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West Ham United Football Club - flats and houses to rent with Black Katz, London's largest lettings only agency., rent a flat in London
 

West Ham United Football Club


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West Ham United Football Club is an English football club based in Upton Park, London Borough of Newham, East London. They have played their home matches at the Boleyn Ground stadium since 1904.  To find a flat or house to rent near West Ham FC, London contact the Black Katz  office. Black Katz have flats and houses to rent near West Ham FC and across London.  If you are a landlord wishing to rent out your property contact Black Katz.


The club was originally founded as Thames Ironworks F.C. in 1895 and was later reformed, in 1900 as West Ham United. They initially competed in the Southern League and Western League before joining the full Football League in 1919 and enjoyed their first top flight season in 1923, featuring in the first FA Cup Final to be held at Wembley that year against Bolton Wanderers. The club have won the FA Cup three times: in 1964, 1975 and 1980. They have also been runners-up twice, in 1923 and 2006.

In 1965, they won the European Cup Winners Cup (now defunct), and in 1999 they won the Intertoto Cup (also defunct).

They also won the inaugural Football League War Cup in 1940. The club's best final league position is third place in the 1985-86 (old) First Division.

West Ham currently compete in the Premier League, and finished in 10th position in the 2007-08 season. They have been members of the Premier League for all but three seasons since its creation in 1992, and their highest finish in the Premier League was 5th in 1998-99.

On the 17th December 2008, West Ham vice chairman Asgeir Fridgeirsson announced owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson is actively looking to sell West Ham United and are in talks with 'more than five' interested buyers for the club.

Recent History

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 Tevez to finish 15th, above the relegation zone. Tevez' contributions were arguably important to the survival of the club in the Premiership as he scored seven goals, five of them crucial, in the last couple of months of the season to enable the team to stay up, notwithstanding his ineffectiveness throughout the early part of the season.

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 FC, manager Alan Curbishley resigned on 3 September 2008. His successor, Gianfranco Zola took over on 11 September 2008 and in so doing became the club's first foreign manager (The Scottish manager Lou Macari was the only other manager not from England), to coach the club and became West Ham's 12th manager.. Following a promising start to his tenure as manager, including winning his first two league games, West Ham's form under Zola has been inconsistent. Despite earning credible draws away to Liverpool and Chelsea (0-0 and 1-1 respectively), West Ham endured a sequence of one win in the eleven league games since Zola's first two league games, until an emphatic 4-1 Boxing Day victory away to Portsmouth.


Crest

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 1903/4) 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).

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Colours

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 uniforms.

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 side's 'uniforms' to Dove in payment. The Aston Villa player subsequently reported to his club that the kit was 'missing'.

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, and indeed, in recent years the club have committed to a dark blue-white-sky blue rotation for the away colours. For instance, the 2008-09 squad will wear sky blue away kits, while last year's campaign saw white away kits, the year before saw navy blue, etc. However, last year's away kit will be the Hammers' third kit for the coming season.

West Ham announced on 2 March 2007 their new kit supplier will be Umbro for the next 3 seasons but has since been extended to the 2013/2014 season[citation needed], with the club also announcing they will be changing the home and away kits at the end of every season for the next 3 years[citation needed].

On 7 June 2007 the club announced their new kit sponsor will be XL.com. On 12 September 2008 XL Leisure Group was put into administration, leaving the club without a sponsor.

On 3 December 2008, the club announced that SBOBET, a betting company, will be the shirt sponsors until the end of the 2009/10 season. Their logo will be worn on West Ham's first team shirts and replica adult kits. The Youth Academy and kids replicas will sport the Bobby Moore fund as sponsor due to the main sponsor being a betting firm.


Supporters, hooliganism and rivalries

Supporters

“ I'm forever blowing bubbles,
Pretty bubbles in the air.
They fly so high, nearly reach the sky,
And like my dreams they fade and die.
Fortune's always hiding,
I've looked everywhere...
I'm forever blowing bubbles,
pretty bubbles in the air. ”

—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. At the time, a Pears soap commercial featuring the curly haired child in the Millais "Bubbles" painting who resembled a player Billy J. "Bubbles" Murray in a local schoolboy team of Park School for whom the headmaster Cornelius Beal coined singing the tune "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" with amended lyrics.

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,
Bow Bells are ringing, for the Claret and Blue,
When the Hammers are scoring, and the South Bank are roaring,
And the money is pouring, for the Claret and Blue,
Claret and Blue,
No relegation for the Claret and Blue,
Just celebration for the Claret and Blue,
One day we'll win a cup or two, or three,
Or four or more, for West Ham and the Claret and Blue.

 ”
—Supporters song to the tune of 'The Bells are Ringing', circa 1960
 
Like other teams (such as Liverpool F.C.'s adoption of "You'll Never Walk Alone") 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 Ottawans D.I.S.C.O., or singing That's Zamora to the tune of Dean Martins 1953 classic That's Amore in honour of former Iron striker Bobby Zamora (this chant was originally created by the Brighton fans when he was at the club).

On the fans' darker side, they gained national attention after giving a torrid time to David Beckham in his first away match of 1998-9 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 ("Judas, Judas"), Frank Lampard("Fat Lumpolard") Jermain Defoe ("You're just a small Paul Ince") and Nigel Reo-Coker have born the brunt of verbal assaults and a guaranteed hostile reception at Upton Park. However, players such as Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand and Carlos Tevez receive applause and even standing ovations in honour of their contributions during their time at the club.

Many West Ham fans also follow Leyton Orient and Dagenham and Redbridge, West Ham fans can be seen at either Leyton Orient or Dagenham and Redbridge, whenever West Ham are playing away from home, although the warmth felt by West Ham fans for Orient is not usually reciprocated by the Orient supporters.


Hooliganism

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.

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 "Inter City" 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.

During the 1990s, and to the present day, sophisticated surveillance and policing coupled with club supported promotions and community action has reduced the level of violence, though the intense rivalry and association with Millwall, Chelsea and other major players in the 'firm' scheme remains.

The 2005 film "Green Street" (an allusion to the road on which the Boleyn Ground stands) depicted an American student played by Elijah Wood becoming involved with a fictional firm associated with West Ham, with an emphasis on the rivalry with Millwall. The two teams and their Chairmen moved to distance the clubs from the movie at the time. West Ham hooliganism was again highlighted in film in 2008, with the film based on the life of well known former hooligan Cass Pennant, Cass.

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Rivalries

West Ham have strong rivalries with several other clubs. Most of these are with other London clubs, especially with their neighbours Tottenham Hotspur and also with Chelsea, which sublimates the age-old East versus West London rivalry.

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 rivalry between West Ham and Millwall has involved considerable violence and is one of the most notorious within the world of football hooliganism. However, the two clubs have not played each other in 4 years.

Nicknames

The fans and club alike are known as "The Hammers" by the media, partly because of the club's origins as Thames Ironworks company football team (see club crest) and also (incorrectly) due to the club's name. However, they are also known as "The Irons" by their own supporters. They are also known as "The Cockney Boys" from their history of being a Cockney team. Yet another nickname is "The Academy of Football", or just "The Academy", a nickname given, then adopted by West Ham United, by the London media.


Stadium

West Ham are currently based at the Boleyn Ground, commonly known as Upton Park, in Newham, East London. The capacity of the Boleyn Ground is 35,303. This has been West Ham's ground since 1904. Prior to this, in their previous incarnation of Thames Ironworks F.C., 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. However, the move to the Olympic Stadium was abandoned when it was revealed that the stadium would have a reduced capacity from the current Boleyn Ground, and would have to remain primarily an athletics venue.

As the move is no longer possible, Magnússon is eager to find another venue, and insists West Ham will preferably move from the Boleyn Ground in the future.

Magnusson along with Legal and Commercial Director,- Scott Duxbury, have said that a move to a new ground is likely by approximately 2011, with the site for the new stadium likely to be the current Royal Mail depot next to West Ham station.

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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. More recently, Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Glen Johnson and Frank Lampard have begun their careers at the club. 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 Premiership 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'.


Ownership

West Ham United was owned by Terry Brown until 2006, when Eggert Magnússon and Björgólfur Guðmundsson bought the club. Soon after, manager Alan Pardew was sacked and ex-Charlton Athletic Manager Alan Curbishley was hired. In a bizarre twist of fate, the two managers met each other in a relegation battle where the Hammers lost 4-0 to their South East London rivals. However, West Ham eventually stayed up and Charlton were relegated. Terry 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. In December 2008 West Ham began looking for new owners. Five potential buyer's have signed non-disclosure agreements, with offers invited after owner Björgólfur Guðmundsson's holding company went into voluntary administration.

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 managemant structure, and would keep his stake in the club.

However on 13 December 2007, it was announced that Magnússon had left West Ham and that his 5 per cent holding had been bought by club majority owner Björgólfur Guðmundsson. He has since been blamed for West Ham´s overindulgence in the summer of 2007 when the team agreed sky-high wages for some players who then didn´t live up to expectations, Fredrik Ljungberg being a particular example.

In November 2008, Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson had said thet he would be listening to any offers made by other companies around the world to buy West Ham United Football Club due to his investments in the famous Icelandic bank, Landbanksi, going into adminstration therefore, his investments not being there any more.


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 includes 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 does not affect the German and French divisions of the company's operations.

As of 12 September 2008 the club terminated its contract with XL Leisure group.

On December 3rd 2008 West Ham announced that they had signed a shirt sponsorship deal with Far Eastern betting firm SBOBET. The deal is set to run until the end of the 2009/10 season, and will see the company's logo on First Team and Reserve Team kit, and adult replica shirts; all Academy teams and child replica shirts will carry the logo of the Bobby Moore Fund.

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