With Harry Redknapp departing at the end of the previous campaign, West Ham United had the tough task of finding a suitable replacement for the 2001/02 season – in stepped Glenn Roeder.
The new Hammers boss was initially appointed as part of Redknapp’s coaching staff, but Roeder was promoted to take charge after the club failed to attract Stevel McClaren and then Alan Curbishley. The appointment was opposed by some supporters, who expected a bigger name to replace Redknapp.
However, Roeder was allocated £15million to spend in the transfer window; using that to sign David James, Tomas Repka and Don Hutchinson.
There were outgoings, though, and the departure of Frank Lampard to Chelsea was a damaging blow before the season commenced. Davor Suker, Stuart Pearce and Igor Stimac were also some notable names to leave the club.
And the Claret and Blue faithful’s hesitation at the start of the campaign was not eradicated, in fact it was elevated. Roeder’s side won just one of their opening seven Premier League matches – which included damaging defeats to Everton (5-0) and Blackburn Rovers (7-1) – and the jury was seemingly out.
However, three consecutive league wins followed and a sense of order was restored around the club. It was a season of inconsistencies for the Hammers, but an excellent run of from towards the end of the campaign – which saw West Ham win five of their final eight matches – meant Roeder’s first season would be a successful one, achieving a seventh-place finish.
Overall, the east-London club finished on 53 points, winning 15, drawing eight and losing 15 league matches.
In cup competitions, the Hammers faithful had little to cheer about. Roeder’s side were eliminated from the League Cup in the second round, while reaching the fourth round of the FA Cup before being knocked out by London rivals Chelsea.
Jermain Defoe finished as the club’s top goalscorer for the 2001/02 season, netting 14 goals in all competitions. Frederic Kanoute scored the most Premier League goals for the Hammers, netting 11 times throughout the campaign.
Overall, Roeder endured a successful first season at Upton Park. With question marks over whether he could be the one to replace Redknapp, finishing seventh was an excellent achievement.