Founded in 1885, West Ham moved on from Upton Park where they’d played since 1904 in 2016 when they moved to the former Olympic stadium, now known as the London Stadium.
Although West Ham have never been a glamorous club, or one that wins many trophies, they have been an East End institution for a very long time and the Hammers’ fans are some of the most dedicated and loyal in the country.
In this article, we will have a look at some of the most hated rivals of West Ham United.
Considering history, fans opinion, game atmosphere and intensity, here are the 5 most hated rivals of West Ham United.
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5. West Ham vs Sheffield United
The last time the Blades were in the Premier League, Argentine duo Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez helped keep the Hammers stay in the English top flight at the Yorkshire club’s expense – and this sparked outrage amongst the Bramall Lane faithful.
West Ham were found guilty of infringing Premier League rules B13 and U18, the latter applying to the action of third party ownership following the sensational and unlikely arrivals of the two players.
The recruitment of Tevez in particular would seem to be causally linked to the club’s subsequent successful fight to avoid relegation the following Spring, the Argentine tyro popping up to score the winner against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Tevez had sent Sheffield United down to the Championship, remarkably playing a part in 55 per cent of the Hammers’ goals in the final five games.
A legal battle followed and financial compensation between the two clubs was eventually agreed out of court. By no means was that controversy forgotten and it gave birth to this unusual rivalry. Thus, the Blades could be regarded as one of most hated rivals of West Ham United.
4. West Ham vs Manchester United
This rivalry is not a very deep one. In a recent survey, when every clubs’ fans were asked to vote for their biggest rivals, Man United fans voted West Ham as their 6th biggest riavls behind Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, Leeds and Arsenal.
While in the same survey, West Ham ranked Man United as their 4th biggest rivals. Thus, Man United are among the most hated rivals of West Ham United. The top three rivals of West Ham will follow next.
3. West Ham vs Chelsea
The east-west rivalry between these two London sides heated up with the Blues’ habit of poaching some of the Hammers’ best players, most notably John Terry, Joe Cole and Frank Lampard. The latter was sold to Chelsea for an £11 million transfer fee. Lampard took a while to find his feet at Stamford Bridge but turned out to be one of the best top ten Premier League signings ever – despite being a regular whipping boy for Hammers fans.
Both sets of fans share dislike for each other, a Chelsea fan was quoted saying ” this game is right up there with Arsenal and Tottenham. A victory against West Ham, especially away, is almost always more satisfactory than beating other teams outside the top four”. All these things makes Chelsea one of the most hated rivals of West Ham United.
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2. West Ham vs Tottenham
While many Irons and Spurs supporters would consider Millwall and Arsenal respectively to be their arch-enemies, this derby has also proven to be pretty fierce for a number of decades. Without a doubt, this rivalry earns a place in this list of ‘biggest rivalries in London football’.
West Ham fans voted Tottenham as their biggest rivals. After watching the atmosphere, whenever these two meet, its not hard to understand why Tottenham is among the most hated rivals of West Ham United.
On the pitch it was fairly evenly matched in the 1990s, with Arsenal off winning trophies and becoming the best team in London, but while the Hammers have suffered relegation a few times, Spurs began challenging near the top of the table and the gulf in class started to widen.
The Tottenham supporters’ condescension feeds the Hammers fans’ disdain and the bubbling animosity exists not so much for football or geographic reasons, but for how each side views the other. Spurs belittle the Irons, West Ham fight to prove their relevance. But the rivalry has nevertheless proven to be a reliable source of entertaining plot points and intriguing narratives.
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1. West Ham vs Millwall
The rivalry between Millwall and West Ham United is one of the longest-standing and most bitter in English football. In 1885, Millwall FC was formed by dockers and shipbuilders on the Isle of Dogs in London’s East End. Ten years later, on the other side of the Thames river, a team was formed at Thames Ironworks, which would later be called West Ham United, to boost the morale of the workers. The teams were supported by shipmen and workers, who were anyway rivals in their business. Football just intensified everything.
They first played each other in the 1899–1900 FA Cup. The match was historically known as the Dockers derby, as both sets of supporters were predominantly dockers at shipyards on either side of the River Thames. In 1910, Millwall moved south of the River Thames to New Cross and the teams were no longer East London neighbours. Both sides have relocated since, but remain just under four miles apart. Millwall moved to The Den in Bermondsey in 1993 and West Ham to the London Stadium in Stratford in 2016.
The rivalry between the teams is deeply embedded in British football hooliganism lore and culture, and has been depicted in films that focused specifically on the animosity between the clubs’ two hooligan firms, the Inter City Firm and the Millwall Bushwackers. Violence has occurred sporadically between the fans, once resulting in the death of a Millwall supporter in 1976. Most recently in the 2009 Upton Park riot, widespread disorder between supporters in and around West Ham’s Upton Park ground led to numerous injuries and a Millwall fan being stabbed before the match began.
They don’t meet often now-a-days but when the clubs actually clash, all the pent up hatred just blows away anything that comes in its way. Probably, if the teams go on to meet more often, a time may come when this derby takes the shape of a rivalry such as the one between Arsenal and Tottenham, in which although there is boundless passion and hatred, the fans don’t let it transform into violence or hooliganism.