Formed: 1895 Manager: Slaven Bilic Stadium: Boleyn Ground Capacity: 35,016 Years in Premier League: 19 Last 3 seasons: 2014-15: 12th 2013-14: 13th 2012-13: 10th Best finish: 5th (1998-99) Opening day fixture: Arsenal (A), Aug 9 Last day fixture: Stoke (A), May 15
This season’s aim:
Embarking upon their fourth consecutive season in the English top-flight, and last ever at the Boleyn Ground, West Ham United decided to part company with Sam Allardyce and appoint former Croatia boss Slaven Bilic as their new manager ahead of the 2015-16 campaign. After an average 12th placed finish for the Hammers last term, Bilic brought back Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson on loan after impressing last term, meanwhile fellow additions Pedro Obiang and Dimitri Payet look like shrewd signings throughout pre-season. After forward Enner Valencia was ruled out for 12 weeks with a leg injury, the club are set to step up their search for a new striker before the close of the transfer window. Bearing that in mind, a proven goalscorer for West Ham could help the club push for a to-10 finish this term, although the Hammers are perhaps still a long way off from their best-ever fifth place finish they achieved prior to the millennium. Their form leading up to the opener hasn’t been great either as they’ve already suffered a Europa League exit at the hands of Astra Giurgiu – though it was a inexperienced side which played in Romania.
Darren Randolph (Birmingham City), Pedro Obiang (Sampdoria), Dimitri Payet (Marseille), Angelo Ogbonna (Juventus), Carl Jenkinson (Arsenal), Manuel Lanzini (Al-Jazira), George Dobson (Arsenal)
Dan Potts (Luton Town), Carlton Cole (Released), Guy Demel (Released), Jussi Jaaskelainen (Released), Nene (Released), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough)
Star Player: Dimitri Payet
In what could prove to be one of the summer’s best buys, West Ham United’s new midfielder Dimitri Payet is expected to become an important part of Slaven Bilic’s plans at the Boleyn Ground this season. The Frenchman, who has 15 international caps, scored seven goals in 38 appearances in all competitions last season for Marseille. However, it was Payet’s staggering 21 assists last term for the Ligue 1 outfit that caught the attention of the Hammers, helping his former club finish fourth in the French top flight. To put it into perspective, Payet topped the charts when it came down to the number of chances created (134) in all the major European leagues last year. So, it is little wonder that West Ham fans are already singing his praises this summer.
Shoot’s Hammers blogger: David Bowden
Blogger’s view: “The last year at the Boleyn is sure to be an emotional one, and with a new man at the helm it is also one of the most intriguing seasons for years. There is no doubting though that this is the most important year in the club’s recent history. With the move to the Olympic Stadium just around the corner it is crucial that we continue our progression. Under Sam Allardyce, West Ham United has seen slight but obvious progression and the key for Bilic and his new coaching staff is that they continue the upward curve. The Hammers have strengthened impressively and will be hoping to leave their home of 112 years in style. With the right squad management and some more clever acquisitions I am hopeful the Irons can enjoy a positive final year at the Boleyn. An eighth place finish should be the target for Bilic and his men.”
Blogger’s key man: Dmitri Payet
Shoot Says: Bottom half