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Top six West Ham? Historic stats tell a very different story

In the six years this website has been around there has been constant discussion, debate, patience, animosity and downright spite over the position in which West Ham United regularly finds itself.

The constant cries for us to become a top six club and the anger at promises, or near promises, made by the board when they over-hyped the move from the Boleyn are understandable.

I was among those who never wanted to leave our old manor and a walk along Green Street now is as heartbreaking as it gets.

But sometimes we need a dose of reality and a realisation of what we are and where we are.

History tells its own story and thus I have dug back into the records from the year I started supporting this club to examine League positions down the years since 1962-63 when we stood on the brink of the golden years with a team to die for.

In that season we finished 12th, in ’63/64 we slipped to 14th, the following year we managed ninth and in World Cup year the Hammers found themselves in a lofty 12th place.

Over the remaining four ‘sixties’ season we finished 16th, 12th and eighth and 17th. Since then it has been little better – here’s the record:

1970s: 20th, 14th, 6th, 18th, 13th, 18th, 17th, 20th (league 2: 5th, 7th)

1980s: Ist (Old Division 2),9th, 8th, 9th, 16th, 3rd, 15th,16th, 19th

1990s: (Old Division 2) 7th and 2nd), 22nd,(Old Div 2, 2nd)13th, 14th, 10th, 14th, 8th, 5th, 9th

2000s until now: 15th, 7th, 18th Championship: 6th, 9th, 15th PL 10th, 9th, 17, 20th

Championship 3rd. PL 10th,  13th, 12th 7th, 11th, 13th 10th.

Us old timers have been on the dark side for a long time and probably have a better idea of what this club is rather than what it has aspired to be.

We are what we are and were at the Boleyn – top six talk is a fine fantasy but the reality is we aren’t and never have been quite as good as we would like to believe.

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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

28 comments on “Top six West Ham? Historic stats tell a very different story

  1. This very site was talking about top 7 at the beginning of the season.
    This article could have been written as a reason to move to the Olympic stadium to take west ham to the next level.

    But what is that ? What should we expect from moving ?

  2. Yes sooner a dinosaur than an ignoramus like yourself

  3. Some people may have heard of the Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient, which measures the relationship between league position and wage costs.
    Most clubs finish within two to three places either side of the ranking of their wage costs. So, on average, the more money you spend on wages, the higher the chance of finishing higher up in the league table. Six of the seven highest wage spenders finished in the top seven places.
    So football is all about money. There are exceptions, but money generally buys success over the long term.

  4. I saw that Hugh, I’m not saying you wrote this to justify moving, I’m saying it sounds similar to what was written at the time. yes we’ve always been floating around mid / lower mid table and moving was supposed to change this. Not so much overhyped as wishful thinking from the board.

    • No they over hyped the move Che. They got it all wrong. I don’t carry grudges cos they are self destructive but I really don’t like the stadium experience at all. Thanks for explaining

    • We had that fantastic team Moore, Hurst, Peters, Byrne, Ticker Boyce Pete Brabrook etc -finsihed 12th and eventually went down. I just shake my head when I hear this top six biz from board and fans. Fantasy football.

  5. Love to take some of these fans back in a time machine to when football was all about being herded into a tin cattle shed with terracing in the dark days of the old second division when there were hardly any fans in the stadium and the pitch’s were made of mud. It would be like Scrooge being show the ghost of Christmas past. Maybe they would come out of the experience being a little bit happier with their lot and not expecting us to barcelona?

      • I think we have a lot of young fans Hugh born in the premiership,micro chip age.I go back to the mid 70s personally and muddy,glue pot pitches.No footie on Sky and the seasons highlight on TV was the cup final.Only time we have come close is the 86 Frankie Mac Tony Cottee season.So much media exposure now and people see it well to wall every day and say I want a bit of that.In reality we are a mid table or fighting relegation team and have been for decades.Wrong for the board to promise something that historically hardly ever happened especially now when it’s all powered by money.Its hard to recognise the game we grew up with as kids.

    • Agreed – but not even Barcelona are Barcelona these days. I’m certainly not against ambition but some fans obviously harbour unrealistic expectations. Don’t get too upset or indignant if the ‘promises’ or aspirations of football club owners don’t work out. FFS! You’ll be sueing the tooth fairy next. If nothing else, being a long term Hammers fan will show you a) you don’t always get what you want, b) you don’t always get what you deserve and c) box to box midfielders and 20 goal-a-season strikers don’t grow on trees.

      It’s going to be tough, but I’ve got more confidence in DM than I had drifting in the aimless world of ‘big team’ MP. Happy New Year to all and COYI.

  6. I hear you Hugh but unless the move helps take us to the next level then it has been for nothing. I don’t buy we cannot be a top 6 side but not under these owners.

  7. Happy New Year to all Fans . A special Happy New Year to Claret&Hugh . Looking forward to a Great 2020 . Cheers to everyone and the Very Best of Luck to David Moyes .

  8. Pacific hits the nail right on the head. Money money money. It dominates modern football.Sadly, although our owners looked pretty rich in 2010, by today’s standards, with the likes of Everton, Wolves & Leicester being bankrolled by serious billionaires they look a bit lightweight. Personally I don’t want to see our club swallowed up in this way- probably, I admit, for sentimental reasons.
    But I really don’t care if we don’t get in to the Top 4/6. Some more European nights like the ones I just about remember would be nice, but if we can become a well organised club which is at the heart of the local community, with a solid PL side we can be proud of, that gives the supporters more entertainment than angst – well that’ll do me. I think that is a realistic aim given the wealth of the present owners.

  9. So? Wasn’t that why our owners sold UP and rented the bowl? World class team in a world class stadium?
    Cheap talk again…

  10. West Ham get 60,000 for each home game.
    This summer we sold Obiang, Perez, Chicarito, Fernandez, Arnie, Byram and Oxford for £48m so our net spend was only £25m
    That does not get you up the league. Just like when we finished 3rd and ended up selling Cottee to Everton.
    The club has never had the owners or ambition to match the fans

  11. It was our tin cattle shed, and our stupid songs and our chance to get away from work and the aggro of life. We made jokes about how bad the team were and as i remember there were plenty of fans making plenty of noise in the old 2nd division – only difference was that we had an occasional cup run and were proud of our club. Didnt matter not finishing high in the league then – but all thats been taken away from us…so the sheisters who took it have put us in this frame of mind where success now matters more than anything. And this board cant see that what we had at uptoon park WAS success. All gone now

  12. A Very Happy New Year to One and All.

    Imagine this!

    My very first game was on 18 May 1963 and we stood in The Chicken Run.

    Home to Manchester City; score: 6 (Yes, 6) – 1. We finished around 1/2 way that season.

    Since then, if we managed around the same, or even a little higher, job done!

    By nature, I can never (literally) accept being lied to and especially by anyone claiming whatever they are doing is for MY benefit, or some other altruistic reason.

    The current owners, well at least 2 of them, are, in my opinion, nothing more than spivs and cheapskates and basically, every time they open their mouth, some fool speaks.

    Thanks to their intrinsic duck’s backside syndrome, they will always go from one extreme to the other. That is exactly what we have experienced over the past 10 years and none more so than since the disastrous move to the athletics stadium.

    They do not know how to be any different and, so long as their decision taking (making?) is on a wing and a prayer, their cash cow will continue to benefit at our expense.

    Generally speaking, fans are the collateral damage caused by bad owners. The single worst thing ours did was not to move away from The Boleyn but to The Olympic Stadium. Most of the recent vitriol stems from that because fans have to wrestle with trying to make the most of a bad move. But their has to be a release and the current custodians seem to go out of their way to exacerbate that release.

    We evolved never to expect. Since the new owners’ arrival, they have promoted false expectation; the result being the inevitable disappointment…………

  13. You are right of course, in 40 years of going I have only seen us challenge in the 85/86 season, and what great memories that still holds for us oldies. The last week. with the 8-1 versus Newcastle, the coming from behind against Ipswich and WBA to win and then Dalglish ruining it all with a latish winner at Chelsea for Liverpool.

    However, the stadium move did change the expectation, especially following the 7th place finish in the last season at the Boleyn. We were still challenging Man City for the 4th CL place with 2-3 games to go. Even up to the last game versus Stoke, which we should have won 5-0 and lost 2-1, we could have finished fifth with the right results.

    In short, the people who wanted the move (myself included) generally felt the bigger stadium would help us kick on, the ones who didn’t want the move were convinced by the owners it was part of a plan to take us to the next level.

    The move has had a big bearing on the increasing value of the club, their £85m investment is worth £4-500m+ now. Of course there are other factors like the TV money.

    But the board got what want they wanted financially out of the move and the supporters didn’t see the club kick on.

    So, as has been said many times, you cannot blame the supporters for having higher expectations now Hugh, whether it’s realistic or not. In some regards, reducing the expectations lets them off and it just says we will just accept anything they say or do with our club.

    I’d like to move on and accept we are just going to be a mid table/lower half club, but think its gonna take more time for most of us to do so.

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