a guaranteed hostile reception at Upton Park. However, players such as Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand, Bobby Zamora and Carlos Tévez receive applause and even standing ovations in honour of their contributions during their time at the club. Joe Cole subsequently rejoined West Ham from Liverpool midway through the 2012–13 season.[142]


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 an area of the East End of London).[143] 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. During the 70s in particular, rival groups of West Ham Fans from neighbouring areas often did battle with each other at games, most often groups from the neighbouring districts of Barking and Dagenham.[144]

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 InterCity 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.[144]

The 2005 independent film Green Street starring Elijah Wood and Charlie Hunnam focuses on a firm of West Ham United hooligans.[145]


West Ham have strong rivalries with several other clubs. Most of these are with other London clubs, especially with Tottenham Hotspur in an east versus north London derby[146] and with Chelsea in an east versus west London rivalry. The rivalry between West Ham and Tottenham has been fuelled by players such as Michael Carrick, Martin Peters, Paul Allen, Jermain Defoe and Scott Parker leaving the Hammers to join Tottenham.[147] The rivalry deepened with the appointment of former Hammers manager Harry Redknapp as Tottenham's manager.[148] Since the 2006–07 Premier League season, West Ham have developed a strong rivalry with Yorkshire club Sheffield United, due to the dubious circumstances surrounding the transfer of Carlos Tévez.[149][150][151]

The oldest and fiercest 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 bitterness of this betrayal enduring for years. [152]

The rivalry between West Ham and Millwall has involved considerable violence and is one of the most notorious within the world of football hooliganism. The teams were drawn against each other in the second round of the 2009–10 League Cup and met on 25 August 2009 at Upton Park. This was the first time in four years that the two clubs had played each other, and the first ever in the League Cup. Clashes between fans occurred outside the ground, resulting in violence erupting up to half a mile away from the stadium, with serious injuries, damage to property and several arrests reported by police. There were also several pitch invasions which brought a temporary halt to the game.[153]


The team and supporters are known as "The Hammers", in part because of the club's origins as Thames Ironworks (see club crest) and also erroneously, due to the club's name.[154] They are also known as "The Irons"[154] and as "The Cockney Boys" as they are a Cockney club.[155] Other nicknames are "The Academy of Football", or just "The Academy".[156]


West Ham is currently based at the Boleyn Ground, commonly known as Upton Park, in Newham, east London. The capacity of the Boleyn Ground is 35,016.[1] This has been West Ham's ground since 1904. Prior to this, in their previous incarnation of Thames Ironworks, 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, a desire reiterated by current chairmen Gold and Sullivan when they assumed control of the club stating that they felt it was a logical move for the Government as it was in the borough of Newham.

However in February 2010, the British Olympic Minister stated that West Ham would not get the stadium, and it would instead be used for track and field.[157] On 17 May 2010 West Ham and Newham London Borough Council submitted a formal plan to the Olympic Park Legacy Company for the use of the Olympic Stadium following the 2012 Olympic Games. The proposal was for a stadium with a capacity of 60,000 which would retain a competition athletics track. The proposal was welcomed by the chairman of UK athletics, Ed Warner, who said "I think it will feel great as a football stadium and I speak as a football fan as well the chairman of UK Athletics. I think you'd find West Ham would cover the track in the winter season so it wouldn't look like you had a track between you and the pitch".[158][159]

On 30 September 2010, the club formally submitted its bid for the Olympic Stadium with a presentation at 10 Downing Street,[160] and on 8 October 2010 the world's largest live entertainment company Live Nation endorsed the club's Olympic Stadium plans.[161] Three days after Live Nation's endorsement UK Athletics confirmed its formal support for West Ham United and Newham Council in their joint bid to take over the Olympic Stadium in legacy mode.[162] In November 2010 West Ham United commenced a search for potential developers for "informal discussions" about what would happen to the ground if it were to win its bid to take over the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games. According to the club, the site could be vacated and open to redevelopment by the summer of 2014.[163] On 11 February 2011 the Olympic Park Legacy Committee selected West Ham United as the preferred club to move into the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games.[164][165]

The decision in favour of West Ham's bid was unanimous,[166] although controversial as local rivals Tottenham Hotspur had also been bidding for the venue.[167] However, their hopes of moving to the stadium have since been placed under doubt following a challenge by Leyton Orient, fearful that having West Ham playing less than a mile away from their Brisbane Road ground could steal support from the club and put them out of business.[168] On 3 March 2011 West Ham United's proposed move to the Olympic Stadium was formally approved by the British government and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

On 8 June 2011, it was confirmed that the Westfield Shopping Centre had been in detailed talks with West Ham for naming rights of the new Olympic stadium which could be called the Westfield Stadium[169] In August 2011 an independent investigation initiated by the Olympic Park Legacy Company upheld the decision to award West Ham the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games. West Ham announced plans to move from The Boleyn Ground from season 2014–15.[170]

By March 2012 West Ham was one of the four bidders for the Stadium. With a decision due by the Olympic Park Legacy Company in May 2012 Boris Johnson delayed the final selection of future tenants until completion of the 2012 Olympics stating that it was "overwhelmingly likely" that the tenants would be West Ham United.[171][172]

It was announced on 22 March 2013, that the team signed a 99-year lease for the Olympic Stadium after the government agreed to put in an extra £25m towards the costs of converting the site. It is seen as a massive step forward for the club. They plan to move into the Stadium before the start of the 2016–17 season.[173]

The Academy of Football

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.[174] 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.

Since the late 1990s Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Glen Johnson began their careers at West Ham and all went on to play for one of the "Big Four" clubs. Most recently the likes of first team midfield regulars Mark Noble and Jack Collison and younger stars Freddie Sears, Junior Stanislas, James Tomkins, Josh Payne, Jordan Spence and Zavon Hines have emerged through the Academy. Frustratingly, for the fans and managers alike,[175] the club has struggled to retain many of these players due to (predominantly) financial reasons.[176] West Ham, during the 2007–08 season, had an average of 6.61 English players in the starting line up, higher than any other Premier League club,[177] 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'. Between 2000 and 2011, the club produced eight England players, as many as Manchester United and one fewer than Arsenal.[178] Much of the success of The Academy has been attributed to Tony Carr who has been West Ham youth coach since 1973.[179]


As of 29 August 2013.[180]

First-team squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
2 New Zealand DF Winston Reid
3 Northern Ireland DF George McCartney
4 England MF Kevin Nolan (captain)
5 England DF James Tomkins
7 England MF Matt Jarvis
8 Romania DF Răzvan Raț
9 England FW Andy Carroll
10 Wales MF Jack Collison
11 Mali FW Modibo Maïga
12 Portugal FW Ricardo Vaz Tê
13 Spain GK Adrián
14 England MF Matthew Taylor
15 England MF Ravel Morrison
16 England MF Mark Noble
17 Republic of Ireland DF Joey O'Brien
18 France MF Alou Diarra
19 Wales DF James Collins
No. Position Player
20 Ivory Coast DF Guy Demel
21 Senegal MF Mohamed Diamé
22 Finland GK Jussi Jääskeläinen
23 England MF Stewart Downing
24 England FW Carlton Cole
25 Republic of Ireland GK Stephen Henderson
26 England MF Joe Cole
27 England DF Daniel Potts
29 Switzerland GK Raphael Spiegel
30 Croatia FW Mladen Petrić
33 England DF Pelly Ruddock
34 England MF George Moncur
35 United States MF Sebastian Lletget
37 England DF Leo Chambers
38 Australia FW Dylan Tombides
40 England MF Matthias Fanimo

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
32 England FW Elliot Lee (at Colchester United until 23 November 2013)

Development Squad (Under 21 Squad)

Retired numbers

Club captains

Dates Name Notes
1895 Scotland Bob Stevenson
1895–98 Unknown
c.1898–99 England Walter Tranter
1899 England Tom Bradshaw Following an accidental kick to the head, Bradshaw died shortly after on Christmas Day
1899–03 England Charlie Dove
c.1903–04 England Ernest Watts
1904–07 England David Gardner
1907–11 England Frank Piercy
1911–15 England Tommy Randall
1915–19 None No football was played during the First World War
1919–21 Unknown
c.1921–22 England Billy Cope
1922–26 England George Kay
1926–27 England Jack Hebden
1927–28 Unknown
1928–29 England Tommy Hodgson
1929–36 Unknown
c.1936–39 England Charles Bicknell
1939–45 None No football was played during the Second World War
1945–47 England Charles Bicknell Remained captain after World War II
1947–51 England Dick Walker Following his retirement, he helped to clean the boots of younger players
1951–57 England Malcolm Allison Fell ill with tuberculosis after a game in 1957 and consequently had a lung removed
1957–60 Republic of Ireland Noel Cantwell First captain not from the United Kingdom
1960–61 England Ken Brown
1961–74 England Bobby Moore
1974–84 England Billy Bonds
1984–90 England Alvin Martin
1990–92 England Ian Bishop
1992–93 England Julian Dicks
1993–96 England Steve Potts
1996–97 England Julian Dicks
1997–01 Northern Ireland Steve Lomas
2001–03 Italy Paolo Di Canio First captain not from the British Isles
2003 England Joe Cole
2003–05 Scotland Christian Dailly
2005–07 England Nigel Reo-Coker
2007–09 Australia Lucas Neill First captain from outside Europe
2009–11 England Matthew Upson
2011– England Kevin Nolan

West Ham dream team

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.

1 England GK Phil Parkes
2 Scotland DF Ray Stewart
3 England DF Julian Dicks
4 England MF Billy Bonds
5 England DF Alvin Martin
6 England DF Bobby Moore
7 England MF Martin Peters
8 England MF Trevor Brooking
9 England FW Geoff Hurst
10 Italy FW Paolo Di Canio
11 England MF Alan Devonshire

Hammer of the Year

The following is a list of the "Hammer of the Year award" won by West Ham United players.[181] Trevor Brooking was the first player for West Ham United to have been honoured with the title of 'Hammer of the Year' three times in a row (1976, 1977 and 1978). Scott Parker repeated this feat in 2009–2011.[182] Brooking has won the award the most times, on five occasions (1972, 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1984). Bobby Moore, Billy Bonds and Julian Dicks have each won it four times.

Bobby Moore has been runner-up four times, while Billy Bonds and Tony Cottee have both been runners-up three times.

Billy Bonds and Trevor Brooking's wins are notable in the amount of time between first and last "Hammer of the Year Award". Bonds has sixteen years separating his wins whilst Brooking has twelve.

Year Winner Runner-Up
1958 England Andy Malcolm
1959 England Ken Brown
1960 England Malcolm Musgrove
1961 England Bobby Moore
1962 Scotland Lawrie Leslie Scotland John Dick
1963 England Bobby Moore England Jim Standen
1964 England Johnny Byrne England Bobby Moore
1965 England Martin Peters England Bobby Moore
1966 England Geoff Hurst England Martin Peters
1967 England Geoff Hurst England Bobby Moore
1968 England Bobby Moore England Trevor Brooking
1969 England Geoff Hurst England Billy Bonds
1970 England Bobby Moore England Billy Bonds
1971 England Billy Bonds England Bobby Moore
1972 England Trevor Brooking Scotland Bobby Ferguson
1973 England Pop Robson England Trevor Brooking
1974 England Billy Bonds England Mervyn Day
1975 England Billy Bonds England Mervyn Day
1976 England Trevor Brooking England Graham Paddon
1977 England Trevor Brooking England Alan Devonshire
1978 England Trevor Brooking
1979 England Alan Devonshire England Pop Robson
1980 England Alvin Martin Scotland Ray Stewart
1981 England Phil Parkes England Geoff Pike
1982 England Alvin Martin England Trevor Brooking
1983 England Alvin Martin England Phil Parkes
1984 England Trevor Brooking England Tony Cottee
1985 England Paul Allen England Tony Cottee
Year Winner Runner-Up
1986 England Tony Cottee Scotland Frank McAvennie
1987 England Billy Bonds England Mark Ward
1988 England Stewart Robson England Billy Bonds
1989 England Paul Ince England Julian Dicks
1990 England Julian Dicks England Stuart Slater
1991 Czech Republic Luděk Mikloško England George Parris
1992 England Julian Dicks England Steve Potts
1993 England Steve Potts England Kevin Keen
1994 England Trevor Morley England Steve Potts
1995 England Steve Potts England Tony Cottee
1996 England Julian Dicks Northern Ireland Iain Dowie
1997 England Julian Dicks Croatia Slaven Bilić
1998 England Rio Ferdinand Northern Ireland Steve Lomas
1999 Trinidad and Tobago Shaka Hislop England Ian Pearce
2000 Italy Paolo Di Canio England Trevor Sinclair
2001 England Stuart Pearce Italy Paolo Di Canio
2002 France Sébastien Schemmel England Joe Cole
2003 England Joe Cole England Jermain Defoe
2004 England Matthew Etherington England Michael Carrick
2005 England Teddy Sheringham England Mark Noble
2006 Wales Danny Gabbidon England Marlon Harewood
2007 Argentina Carlos Tévez England Bobby Zamora
2008 England Robert Green Northern Ireland George McCartney
2009 England Scott Parker England Robert Green
2010 England Scott Parker Italy Alessandro Diamanti
2011 England Scott Parker England Robert Green
2012 England Mark Noble England James Tomkins
2013 New Zealand Winston Reid Finland Jussi Jääskeläinen

Current staff

As of 12 December 2012.[183]
Staff and directors
Position Name
Co-chairman Wales David Sullivan
Co-chairman England David Gold
Vice-chairman England Karren Brady
Non-executive director Daniel Harris
Non-executive director Bob Ellis
Honorary life president England Terry Brown (former owner)
Football secretary Liz Coley
Finance director Nick Igoe
Olympic project director Ian Tompkins
Operations director Ben Illingworth
Commercial director Barry Webber
Head of media Greg Demetriou
Coaching staff
Position Name
Manager England Sam Allardyce
Assistant manager England Neil McDonald
First team coach England Ian Hendon
Goalkeeping coach Wales Martyn Margetson
Development coach Nick Haycock
Fitness coach Eamon Swift
First team physiotherapist Stijn Vandenbroucke
Head of sports medicine Andy Rolls
Club doctor Richard Weiler
Medical officer Sean Howlett
Head of performance analysis David Woodfine
Director of youth academy England Tony Carr


West Ham have had only fourteen permanent managers in their history and an additional three caretaker managers. Their current manager is Sam Allardyce.

Main article: West Ham United F.C. managers
Manager Caretaker Manager Period G W D L Win % Honours/Notes
England Syd King 1901–32 638 248 146 244 38.87 Club's longest serving manager (31 years). FA Cup runners up 1923
England Charlie Paynter 1932–50 480 198 116 166 41.25
England Ted Fenton 1950–61 483 192 107 184 39.75 Old Division Two Champions 1957–58
England Ron Greenwood 1961–74 613 215 165 233 35.07 FA Cup winners 1964, UEFA Cup Winners Cup winners 1965
England John Lyall 1974–89 708 277 176 255 39.12 FA Cup 1975, 1980. Highest placed finish in club's history (3rd in Old Division One 1985–86)
Scotland Lou Macari 1989–90 38 14 12 12 36.84 Club's first non-English manager.
England Ronnie Boyce 1990 1 0 1 0 0.00
England Billy Bonds 1990–94 227 99 61 67 43.61 Best win percentage of the club's permanent managers.
England Harry Redknapp 1994–01 327 121 85 121 37.00 UEFA Intertoto Cup joint winners 1999 (European qualification)
England Glenn Roeder 2001–03 86 27 23 36 31.40
England Trevor Brooking 2003 14 9 4 1 64.29 Best win percentage of the club's caretaker managers.
England Alan Pardew 2003–06 163 67 38 58 41.10 Championship Play Off Winners 2005, FA Cup runners up 2006 (European qualification)
England Alan Curbishley 2006–08 71 28 14 29 39.44 Best Premier League win percentage recorded of club's Premier League era managers (37.10%).
England Kevin Keen 2008 1 0 0 1 0.00
Italy Gianfranco Zola 2008–10 80 23 21 36 28.75 Club's first foreign manager. Worst win percentage overall recorded of the club's permanent managers.
Israel Avram Grant 2010–11 47 15 12 20 31.91 Club's first non EU manager. Worst win percentage league games recorded of the club's permanent managers (18.92%).
England Kevin Keen 2011 1 0 0 1 0.00
England Sam Allardyce 2011– 106 45 29 32 42.45 Championship Play Off Winners 2012.

Ownership and chairmen


Since the founding of West Ham United in 1900 as a Limited company and then a Public limited company, until the sale to an Icelandic consortium in 2006, they were known as a "family owned" club. Martin Cearns, chairman from 1990 until 1992 and a board member until 2006, was the third member of the family to be chairman.[184] His family had been associated with West Ham since its 1900 foundation. J.W.Y (Jimmy) Cearns worked for Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company and was a founding member, and director (1900–1904, 1907–1934) of the club until 1934. His son, W.J. Cearns was chairman from 1935 until 1950. W.J Cearns' son, L.C. (Len) Cearns, was a director from 1948, vice-chairman from 1950 and chairman from 1979 until 1990.[185][186] Len Cearns elder brother W.F. (Will) Cearns was a director from the death of their father in 1950. Will and Len's younger brother Brian R. Cearns was a director from 1962. Another member of the board which sold the club in 2006, Charles Warner, is the great grandson of club founder, Arnold Hills.[184] The majority shareholder under the limited company with 1100 of the 4000 shares issued was Arnold Hills and on his death his descendents . Two unsuccessful attempts by the board were made to buy the shares in 1927 on Hills' death and in 1948 from his family. From 1924 until 1961, 1142 shares remained unsold giving the statutory five man board with only 403 shares between them the ability to consolidated their position dictating who would be sold shares and elected to the board as there was no interference from Hills or his descendents. In 1961 the board members each bought 200 of the unsold shares and 142 were sold to newly elected director R G Brandon at face value.[187] Jack Petchey was a director at from June 1978 until 1989.[188] Terry Brown joined the board in November 1990 and chairman from May 1992.[189]

West Ham United was owned by Terry Brown until 2006, when Eggert Magnússon and Björgólfur Guðmundsson bought the club. 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[190] but would still retain the role as club non-executive chairman overseeing a new management structure, and would keep his stake in the club.[191]

On 13 December 2007, Magnússon left West Ham and his 5% holding was bought by club majority owner Björgólfur Guðmundsson.[192]

On 8 June 2009 during the 2008–2012 Icelandic financial crisis, Icelandic CB Holding which is 70% owned by Straumur-Burdaras bank and 30% owned by Icelandic based banks Byr and MP[193] took over Hansa Holding, which had West Ham United as their only asset and filed for bankruptcy protection. Straumur was one of Hansa Holding's largest creditors. Straumur appointed one of their directors, Andrew Bernhardt, as the new chairman of CB Holding, a company set up to manage the affairs of West Ham United. In January 2010, David Sullivan and David Gold acquired a 50% share in West Ham, from CB Holding, given them overall operational and commercial control.[194] At the end of May 2010 David Gold and David Sullivan purchased a further 10% stake in the club at a cost of £8million (£4m to CB Holding, £4m towards club debts). Taking their controlling stake to 60%, they announced that in the near future they may open up shares for fans to purchase.[195] On 9 August 2010, Gold and Sullivan increased their shares up to 30.6% each with "minority investors", (which included former owner Terry Brown, purchasing a further 3.8% of the club at a cost of around £3-4million) leaving Straumur Bank owning 35% of the club .[2]

On 2 July 2013, it was announced David Sullivan had acquired a further 25% of shares from CB Holdings (owned by the Icelandic bank), after restructuring the debt of the club, leaving Straumur Bank with just 10%.[196]



Years Chairman Notes
1900–03 Lazzeluer Johnson Clerk, director 1900–1932. Subscriber to the Articles of Incorporation 5 July 1900.[198]
First chairman, taking over from Arnold Hills chairman of West Ham's predecessor, Thames Ironworks
1903–04 Edwin Smith Timber converter, director 1900–1903. Subscriber to the Articles of Incorporation 5 July 1900.[198]
1904–09 Joseph Grisdale Coppersmith, director 1904–1909.[198]
1909–35 William F White Barge builder, director 1905–1935.[198]
1935–50 William J Cearns Contractor, director 1924–1950.[198]
Self-made millionaire from the construction industry.[199][200] His eldest son, also William, served as a director from 1950 on the death of his father and vice-chairman from June 1979 until 1991[201]
1950–79 Reg Pratt Timber merchant, director 1941–1979. Succeeded father F R Pratt, timber merchant, director 1924–1941.[198]
Oversaw the set-up of the youth teams and training methods which led to The Academy of Football and the establishment of training facilities at Chadwell Heath.[202][203][204]
In May 1959 negotiated the purchase of the freehold of the Boleyn Ground from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster for £30,000.[205]
1979–90 Len Cearns Contractor, director 1948–1993[206]
[207] Son of William J Cearns he was vice-chairman from 1950 and his contracting company responsible for building the East stand in 1969, and relinquished his chairmanship to his son Martin in February 1990.[208]
1990–92 Martin Cearns A bank manager with Barclays Bank when he "inherited" the role from his father.[209]
Advocate of the Hammers Bond scheme[39][210]

He became vice-chairman on Terry Brown becoming chairman in May 1992

1992–2006 Terry Brown Became a director in November 1990 and chairman in May 1992.
Made £33.4m after selling the club for £85m to an Icelandic consortium.[211]
2006–07 Eggert Magnússon [212]
2007–09 Björgólfur Guðmundsson [213]
2009–10 Andrew Bernhardt Non-executive chairman – CB Holding

West Ham were taken over by asset management company CB Holding following Guðmundsson's bankruptcy
caused by the 2008–2012 Icelandic financial crisis.[214][215][216]

2010– David Sulllivan and David Gold – joint With the club valued at £105m, Sullivan and Gold buy 50%. They inherited £120m of debt from the previous owners.[217][218]

Shirt sponsors and kit suppliers

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 included 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 did not affect the German and French divisions of the company's operations.

On 12 September 2008 the club terminated its contract with XL Leisure group.[219][220]

During this brief period, players had their squad numbers ironed over the existing sponsorship logo. On 3 December 2008 West Ham announced that they had signed a shirt sponsorship deal with Far Eastern betting firm SBOBET. The deal was set to run until the end of the 2009–10 season, and saw the company's logo on First Team and Reserve Team kit, and adult replica shirts; all Academy teams and child replica shirts carry the logo of the Bobby Moore Fund due to the main sponsor being a betting firm. In September 2009, the club officially announced that SBOBET had extended their deal with the team until 2013 after their welcomed help in securing Alessandro Diamanti.[221]

In 2013 Alpari were announced as the shirt sponsor commencing at the start of the 2013–14 season having signed a £3m a season sponsorship.[222] A new kit deal with Adidas commenced on 1 June 2013, the first time that West Ham have had Adidas featured on their kit since 1987.[223]

Period Kit Supplier Kit Sponsor
1976–80 Admiral None
1980–83 Adidas
1983–87 AVCO Trust
1987–89 Scoreline
1989–93 Bukta BAC Windows
1993–97 Pony Dagenham Motors
1997–98 None
1998–99 Dr. Martens
1999–03 Fila
2003–07 Reebok Jobserve
2007–08 Umbro
2008–10 SBOBET
2010–13 Macron
2013– Adidas Alpari FX


As West Ham United F.C.



Hammers in Wartime







As Thames Ironworks F.C.

Statistics and records



Record results and performances


  • League:
  • Premier League:
  • FA Cup:
  • League Cup:
    • Home: 10–0 v Bury (Rd 2 leg 2) (12–1 aggregate scoreline) 25 October 1983
    • Away: 5–1 v Cardiff City (SF leg 2) (10–3 aggregate scoreline) 2 February 1966
    • Away: 5–1 v Walsall (Rd 2) 13 September 1967
  • European Cup Winners Cup:
    • Home: 5–1 v Castilla CF (Rd 1 leg 2) (6–4 aggregate scoreline) 1 October 1980
    • Away: 2–1 v Lausanne (QF leg 2) (6–4 aggregate scoreline) 16 March 1965
  • UEFA Cup:
    • Home: 3–0 v NK Osijek (Rd 1 leg 1) 16 September 1999
    • Away: 3–1 v NK Osijek (Rd 1 leg 2) 30 September 1999


  • League:
  • League Cup:
  • European Cup Winners Cup:
    • Home: 1–4 v Dinamo Tbilisi (QF leg 1) (2–4 aggregate scoreline) 4 March 1981
    • Away: 2–4 v FC Den Haag (QF leg 1) (5–5 aggregate scoreline, West Ham won on away rule) 3 March 1976
    • Neutral: 2–4 v Anderlecht (Final) 5 May 1976
  • UEFA Cup:
    • Home: 0–1 v Palermo (Rd 1 leg 1) 14 September 2006
    • Away: 0–3 v Palermo (Rd 1 leg 2) 28 September 2006

Club league highs and lows

See also West Ham United F.C. by season
  • Home:
    • Most:
    • Most Home Wins: 19 (1980–81)
    • Most Home Draws: 10 (1981–82)
    • Most Home Defeats: 10 (1988–89)
    • Most Home Goals Scored: 59 (1958–59)
    • Most Home Goals Conceded: 44 (1930–31)
    • Fewest:
    • Fewest Home Wins: 3 (1988–89)
    • Fewest Home Draws: 1 (1934–35), (1980–81)
    • Fewest Home Defeats: 1 (1957–58), (1980–81)
    • Fewest Home Goals Scored: 19 (1988–89)
    • Fewest Home Goals Conceded: 11 (1920–21), (1922–23)
  • Away:
    • Most:
    • Most Away Wins: 13 (2011–12)
    • Most Away Draws: 10 (1968–69)
    • Most Away Defeats: 17 (1932–33)
    • Most Away Goals Scored: 45 (1957–58)
    • Most Away Goals Conceded: 70 (1931–32)
    • Fewest:
    • Fewest Away Wins: 1 (1925–26), (1932–33), (1937–38), (1960–61), (2009–10)
    • Fewest Away Draws: 1 (1982–83)
    • Fewest Away Defeats: 3 (1980–81)
    • Fewest Away Goals Scored: 12 (1996–97)
    • Fewest Away Goals Conceded: 16 (1990–91)
  • Total:
    • Most:
    • Most Total Wins: 28 (1980–81)
    • Most Total Draws: 18 (1968–69)
    • Most Total Defeats: 23 (1931–32)
    • Most Total Goals Scored: 101 (1957–58)
    • Most Total Goals Conceded: 107 (1931–32)
    • Fewest:
    • Fewest Total Wins: 7 (2010–11)
    • Fewest Total Draws: 4 (1934–35), (1964–65), (1982–83)
    • Fewest Total Defeats: 4 (1980–81)
    • Fewest Total Goals Scored: 37 (1988–89), (1991–92)
    • Fewest Total Goals Conceded: 29 (1980–81)

Club goal records

  • Most league goals in a season:
    • 101, Division Two (1957–58)
  • Top league scorer in a season:
  • Top scorer in a season:

Follow link to Official West Ham United Records Page[228]


Player records


  1. 804 Billy Bonds (1967–88)
  2. 674 Frank Lampard Sr. (1967–85)
  3. 647 Trevor Brooking (1967–84)
  4. 646 Bobby Moore (1958–74)
  5. 600 Alvin Martin (1977–96)
  6. 548 Jimmy Ruffell (1921–37)
  7. 505 Steve Potts (1985–02)
  8. 505 Vic Watson (1920–35)
  9. 502 Geoff Hurst (1959–72)
  10. 467 Jim Barrett (1924–43)


  1. 326 Vic Watson (1920–35)
  2. 252 Geoff Hurst (1959–72)
  3. 166 John Dick (1953–63)
  4. 166 Jimmy Ruffell (1921–37)
  5. 146 Tony Cottee (1983–88), (1994–96)
  6. 107 Johnny Byrne (1961–67)
  7. 104 Pop Robson (1970–74), (1976–79)
  8. 102 Trevor Brooking (1967–84)
  9. 100 Malcolm Musgrove (1953–63)
  10. 100 Martin Peters (1962–70)

See also



External links

  • West Ham United F.C. official website
  • Knees up Mother Brown ( - the supporters' website
  • West Ham United News – Sky Sports'
  • West Ham United F.C. on Club statistics

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