Kretinsky finds a solution


Kretinsky finds a solution

West Ham United co-owner Daniel Kretinsky, famed for his enigmatic persona, has seemingly found a resolution to his Europa League scheduling conflict next week. The Czech billionaire, with a heart seemingly tied to two clubs, faced a dilemma that had West Ham fans questioning his loyalties.

Kretinsky finds a solution

Kretinsky’s ownership of both West Ham and his childhood club, Sparta Prague, placed him in a tricky situation. Both teams found themselves drawn against English opposition in the Europa League last-16: West Ham against Freiburg and Sparta Prague facing a daunting task against Liverpool.

Adding to the intrigue, both West Ham and Liverpool emerged victorious from their group stages, scheduling the return legs for the same day next Thursday. This presented Kretinsky with a significant challenge – attend the London Stadium clash between West Ham and Freiburg or witness Sparta Prague’s Anfield encounter against Liverpool.

While both West Ham and Sparta Prague tasted defeat in their first-leg encounters, the nature of their losses and their remaining chances painted contrasting pictures. West Ham’s 1-0 defeat to Freiburg, though frustrating, left them with a fighting chance of progressing to the quarter-finals. Conversely, Sparta Prague were dealt a heavy blow with a resounding 5-1 home defeat to Liverpool. Their hopes of overcoming this deficit appear slim to none.

Given the stark difference in their remaining Europa League aspirations, Kretinsky is highly likely to prioritize attending the West Ham match at the London Stadium. The Hammers’ greater chance of advancing makes their match the more crucial of the two. Kretinsky will undoubtedly be keen to witness his team’s attempt to overturn the deficit and secure a coveted spot in the next round.

Despite the strong logic pointing towards attending the West Ham match, Kretinsky’s decision might not be entirely devoid of emotional complexities. His deep affection for Sparta Prague is well-documented. He previously expressed reservations about attending a West Ham match held at the home of their bitter rivals, Slavia Prague. This highlights the emotional connection he shares with his boyhood club.

With West Ham having a significantly higher stake in next week’s Europa League clash, the London Stadium is likely to be Kretinsky’s destination.  Fans can expect to see the Czech co-owner at the 5.45pm kick-off on Thursday as David Moyes’ side strives to secure their place in the quarter-finals. As the Europa League drama continues to unfold, Kretinsky’s presence at the London Stadium adds another layer of intrigue to West Ham’s crucial second leg encounter.

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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