West Ham were surprisingly relegated, following a disastrous season. This was despite the club boasting several current or future England internationals, including David James, Trevor Sinclair, Joe Cole, Jermain Defoe, Glen Johnson and Michael Carrick.
West Ham were poor all season, and a run of three wins from the opening 24 matches saw them bottom of the Premier League with only 16 points. However, the poor league form was put into perspective when their manager Glenn Roeder collapsed after a Premiership match against Middlesbrough; it was later revealed he was suffering from a non-malignant brain tumour, which was operated on successfully. United legend Sir Trevor Brooking was named as caretaker manager, and a good run of form towards the end of the season saw West Ham go into the last day of the season with a chance of beating the drop. The last game of the season was against newly-promoted Birmingham City. They needed to better Bolton Wanderers’ result at home against Middlesbrough, Bolton being tied on points with the Hammers but having a superior goal difference. However, West Ham drew 2–2, with goals from Les Ferdinand and Paolo Di Canio, replying to Birmingham goals from Geoff Horsfield and Stern John, and were relegated, ending their 10-year stay in the top division Bolton beat Middlesbrough 2–1 at the Reebok Stadium, so West Ham would have needed to have won their final match by seven goals to avoid relegation.