Come the start of the 2020-21 season, it will have been four years since West Ham last competed in Europe after a fifth-place league finish in 2015-16. However, the Hammers infamously failed to get through the qualifying round after losing to Astra Giurgiu in the play-off round. In turn, it wouldn’t be farfetched to say that the last few years have been very testing to the club’s loyal fans.
Having avoided relegation last season, supporters will now be looking ahead to the new campaign with cautious hope. One of the biggest problems over the last decade has been a lack of consistency, with, if you count David Moyes’ return, six different appointments being made since 2010. So, is the Scottish manager the man to take West Ham back into Europe?
A Squad Littered with Quality
Unlike other clubs who have recently struggled near the relegation zone, the Hammers aren’t short on quality players. While the club’s owners have been subject to criticism over the years, considerable amounts of money have been spent in an effort to get the three-time FA Cup winners back to where supporters feel they belong. According to Transfermarkt, since the 2013-14 campaign, West Ham have bought ten players for more than £15 million. Furthermore, Felipe Anderson, Pablo Fornals, and Sebastien Haller all cost upwards of £25 million.
Although, of course, big-money additions don’t guarantee success, there’s an expectation that they’ll be able to steer the club more than five-points clear of relegation. Between the Hammers’ three most expensive signings, only ten Premier League goals were scored during the 2019-20 campaign, which isn’t enough for an outlay of more than £100 million.
Furthermore, as well as the above, West Ham also have Declan Rice in their ranks, a player who now has seven international caps to his name with England. Having been named as the club’s player of the year at the end of the 2019-20 season, retaining the 21-year-old is pivotal for the Hammers’ long-term success.
Patience is Required
While there have been many instances of players not working hard for their manager, Moyes will have no excuses should he fail to make forward steps in 2020-21. The squad at his disposal has been expensively assembled, and it’s ultimately his job to get a tune out of West Ham’s underperforming players. That said, expecting a return to Europe in the Scotsman’s first full season may be a little unrealistic.
Fundamentally, there are many reasons why qualifying for European competitions are the target for a whole host of top-flight teams. As well as being financially lucrative, it enables clubs to be a part of what has become a staple of pop culture, thus opening up the prospect of attracting new fans.
This popularity is evident from videos games. FIFA and PES, for example, have long battled for the rights to both the Champions League and Europa League in recent years. Moreover, the knockout-style format of European football has become the foundation for slot games in the online casino industry. You can read a full Trada Casino bonus review here for instance, with the platform offering no-deposit free spins upon signing-up. This operator also has Football: Champions Cup in its extensive library. The five-reel, football-themed slot seeks to replicate the thrill of knockout competitions, having been inspired by Euro 2016.
Obvious Improvements are Required
Unfortunately, in the role of a football manager, you’re often held accountable for your underperforming players and underwhelming results. Because of that, Moyes needs to get off to a positive start in the opening fixtures of the upcoming campaign. Climbing towards a European position won’t happen overnight, but the Hammers faithful need to see a clear vision and system in place that will take the club back to where it historically has been.