West Ham United, or commonly known as the Hammers, are based in Stratford, East London. They have spent most of their existence in the top flight and have always posed as a threat to the opposition. Since their formation in 1895, they have won three domestic cup competitions and are also known as the ‘Academy of Football’, due to their ability of producing young talent. Their fans are some of the most passionate going and they are very proud of their club. Their squad is full of international players and they have a vast amount of Premier League experience, as well as their manager David Moyes in their aim to return to the Europa League.
The Hammers played most of their home matches at the famous Boleyn Ground/Upton Park since 1904, until they ‘upgraded’ to the former Olympic stadium, or the London Stadium, in 2016. West Hams original name was Thames Ironworks, and started out as an amateur team of employees working at Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company, Limited.
They turned professional in 1898 after entering the Southern League Second Division, and gained promotion to the First Division at the first attempt. After struggling in their first season in the First Division, they comfortably brushed aside Fulham in the relegation Play-Off in 1900, retaining their First Division status. Originally, Thames Ironworks played in dark blue kits, before adopting the claret and blue style in 1899. After a dispute between the running and finances of the club, Thames Ironworks FC dissolved as a club, only to be immediately relaunched in 1900 as West Ham United FC and with Syd King at the helm. The club adopted their nicknames ‘the Hammers’ and ‘the Irons’ due to their roots and links of the club to Thames Ironworks.
West Ham played their matches up until 1904 at the Memorial Grounds in Plaistow, before moving to the Boleyn Ground. Their first match was against arch rivals, Millwall, a fixture that is still hotly contested to this day. They joined the Western League in 1901, whilst still laying in the Southern Division one, before eventually becoming overall Champions of the Western League in 1907. They earned a place in the Football League Second Division in 1919, before reaching Division One in 1923.
Syd King left after a 32-year stay, and shortly after they were relegated to Division Two, and wouldn’t make it back to the top flight until 1958 under Ted Fenton. West Hams success went on to show in the 1966 World Cup, where the Hammers’ developed players Moor, Martin Peters, and Geoff Hurst all featured in the World Cup final which England went on to win. Because of this, the statue opposite the Boleyn Ground commemorates the ‘three sons’ who helped win England their only World Cup. West Ham did not have success then until 1975, where they won the FA Cup again. After a change in managers, West Ham won both the 1976 FA Cup and European Cup Winners Cup.
During 1978 and 1992, West Ham switched a number of times between Division One and Two, but they were eventually back in the Premier League, and in the 1999-2000 season, guided them to winning the Intertoto Cup and UEFA Cup qualification. However, he was sacked in 2001 after feeling he needed more funds when dealing with transfers. By the end of the season, they were relegated to the Championship, and it took them until 2005 to return to the Premier League, with Alan Pardew in charge.
Five years later, they were back in the Championship after a dreadful season, and the Hammers turned to experience in the form of Sam Allardyce, bouncing straight back to the top flight. In 2014-15, the owners felt it was time for a change and appointed Slaven Bilic as manager, in the hope of bringing silverware to West Ham. In his first season the qualified for the Europa League after a fantastic season, with the likes of Dimitri Payet and Michael Antonio flourishing under his leadership. Despite the sale of Payet, West Ham reinvested well and game by game, adapting more and more to their new surroundings. The London stadium is a great attraction for fans, alongside the passion and atmosphere carried from the Boleyn ground, is a certain to visit if the opportunity comes.