Thursday 23 Jun
Updated Saturday 27 Aug 17:17

1900

The Certificate of Incorporation which announced the formation of West Ham United FC
 
The Certificate of Incorporation which announced the formation of West Ham United FC
 
West Ham United were incorporated as a company on 5 July 1900 and began a 15-year association with the Southern League at the dawn of the Edwardian era.

Thames Ironworks owner Arnold Hills offered four thousand, ten-shilling (50p) shares in the new limited company, whose headquarters were based at 55 Barking Road, Canning Town. The philanthropic businessman also offered the use of the Memorial Grounds for a nominal rent for the next three years.

Anticipating the share offer would be under-subscribed, Hills promised to match the sale by buying one for himself for every other one purchased. There was no rush to buy, as a typical east London working man would have been hard-pressed to find the money for even a single share.

The minutes of the first Board meeting reveal that the pioneering board of directors who would supervise the fledgling football club were A. Brown, J.W. Cearns, G.C. Fundell, G.C. Handley, G.J. Hone and C.E. Osborn (chairman).

The directors’ first task was to recruit Abraham ‘Abe’ Norris as trainer at 35 shillings per week (£1.75p). A number of the existing players from the Thames Ironworks club were taken on, as most were still employed at the shipyard.

The former Ironworks players who would play a part over the coming season were goalkeeper Tommy Moore, defenders Syd King, Charlie Craig, Charlie Dove and George Neil, half-backs Robert Allan and Roderick McEachrane, and forwards Fred Corbett, Frank Taylor and Len Walker.