Villarreal to grace Boleyn

West Ham United are pleased to confirm the club will be taking on Villarreal in the traditional curtain-raiser to the new season on Saturday 9 August at the Boleyn Ground.

The Spanish league runners-up were one of Europe's leading clubs last season and will provide a strong test for Alan Curbishley's side ahead of the new Barclays Premier League campaign. Villarreal finished ten points clear of Barcelona and just behind Real Madrid in 2007/08 and boast several top internationals. Among them are the Spain trio of Joan Capdevila, Marcos Senna and Santi Cazorla and Turkey striker Nihat Kahveci - all of whom have impressed at Euro 2008. Freddie Ljungberg will know all about the Spanish players after the summer finals.


Coached by the highly-rated Manuel Pellegrini, the Chilean who took the club to the 2005/06 Champions League semi-finals, Villarreal are expected to be leading contenders at home and in Europe's premier club competition in the new season. Other famous names include former France midfielder Robert Pires and Denmark striker Jon Dahl Tomasson, both of whom have English league experience. Then there are the exciting new arrivals including versatile World Cup winner Edmilson and the US prospect Jozy Altidore.

The prestige pre-season opener at the Boleyn Ground has attracted a host of leading clubs in recent years including PSV Eindhoven (2-1, 2003), Anderlecht (4-4, Anderlecht win 5-4 on penalties, 2004), Osasuna (1-1, 2005) and Olympiakos (1-1, 2006). Last season, goals from George McCartney and Dean Ashton helped account for Italian giants AS Roma in a 2-1 home victory. Ticket information will follow via as soon as available.