Sir Trevor Brooking is filled with optimism for West Ham this season and is hopeful they can have a real go at the FA Cup, providing they’re in a healthy Premier League position come January.
The Upton Park legend is, following the side’s narrow defeat to Manchester United on Saturday, impressed by the way the Hammers have started the new season and excited by the summer recruits.
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The recently retired FA director of football development believes it is vital that the club stay in the Premier League in the run up to their big move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016, but he would love to see them winning trophies again.
“What is really important is that we stay in the Premier League for the next couple of years and this season I can see that happening because the squad is definitely stronger than at this time last year," Brooking told the London Evening Standard.
“If we can end the season in mid-table, then we’re only one season from the move and the feel good factor will be there.
“I’d like to see us confident in our Premier League status and have a real go at one of the cups."
Brooking made over 600 appearances for the Hammers and won two FA Cup’s during his 17 years with the club. He believes the current crop would benefit from giving it a proper go and, as the side were knocked out of the Capital One Cup in just the second round, the FA Cup is their only opportunity this term.
“I’m a traditionalist in that respect. I was lucky enough to score the winner in the FA Cup final back in 1980 but that’s a long time ago. You never lose those memories and I just think the current generation would find a cup run really exciting.
“Let’s see where we are in January but I would love to see us give the FA Cup a real go if we’re in a decent position in the Premier League.”
The closest the Irons have come since that triumph in 1980 was in 2006, when they reached the final only to lose to Liverpool on penalties. Having led that match by two goals at one stage Hammers fans must have thought their long wait was over, however Steven Gerrard had other ideas and snatched the cup from their grasp.
Since that heart wrenching defeat West Ham have not come close to FA Cup glory despite the successes of the so-called ‘lesser sides’ in recent years.
Magic of the Cup
Wigan Athletic went as far as to win it in 2013 and Hull City reached the final last season. Stoke, Portsmouth and Cardiff City have all also managed to reach the final over the past seven years.
This may be seen by some as the ‘magic of the cup’ serving up more unpredictable and thrilling matches that are often seen in the tournament. However European competitions have seemingly taken priority with the top four in the league due to the revenue and exposure they bring, so they are susceptible to fielding weakened teams in the domestic cups which is perhaps why we have seen so many shocks in recent seasons.
This should give inspiration to a club on the up like West Ham, who have a move to a huge new stadium approaching and a squad capable of taking them to levels they have not reached for some time.
Sam Allardyce, depending on the club’s stature when the cup run begins in January, should seriously consider taking Brooking’s advice and really going for it with his team selection’s and tactics this year, as he could make West Ham history by winning them their first FA Cup for 35 years.