Ouch! A history of opening day disasters

West Ham United's 5-0 defeat at home to Manchester City on Saturday was not the first time the Irons have suffered a miserable defeat on the opening day of the season.

The club's history is littered with a series of opening day disasters, in which the fans' hopes and dreams for the coming campaign were extinguished almost overnight.

So join KUMB as we take a look back at some of the worst 'season-opener shambles' from throughout the club's 124-year history...


1895: Chatham 5-0 West Ham Utd

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It is the only game in which the Thames Ironworks, the predecessors of West Ham United were to officially feature during their first season as a recognised entity - and it couldn't have gone much worse.

The Kent side managed to gather a crowd of some 3,000 fans to watch them easily beat an Ironworks side starring the likes of Walter Parks and Arthur Darby, whose names are nonetheless immortalised as members of the club's first ever team.


1903: Millwall Athletic 4-2 West Ham Utd

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Ok, it wasn't perhaps a hammering like some of those opening day defeats that were to follow over the course of the next century or so, but this defeat for the recently-formed West Ham United FC was particularly difficult to swallow given that it was at the hands of the auld enemy from just down the road.

Few details of the game remain although it is known that West Ham's goal were scored by William Kirby and Charles Satterthwaite (an expensive name to have on your shirt).


1954: Swansea Town 5-2 West Ham Utd

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Vetchfield was the home of Swanseas Town and, more latterly, City during the 20th century before the club moved to the Liberty Stadium and it was also the venue for a right royal drubbing for West Ham on the opening day of the 1954/55 season.

Although John Dick managed to grab a pair for the travelling Irons, the home side - who were, like the Hammers, to end the season mid-table in the (old) Second Division - hit five as United's hapless (pre-Bobby Moore) defence simply fell apart.


1976: Aston Villa 4-0 West Ham Utd

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Goalless at the break, John Lyall's Hammers - featuring new signing Bill Green, a ?100,000 summer signing from Carlisle - capitulated after the half time interval.

In true Hammers tradition Green, a centre half conceded a penalty that Ray Graydon missed, although the winger still managed to grab a brace regardless as the Villains ran riot.

Andy Gray was the scorer of newly-promoted Villa's two other goals on the day, with all four efforts coming in a 26-minute spell of dominance for the home side. It didn't get an awful lot better in the league for West Ham that season, as they avoided relegation to Division Two by just two points.


1988: Southampton 4-0 West Ham Utd

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It was a lovely sunny day on the south coast as thousands of Hammers, many bedecked in smiley t-shirts (as was the fashion at the time) and enjoying the so-called 'second summer of love' descended upon The Dell for the opening game of the campaign.

However the smiles had disappeared from their faces by the time the final whistle sounded after Paul Rideout grabbed a brace, Glenn Cockerill another and the mercurial Matt Le Tissier a fourth in the closing minutes.

Not helped by the loss of Stuart Slater and Tony Gale during the first half, manager John Lyall sat helpless in the dugout on what was to be his last season at West Ham manager before being given the tin-tack - as West Ham were relegated at the end of the season.


2002: Newcastle Utd 4-0 West Ham Utd

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Newcastle were a far better side back at the turn of the century than they are these days and Glenn Roeder's West Ham felt the full force of their long-gone potency as a four-goal, second half blitz condemned the Irons to an opening day defeat from which they never recovered.

Goalless at the break, journeyman Lomana LuaLua opened the scoring on 61 minutes before adding a second 11 minutes later. An ageing Alan Shearer made it 3-0 four minutes later before Nobby Solano, who was to join West Ham five years later completed the rout five minutes from time.

West Ham were of course to suffer the ultimate humiliation at the end of the campaign when they were relegated despite finishing on 42 points - a record high to this day for a side falling through the Premiership/Premier League trap door...


2017: Manchester Utd 4-0 West Ham Utd

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"It's hard to find positives when you lose 4-0", moaned a disappointed Slaven Bilic after he saw all pre-season optimism blown away in the space of 90 minutes at Old Trafford.

In what was West Ham's biggest opening day defeat in 15 years, the biggest surprise was perhaps that it took the home side 33 minutes to break the deadlock (through Romelu Lukaku).

But new 'keeper Joe Hart was to find himself picking the ball out of his net thrice more before the final whistle, although two late goals in the final three minutes made the final score look a little more comprehensive than it should've.


2018: Liverpool 4-0 West Ham Utd

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New manager, new team - same old result. The Scousers were to end the season with 97 points, but few were to know how good they would be that season when they stepped out against the Hammers on the opening day of the season.

New manager Manuel Pellegrini watched in horror as his team succumbed to a demoralising defeat on Merseyside, with the hosts scoring twice either side of the break to begin a dismal run of four straight defeats for the Irons.

One behind to Mo Salah's early opener, United criminally conceded on the cusp of half time (through a blatantly offside Sadio Mane) which meant the game was as good as over by the break at an Anfield ground never known as a happy hunting ground for West Ham.


2019: West Ham Utd 0-5 Manchester City

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West Ham went into the new campaign having smashed the club's transfer record with the ?45million signing of striker Sebastien Haller and the capture of highly-rated young Spanish international Pablo Fornals (?24million).

Yet despite the enthusiasm these and other signings engendered amongst the club's fanbase, the Hammers were dished out a dose of reality when they were subjected to their biggest home defeat in years by the reigning Premier League champions (and the only home match to feature in this list).

Just one goal behind at the break, it was a case of men against boys in the second period as Manuel Pellegrini's were given a good hiding, conceding four and watching another City effort ruled out for the most marginal of offside decisions, thanks to the freshly-introduced VAR.

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