On Sunday, West Ham United fired manager Sam Allardyce after finishing 12th in the Premier League. Today the Hammers found out that “Big Sam” had guided West Ham into Europe and a chance to play in the Champions League in 2016.
The Hammers qualified for next season’s Europa League by topping the Premier League’s Fair Play table. But qualification Fair Play is a poisoned chalice as West Ham will enter the competition along with 103 other teams in the first qualifying round on July 2. That is when most other Premier League teams will be reporting back for preseason, but the new West Ham boss, will have to get his team fit to play a competitive match, weeks before his rivals do.
But that did not top joint-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold from celebrating the Hammers first European experience since 2006/2007 saying:
“Starting in early July will bring its challenges.
“But everyone at the club will be relishing the opportunity to feature on the European stage.”
“We are delighted to have won a place in the UEFA Europa League as we want to ensure the Boleyn Ground the best send-off possible (before moving into London’s Olympic Stadium in 2016/17), and progress in this competition will certainly help with that.”
“Starting in early July will bring its challenges, but everyone at the club, from the board to the players and supporters, will be relishing the opportunity to feature on the European stage. It should be a fantastic experience.”
West Ham will learn their opponents for the first qualifying round when the draw is made on 22 June and will have to get through four qualifying rounds if they are to reach the tournament’s group phase.
Before then, Gold and Sillivan need to find a new manager and scrap their preseason plans as I an sure that they did not expect that preseason training would start in less than a month for West Ham players.