With the current COVID-19 outbreak, football across the world has come to a stop, which is why we are keeping you entertained as we a take a look back to the 1995/96 Premier League campaign.
Harry Redknapp was hoping to improve on West Ham’s 14th-place finish from the previous season. Redknapp recruited handsomely in the summer transfer window in an attempt to push towards the European spots.
The 1995/96 season also saw the emergence of two teenagers – Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard – from the youth setup and both would go on to have illustrious careers for Manchester United and Chelsea respectively.
And improve is what the Hammers did, achieving a 10th-place finish and were never feared by the prospect of relegation. They did fail to mount any serious challenge for European football, but Redknapp was moulding together an exciting squad.
Overall, the Irons amassed 51 points, winning 14 of their 38 Premier League encounters. It was the first season that the top-flight changed from a 24-team division to just 20 – finishing 10th and one place above Chelsea was a respectable accomplishment.
From January 31 to February 21, West Ham won five Premier League matches in a row, which included victories over London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea. However, leading up to this impressive run, the Hammers lost four in a row; that level of inconsistency was the stumbling block between mid-table mediocrity and potential of a European finish.
But what about cup competitions? Well, Redknapp’s side were eliminated from the League Cup in disappointing fashion, losing away to Southampton 2-1 in the third round. As for the FA Cup it was only marginally better, reaching the fourth round before being knocked out Grimsby Town, losing 3-0 on away soil in a replay after a goalless draw at Upton Park.
Tony Cottee finished the club’s top-goalscorer that season in all competitions, netting 12 times throughout the 1995/96 campaign. However, the top league goalscorer award was shared between Cottee and left-back Julian Dicks – West Ham’s penalty taker – with both scoring 10 goals in the Premier League.
The Hammers’ highest home attendance of the campaign came against Liverpool on November 22, 1995, with 24,324 fans packing out Upton Park to witness a 0-0 draw.
Overall, it can be considered a standard season. West Ham improved on the season prior, but disappointing performances in both cup competitions left the claret and blue faithful wanting more.