05 October 2008

Football History: West Ham United (Premier League)

West Ham were formed in 1895 and elected to Division 2 in 1919. They have spent most of their history in Division 2 but only six of the past 37 years. However, the league title still hasn't found its way to Upton Park and the Hammers' honours have come from cup competitions.

Ron Greenwood took them to their first success, a 1964 FA Cup win over Preston North End which was followed by the European Cup Winners Cup a year later. John Lyall took over in 1974 and within a year had taken West Ham to another Cup triumph, the 2-0 victory over Fulham in 1975. Five years later came West Ham's last success, a 1-0 victory over Arsenal at Wembley when the Hammers were a second division club.


Their recent years have seen West Ham struggle although they made their best ever challenge for the league title in 1986, finishing 3rd. 1998/99 was another progressive season when they finished fifth after much wheeling and dealing by manager Harry Redknapp. However, when Redknapp left in 2001, things took a turn for the worse and the club were relegated at the end of 2002/03.


However, under Alan Pardew the Hammers eventually won promotion back to the Barclays Premiership through the play-offs at the second attempt, beating Preston 1-0 in the final in May 2005. They reached the FA Cup Final a year later, only losing to Liverpool after a penalty shoot-out. However, the 2006/07 season saw plenty of changes at Upton Park as new owners from Iceland arrived and Pardew was replaced by first Alan Curbishley and then Gianfranco Zola in September 2008.


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