WEST HAM UNITED
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Manager: Billy Bonds
The new rule, that prevents the goalkeeper from handling the ball when it is passed to him by a team mate. The FA International Board introduced a change to Law XII (fouls and misconduct) to "help eliminate common time-wasting tactics". In simple terms, the 'keeper must now use any other part of his body, apart from his hands, to play a ball that is kicked to him by a team mate.
A deflection with the foot is permitted provided the 'pass' is deemed unintentional by the referee. Outfield players may continue to pass the ball to their 'keeper with the use of the head or others part of the body, though not in a contrived way. If the goalkeeper breaks the new rule, he will concede an indirect free-kick at the place where he touches the ball with his hands. Any free-kick awarded to the defending team, within its own goal area, may be taken from any point within the goal area.
Despite relegation, the Hammers found themselves in Division One as the advent of the Premier League led to the restructure of the Football League. Yet after the opening three games they were nineteenth in the table. September brought three good victories, which included a 5-1 win at Bristol City, and the partnership of Clive Allen and Trevor Morley was beginning to blossom.
Following a 0-0 home draw in the League Cup with Crewe Alexandra there was disappointment in the replay as the Hammers lost 2-0. In early October the team moved up to second spot after beating Sunderland 6-0 and Bristol Rovers 4-0, but then came a setback when losing 2-1 at rivals Millwall. The good league form continued with four successive home wins and away draws at Brentford and Charlton.
In the New Year there was a decent 2-0 win at Derby County, but it was marred by the sending-off of Julian Dicks and an injury to Alvin Martin that forced him to miss the rest of the season. In the FA Cup West Bromwich Albion were beaten 2-0 away but the next round saw cup hopes dashed when Barnsley won 4-1 at Oakwell.
On 24 February the whole nation was shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Bobby Moore. To all at Upton Park he was a hero and England’s finest captain. Before the home game with Wolverhampton Wanderers wreaths were laid around the pitch and there was a one-minute silence before the kick-off. A crowd of 24,679 had come to pay their last respects and it was fitting that West Ham won 3-1.
With Clive Allen injured, the Hammers signed striker David Speedie on loan from Southampton. The veteran forward obliged with two goals in the 3–0 home win over Leicester City. Following a 3-1 win at Swindon the Hammers needed to beat Cambridge on the final day to ensure automatic promotion. The tension at that match was unbearable, but second-half goals from Speedie and Allen sealed a 2-0 victory and the Hammers were now in the Premier League.
In this campaign the Hammers had also participated in the Anglo-Italian Cup and after finishing above Bristol Rovers and Southend United in the preliminary round they qualified for the international stage. They played against four Italian sides, with their only defeat coming against Cremonese, the eventual tournament winners.