Careful you Irons – these guys are no mugs


We need to be on Top form against Topola

Growing up as a kid in the 80s and 90s I remember some fantastic technical players came from the former state of Yugoslavia. Stojkovic, Susic, Katanec and Mihajlovic were some of the best exports to European football.
Fast forward to 2023 and after a decade of war Yugoslavia is no more. We’ve seen some of the former states perform admirably in both the World Cup and Euros with but he Croatia and Serbia causing upsets.
Serbia are producing some good players. Tadic, Kostic, Mitrovic and Jovic are well known as top performers in Europe week in week out, although Mitrovic has now joined the Saudi Pro league.
So who are Backa Topola? They finished runners up to Red Star Belgrade in the Serbian super league last season and are currently top. They did however come crashing down to earth in the Champions League qualifiers losing 7-1 on aggregate to Braga
One notable player that came through their youth ranks was 6ft 7in Nikola Zigic who spent five seasons at Birmingham from 2010 and represented his country 57 times .
Whilst they aren’t as well known as the Belgrade sides to many in England they have had a number of players making their National debuts in 2023 and have a host of under 21 internationals.
These guys are no mugs and this will not be a walkover win. We need to ensure we go out and put in a professional performance and we must not underestimate them or there maybe a chance of a European upset.
If we can get off to a good start in the Europa League then we can start to dream of an another evening like Prague!


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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon