Hammers and Europe? Hang on a minute


David Moyes has made it clear that he can’t put this club where he wants it to be in a couple of transfer windows.

Many believe the next step is into the Europa League but surely we can’t beleive we are ready  for that with the current squad.

I find it impossible to think in those terms and we have to trust Moyes not to rush us into circumstances with which we are ill quipped to cope. New players would be required.

Whilst this has been a brilliant campaign, questions remain about much of what has gone on with 45 per cent of the games ending in away wins.

We will all have our ideas on why that has happened but it’s a hardly typical football season!

Then there are results such as a 7-2 Villa win over Liverpool and other bizarre outcomes which slightly disfigure the oddest of all seasons.

Certainly, we are a  vastly improved team but until we see a much better balanced and deeper squad in place at the London Stadium maybe we should be cautious about what we are looking for from the squad.

In terms of Europe the idea of travelling to away games before returning to Premier League duty is a wearying situation even for clubs with a decent sized squad,

And unless the board  are ready to dig deep for players should we finish in the qualifying positions we could find ourselves in a difficult situation. Other clubs have experience of the situation.

Much depends on our definition of “next level” but Europe? – I’m not sure of that in the prevailing circumstances.

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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


  • Mark says:

    Are you suggesting we should start throwing games so we don’t end up in europe?

    • Steve says:

      Fair question in my humble opinion. Certainly not deserving of abuse. I was always led to believe this was a well mannered site…

      • Nor was the piece worthy of an objectionable question such as “Are you suggesting we throw games” when it was quite clear what was being said. Apologise for my comments in response which were OTT. I have removed them to make that apology complete but as I say the points were reasonable and the question yu asked wasn’t and equally abusive in itself. Everybody else appeared to understand the point being made.

    • Mark says:

      And claiming finishing top8 wouldn’t be good for us isn’t idiotic? What a professional response.

      • No of course I don’t think it was idiotic. When you look at a squad where there is no cover at striker, left back and central midfield and decide it’s a good idea to go into Europe with all the risks involved of injury and where Premier League results are the priority The oroviso was made clearly- more players in then fine. But you appear to be refiusing to accept that part of the article nd thus support a situation where injuries could jeopardise our PL survival.

  • Taffyhammer says:

    We don’t really want to get there too quickly. Just take it steady and enjoy the ride. It’s a journey I’m looking forward to and I hope it lasts a good while yet. Liking what I’m seeing at the moment.

  • DJ Tiger says:

    Yep, have to agree with you…up to a point That is if we qualify for Europe it will be much easier to get the players Moyes wants into the club…….

  • Peter Amos says:

    Just take the season as it comes and enjoy it. If we end up qualifying for the Eoropa league then worry about that when the time comes. If we haven’t got a deep enough squad then we won’t be involved in Europe long enough to worry about.

    • rollercoasterhammer says:

      100%. thanks for saving me the trouble of writing it. now that i think about it…i’ve spent the same amount of time writing THIS 😕 we have the dumbest fans 😂🤣😂🤣😂

  • Craig Benee says:

    Our squad is currently 20 senior players by far the smallest in the league

    We don’t really have enough squad depth for a leagues season let alone Europe

  • Childish says:

    It’s what it’s all about in me eyes..Europe has got to be the target and why not …obviously covid puts a different problem up ,,but this is why we are playing ,,,you never know what rules are going to come in, but let’s get there first and go from there …we certainly need a deeper squad and he really has to pull his finger out …I just hope they are not putting ridiculous low bids in for our targets, because it will take so much longer to get them..and we haven’t got the luxury of time …if Antonio gets injured,, …well that would be not only embarrassing having one forward, but put an end to Europe anyway….either way still a good steady season..

    • Taffyhammer says:

      Still a good steady season – says it all. Rather leave all that European League stuff to Real Madrid and Barcelona. I might be more enthusiastic if Europe meant a knockout competition like 1965 European Cup Winners Cup. At least that was about football and not about rich clubs getting richer.

  • ossie says:

    Champions league is for the big money boys. Europa league is often a poisoned chalice for the rest. Need a deeper quality squad (which will obviously cost a lot of money). I Think Moyes is on the right lines in building the team, but it will take time. In the interim if it means that we lose certain players due to non participation in Europe, lets make sure we get top top dollar for them that we can reinvest in the team.

    • Saul says:

      Even if we make the Europa League there’s no guarantee we’ll get that far into it or even qualify for the league games, ala Bilic’s time. We don’t have the squad for it but if we go for it we might het into the top four, who knows.

      I agree Hugh, it’s probably be the wrong time for us but the extra cash will come in handy if nothing else.

  • Steve Foster says:

    For now, I sincerely hope they give 6 youngsters some game time Odubeko up front, Holland on the wing, Coventry in mid- field, Alves and Baptiste at the back and Trott in goal (instead of sending them out on loan)

    All of them with more game time for Johnson and Benerahma too.

    If we don’t start drip feeding them in when we can afford to, we’ll never know if they are going to make it

    To be honest, we don’t have the squad for the Europa league next season without some of these coming through as the Davids are not prepared to put enough cash to buy ready made European players

    Keep well and COYI

    • Benny the Oz says:

      Spot on, I would like to see more youngsters eased in. I actually get a better buzz seeing a Academy product come through than a transfer coming in.

    • L says:

      Not for me.

      We all love a youngster, but If they are good enough they will get their go.

      For now, I would much prefer to continue winning and looking solid.

      We have had way too many seasons of being turned over easily.

      The kids can wait their turn for now.

  • master says:

    Rather go all out for the fa and league cups than play 3 games in Europa League qualification.

    • Alan says:

      Not sure about that with the FA and League cups. Costs Sullivan £50,000 if we draw someone away – our owners aren’t Abramovic or Sheikh Mansour you know. Mid table mediocrity each year with no cup runs putting strain on our tiny squad is the best way surely. Also if we actually won one of them we’d end up in Europe. So back to square one.

  • Artran says:

    Let’s be realistic. We’re punching above our weight but enjoying every minute, while it lasts. I can guarantee that at sometime this season almost every member of our current squad have been criticised by us fans. Somehow though, Moysie has gelled them into a decent unit. We must however, have one of the smallest squads ( in terms of numbers) of any premier team, past or present.
    Like most , I’d love a decent cup run but extra matches could be a nail in the coffin for a decent league finish. But compared to last season I’m quite happy to sit back and enjoy the ride

  • Fred says:

    Oh please, the aim has to be to get into Europe surely otherwise what’s the point. Do we just hope for mid table obscurity? Where is the ambition? Getting into Europe means we can attract better players and with better players we win more games. Look at the progression of Tottenham over the last few years it all started with them getting into Europe one year. Before that they were no better than a mid table outfit.

  • Ray1962 says:

    This is a weird one tbh with no money to be made even if you win the thing (No Fans) & Covid then why would we be wanting to invest in a bigger squad when we have youngsters in abundance
    to as someone has said dripfeed into the squad.
    I for one would love to have a bigger squad of players to choose from but as it is at this moment in time its not feasible and just doesnt make sense. enjoy what we are seeing with how moyes at the helm is getting a good team together. those youngsters are at west ham because they are good so i think maybe give them a chance as now is probs the only right time to do something like this

  • David May says:

    Only at West Ham could success be seen as a Harbinger of doom.
    The last man to think that way was Glenn Roeder,and he had a serious medical issues.
    Ask yourself this, did John Lyall run to Greenwood and say
    ” Hold up boss, careful what you wish for, we might end up in Europe”
    No he didn’t, and between the pair of them over twenty odd years they went on to win 3 FA cups 1ECWC were runners up in another, made 2 league cup finals and 3rd place in the 1st division.
    That success did not come from a “Careful what you wish for” mentality,

    • Not at all. The point about a stronger squad continues to be ignored. I repeat what happens if key players get risked without the required cover. That is a central point and was included solely to cover such objections

  • WestOzHammer says:

    I get the point, but if we were un/ fortunate enough to qualify for Europe, surely that’s a good problem to have 🙂 I’ll be happy with a top 10 finish this year, stay int the top 8 even better. Love to see some more youngsters come through too.

  • zahamoore says:

    Certainly a difficult question – I remember qualifying for Europa League three times this century – and all were followed by quick elimination and generally miserable seasons (OK the “Great Escape” was something else but the pain before that was immense – 0-6 vs Reading must be an all-time low)
    Part of Slav’s problem was a scattergun recruitment in his second season to cope with the Europa League and then we got knocked out of it at the first hurdle

    Mid table security is certainly a step up from fighting relegation and follwing all of our rivals matches with bated breath – so for us this season it is not mediocrity – provided that we then build on that to challenge in seasons to come for Europe

    One thing which I am still trying to get my head around is a BFS team qualifying for Europe via the Fair Play league – maybe some of the fellow posters could explain

  • Chris says:

    We need a stronger squad now. We need the owners to reinvest into the squad. Hope has been a difficult commodity to come by after 11 years of unprofessionalism and mismanagement. Now when we’re having a decent season, you’d like to suggest we might be careful what we wish for? Can you not see how this piece might be viewed as antagonistic?

    The reason we’re in this mess of having an ageing and unbalanced squad is entirely down to our owners and a relentless inability to run things properly – Moyes has pointed out the past issues with recruitment.

    What is the point in supporting, or owning a football club for that matter, if you do not want to see success on the pitch and for us to compete in higher competitions?

    Hugh wants a 10th place finish next season and to make sure the owners are thanked for all their hard work… 🙄

    • Your IS antagonistic. This is an excuse of a comment in order to take a pop at somebody whom whilst you don’t know him . you dislike him. Read the piece and try to understand all facets. Tiring just reading your reply mate when your whole point is to come close to insulting for it’s own sake. It goes without saying we need them now – the rest is just one anti board person in yourself who will always lose it when talking to others who take a more balanced view

      • Chris says:

        I’ve read the piece Hugh. It goes: Our squad is too thin for Europe so let’s take the time to build slowly.

        We should be investing in our squad, not consistently failing to run a professional organisation. We should have more than Soucek dictating our scouting policy. We shouldn’t be flitting from different managerial styles every few years.

        We should absolutely aim for Europe, and if we have to play youth players and add a couple of players to the squad to deal with it, that’s what we should do. Otherwise let’s give up on West Ham ever wanting to do anything. Why bother playing in the FA Cup or the League Cup if it will damage league performance?

        I’m saying that I agree our squad is far too thin. I’m not ‘losing it’. I’ve taken a reasoned look at the last 11 years and think that’s probably long enough to form an opinion that they’re the predominant reason for that lack of squad strength. Look at their record with strikers. It’s embarrassing.

        • There is a common belief I am a board supporter so let’s get this out of the way first. That really is not the case which doesn’t mean I am part of a protest group against them. I don’t like extremes – simple as that. At this time they finally appear to have got it right in going back to Moyes. I accept many of the points you make Chris – notably the change from one style to another. Just not on. Beyond that the past is the past – I’ve always believed in changing things I can rather than worrying about what I can’t. I accept the striker record is appalling. As far as Europe is concerned I was merely making the point that without new players we would be spreading ourselves too thin and it could affect our league position. Of course there needs to be investment but of the Coufal, Bowen, Soucek variety and the arrival of Dawson tends to make a point. We now have a manager who is proving himself to be the right man right inn the place. He intends, he says, to appoint a DOF. I have blogged that should happen on many occasions, It’s not on, obviously, to have the chief shareholder in such a role. Youth players are fine but plunging them into Euro competition from Premier League 2 seems rather a stretch. Investment? Yes please but investment on the level e saw in the summer not the Haller/Anderson investment. Finally, I can’t run a news website on the basis of hating owners, players or manager. I attempt to remain relatively balanced. I hope this answers any issues you may have with me and/or CandH

          • Chris says:

            That is very balanced and well put. I’ll leave it there, have a good evening.

            • and you mate. I prefer to sort things out on this site and I’m glsd you do too. So much hatred on social media which is unnecessary at any time but particularly given where we are at the moment

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