Soucek’s massive mission


Tomáš Souček’s graced the pitch in the Vršovice district on which the Hammers tonight bid to win the Euro Conference Final on over 150 occasions for his boyhood club.

And this return is as special as it gets but he has now admitted had things  turned out differently he could have been on the pitch for Fiorentiona.

The 28 year old has explained for the first time that the Italian outfit were interested in signing him six months before he joined the Hammers on loan and then permanently after relegation was avoided from the Premier League.

He said per “There was interest in me from Fiorentina, just six months before I joined West Ham,” Souček confirmed. “But, for me, while I was honoured by that interest and I appreciated it a lot, I was with Slavia Prague and I wanted to play Champions League with them.

Soucek and Coufal arrive

“So I stayed for another six months and then I got the offer from West Ham.”

The No28 has been a regular starter ever since and should he start on Wednesday, it will be appearance number 155 for the Irons, and the biggest game yet.

“Jarrod Bowen and I came to this Club at the same time. It’s been three-and-a-half years and it’s been a good portion of our careers,” he continued.

“I played for Slavia Prague for a number of years but this time with West Ham, I will always appreciate it. I know the fans appreciate me and we have a lot of respect between us.”

He and international compatriot Vladimír Coufal have eagerly anticipated this moment since the start of the 2022/23 season, ever since it first became apparent among the squad that Prague would play host to the UEFA Europa Conference League final.

“When I realised a year ago that the UEFA Europa Conference League final was going to be in Prague, I was telling the rest of the squad that we had to be here.” he added.

Tomas Soucek trains

“It was a big goal for this year and now we are here in Prague, and I can connect together the two teams that I love. This game is the chance to lift the trophy here. We will do everything to do it and, for me, it would be so special to lift the trophy in Prague.”

He continued: “We have played European competitions for two years in a row. We have enjoyed it and we want to do it a third season. But we always want the trophy, the winners’ medals and the chance to make history.

“The season is up and down. This game can make the season an unbelievable one if we lift the trophy. We really, really want to do it.”

Souček’s personal ties are strong motivators. But the will to give the Claret and Blue Army a moment to never forget is even stronger still.

Thousands of West Ham fans have descended upon the Czech Republic capital. To reward that support would be, for Souček, the biggest honour of them all.

“Our fans are incredible. So many of them have come out to Prague, even if they don’t have tickets. West Ham has a great history but now we have the chance to make it even better.

“After many years without a trophy for this Club, it would be an honour for all of us to win this game. We want to do it for us, and for all West Ham fans.”

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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