Why is there “colossal anticipation” surrounding this record-breaking Hammers side game?

From our special correspondent in London,

The images of Martin Peters, Bobby Moore and Geoffrey Hurst will be viewed from every angle in front of the Olympic stadium in London this Thursday afternoon, including by children walking on rollerblades. In 1965, the three West Ham legends offered the London club the only European Cup in its history, the Cup of Cups, a year before they were three centers of the only World Cup to be won by England. Of the 60,000 supporters expected this Thursday (9 p.m.), during the Europa League quarter-final first leg against OL, few have been able to witness this European conquest.

A young girl stops in front of the statue of Martin Peters, Bobby Moore and Geoffrey Hurst, which stands in front of the Olympic stadium in London where West Ham play. – Jérémy Laugier / 20 Minutes

There’s no need to question their thirties or forties to find traces of Hammers fans shaking for a trophy collected by their heart club. “Since I was a child, I have experienced five relegations, but no title,” sighs Nathan (43). Suffice it to say it (or not) could help Lyon supporters put this trophy-less 10th anniversary in perspective next month. On Wednesday, West Ham left-back Aaron Cresswell (32) set the tone at a press conference: “This is the biggest game of my career. Like many players in the team, this is my first time playing in a European Cup quarter-final.”

The fastest “sold out” record broken for this match

And for good reason, the Hammers have had a second round of the Europa League for 40 years after winning the 1999 Intertoto Cup (youhou), a first round of C3 in 2006, two consecutive failures in the qualifying rounds in 2005 and 2006 (still in League Europa), and that’s it. Suffice it to say, OL next door looks like Galactics given their chicken hatching habits. That’s why this Thursday poster was completed in just four days, which is a record in all competitions for West Ham since arriving at the London Olympic Stadium in 2016, with a significant tonnage of 60,000 sq.

“We really believe in it this season, it’s time to win something,” continues a barely superstitious Nathan. I admit that I have already noted that in the event of a semi-final we will be playing against Barcelona or Frankfurt. “In the heart of the Hammers store, which was busy in the afternoon, we were able to chat with Mats (51), who had come especially for the occasion from Norway with his son Sindre.

“I started to believe in it for good from Sevilla”

“Normally we only attend two games a year, but when we saw that West Ham were finally in the quarter-finals of a European Cup, we couldn’t miss it,” explains this Norwegian who has been addicted to irons since he was six years old. parents offered him a sweater. There is a colossal anticipation surrounding this game. From our very good qualification as 8th against Sevilla [l’un des favoris, battu 2-0 au retour]I started to believe in it for good. †

The London Stadium crowd cheers after a goal from West Ham midfielder Jarrod Bowen.
The London Stadium crowd cheers after a goal from West Ham midfielder Jarrod Bowen. – Jane Stokes/ProSports/Shuttersto/SIPA

Painfully maintained in the Premier League in 2020, the London club has been completely transformed since last season with David Moyes (6th in PL in 2021 and currently still 6th). “We are no longer seen as losers enjoy Matt now. The last two seasons have been very good, which is surprising given that we weren’t expecting anything positive from David Moyes’ return to our bench. †

“This club loves good football”

If the Scottish coach’s play is rather restrictive, it doesn’t quite match the Hammers’ DNA. “This club loves good football,” assures Guy Demel, an Ivorian defender who played here from 2011 to 2015. Even though he doesn’t have a great reputation in Europe, he represents a lot for the English because he’s Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole or Jermain Defoe. Not to mention the three legends who raised England’s only World Cup. †

Another former club player bubbles (from 2005 to 2006), David Bellion is no more surprised than that by the beautiful dynamics of West Ham: “I never felt a side loser anchored here, or thought it would be impossible for such a club to qualify for the Europa League and have a strong adventure there. The good stories happen sometimes, like Villarreal who won the C3 last season or Leicester who were champions of England in 2016.” In the case of a colossal performance, on May 18 in Sevilla, Mats can only take a negative view: “I’m afraid I have to wait another 42 years to see my club win a title”. Hammer to fall