This post provides a list of West Ham’s biggest rivals In the Premier League. West Ham United has always found itself in the middle of some heated football rivalries In the Premier League, and what is interesting is that these rivalries are West Ham’s neighbors from London.
Their encounter against these London clubs is usually a clash of emotions, history, and fierce competition. However, here are the top 5 of West Ham’s biggest rivals In the Premier League:
- Tottenham Hotspur
- Sheffield United
These rivalries are charged by different factors which you will learn about In this post. Let’s have fun.
1. West Ham vs. Tottenham Hotspur Rivalry
When it comes to football rivalries, few matches can match the intensity and drama when West Ham faces off against Tottenham Hotspur.
Imagine a rivalry charged not only by fierce competition but also by a history of players switching sides between the two clubs.
This rivalry has seen players like Michael Carrick, Martin Peters, Paul Allen, Jermain Defoe, and Scott Parker wearing both the Hammers’ and Spurs’ colors.
The feud took an interesting turn with the appointment of former West Ham manager Harry Redknapp as Tottenham’s manager.
However, one of the most memorable moments in this rivalry has Involved Arsenal. In May 2006, Arsenal and Tottenham were in a fierce battle for the final Champions League spot.
Arsenal, their arch-rivals, are playing Wigan while Spurs head to Upton Park to face West Ham. Tottenham should have had the upper hand, comfortably ahead of West Ham in the league.
However, Tottenham players gathered for a team meal, but something in the lasagne and spaghetti bolognese didn’t agree with them as Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea hit more than half of the starting eleven.
Tottenham appealed to the Football Association to postpone the game but was told that not playing would cost them points.
Despite key players like Carrick and Keane returning from injuries, they struggled on match day. West Ham took an early lead in the game, and even though Jermaine Jenas equalized, the Spurs were struggling.
In the end, Yossi Benayoun’s goal sealed West Ham’s win. Meanwhile, Arsenal beat Wigan, clinching the Champions League spot.
Meanwhile, Spurs’ ordeal had nothing to do with West Ham; it was a norovirus outbreak at the team hotel. For Spurs, the pain endured as they missed out on Champions League qualification, while Arsenal secured the spot.
It took Spurs another four years to qualify and over a decade to finish ahead of Arsenal in the league again. I think the lasagne saga is a memorable chapter that will continue to define the fierce West Ham-Tottenham rivalry.
2. West Ham vs. Chelsea Rivalry
Sometimes, rivalries are born from history and life experiences rather than geographical closeness, and this is the case with the fierce rivalry between West Ham United and Chelsea.
West Ham and Chelsea aren’t exactly neighbors in London. Stamford Bridge is about an hour away from Upton Park.
In fact, there are several other West London teams much closer to Chelsea, like QPR, Brentford, and Fulham. However, football rivalries are often about more than just where you’re located on a map.
There were periods when the rivalry would reduce, and other clubs like QPR would become Chelsea’s focus of hate. But the hooliganism era of the 1980s and 90s saw clashes between West Ham and Chelsea, and when they both returned to the top flight.
Regardless, the rivalry took a more bitter turn when a young Frank Lampard, a product of West Ham’s youth system, left the Hammers to join Chelsea in 2001.
This transfer sparked emotions among West Ham fans, sadness, betrayal, and relief, but most notably, it ignited intense hatred.
Lampard, who once called West Ham his own, was now condemned by the same fans who had cheered for him. Chelsea, in the eyes of West Ham supporters, had stolen their talent.
While such player transfers are more common in today’s football, two decades ago, players often spent their entire careers at one club.
READ ALSO: 13 Biggest Rivalries In Soccer History
3. West Ham vs. Sheffield United Rivalry
This unlikely rivalry between West Ham United and Sheffield United dates back to the 2006–07 Premier League season, sparked by the controversial transfer of Carlos Tevez.
While they may not be geographical neighbors like some other football rivalries, these two clubs have developed a fierce rivalry since the 2006–07 Premier League season. And it all centers around one name: Carlos Tevez.
The story begins in August 2006 when Carlos Tevez made a surprise move to West Ham United, joining the club alongside his fellow Argentine, Javier Mascherano.
It seemed like a promising addition to the Hammers’ squad, but nobody knew that this transfer would torch a rivalry that would portray both clubs’ histories.
The controversy surrounding Tevez’s arrival stopped Premier League rules on third-party ownership of players. It was alleged that West Ham had broken these rules in their acquisition of Tevez.
The repercussions were severe as West Ham was fined a substantial £5.5 million for the breach. However, what intensified this fierce rivalry was the Premier League’s choice not to penalize West Ham by deducting points.
This decision had a direct impact on Sheffield United, who found themselves relegated from the Premier League that season.
The Blades believed that West Ham’s points should have been docked for the rule breach, and they felt robbed of their place in the top flight. This Tevez affair has raised questions about the league’s governance and the importance of fair play.
4. West Ham vs. Millwall F.C Rivalry
This fierce rivalry between Millwall and West Ham United, which stretches back in time, began when both clubs were known by different names: Millwall Athletic and Thames Ironworks.
These East End teams were born within three miles of each other and first locked horns in the 1899–1900 FA Cup. This encounter, known as the Dockers derby, was more than a clash on the pitch; it symbolized a bitter rivalry between dockers working at shipyards on opposite sides of the River Thames.
Adding fuel to the fire, fans of both clubs were employed by competing firms vying for the same business. In 1904, West Ham moved to the Boleyn Ground, later absorbed into London after a boundary change in 1965, and In 1910, Millwall moved across the River Thames to New Cross in South East London.
Despite the moves, they still stayed less than four miles apart. Competitively, Millwall and West Ham have faced each other 99 times, with Millwall holding 38 victories, West Ham with 34, and 27 matches ending in draws.
The rivalry’s intensity was even more noticeable before World War I, with the teams meeting 60 times in just 16 years, mainly in the Southern and Western Football Leagues.
Since 1916, they’ve crossed paths 39 times in league and cup competitions. Despite often competing in different divisions, they consider each other their main rival.
Sadly, violence has spoiled their encounters over the years, resulting in tragic incidents like the death of a Millwall supporter in 1976 and the murder of a West Ham fan in 1986.
Even in recent times, the Metropolitan Police have implemented London-wide operations to maintain order during clashes between these two teams.
5. West Ham vs. Arsenal Rivalry
The rivalry between West Ham United and Arsenal is a fiery one, spanning over a century of passionate clashes. The West Ham United vs. Arsenal rivalry dates back to the early 1900s when they first met in the Southern League.
In the 1920s, both clubs were competing in the First Division. However, one of the most memorable moments in this storied rivalry occurred in 1933 when the two sides faced off in the FA Cup final.
Arsenal emerged victorious with a 2-0 win. This historic match was the first major cup final between West Ham United and Arsenal.
During the 1950s and 1960s, West Ham United and Arsenal continued their intense rivalries, and these encounters were often closely fought battles.
In the 1980s, West Ham United experienced a significant resurgence. This era witnessed notable achievements, including West Ham clinching the FA Cup in 1980 and securing an impressive third-place finish in the league in 1986.
During this time, matches between West Ham United and Arsenal once again became fiercely competitive, with both sides vying for bragging rights in London.
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