On this day: 29th June.

Thames Ironworks:

On this day in 1895 Thames Ironworks Football Club was formed, their first ever match was an FA Cup qualifying round tie, which unfortunately they lost 5-0 to Chatham.

In the clubs existence they had three home football grounds. Firstly Hermit Road in Canning Town before moving to Browning Road in East Ham and finally Memorial Grounds in West Ham. The ground in Hermit Road, Canning Town was the same road my great uncle George owned a pie and mash shop on during the 60s through to the 90s!

Thames Ironsworks played in three different divisions and won three trophies in their five year existence before being reformed as West Ham United Football Club in June 1900. Their last game known as Thames Irons was a 5-0 win in a league game against Fulham.

Thames Ironworks home kit was traditionally a dark blue.

Since the club was reformed as West Ham United, the club have gone on to win 7 promotions, 1 Intertoto Cup, 2 League Cups, 3 FA Youth Cups, 1 Football League War Cup, 3 FA Cups and 1 European Cup Winner’s Cup. Some may claim The Hammers won the World Cup in 1966 too with a trio of their favourites involved!

West Ham United, nicknamed The Hammers recorded their biggest win against Bury in 1983’s League Cup which they won 10-0. Also know as The Irons, West Ham’s largest Premier League win came in 1990 against Barnsley.

123 years on West Ham prepare to go into their third successive season at the London Stadium since leaving Upton Park, their home from 1904 to 2016. The Hammers, with new manager Manuel Pellegrini in change will be looking to build on their 13th place finish in the Premier League last time out.

England:

Also, on this day in 1966, Bobby Moore captained England to a 6-1 pre World Cup friendly game against Norway in Oslo. Despite Jimmy Greaves scoring 4 of the 6 goals, Hammer’s captain Moore was still able to get himself on the scoresheet.Fun fact: Tottenham’s Jimmy Greaves joined up with Bobby Moore at West Ham in August 1969, scoring 13 goals in his 38 appearances for The Hammers.

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On this day: 27th June.

On the 27th of June 2002 West Ham signed goalkeeper Raimond Van der Gouw on a free transfer from Manchester United on a one year deal, Hammers had an option to extend it to an extra year.

Despite being 39 when Hammer’s manger Glenn Roeder signed the ex United ‘keeper, the Dutchman brought a wealth of Premier League experience from his time in England. During his 6 years at Manchester United the experienced ‘keeper won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two Charity Shields and a Champions League.

Van der Gouw and West Ham cult hero Paolo Di Canio sharing a moment during the ‘keepers spell in Manchester.

Van der Gouw signed for The Hammers as David James’ understudy, The Dutch goalkeeper played a number of times for the reserves but never featured for The Hammers first team.

The Dutchman playing for The Hammers during pre season duty.

The Dutch ‘keeper was one of many players to move on following The Hammer’s relegation in May 2003.

Van der Gouw moved back to Holland to sign for RKC Waalwijk where he made 1 appearance before moving to Dutch team AGOVV Apeldoorn in 2004. The Dutch ‘keeper made 101 appearances Apeldoorn before retiring in 2007. Raimond is currently a goalkeeping coach at Dutch side SBV Vitesse where he spent 8 years at as a player, making 258 appearances during 1988-1996 before Sir Alex Ferguson brought him to the Premier League.

On this day: 26th June

RIP Marc-Vivien Foe:

On the 26th of June 2003, 15 years ago today, former Hammer’s midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe tragically passed away shortly after collapsing on the pitch whilst making his 64th cap for Cameroon in the Confederations Cup Semi Final against Columbia. Former Hammer Rigobert Song was captain of Cameroon that sad day in 2003.

There were several tests made after Foe’s death and it was later confirmed Foe had a hereditary heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that rarely shows previous signs before suffering cardiac arrest. It is also the same condition that forced Fabrice Muamba to retire from football after collapsing on the pitch during an FA Cup match for Bolton against Tottenham in 2012.

Foe signed The Hammers from Lens in 1999 for £4m, becoming West Ham’s record signing. The Cameroon midfielder was signed by Harry Redknapp alongside the controversial Italian Paolo Di Canio.

Foe spent 12 months at Upton Park, scoring 1 goal during his 25 games for The Hammers before singing for Lyon.

Foe returned to the Premier League in 2002 on a season long loan with Manchester City during their farewell season at Maine Road. The Cameroon midfielder scored 9 goals during his 35 games in a City shirt, perhaps the most memorable goal being the last ever goal to be scored at Maine Road. City were looking to bring Foe to the blue side of Manchester full time by making his loan deal permanent but tragically his life was cut short just a few months after scoring that final goal at Maine Road.

The story of Youssef Sofaine:

On the 26th of June 2002 West Ham signed promising French striker Youssef Sofaine on a free transfer from French side Auxerre.

Youssef was a highly regarded player for the future, however the French U-18 international only made two first team appearances for The Hammers before returning to France in 2004.Unfortunately, now retired Sofaine didn’t live up to his potential once he left The Hammers either. The French-Algerian failed to cement his place in any team having made no more than 20 appearances for either club he played for in England, Belgium, Holland, France, Algeria or Germany.

On this day: 25/06/2001

On this day in 2001 West Ham appointed former Hammer of the Year Ludek Miklosko as their new goalkeeping coach. Ludek, affectionately nicknamed Ludo and had his own song sung in the terraces was voted West Ham’s prestigious Hammer of the Year award by the fans as The Hammers gained prompted back to the top division in 1991. When Ludo won the Hammer of the Year award he was the first non British player to do so.

My name is Ludo Miklosko, I come from near Moscow and I play in goal for West Ham.

During the Czechoslovakian’s time as a player at Upton Park he kept 47 clean sheets in 375 games and played part in some memorable matches including when The Hammers famously kept Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United which including Paul Ince (less said about him the better) from winning the title in May 1995 thanks to a goalkeeping masterclass in between the sticks by Ludo himself. The 1-1 draw meant Blackburn won the title despite losing themselves on the final day to Liverpool but most importantly stopped Paul Ince was lifting the silverware, perhaps a little bit of revenge for Hammers fans after he was seen parading around in a Manchester United shirt whilst still contracted at West Ham. Thanks Ludo!

Even as a goalkeeping coach Ludo oversaw The Hammers promotion back to the top flight, just like he did as a player, and was famously pictured carrying Jimmy Walker around on his back with Jimmy’s leg in plaster after the 1-0 win over Preston in May 2005. During the Hammers return to The Millennium Stadium 12 months after their disappointing 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace in May 2004. Late on in the match against Preston Jimmy Walker came for what seemed a routine catch, the Hammer’s keeper tried to adjust in mid air so he didn’t handle the ball outside the box but landed awkwardly and injured his knee, Ludo then piggybacked the injured Jimmy Walker around the pitch at the final whistle as West Ham won promotion back to the Premier League. During Mark Noble’s testimonial afternoon in 2016 at Upton Park, Ludo and Jimmy re-enacted that famous afternoon back in May 2005, this time without the plaster and the agonising 7+ minutes injury time!

Ludo and Jimmy Walker re-enactment of the 2005 Play Off Final.

West Ham’s promotion back to the Premier League in 2005 was the third of a crazy five seasons at Upton Park, Ludo oversaw Hammers relegation from the top flight in 2003, the Play Off Final loss in 2004, Hammer’s promotion in the Play Off Final in 2005, Hammers return to Millennium Stadium for the third time in as many years, this time Hammers narrowly missed out on winning the FA Cup Final on penalties in 2006 and then Hammer’s last day win at Old Trafford in 2007 to complete a Great Escape to stay in the Premier League!

Ludo in the background celebrating Hammer’s Great Escape in 2007 with Hammer of the Year Carlos Tevez.

Ludo was replaced by Kevin Hitchcock in March 2010, just months after David Gold and David Sullivan brought the club. During the Czech’s time coaching at West Ham he worked alongside the likes of Jimmy Walker, Roy Carroll, Shaka Hislop (twice), Van der Gouw, Robert Green and David James.

Ludo and former Hammers goalkeeper Roy Carroll.

Welcome Fabianski

Welcome to West Ham United Lukasz Fabianski, the 33 year year old becomes Hammer’s first Polish player after signing on a three year contract. The polish international is The Hammer’s third signing so far and the second in less than 24 hours after West Ham and Swansea City agreed on a rumoured £7m deal. The £7m signing sees the 6’3 goalkeeper added to new manager Pellegrini’s new look Hammers team which includes new signings right winger Ryan Fredericks and centre back Issa Diop, positions where Hammers struggled in last season.

Lukasz is currently in Russia with the rest of Russia’s World Cup squad, he is so far yet to feature in the tournament but has won 45 international caps since making his debut for the Poles in 2006.

After an impressive spell in his homeland at club level for Legia Warszawa the Pole signed for Arsenal in 2007. During his at The Emirates he made 78 apps for The Gunners and played in The Gunner’s FA Cup Final win over Hull City in 2014, this would be Lukasz’s last appearance in an Arsenal shirt.

Later that summer Swansea City signed the 6’3 ‘keeper on a free transfer, Fabianski would go on to make 150 apps for The Swans during his time at The Liberty including playing part in every Premier League game last term. Despite The Swans relegation to The Championship the Pole earned the club’s player of the year award for his efforts. Fabianski also made more saves than any other goalkeeper in England’s top flight in the last three seasons.

Welcome Issa Diop

Issa Diop, full name Issa Laye Lucas Jean Diop becomes Pellegrini’s second signing of the season joining Hammer’s new right winger Ryan Fredericks. Issa has signed from Ligue 1 club Toulouse on a 5 year deal, the 21 year old French born centre back is rumoured to Hammer’s record signing beating Arnautovic’s deal 12 months ago by around £2m.

Who are ya?

The 21 year old has represented France at every level except the senior squad, Diop played his part in the French U-19 European Championship win in 2016 but could yet represent Morocco or Senegal due to not yet representing France at senior level and having family ties with the previously mentioned countries.

At 18 years old Diop made his debut for his boyhood club Toulouse, in April 2017 Diop had earned the armband for the first time before being appointed full time captain in October later that year. That season new Toulouse captain lead the club he had been at since the age of 9 to the quarter final of the French Cup.

In the 2017/18 season the French born defender added 41 appearances to his previous 54 appearances for Toulouse, despite being a centre back Diop scored 6 times in his 95 matches for Toulouse before joining The Hammers.

At 6’4 Diop will be Hammer’s tallest player, the centre back is taller than Hammer’s Andy Carroll and Marko Arnautovic by just a few centimetres. With Mertesacker and Crouch unlikely to be playing a part in England’s top tier, Diop looks to be one of the tallest Premier League players in the upcoming season.

Hammers 18/19 fixture list

As we know all to well with Premier League fixtures, they are almost certain to change at the drop of a hat so I will try to make sense of this years fixtures and compare them to fixtures of yesteryear.

With all fixture lists the fans will look straight to the first game of the season, the last game of the season and where their teams will be playing on the traditional Boxing Day fixture. Hammers have seen their team play away on all of these three key dates two seasons out of the last three with last season being the only exception thanks to the visit of Everton to close the season.

The Hammers played all three of these key dates away during the 16/17 season, the 15/16 season and fortunes won’t favour them during the 18/19 season either as Pellegrini’s men will do so again next term too with trips to Liverpool, Southampton and Watford respectively.

Previous key fixtures:

How have The Hammers faired with these fixtures in the last 12 Premier League seasons? West Ham have played part in 11 of the last 12 Premier League campaigns and will their 6 consecutive campaign since their first season promotion after their relegation in 2011.

Hammers haven’t had their fair share of Boxing Day fixtures throughout the years with 7 played away from home whilst only 4 were played at home. Hammers have will play away on Boxing Day for the 5th time in as many years this season with a trip to the south coast. The 12/13 season saw Hammers miss out on the traditional Boxing Day fixture, I believe this was due to the game being postponed because of snowy and icey conditions around the ground.

On the final day Hammers have played 6 games at home and 6 games away, although the first game of the season has been slightly more kinder to the Hammers as they’ve hosted 7 games at home and travelled away on 5 occasions. Hammers can count themselves unlucky though, especially in recent history with the away game against Liverpool on 11/08/18 being their 4th opening day away game in a row.

Below are the scheduled fixtures released this morning.

Important dates?

July the 6th is around the date that the August and September fixtures picked for broadcasting.

August the 7th is around the date that the October and September fixtures will be picked for broadcasting.

Rivalries:

As always we look forward to the rivalries, we will play Chelsea and Tottenham at home within the opening 9 games. Although these fixtures are pencilled in for 22/09/18 and 20/10/18 both fixtures are subject to change due our London rivals European commitments, Chelsea looking almost certain to be moved a day later to Sunday 23/09/18. The reverse fixtures are pencilled in to take place in April on 06/04/19 and 27/04/19.

Rest of the top 6:

We play away to Liverpool and Arsenal in the opening month of the season before the visit of the Manchester clubs ManchesterUnited and Manchester City in September and November. Our reverse fixtures with Arsenal and Liverpool are in January and February whilst the away fixtures to both Manchester clubs are scheduled for late February and mid April.

Important months:

August will see every club looking to getting off to a good start in the league in the opening months, although not every club can. Hammers have two very tough and testing away trips to Liverpool and Arsenal in August with the visit of Bournemouth to London Stadium wedged in between. Hammers fans will be hoping Pellegrini’s new look Hammers side can mirror the same start they had during the 2015/16 season when new manager Slaven Bilic guided The Hammers to two away wins against Arsenal and Liverpool in the month of August, although they’ll be hoping the home visit of Bournemouth doesn’t end in defeat this time round.

September looks to be a very tough yet important month for The Hammers, new manager Pellegrini will look to make the London Stadium more like home and he will hope to do that sooner than later with the very challenging opening months. September will see Hammers host Wolves, Chelsea and Manchester United as Pellegrini’s men travel to Everton for their only away trip that month.

December as always is very tough month for every club with a very congested fixture list but The Hammers will look upon this month to capitalise as they don’t face any of last season’s top 6 sides during the Christmas period. Hammers will host three games against Cardiff City, Crystal Palace and Watford whilst they head on the road four times to travel to Newcastle, Fulham, Southampton and Burnley.

January is another important month for clubs in the footballing calendar with the fall out from the testing seasonal fixtures, an FA Cup 3rd round tie crammed in and the struggles and strains of the transfer window. Hammers will host Brighton and Arsenal before traveling to Bournemouth and Wolverhampton. There may well be an FA Cup 4th round match a League Cup Semi Final for The Hammers if they see themselves go on a cup run in either competition.

March will see The Hammers host three games at the London Stadium against Newcastle, Huddersfield and Everton with a trip to Wales to face Cardiff. Hammers will hope to make the most of this month with the season slowly winding down, having to travel away in 5 of their final 6 games.

April will see Pellegrini’s side travel to Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham whilst their only home fixture in the closing 6 games will be against Leicester City. With the trip to Wales the month before and 5 away trips to close out the season, Hammers will be thankful that three of their final 5 away trips are in London. Hammers will close out the season in May the visit of Southampton before the trip to Watford.