West Ham United F.C.
Learn more about West Ham United F.C.
|West Ham United|
|Image:West Ham United FC.png|
|Full name||West Ham United Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||The Irons, The Hammers, |
The Academy of Football
|Founded||1895 as Thames Ironworks F.C.|
|Chairman||Image:Flag of Iceland.svg Eggert Magnússon|
|Manager||Image:Flag of England (bordered).svg Alan Pardew|
|League||FA Premier League|
|2005-06||Premier League, 9th|
The team enjoyed 10 consecutive top flight seasons from 1993 to 2003 prior to relegation to The Championship. They have won the FA Cup three times: in 1964, 1975 and 1980, and also captured the now defunct Cup Winners Cup in 1965 and the Intertoto Cup in 1999. Their best finish in the Premier League Championship was a 3rd place finish in 1986.
The club returned to the Premier League in 2005 and achieved a 9th place finish. In addition the club progressed through to the FA Cup Final for the first time in twenty-six years where they lost on penalties to Liverpool after a 3-3 draw.
The club was founded in 1895 as the works side Thames Ironworks F.C. by Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Co. Ltd company chairman Arnold Hills and foreman Dave Taylor<ref>http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A965054</ref>. They joined the London League in 1896 winning it in the 1897-98 season. The team originally played at a ground on Hermit Road, sporting the earliest known example of floodlights (utilising docking equipment) in a game against Arsenal. The team was eventually evicted from their ground, and spent their formative years playing their home games, on the home grounds of other local sides.
They turned professional upon entering the Southern League Second Division in 1898, which they won at the first attempt.<ref>http://www.fchd.btinternet.co.uk/THAMEIRO.HTM</ref> The following year in the top division the team came second from bottom, but had established themselves as a fully fledged competitive team. They survived a relegation play-ff 5-1 against local rivals Fulham in late April 1900.
In June 1900, Thames Ironworks was wound up but was immediately relaunched on July 5 1900 as West Ham United Football Club with Syd King as manager. The team (and its fans) are to this day referred to as "The Irons" and "The Hammers" due to this original connection<ref>http://www.eastlondonhistory.com/thames%20ironworks.htm</ref> and retains many rivalries (both friendly, and competitive) and community associations from these formative years.
The reborn club played their games at Memorial Ground in Plaistow but moved to a pitch in the Upton Park area, originally named "The Castle", for the 1904-05 season. The original gates to the ground, with the original Hammers crest (now painted in claret and blue), can be seen in Grange Road, London, E13. The ground, eventually named The Boleyn Ground (in honour of being constructed upon the grounds of Green House, a former residence of Anne Boleyn). The ground, however, is generally known as Upton Park. Their first game upon the new ground was against Milwall (themselves an Ironworks team, albeit for a rival company) with West Ham running out 3-1 winners. The rivalry remains pronounced to this day.
Still under the leadership of Syd King and partnered by Charlie Paynter they won election to the the Football League Second division in 1919 and were first promoted to the top division in 1923 and enjoyed 11 top flight seasons, though regularly in the lower half. Syd eventually built an attractive footballing side built around the skills of players such as Vic Watson, Jimmy Ruffell and Sydney Puddefoot, and the goalkeeping of Ted Hufton.
Also in 1923 the club took part in the inaugural FA Cup held at the newly constructed Empire Stadium more popularly known as 'Wembley'. The event is notable for its record attendance far in excess of the organisers' expectations or stadium capacity, and the presence of 'Billie' ridden by PC G.A. Storey was required to clear the pitch in order for play to start. As a result the final is commonly referred to as "The White Horse Final".<ref>The White Horse Final</ref> The team lost 2-0 on the day in what became the marquee event for Football.
 1932 and the war years
The Syd King and Charlie Paynter partnership was dissolved acrimoniously in 1932 with the clubs relegation to Division 2 and full control of the players was handed over to the new manager. West Ham weren't to see the top flight again before WW2 broke out. Paynter set about redeveloping the side. His plans were in tatters soon enough as the war call-up stripped the club of practically all its starting squad. Paynter himself was exempt due to his age, and with the government insisting life carried on as normal as possible the team (often utilising visiting players as 'guests', and a number of foreigners from the armed forces) continued to play regularly. In the League Cup however no such guests were allowed, and West Ham secured the first trophy with a 1-0 win over Blackburn Rovers in 1940 whilst watched by survivors of the Dunkirk evacuation.
The club spent the majority of its next 30 years in Division 2 under the leadership of first Charlie Paynter, and later Ted Fenton who began the process of bringing in notable names, as well as developing the first crop of young talent culminating in achieving promotion to the top division again in 1958 thanks to the goals of John Dick and defensive talent of Malcolm Allison.
 Ron Greenwood: Early achievement
West Ham United first established themselves in 1964, when manager Ron Greenwood guided the club to their first major trophy in the shape of an FA Cup final victory over Preston North End. Ronnie Boyce scoring a last minute goal to secure a 3-2 victory, with striker Sissons becoming the youngest ever scorer in a cup final. The success of 1964 was repeated a year later, this time with a 2-0 European Cup Winners Cup triumph over 1860 Munich at Wembley.
The team was built upon the England international trio of Club and International Captain Bobby Moore in defence, Martin Peters in midfield and Geoff Hurst up front (all promoted through the youth system during Fenton's tenure) but also sported the likes of long time club servants John Bond and England international Ken Brown (father of Kenny Brown, who went on to play for the club in the 1990s), talented wing half Eddie Bovington, midfielder and forward Ronnie Boyce, leftback Jack Burkett (the first man to ever be substituted for the club) and rightback Joe Kirkup. Up front were the prolific striker Johnny Byrne and the slightly less prolific Brian Dear. Future manager Harry Redknapp played on the wing, the goalkeeper was Jim Standen; about this time, the club hired its first black player John Charles.
Over the next few seasons Greenwood added some of the clubs best known, and long serving, youth products. 20 year servant, and future manager, Billy Bonds, fellow (almost) 20 year servants Trevor Brooking (who also had spells managing the club) and Frank Lampard Sr. (assistant manager during Redknapp's tenure), Clyde Best and John McDowell. In addition the team acquired Bobby Ferguson as goalkeeper.
The moves ultimately helped to guide West Ham to another FA Cup success in 1975, this time against Fulham. Ron Greenwood subsequently was appointed England Manager as replacement for Don Revie after his unsuccessful premiership.
 John Lyall: Continuing the tradition
He was succeeded as team manager by John Lyall (a former youth product who retired through injury), who guided West Ham to another UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final in his second season in charge (1975-76). But this time West Ham were on the losing side, going 4-2 down against Anderlecht. 2 years later in 1978 and the club were relegated to the Second Division but the manager was not replaced; in addition, many players were retained long enough enjoy a second FA Cup victory under Lyall's leadership whilst still in Division 2 in 1980 (no side outside the top division has achieved that since). This time the win was over another London club, the much-fancied Arsenal. In his time Lyall had added Phil Parkes as goalkeeper, and had the fortune of having Alvin Martin, Geoff Pike and Paul Allen emerge through the ranks to add to the defence and midfield. In addition he had captured skilful winger Alan Devonshire from non-league football, penalty taking fullback Ray Stewart from Scotland and Stuart Pearson from Cup winners Manchester United.<ref>FA Cup Final 1980</ref>
The game ended 1-0, with Brooking stooping to head home a goal he'd have probably more easily scored with his feet as the second division side more than held its own. Young Paul Allen became the youngest player to appear in a cup final<ref>17 years and 256 days of age</ref>, and at one point looked set to score what would have been a goal by the youngest player also - until a professional foul from Willie Young brought him down whilst clean through in behind the defence. This remains West Ham's most recent major trophy.
In 1981, West Ham finished runners-up in the League Cup. Between 1982 and 1985 West Ham achieved three consecutive top ten finishes. Lyall helped them achieve their highest league finish of third in 1986, but was sacked three years later as they suffered relegation to the Second Division.
 Billy Bonds era: Up and down
Lyall was replaced by Lou Macari for the 1989-90 season, but Macari resigned after less than one season as manager to concentrate on clearing his name in connection with financial irregularities at his previous club Swindon Town. The next manager to occupy the hot seat at West Ham was Billy Bonds, whose first season at the helm (1990-91) ended with runners-up spot in the Second Division and a place back in the top division. But West Ham struggled throughout the 1991-92 season and were relegated in bottom place, missing the first season of the new Premier League.
West Ham regained their top flight status at the first attempt, finishing Division One runners-up in 1992-93 and securing promotion to the Premiership. They survived relegation by a comfortable margin in 1993-94, but Bonds walked out on the club the following summer to be succeeded by Harry Redknapp.
 Harry Redknapp era: Consolidation
One of Harry Redknapp's first actions as West Ham manager was to re-sign striker Tony Cottee from Everton. He also signed Liverpool's Don Hutchison and Mike Marsh and brought back Julian Dicks, as well as re-signing striker Iain Dowie from Southampton. Redknapp also attempted to bring young talent to the side, signing Joey Beauchamp from Oxford United and bringing through the young talent of Matthew Rush, Steve Jones and Matty Holmes. Cottee started the second spell of his West Ham career well, and formed a solid partnership with Trevor Morley aided by the Ian Bishop, Dale Gordon and the aggressive Martin Allen in midfield. The team defied the popular belief they would return to the First Division, finishing thirteenth. In addition John Moncur was added from relegated Swindon Town.
West Ham avoided relegation again in 1994-95 and played their part in the final-day drama of the season, holding Manchester United to a 1-1 draw at Upton Park and denying them a third successive Premiership title. On paper the team was routinely outclassed by opposition, but on grass put in a series of superb performances<ref>http://www.soccer-stats.com/teams/results_so_far.asp?divno=2&code=wh&asid=94</ref>. Old hand Alvin Martin partnered Steve Potts, Tim Breacker and Dicks with longterm custodian Luděk Mikloško in goal to form a stout defence that made up for the deficiencies elsewhere in midfield and up front which had seen a number of players move on - including fan favourite Matthew Holmes, to newly christened league champions Blackburn Rovers, for £1.5m.
Redknapp spent the summer adding to the teams defence. He had previously captured Danish International centrehalf Marc Rieper in one coup and quickly followed this up by signing another international, this time the Croatian Slaven Bilić in January of 1996 for a then club record £1.65m. West Ham progressed to 10th place in 1995-96.
Crucially at this point the Jean-Marc Bosman case finally came to an end resulting in the Bosman ruling. This meant no longer would Redknapp have to balance his team based upon nationality - a problem the previous year when Mikloško, Rieper and were all classed as 'Foreign', thus leaving only one slot open for Irish/Welsh and English players. The change in ruling opened the door for a number of foreign internationals, and at the same time had seen a great number of established players within the team being shown the door (Hutchison, Burrows, Morley, Marsh, Holmes, Boere and Gordon were all released or sold on).
The following summer, going into the historic 1996-97 season, Redknapp continued looking abroad and made two of the most ambitious but perhaps least productive signings in the club's history - the Romanian national team's striker Florin Răducioiu and Portuguese winger Paulo Futre (formerly a £10m man) from AC Milan. The deals failed to work out; Răducioiu left after six months at the club and returned to Romania after falling out with the manager (famously being christened a "tart, a fairy, a little girl"<ref>Redknapp, Harry With Derek McGovern (1998). Harry Redknapp - My Autobiography. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-218872-4.</ref> <ref>http://www.whoateallthepies.tv/2006/09/how_did_harry_r.html</ref> by Redknapp in his autobiography for complaining about the physical nature of the English game), while Futre played just one first-team game before being beaten by a long-term knee injury and announcing his retirement (and equally famously storming out after being denied the number 10 shirt for a friendly). Coupled with the equally disastrous Marco Boogers affair, the drawn out Work Permit wrangle involving Răducioiu's compatriot Dumitrescu who had been signed 6 months earlier from Tottenham Hotspur (but had failed to play the required number of games whilst at Spurs) and the lack of a quality second striker West Ham struggled to the start of the season and nosedived at Christmas.
The 1996-97 Hammer campaign nosedived towards disaster after starting in an average fashion. Injuries to key and back-up players were critical (losing Lazaridis to a broken leg for instance, and what turned out to be the career ending injury to the promising Richard Hall signed only months before for £1.5m from Southampton), but so were the failed signings and some poor performances. The form of Michael Hughes (signed permanently after 2 years on loan from RC Strasbourg) and performances of loan signing Hugo Porfirio were a rare bright spot, as was the emergence of future England teammates Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard. Răducioiu's chief contribution - a curling left footed shot around a full stretch Schmeichel in a 2-2 draw - was considered by some to be almost worth the transfer in itself. At Christmas the team sat low in midtable with only 5 wins and 7 draws from 19 games at which point they added only 1 point from the next 6 games sending the team to the bottom of the table.
Faced with relegation the board financed two key acquisitions. Firstly young Arsenal striker John Hartson in a £3.3m move (again breaking the clubs transfer record) and in addition the signing of Newcastle United forward Paul Kitson in a £1.2m move and battling Manchester City midfielder Steve Lomas for £1.6m. The strike pair were an instant hit, scoring 13 goals between them in 12 games as a pairing including those in a vital 4-3 win against close rivals Tottenham, a 3-2 against Chelsea and a hat-trick for Kitson and brace for Hartson in a 5-1 rout of Sheffield Wednesday in the next to last game confirming the club's survival and saving Redknapp's job.
Despite the close shave the hopes for the following 1997-98 season were high. Hartson and Kitson gave the team an exciting frontline, whilst in the midfield Redknapp added Eyal Berkovic from Southampton and Trevor Sinclair and Andy Impey from QPR. The team unfortunately had to contend with the season-long loss of captain Julian Dicks (who had played on the previous year despite needing urgent knee surgery) and the sale of Marc Rieper to Celtic, and Slaven Bilić to Everton. The profit from the sale went to acquire former England u21's David Unsworth and Ian Pearce from Everton and Blackburn respectively.
This season marked a change in Redknapp's tactical approach, the team changing to a 5-3-2 formation for the most part of the season. This allowed Redknapp to blood the young talent of Rio Ferdinand in his preferred role as a sweeper whilst pairing him with two extremely competent defenders. The pacey Lazaridis and Impey took over wingback roles, whilst the centre of midfield was contested by Lampard, Lomas and Berkovic with Moncur preferred over Ian Bishop in reserve and Michael Hughes out in the cold. In goal Mikloško started out but injury curtailed his season (and by the next summer had moved on to Q.P.R.) resulting in Craig Forrest stepping in. However, Redknapp also managed to pluck the flamboyant Bernard Lama on loan from Paris St. Germain which helped maintain West Hams late season push.
The season did not go entirely to plan. Kitson struggled (as he was for the remainder of his West Ham career) with niggling injuries limiting him to only 13 appearances (and 4 goals). Redknapp acquired Samassi Abou for a bargain £250k to add depth, and he performed admirably if sometimes lacking in quality. Nonetheless he became a crowd favourite for his languid style, skill and lampooned name (having to have it explained to him that the crowd were not 'booing' him, but in fact 'abouing' him). Hartson however scored consistently, notching 24 in his first season across all competitions, whilst Lampard flowered in midfield. The acquisition of Sinclair at Christmas injected some vital cutting edge and propelled the team for the first time into the upper half of the table resulting in the side finishing an impressive 8th.
For 1998/99 Redknapp again went foreign and signed former French International Marc Keller, exciting Cameroonian midfielder Marc-Vivien Foé and World Cup star Javier Margas. However he did not neglect home-grown talent, adding the experienced Ian Wright and Neil Ruddock, whilst also bringing Scott Minto back from abroad and Shaka Hislop in as goalkeeper on a free from Newcastle. (Hislop went on to win the Hammer of the Year award in his first season.)
West Ham started slowly and by Christmas were facing a crisis. First the club sold Andy Impey under the nose of the manager (literally removing him from a game in which he was tabled to start) and then made it clear to the manager that he would find no further funds forthcoming due to the absenteeism of Javier Margas (which was taken to highlight Redknapp's continued failure with foreign talent). John Hartson was found to be involved in a training ground incident involving Eyal Berkovic and the owners were forced to act. Hartson was sold to Wimbledon for £7.5m as a result after having an already disappointing start to the year where he did not score until 10 games in and was notably overweight and out of shape.
Redknapp was given a some of the funds to buy in replacements. His first choice was Paolo Di Canio - who famously the previous year had pushed referee Paul Alcock to the ground - and he signed for an initial fee of £1.25m. In addition he also signed former Manchester United target Marc-Vivien Foé for £3.5m to solidify the midfield.
By the end of 1998/99 West Ham had achieved an impressive 5th place finish. But, for the only time in league history, were denied a UEFA Cup place due to new UEFA Coefficients. (The seasons to either side had seen every team down to 7th feature in the UEFA Cup.) The team instead was entered as one of England's Inter-Toto cup competitors (and a place in the UEFA Cup proper up for grabs). A victory over Metz in the two-legged final eventually earned the Hammers a place in the UEFA Cup - ending an absence of almost 20 years from European competition. Redknapp brought in Paulo Wanchope from Derby County to compliment Paolo Di Canio and Igor Štimac to replace the outgoing Unsworth.
In 1999-2000 consolidation was supposed to be the key, but once again plans were interrupted by injury. The Inter Toto and UEFA Cup expedition took a lot out of the players - but the team started the season sharper than the others, resulting in a comfortable upper-midtable position by the halfway point of the season. Tiredness, loss of form, and a build-up of injuries resulted in a slide downwards towards the end of the season, eventually resulting in a 9th place finish and a 3rd consecutive year in the top half (a first for West Ham).
The year was noticeable for the introduction of Joe Cole and Michael Carrick to the first team proper, the ignominious exit in the League Cup to Aston Villa due to an enforced replay after it transpired that last minute substitute Emmanuel Omoyimni had featured in the competition whilst on loan earlier in the season (this event saw the resignation of Martin Aldridge), and the barracking Paulo Wanchope received for the early part of the year. The striker failed to settle despite scoring 12 league goals in 33 games (an above average output). Unfortunately his erratic form and gaffes meant he would move on at the end of the year.
Marc-Vivien Foé was sold at the end of the year (his final act was a plunging tackle from behind that saw him sent off against Arsenal) and Redknapp acquired Frédéric Kanouté with the money.
 End of Redknapp
The 2000-01 season was Redknapp's final year. They got off to a dismal start, hampered by further injuries (Sinclair notably, but also Ian Pearce continued absence), a number of failed loan transfers (Christian Bassila and Kaba Diawara) and unimpressive signings (Davor Šuker, reportedly on £50,000 a week who only managed 8 starts, Ragnvald Soma, and the continued absence of Margas who had turned up for half of the previous season). With the team in the doldrums the board eventually accepted a bid for the teams prized asset - Rio Ferdinand - in an £18 million move to Leeds United for both the British transfer record and a world record for a defender. The deal has since been criticised, as the fee was neither upfront, nor was a sell-on bonus included; meaning the club missed out on his later £30m move to United and also a sizeable chunk of the initial transfer. It also signalled the end of the ambition previously shown by the club, reverting back to their status as a "selling club".
Redknapp proceeded to spend a chunk of the transfer money on a string of truly bizarre signings (in addition, he was given a 300,000 pound bonus for agreeing not to spend the entire transfer sum), forcing what was to be the end of his time at the club. Redknapp signed the Liverpool pairing of Rigobert Song (a solid, if erratic and unsuited to the physical Premiership, player with over 60 Caps to his name for £2.6m) and Titi Camara (an exciting attacking player who arrived massively overweight, unfit and devoid of form after being forced out of the Liverpool first team for £2.2m), along with Scottish International Christian Dailly (who had never lived up to his great early promise for £1.75m), for a total of some £8m (including fees and final cost adjustments). These transfers were later used as ammunition against the departing Redknapp, with aspersions cast regarding agent fees and the expensive nature of Camara's alleged Pay-As-You-Play contract that would have seen further monies paid after a relatively small number of games. His only solid moves from a fan's point of view was the loan signing Loan signings of Hannu Tihinen from Viking FK and Svetoslav Todorov did little to improve the paucity in quality of the first team. The team's fortunes improved imperceptibly but survival was ensured thanks to the poor performances of lower sides and the team finished in 15th place, comfortably out of the relegation zone.
At this point Redknapp's relationship with the board, already strained since the Andy Impey incident, fell apart. Redknapp requested a warchest of £12m to get the club back into the top six, with a sizeable portion of this to go towards bringing in Paris St. Germain left-winger Laurent Robert, a client of football agent and close associate of Harry Redknapp Willie McKay.
Slanderous comments soon followed in the direction of the West Ham board as Redknapp gave an interview in the unofficial West Ham fanzine Over Land and Sea, focusing his tirade on the lack of funding. The outburst caused so much friction that his position as manager became untenable, and Redknapp was sacked before the end of the season.
In the aftermath Frank Lampard Sr. left the club, and due to the obvious fall-out his son Frank Lampard was sold off to Chelsea for £11m. The money was subsequently granted to incoming manager Glenn Roeder.
 Glenn Roeder era: Down again
Several big names were linked with the vacant manager's job. Former West Ham player Alan Curbishley, who had rebuilt Charlton Athletic F.C. on and off the field since becoming their manager in 1991, instantly became favourite for the job but insisted he wasn't interested. Steve McClaren, who had been assistant manager of Manchester United in three successive title-winning seasons (including the 1999 treble campaign), was also linked with the job, but he was then appointed manager of Middlesbrough. So West Ham turned to youth team manager Glenn Roeder to fill the role. People doubted Roeder's suitability for the job, as his only managerial exploits had been short-lived and perceived to be unsuccessful with Gillingham over 1992-93 and Watford from 1993-96.
West Ham had a slow start to the 2001-02 season, hampered by injuries to key players. New signing David James was injured before he even made an appearance whilst on International duty; Frédéric Kanouté, Michael Carrick and Paolo Di Canio nursed groin and knee problems). The board made money available for strengthening the squad and Glenn acquired respected Czech International defender Tomáš Řepka from ACF Fiorentina, and Don Hutchison for his second term with the Hammers. However, Glenn Roeder was soon under immense pressure from fans who were calling for him to be sacked, especially after witnessing back to back maulings at the hands of Everton (5-0) and Blackburn (7-1). He responded by guiding the club to a seventh-place finish in the final table, just one place short of European qualification - although there was a 12-point gap between West Ham and sixth-placed Chelsea.
The summer of 2002-03 did not bode well for the season ahead. Despite a glaring need for squad reinforcements, the only positive transfer activity involved Irish international Gary Breen signing on a free transfer (he was to be later to be reviled as one of the poorest players ever to wear the West Ham shirt). Out the door went a number of experienced pros such as Paul Kitson, and a hatful of youth and fringe players. Another (by now traditional) poor start plagued West Ham United through to 2003, and this time Roeder was unable to turn things round quickly enough. The loss of Kanouté for nearly 1/3rd of the season, and Di Canio at the exact same period resulted in the teenage Jermain Defoe leading the line on his own. The loss of form of key players such as Trevor Sinclair, 2001-02 Hammer of the Year Sebastian Schemmel and Michael Carrick, who was still nursing a groin problem, combined with the absence of a dependable left back or left midfielder merely exacerbated an already difficult situation. The Hammers failed to win a single home game until January and suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Manchester United in the FA Cup.
The much attacked Gary Breen was pointedly at fault for a number of errors, but his play was not helped by the lack of any cohesive team. During the transfer window the club acquired Les Ferdinand and Rufus Brevett, and more importantly got Di Canio and Kanouté both back on the pitch and off the treatment table. The club's form improved and they began to claw their way up the table towards safety. In April Glenn collapsed in his office and was diagnosed with a brain tumour. He was immediately given a leave of absence and 1980 FA Cup final hero Trevor Brooking took over for the final 3 games of the Premiership season. But, despite an upturn in the team's form (winning 2 and drawing 1) they were unable to overhaul Bolton Wanderers F.C. and finished 18th in the final table, 2pts short of the safety zone. West Ham drew early in the season and then lost against Bolton during the run in; a draw against Bolton in their second match would have been sufficient to see West Ham survive. Their 10-year spell in the Premiership was over.
Not since 1994-95 had a club been relegated from the division with more than 40 points (West Ham had 42), but this was no consolation for a disappointed West Ham side filled with some of the most promising young English players, all tipped for international honours. The relegation forced the sale of key players Joe Cole and Glen Johnson (both to Chelsea), Kanouté and later Jermain Defoe to Tottenham Hotspur, Trevor Sinclair to Manchester City later followed by David James in the same direction, in a bid to prevent a financial crisis at Upton Park. Glenn Roeder was sacked soon after the start of the 2003-04 season.
 Alan Pardew era: Returning to the Premiership
Alan Pardew was the eventual replacement for Roeder, following Brooking's second brief stint as caretaker manager. Pardew was head hunted from fellow League 1 rivals (and promotion hopefuls) Reading by West Ham with the objective of promotion back to the FA Premier League. With a team whose talent had become marginalised over the previous 6 months since relegation the task did not appear to be a simple one.
The team saw over 15 new players brought in on both short and long term deals including Rob Lee, David Connolly, Marlon Harewood, Matthew Etherington, Kevin Horlock, Hayden Mullins, Nigel Reo-Coker, Andy Melville, Bobby Zamora and Brian Deane. The turn-over of players continued however with these and other acquisitions funded by the loss of David James, Jermain Defoe and Ian Pearce. The squad was bolstered with a contingent of loan signings such as Wayne Quinn, Neil Mellor, Matthew Kilgallon, Niclas Alexandersson, Robbie Stockdale and Jon Harley. As a result the team routinely lacked cohesion, and without Defoe for a large part lacked a quality striker in front of goal - though Connolly's immediate impact (5 in the 9 opening league games) and positive attitude coupled with Harewoods form went some way to make up for the loss of the future England International.
The teams form had picked up noticeably under Trevor Brooking, rising from 10th in the table to second by mid september. With Pardew installed as manager on the 18th of September the fans didn't have to wait long for their first win with the team taking a 3-0 over Crystal Palace on the 1st of October. A subsequent victory against Derby however was the last for almost a month until title run-away leaders Wigan suffered a 4-0 hammering at Upton. By this point the team had slipped to 8th, and were more than 6pts off the pace of the top 6 sides. Form waxed and waned through January, February and March with early fan opinion divided over their new manager but eventually the team settled into the top 6, and barring a late season dip that for a timebeing had Pardew seemingly close to the chop, the team came through strong to run out 4th place overall. Unfortunately in the Play-Off finals the team were defeated by Crystal Palace (who finished 6th that year).
The following year promotion was achieved through the play-offs. This time having played twice against Ipswich Town, West Ham drew 2-2 at Upton Park and won 2-0 at Portman Road over the two legs to qualify for the final at the Millennium Stadium, they achieved their aim with a 1-0 win against Preston North End, with Bobby Zamora scoring the only goal of the game in the second half.
Following promotion, the club exceeded expectations and achieved the ultimate target of survival for 2005-06 with a top-half place in the 2004-05 Premiership. Pardew claimed that he will not sell the club's best players, and appeared to have the backing of the board on this issue; he in fact spent a club record seven million to bring Dean Ashton to Upton Park. Ashton has been touted as "the next Alan Shearer". In January and February 2006, following a 3-1 home defeat by Chelsea, West Ham embarked on their best sequence of results for twenty years, winning seven games in a row in all competitions (five in the league and two in the FA Cup). The 3-2 win away to Arsenal on February 1st, on West Ham's last visit to Highbury Stadium, was the most noteworthy victory during this run, with the Hammers recording their first win over Arsenal at their stadium since 1995.
This seven-game winning streak ended when they drew 0-0 with Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup Fifth Round, however their unbeaten run continued when they drew 2-2 against Everton in the Premiership, before coming to an abrupt halt with a heavy defeat against Bolton Wanderers, losing 4-1. However Alan Pardew fielded a weakened team in that game in preparation for the FA Cup replay against Bolton again, where they won 2-1 aet with a Marlon Harewood. They then played, on 18 March, their former manager and player Harry Redknapp's club Portsmouth, on his first return to Upton Park. Portsmouth won 4-2 as Pardew rested some key players. However, two days later the Hammers beat Manchester City 2-1 to reach the FA Cup semi-finals. On Sunday 23rd April, less than a week following a loss to Middlesbrough in a league fixture, West Ham defeated them 1-0 at Villa Park in the FA Cup semi, with Marlon Harewood again scoring the goal that sent the Hammers through to their first FA Cup final since they beat Arsenal in 1980. This also secured the Hammers a place in the 2006-07 UEFA Cup, as Liverpool, their final opponent, are now assured of no worse than a spot in the final qualifying round of the that season's Champions League. The Hammers, with a place in next year's 2006-07 UEFA Cup and a FA Cup Final, now had to secure a top 10 finish, a position they had held since the start of the campaign. With this in mind and the FA Cup final on May 13th, Pardew had a dilemma, whether to stick out his first team and run the risk of injuries and suspensions or hold back. A mock run up of the FA Cup final saw Liverpool beat the Irons 2-1, with a late confrontation involving Mullins and Luis Garcia seeing them both sent off, missing the Final. Mullins, a key to their Premiership success would be dearly missed as he had been a defensive stronghold against many a worthy attacking force. On the back of that troubled match, the Hammers beat an already relegated West Bromwich Albion team 1-0, in which Dean Ashton limped off with a hamstring injury, a huge doubt for the final. This win was the sixth time the Hammers had played on a Monday night and their sixth win was a huge step towards achieving a top ten finish.
West Ham won their final game of the season 2-1 over arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur, cementing 9th place in the Premier League. Tottenham's loss to West Ham on the final day would result in Tottenham being overtaken in the league by Arsenal and therefore missing out on a Champions League place. The match was marred by controversy as many of the Tottenham players were ill on the evening before the match; this was initially believed to be "food poisoning", but was later found to be a virus that had gone round. The FA offered Tottenham a delayed kickoff which they refused. Tottenham ended up losing the match by a final score of 2-1. West Ham scored first when midfielder Carl Fletcher struck past Spurs keeper Paul Robinson. Tottenham then equalised through former Hammer striker Jermain Defoe. The Hammers had a chance to win the game when former Spurs player, Teddy Sheringham took a penalty kick. Sheringham's kick was saved. Israel international Yossi Benayoun was the hero and scored the game winning goal with a stunning strike.
If Pardew had guided West Ham to FA Cup glory, he would have been the first English manager to win the trophy since Joe Royle won it with Everton back in 1995. It would also have ended West Ham's 26-year wait for a major trophy which began after their FA Cup triumph in 1980. However, the game ended 3-3, despite West Ham taking a two goal lead early in the match. Eventually West Ham lost 3-1 on penalties, in what was considered by many as the best Cup final in recent years. It is generally accepted that Pardew has got closer than any manager in a quarter of a century to restoring the glory years back at Upton Park.
On the transfer deadline day for the new season, 31 August, West Ham seemed to have surprised world football when speculation mounted that two of the most promising young footballers in the world would be joining on permanent move. Carlos Tévez announced on his website that he and Javier Mascherano would be joining West Ham from Brazilian club Corinthians. West Ham confirmed shortly afterwards that not only had they signed the two Argentinians, but that they had signed on permanent deals. West Ham reportedly had to beat off competition from some major European clubs to sign the two young Argentinians.
West Ham's return to European competition, in the UEFA Cup in 2006, was ultimately short-lived as they lost 4-0 over two legs in the 1st round proper to Italian club, Palermo. This marked a major down turn in form leading to eight losses in succession in all competitions as of October 24, including a shock 2-1 loss away to League 1 side Chesterfield in the third round of the Carling Cup. The Hammers finally stopped the record-breaking run on October 29th at home to Blackburn with a 2-1 win in the Premiership, with goals from Teddy Sheringham, who in the making became the oldest ever goalscorer in the Premier League, and Hayden Mullins getting the winner in the 79th minute. They made it two wins in a row when they beat Arsenal at Upton Park with Marlon Harewood getting an 89th minute winner. The game was overshadowed by the arguments between Arsène Wenger and Alan Pardew in the manager dugouts, both have been charged by the FA. Since the victory over Arsenal, West Ham lost two successive matches to Middlesbrough and Chelsea by 1-0 each. Immediately after the takeover was complete, the Hammers trounced the Blades 1-0.
 Takeover saga
On September 1, the Board of West Ham confirmed, following press speculation, that they were in takeover talks with an unnamed party. They announced that there was no link between this prospective takeover bid and the signings of Tévez and Mascherano the day before. Media Sports Investment (MSI), the company which owns the contracts of those two players, and chose to bring them to West Ham, confirmed that it had no interest in investing in European football clubs, thereby ruling itself out of being behind these talks. However, a consortium headed by former MSI frontman Kia Joorabchian entered into talks with the club on September 5th. These talks broke down in early November after further debts that had not been declared by West Ham were revealed in the due diligence process. This was compounded by the announcement that West Ham would be unable to move into the 2012 London Olympic Stadium after the event, which was to be reserved for athletics use.
On November 21st, West Ham announced that they had reached an agreement with a consortium headed by Icelandic businessman Eggert Magnússon for the sale of the club, worth £85m. The sale puts to rest the idea that the two Argentines are here to stay as Tevez has started to act up.