|Stadium||The Boleyn Ground (Upton Park)|
West Ham United were originally founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks as a purely amateur outfit, turning professional in 1898, only becoming West Ham United F.C as a reformed club once the Ironworks had shut down because of financing arguments within the club.
The Irons moved to Upton Park in 1904 (the current stadium, Boleyn Ground, is built in the same location) and instantly found rivals in the shape of Millwall. The Hammers gained entry to the Football League in 1919, quickly earning promotion to the top flight and taking part in the first ever FA Cup Final in 1923, losing 2-0 to Bolton in a match only able to take place after the intervention of Billie the white horse.
West Ham spent almost 30 years in the second tier, unable to make any major waves until Ron Greenwood took charge in 1961, winning the FA Cup and European Cup Winners Cup between 1964 and 1966. A significant proportion of the West Ham squad made up the 1966 World Cup winning squad including captain Bobby Moore.
Since the 1960’s, the Irons have gained a reputation for developing and nurturing young English talent, their policy initiated by Ted Fenton but put into action mostly by Greenwood. Their nickname “The Football Academy” isn’t unjustified when you look at the list of player who have graduated from their youth squad including Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters and Micheal Carrick to name a few.
Most of these talents moved on as West Ham developed a reputation for being a feeder club and their success has wavered as they bounce between Championship and Premiership of late. With Sam Allardyce at the helm, promoting them immediately after relegation in 2011; there might be a few surprises in store.
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