West Ham United F.C.
|Full name||West Ham United Football Club|
The Academy of Football
|Founded||1895, as Thames Ironworks|
|Ground||The Boleyn Ground
|Owner||David Sullivan 30.6%
David Gold 30.6%
CB Holding Ltd. 35%
Minority Investors 3.8%
|2011–12||The Championship, 3rd
(promoted via the play-offs)
|Website||Club home page|
West Ham United Football Club is an English professional football club based in Upton Park, Newham, London, 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; however, unlike the other seven, West Ham has never won the league title. The club's best final league position is third place in the 1985–86 First Division.
Three West Ham players 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 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 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 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 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 disbanded, 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.
Birth of West Ham United 
West Ham Utd 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.
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 (themselves an Ironworks team, albeit for a rival company) drawing a crowd of 10,000 and with West Ham running out 3–0 winners, and as the Daily Mirror wrote on 2 September 1904:
|“||"Favoured by the weather turning fine after heavy rains of the morning, West Ham United began their season most auspiciously yesterday evening; when they beat Millwall by 3 goals to 0 on their new enclosure at Upton Park."||”|
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 1927.
In 1932 the club was relegated to Division Two 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. 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.
The glory years 
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.
There is a "Champions" statue in Barking Road, opposite The Boleyn Arms, 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.
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 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.
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.
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 because no team outside the top division has won the trophy since that time. 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 and this resulted in the sacking of John Lyall.
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 FA 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. 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 led to Redknapp being replaced by 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. West Ham's tally of 42 points is the highest by any team relegated from the Premier League in a 38 game season. Roeder, who had missed some of the season after being diagnosed with a brain tumour (which was subsequently 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, they lost to Crystal Palace. The subsequent year they again reached the playoff final, but this time won, beating Preston North End 1–0, gaining re-entry to the Premier League.
Recent seasons 
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 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. 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 Tévez to finish 15th.
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, manager Alan Curbishley resigned on 3 September 2008. 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. 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. 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. 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.
West Ham had a poor season which involved a prolonged battle against relegation. They finally secured their survival with two games remaining by defeating Wigan Athletic 3–2. The club managed to take 35 points from 38 games, seven fewer than the total they had when relegated 7 years prior.
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. On 3 June 2010, Avram Grant signed a four-year deal to become the next manager of West Ham subject to a work permit. West Ham's form continued to be poor with the team seldom outside the relegation zone, placing Grant's future as manager under serious doubt. A 4–0 Football League Cup quarter-final win over Manchester United was an otherwise bright point in a disappointing season. 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.
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. On 1 June 2011, Sam Allardyce was appointed as manager as Grant's replacement.
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.
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. They won their first game of the season, on 18 August 2012, 1–0 against Aston Villa thanks to a Kevin Nolan goal.
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.
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 kit.
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 team's 'football kits' to Dove in payment. The Aston Villa player subsequently reported to his club that the kit was 'missing'. 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 
I'm forever blowing bubbles,
—original lyrics to "Bubbles", from John Helliar
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.
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,
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". It is interesting from a musical point of view that the FA Cup version of Bubbles is played in 4/4 time, whereas during the game the crowd always sing it in its original 3/4 – Bubbles was published as a Waltz.
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, 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 "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 Can't Take My Eyes Off You, and Ludek Miklosko.
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. 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, Frank Lampard, Jermain Defoe, Craig Bellamy and Nigel Reo-Coker 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.
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. 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 & Dagenham.
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.
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  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. The rivalry deepened with the appointment of former Hammers manager Harry Redknapp as Tottenham's manager. 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.
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 bitterness of this betrayal enduring for years. 
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.
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. They are also known as "The Irons" and as "The Cockney Boys" as they are a Cockney club. Other nicknames are "The Academy of Football", or just "The Academy". The nickname "Academy of Football" or "The Academy" has fallen into disuse due to the lack of youth players impacting the first team squad.
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. 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. 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".
On 30 September 2010, the club formally submitted its bid for the Olympic Stadium with a presentation at 10 Downing Street, and on 8 October 2010 the world's largest live entertainment company Live Nation endorsed the club's Olympic Stadium plans. 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. In November 2010 West Ham United commenced a search for potential developers for "informal discussions" about what would happen to the ground if it wins its bid to take over the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games. According to the club, the site could be vacated and open to redevelopment by the summer of 2014. 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.
The decision in favour of West Ham's bid was unanimous, although controverisal as local rivals Tottenham Hotspur had also been bidding for the venue. 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. 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 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.
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.
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, and will begin to push them into the top end of the Premier League and will encourage the growth of the club into a worldwide club which regularly challenges for European places and the best teams in the world. They plan to move into the Stadium before the start of the 2016/2017 Premier League Season. 
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. 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 the club and all are playing 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, 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 Premier League 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'. Between 2000 and 2011, the club produced eight England players, as many as Manchester United and one fewer than Arsenal. Much of the success of The Academy has been attributed to Tony Carr who has been West Ham youth coach since 1973.
- As of 16 March 2013.
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.
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.
Reserves and Academy Squad 
Retired numbers 
Club captains 
|1899||Tom Bradshaw||Following an accidental kick to the head, Bradshaw died shortly after on Christmas Day|
|1915–19||None||No football was played during the First World War|
|1939–45||None||No football was played during the Second World War|
|1945–47||Charles Bicknell||Remained captain after World War II|
|1947–51||Dick Walker||Following his retirement, he helped to clean the boots of younger players|
|1951–57||Malcolm Allison||Fell ill with tuberculosis after a game in 1957 and consequently had a lung removed|
|1957–60||Noel Cantwell||First captain not from the United Kingdom|
|2001–03||Paolo Di Canio||First Captain not from the British Isles|
|2007–09||Lucas Neill||First captain from outside Europe|
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.
|10||FW||Paolo Di Canio|
Hammer of the Year 
The following is a list of the "Hammer of the Year award" won by West Ham United players. 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. 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.
Current staff 
- As of 12 December 2012.
- Staff and directors
|Non-executive director||Daniel Harris|
|Non-executive director||Bob Ellis|
|Honorary life president||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
|Assistant manager||Neil McDonald|
|First team coach||Ian Hendon|
|Goalkeeping coach||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||Tony Carr|
West Ham have had only fourteen permanent managers in their history and an additional three caretaker managers. 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. Their current manager is Sam Allardyce who was appointed in May 2011. Numerous former Hammers have taken on temporary managerial roles at the club, between permanent managers. Ronnie Boyce briefly took the reins, in February 1990, following Lou Macari's resignation and the appointment of Billy Bonds. 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 has twice been caretaker manager; immediately prior to Gianfranco Zola's appointment in 2008 and after the sacking of Avram Grant in 2011.
|Manager||Caretaker Manager||Period||G||W||D||L||Win %||Honours/Notes|
|Syd King||1901–32||638||248||146||244||38.87||Club's longest serving manager (31 years). FA Cup runners up 1923|
|Ted Fenton||1950–61||483||192||107||184||39.75||Old Division Two Champions 1957–58|
|Ron Greenwood||1961–74||613||215||165||233||35.07||FA Cup winners 1964, UEFA Cup Winners Cup winners 1965|
|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)|
|Lou Macari||1989–90||38||14||12||12||36.84||Club's first non-English manager.|
|Billy Bonds||1990–94||227||99||61||67||43.61||Best win percentage of club's permanent managers.|
|Harry Redknapp||1994–01||327||121||85||121||37.00||UEFA Intertoto Cup joint winners 1999 (European qualification)|
|Trevor Brooking||2003||14||9||4||1||64.29||Best win percentage of the club's caretaker managers.|
|Alan Pardew||2003–06||163||67||38||58||41.10||Championship Play Off Winners 2005, FA Cup runners up 2006 (European qualification)|
|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%).|
|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.|
|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%).|
|Sam Allardyce||2011–||92||39||25||28||42.39||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. 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. 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. 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. Jack Petchey was a director at from June 1978 until 1989. Terry Brown joined the board in November 1990 and chairman from May 1992.
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 but would still retain the role as club non-executive chairman overseeing a new management structure, and would keep his stake in the club.
On 13 December 2007, Magnússon left West Ham and his 5% holding was bought by club majority owner Björgólfur Guðmundsson.
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 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. 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. 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 .
|1900–03||Lazzeluer Johnson||Clerk, director 1900–1932. Subscriber to the Articles of Incorporation 5 July 1900.
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.|
|1904–09||Joseph Grisdale||Coppersmith, director 1904–1909.|
|1909–35||William F White||Barge builder, director 1905–1935.|
|1935–50||William J Cearns||Contractor, director 1924–1950.
Self-made millionaire from the construction industry. 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
|1950–79||Reg Pratt||Timber merchant, director 1941–1979. Succeeded father F R Pratt, timber merchant, director 1924–1941.
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.
In May 1959 negotiated the purchase of the freehold of the Boleyn Ground from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster for £30,000.
|1979–90||Len Cearns||Contractor, director 1948–1993
 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.
|1990–92||Martin Cearns||A bank manager with Barclays Bank when he "inherited" the role from his father.
Advocate of the Hammers Bond scheme
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.
|2009–10||Andrew Bernhardt Non-executive chairman - CB Holding|
|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.|
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.
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.
|Period||Kit Supplier||Kit Sponsor|
As West Ham United F.C. 
Hammers in Wartime 
As Thames Ironworks F.C. 
Statistics and records 
- Highest league attendance: 42,322 v Tottenham Hotspur Division One, 17 October 1970
- Lowest league attendance: 4,373 v Doncaster Rovers, Division Two, 24 February 1955
- Biggest Transfer fee paid: £13.75 million to Wolverhampton Wanderers for Matt Jarvis, August 2012.
- Biggest Transfer fee received: £18 million from Leeds United for Rio Ferdinand, November 2000
Record results and performances 
- FA Cup:
- League Cup:
- European Cup Winners Cup:
- UEFA Cup:
- Premier League:
- Home: 1–5 v Leeds United 1 May 1999
- Home: 0–4 v Queens Park Rangers 28 August 1993
- Home: 0–4 v Sheffield Wednesday 16 January 1999
- Home: 0–4 v Arsenal 6 February 1999
- Home: 0–4 v Everton 26 February 2000
- Home: 0–4 v Chelsea 1 March 2008
- Home: 0–4 v Manchester United 5 December 2009
- Away: 1–7 v Manchester United 1 April 2000
- Away: 1–7 v Blackburn Rovers 14 October 2001
- Away: 0–6 v Everton 8 May 1999
- Away: 0–6 v Reading 1 January 2007
- Division One:
- FA Cup:
- League Cup:
- European Cup Winners Cup:
- UEFA Cup:
Club league highs and lows 
- See also West Ham United F.C. by season
Club goal records 
Follow link to Official West Ham United Records Page
Player records 
See also 
- Forbes' list of the most valuable football clubs
- West Ham United L.F.C., the affiliated women's team
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