WHO Poll
Q: 2021/22 What competition should we prioritise this season?
a. The league is our bread & butter, so this year let's have a club sandwich
28%
  
b. We're owed an FA Cup after Gerrard nicked our last one in 06, our name's on it in 22
11%
  
c. A bye to the League Cup 3rd round gives us a good start, let's make it count
6%
  
d. The Europa is our best ticket to the Champions League, this is the one
32%
  
e. What's wrong with you, let's do the lot, has the quadruple ever been done
22%
  



Irish Hammer 10:18 Fri Sep 10
Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
Happy Friday all! Have a great weekend. 😊


Joe Cole: ‘If Villarreal can win the Europa League, then so can West Ham’

“Villarreal won the Europa League last season but Villarreal are not better than West Ham,” Joe Cole. “Michail Antonio walks into their team, so does Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek, Pablo Fornals, Angelo Ogbonna and Kurt Zouma. If Villarreal can win the Europa League, then so too can West Ham.”

It is late afternoon at Hackney Bridge and although the weather forecast predicted warm weathers, not even a thermometer can scale back Cole’s excitement about West Ham United’s upcoming European campaign. The east London side will face Dinamo Zagreb, Genk and Rapid Vienna in the group stage of the competition and an effervescent Cole is confident his former side will prove doubters wrong once more.

Villarreal beat Manchester United on penalties in May to win their first Europa League title. Last term, the Spanish side finished seventh in La Liga, while West Ham exceeded expectations to finish sixth in the Premier League. But despite winning the Intertoto Cup in 1999 and reaching the FA Cup final in 2006, the last major trophy West Ham won was the FA Cup in 1980.

During a brief sit-down interview, the BT Sport pundit discusses Zouma’s arrival, why Antonio switching international allegiance to Jamaica is a missed opportunity for England and other topics — but aside from making West Ham favourites, the 39-year-old is keen to reflect on the huge strides the club have made over the past 12 months.

“It’s been so exciting,” he says. “When clubs like West Ham get into Europe, the fans buy into it so much. I know so many people who plan on travelling and I’m looking forward to going to the stadiums. I’ll be covering the games with Carlton Cole, so two ex-West Ham players. It’s going to be a big event for the club and I think West Ham will give a good account of themselves.

“I heard the stadium was rocking during the home game against Leicester City. West Ham fans will realise Upton Park is gone. It’s like moving on to new beginnings, or a new house, it takes time. It’s not a perfect stadium but now it’s their home. When West Ham fans get behind the team they’re as good as anyone. I think the European nights for the club will put hairs on the back of your neck.”

West Ham have previously had European football on home soil, although it did not go to plan. In 2015 and 2016, they failed to reach the Europa League group stage after being knocked out in the qualifying round and play-off round respectively by Romanian side Astra Giurgiu on both occasions. In 2006 Alan Pardew, the club’s involvement in the competition was short-lived after a first round 4-0 aggregate defeat to Italian side Palermo.

joe-cole
Joe Cole playing for West Ham at Upton Park in 2013 (Photo: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
If Moyes’ side fulfil Cole’s prophecy it would be some feat, but the belief is West Ham have a squad capable of advancing to the latter stages of the tournament. There is also more squad depth following the arrivals of Zouma, Nikola Vlasic, Alex Kral and Alphonse Areola.

Aside from improving the team, Moyes has also been invested in the development of players in the under-23s. Since returning to the helm in December 2019, he has handed eight first-team debuts to players in the academy. Last month, Moyes, Stuart Pearce and Lukasz Fabianski attended the 6-1 win against Arsenal at the London Stadium, while first-team coach Kevin Nolan attended the 4-2 loss at Brighton & Hove Albion.

Giving young players a chance is something that resonates with Cole. A product of West Ham’s youth system, he made his debut as a 17-year-old in 1999 and was appointed captain aged 21 by ex-manager Glenn Roeder. The now-pundit also made 187 league and cup appearances and scored 18 goals during two spells between 1998-2003 and 2013-14.

“Giving young players a chance is what the club is built on and David Moyes has been brilliant,” says Cole. “He’s invited me to come down but I haven’t been able to go in yet due to COVID-19. I think Moyes is perfect for the club. It’s great he wants the ex-players in. It’s great that Moyes attends the youth team games and the boys know that there’s a chance to get into the first team. If they keep going about things the right way then this academy should be what Chelsea’s is now.

“They produce world class players and the fact that Moyes regularly engages with the young players is something they need to keep hold of. Most managers don’t even pay much attention to the academy. Moyes is putting down the foundation and he could stay at the club for ten years, similar to his managerial spell at Everton. He’s a top manager.

“West Ham is a huge club and well supported. Everyone loves West Ham and they need to get back to producing players regularly. Once they do that then the next step should be to start winning trophies. They have to change the culture which I believe David Moyes is doing. West Ham are hard to beat and they’re bringing in the right characters. If they can find another Declan Rice, Frank Lampard, Mark Noble type player and add a few more then anything can happen.”

In June, Moyes and his backroom staff signed a three-year contract extension. Having narrowly missed out to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola for the LMA Manager of the Year award, Moyes was keen to highlight the feel good factor at the London Stadium. “This is where I want to be and I’m happy. I’m excited to be given this opportunity to build on what we all have already achieved here. The owners and I are fully aligned with how we want to keep developing and improving the football club.”

One obvious area of improvement over the past 20 months has been the recruitment. Moyes has also bolstered his recruitment team following the additions of Rob Newman (head of recruitment) and Marc Rochon (analyst). Cole remembers when the club would bring in the wrong personnel, but highlights the arrival of Zouma as another step in the right direction.

“It’s a great signing,” he says, “and Big Kurt was hard done by to be deemed surplus to requirements at Chelsea. But it’s always baffled me, especially over the ten years, about the methodology behind (some of West Ham’s signings). I hope this is a process rather than just a good spell. It’s going really well at the moment but it needs to continually keep going well. The club needs to keep finding players like Soucek for example. If there’s a method behind it, then that can only be a positive thing.”

There is one player in particular Cole wants to praise.

Antonio overtook Paolo Di Canio as West Ham’s record Premier League goalscorer in the 4-1 win against Leicester City. The 31-year-old is the top scorer in the league — and is also just the eighth player to score and assist in three consecutive league games.

In August, the West Ham forward acquired his Jamaican passport and earned a call-up for their recent World Cup qualifiers against Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica — but Cole can’t help think this was a missed opportunity for England.

antonio-west-ham
Cole was full of praise for West Ham striker Antonio (Photo: Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images)
“He’s a fantastic player and he’s really developed,” he says. “He’s a player that West Ham fans love because of the way he plays. He always gives it his all and he’s a great character. I look back at the Euros, especially the final against Italy, and imagine Antonio going up against Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci. He would have been a nightmare for them.

“The only thing Antonio needs to do is keep himself fit. If he keeps looking after himself, he’ll be like a Jamie Vardy and just keep going. Antonio has had a different journey to the top. I’m a massive fan of him and England have missed out on him because he’s gone to play for Jamaica. We might have missed one there, I really like him.”

BT Sport is the exclusive home of UEFA Europa League football. Watch every game of the 2021-22 competition live on TV, online and on the BT Sport app. For more info, visit btsport.com

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Mex Martillo 4:19 Sat Sep 11
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
gph, that’s because Cole didn’t have much of a football brain. He had the skill to get past players, but then didn’t really know what to do most of the time. Just wasn’t good at reading the game and link up with other players. I clearly remember the frustration of his dribbles getting past players that never came to even a shot on goal.

Still I did appreciate watching him, just knew he would never be a great player.

gph 12:57 Sat Sep 11
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
I was really annoyed at his performance at Chesterfield in the League Cup (the first one, where we won on penalties. Perhaps fortunately, I missed the loss).

He repeatedly beat players, and then let them come back so he could beat them again.

He seemed to not have the slightest appreciation that flicks and tricks, although great to watch, are not there in a football match for their own sake, but to create time and space.

If they have an end result, they are a much better spectacle.

That's why the likes of Mr Wu (remember Mr Wu?) will never be more than a side-show to the proper thing, which is a game of football.

Sniper 11:47 Sat Sep 11
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
Manuel - not saying come was bad at Chelsea at all, just that a different manager would have developed him far better and taken advantage of the talent he had. Look at robben under mourinho and how he was ten times the player after he moved clubs

Same argument with Rooney at Man U tbh - undoubtedly a brilliant player who achieved amazing things in his career and is a legend for club and country, but at 16 he was like messi taking on players for fun and no one could get near him. Ferguson took him down a different route and by his mid to late twenties you never saw him dribble round anyone!

wd40 11:01 Sat Sep 11
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
am with Sniper -Mourinho was interview once on MOTD
and just bad mouthed his display and was on about he had to defend more after a great game he had .

Wasn't the first Mourinho did on player and has kept it up with every job he had just look at Spurs.

golden couple of years Cole had could have been 5/6 easily

Bishopsfinger 10:28 Sat Sep 11
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
Don’t blame him jumping in. If you’re going to give them you have to take it.

Mex Martillo 9:53 Sat Sep 11
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
Good read.
Have to say I never thought Joe was intelligent or had a good understanding of football. I always thought he was a very skillful player let down by not understanding the game.
I certainly don’t want him coaching at West Ham.
Thanks Irish

Mace66 9:30 Sat Sep 11
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
New Jersey 4:40 Fri Sep 10

Agree about Cole, like him, but no need for him to jump into the Chelsea fans when scoring against us


Yea, dunno what possessed him to do that with the oppo fans singing “ ….. and Joe Cole’s queer, you’re gonna win fuck all this year “

Manuel 4:59 Sat Sep 11
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
Sniper - That old chestnut again about Mourinho. Cole probably played his best football at Chelsea under him and he has always spoke very highly of Mourinho. Cole was a big flop at Liverpool, no getting away from that. Best form and skills in a poorer league? Hardly a coincidence. I basically think your whole post is a nonsense.

Sniper 2:02 Sat Sep 11
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
Gph

In think he spent too long having Jose coach the flair out of him (he once got so irate with him for showboating when they were winning he said in an interview he’d drop him if he showed tricks again instead of following instruction). He achieved a lot in the team at Chelsea but to the detriment of his own development. His best form and skills came when he was loaned out to the french league whilst at Liverpool - he had a great season playing a no10/playmaker role, which is what he should have been doing all along

Sadly Jose wanted him out wide and England were still insisting on playing 442 and shoehorned him in on the left too. He could play there but any other country and in any other league they’d have had him in the middle running the show

Wasted potential despite the trophies, but I doubt he’s got any complaints

gph 6:50 Fri Sep 10
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
Despite his good career, may be even one on the small side of great, I think he underachieved compared to what he could have done starting with the skills he had as a youngster.

Never consistently showed the vision he needed for that.

New Jersey 4:40 Fri Sep 10
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
Another enjoyable read, thanks!

Agree about Cole, like him, but no need for him to jump into the Chelsea fans when scoring against us. Tevez used to be visibly moved by us chanting his name when he played against us, he gave it the old irons cross and he never really played well against us!

Manuel 1:37 Fri Sep 10
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
Decent read. He's a proper football man Cole, it's all he knows. Not buying into the sentimental bollocks about offering him a job though, least of all he's a Chelsea man and works there too.

Vexed 1:33 Fri Sep 10
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
I was ready to jump all over this but fair play to him he talks some sense and sounds genuinely excited about it all.

The only bad news is that we're going to be on BT fucking Sport, the home of shit fucking coverage. I binned it off but I'm going to have to get the cunt back again now.

⚒️ 1:07 Fri Sep 10
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
He seems to have gone from struggling to string a sentence together to actually being rather articulate whilst doing his punditry.

I like him. Still haven’t forgotten when he jumped in the Chelsea fans after scoring against us though.

Swiss. 1:00 Fri Sep 10
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
Nice one Irish,

Thanks Irish 11:49 Fri Sep 10
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
Thanks Irish

Sven Roeder 11:34 Fri Sep 10
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
Joe obviously has a genuine affection for the club (unlike Ferdinand & Lampard) & I think is a very good pundit compared to those two.
I thought he had been offered some role at the club but was still doing something at Chelsea.

Irish Hammer 11:34 Fri Sep 10
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
Great stuff I’ll check it out 👍🏻

LeroysBoots 11:30 Fri Sep 10
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
Irish, you have been outstanding recently mate with these little gems

Thank you

madeeasy 11:17 Fri Sep 10
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
Irish, yes it is called all to play for.

He started it last season and it is weekly. he does it with the comedian Tom Davis, west ham fan, and brings on an ex player to discuss something each week. insightful, interesting and a good bit of inside info to boot. well worth a listen.

I always loved Joe but listening to him, I like him even more as a person now.

Well worth a listen

Irish Hammer 11:15 Fri Sep 10
Re: Interview with Joe Cole about our Europa League Campaign
Madeeasy

Would you recommend his pod ? Didn’t know he was doing one. Thanks !

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