West Ham United have a proud tradition in English football for playing attacking and entertaining football. It is an approach that has electrified millions since the east London club was developed in 1900. Fighting relegation or challenging for silverware? The club has never sacrificed its long-held football principles.
The late 1950s saw West Ham United end their long stay in Football League Division Two. The Hammers finished sixth in Division One the following season. They were three places behind London rivals Arsenal. West Ham United probably had their best game against Arsenal in 1960. The club went on to win 6-0 following a mesmerising display.
The London Stadium was the setting for one of the most saddening episodes in March 2018. It was probably the worst in West Ham United’s history. Supporters mounted furious complaints against the board. The team fell deeper into relegation trouble after losing to Burnley. It was an afternoon which was supposed to mark the 25th anniversary of Bobby Moore’s death.
It was difficult for David Gold and David Sullivan, West Ham’s co-owners, to win back trust from the fans. The relationship with supporters was at a point where it was impossible to defend. The club manager, David Moyes, also decided not to extend his contract. However, the mood has grown positive five months later. It was when Sullivan promised supporters a “high-profile” appointment.
The club owner finally delivered by hiring Manuel Pellegrini. The Chilean inherited a team with a multitude of holes. Plus, the transfer window was already closed. It was tough to know which positions on the field Pellegrini needed to prioritise. Since West Ham United had the joint-worst defence in the Premier League, he decided to sign Ryan Fredericks from Fulham. It was an encouraging step for the fans.
West Ham United also needed a goalkeeper. They paid £7m for Lukasz Fabianski who knows English football very well. The priority was still to look at central defence since they were conceding so many goals. After releasing Winston Reid and James Collins, the club settled for Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena. Although Diop is only 21, he has a bright future.
Pellegrini later demanded control of recruitment. West Ham United brought Málaga’s Mario Husillos as director of football. The club demonstrated their ambition by signing Andriy Yarmolenko. They have also broken their transfer record to sign Felipe Anderson in a deal worth up to £42.5m. The Brazilian winger has the ability to play off either flank. He was the only player who could form an exciting partnership with Marko Arnautovic.
West Ham United is now planning to sell the Austrian forward from an unnamed Chinese side. According to reports, Marko wants to move. It is understood the wages on offer are £200,000 a week. Greedy or past his prime? Time will tell! For now, West Ham United remain a work in progress. They are currently a team that will need time to gel.
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