The season began with much excitement at Upton Park, as a whole host of foreign signings arrived. However, most of the acquisitions were short-lived and unsuccessful. Romanian striker Florin Răducioiu walked out in mid-season after scoring just two goals and Portuguese winger Paulo Futre played just nine games for the club before giving in to a knee injury and announcing his retirement in November.
It was a season of struggle for Harry Redknapp and his east Londoners, but in the end a new wave of players helped save the day and keep West Ham in the Premiership. Exciting young defender Rio Ferdinand broke into the side and so impressed that an international call-up appeared imminent, while newly signed strikers Paul Kitson and John Hartson gave the attack the much-needed boost that Radiciou and Futre had failed to deliver.
With survival confirmed by the final day of the season, there was now talk of pushing for a UEFA Cup place in the following campaign.
Updated to games played on 11 May 1997.
Source: Premier League
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored 1 Chelsea qualified for the Cup Winners' Cup as FA Cup winners. 2 Leicester City qualified for the UEFA Cup as League Cup winners. 3 Middlesbrough were docked three points for failing to fulfil a fixture. (C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (E) = Eliminated; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.
Only applicable when the season is not finished: (Q) = Qualified to the phase of tournament indicated; (TQ) = Qualified to tournament, but not yet to the particular phase indicated; (RQ) = Qualified to the relegation tournament indicated; (DQ) = Disqualified from tournament. Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points