Written by: @George__Curley
The Europa League is what many would call an embarrassment, while others might call it the promised land. West Ham are one of the latter category, and we have been lucky enough to play in this famous league – but are we taking these chances of silverware for granted?
Fans have been treated to European tours to countries such as Romania and Slovenia and its fair to say that not every trip has been memorable for the Hammers. After the famous 2015/2016 season, the OLAS Hammers travelled to the town of Domžale to see the Irons lose 2-1. After winning in the return fixture, the Hammers had just 2 matches to qualify for Europe. They had drawn the first fixture in Romania to Astra Giurgiu, but the joys were quickly squandered when West Ham lost at home to the Romanian side knocking them out of the qualifying rounds.
West Ham were last in this competition three years ago and have not seen any European action since, but this season is a good chance to mend our over sea woes.
West Ham have been lacking in the trophy department for multiple years and wasted another opportunity to gain another piece of silverware when they lost 4-2 against AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup. This was especially a great chance as Premier League teams in the draw got put together and guess who Wimbledon drew… Millwall.
Considering all of these factors, West Ham have a great chance of securing European football next season as we have a squad with enough quality to challenge the teams around us to a Europa League place; however we have to find consistency as the league is ruthless and will punish any mistake made. Football abroad would be a dream come true for the Hammers after experiencing awful campaigns the previous two seasons where we barely stayed up.
If we do secure European football next season (and that’s a big if!) West Ham should see it as an opportunity to take the leap to become a top-club, which would make us as more attractive to players. The teams we would have to face would unmistakably be a different and tougher challenge to which we’ve never seen the likes of before. European football is a beast like no other – it’s more tactical, which makes it one of the best competitions in the world – but can West Ham break the Europa curse and make it through to the group stages before getting knocked out by a Romanian team? Only time will tell.
As for the moment in time, the Hammers just have to focus on gaining as many points as possible so that we qualify for Europe next season. Nonetheless if the impossible does happen and Pellegrini makes travelling Hammers go on European tours, then there’s the question of him getting the balance between the focus of Europa League and the Premier League.
On the whole West Ham have to start taking cups seriously, as they are the only realistic chance of us gaining ground and getting ahead of other teams in the trophy cabinet. As for West Ham United, Astra Giurgiu rematch: get it sorted.