Hammers Heaven and Hell by Kirk Blows
Little did anybody anticipate that West Ham's play-off final victory against Preston in 2005 would provide the launch pad for one of their most successful seasons ever, with the club securing a top-half Premiership finish and qualifying for Europe thanks to its first FA Cup final appearance in 26 years. Indeed, the thrilling 3-3 draw with Liverpool will be remembered as one of the most dramatic finals of all time.With a keenly anticipated UEFA Cup campaign and the shock arrival of Argentina World Cup stars Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano, the future could hardly have seemed brighter. But storm clouds were gathering on the horizon as the Hammers embarked on what would prove to be the most turbulent and traumatic period in the club's entire history. A protracted takeover saga, the sacking of manager Alan Pardew, a Premier League inquiry that would result in a record GBP5.5 million fine and a season-long battle against relegation were the main issues that dominated the headlines, while an unseen presence - fuelled by ego and avarice - threatened to erode the fabric of the club from within. Yet salvation would eventually be achieved in the most sensational and controversial of fashions.Full of exclusive interview material, anecdotes and analytical comment, "Hammers Heaven and Hell" investigates the true reasons for two campaigns of contrast and conflict as West Ham experienced both ecstasy and agony in equal measures.