West Ham United Football Club was founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks. After changing its name to its current form in 1900, West Ham United began playing in claret and blue shirts. The team colors match the many bubbles flying around the stadium before kick off, encouraging the fans to sing the team’s traditional anthem, “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”.
West Ham have a great record of producing homegrown players. Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Rio Ferdinand all began their professional careers at West Ham before moving on and later becoming prominent figures in the England national team. Other homegrown players have suffered a torrid time when returning to face West Ham with their new team. Most notably, Frank Lampard always receives a hostile reception from West Ham fans because of his move to cross-town rivals Chelsea.
Apart from Chelsea, West Ham also have local rivalries with Tottenham Hotspur and Millwall. The infamous tradition of West Ham players leaving for Tottenham only spurs the rivalry between the two teams. The East London derby between West Ham and Millwall are considered to be high-risk games because of the history of violence between supporters. Both sides are well known for their hooliganism, and clashes between groups of fans often occur in and around the stadium. However, since West Ham and Millwall now play in different leagues, the two teams rarely get the chance to play against each other.
On May 10, 2016, West Ham fans sang “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” for the last time at Boleyn Ground, their home for 112 years. The club currently plays its home games at the famous Olympic Stadium in Stratford, London. The stadium was primarily built to host the 2012 Summer Olympics. West Ham was then named as the preferred team to use the stadium, starting from the 2016-17 season.