In the recent past, West Ham and cup competitions really haven’t gone hand in hand. Apart from the FA Cup final under Alan Pardew in 2005, the furthest The Irons have got to in a domestic cup is the Carling Cup semi-final back in 2011.
Having won the F.A Cup three times, in 1964, 1975 and 1980 there has been no further success in any domestic competitions since. The only real notable success would be the 1999 EUFA Intertoto Cup win.
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But what’s playing on my mind is that it doesn’t seem to be much of a problem to the fans that we don’t get that far in a cup competition. I mean don’t get me wrong; like we witnessed in the 2012 Play-Off Final, nothing can beat a final. A day out with the fans, filling up a 90,000 seated arena, the atmosphere and if things go your way, the amazing feeling of winning and taking home the trophy.
Sitting in the Green Street Café opposite the ground, the Boleyn Pub or in the concourses both home and away, I’ve never heard a West Ham fan moan about how we never have a good successful cup run.
Yes we embarrassingly lost to Aldershot Town and then Sheffield Wednesday last year and the likes of Watford and a weak Manchester City side in earlier years and now a pretty abysmal 4-1 defeat at home to Wigan in September 2012 but we’ve also come up against the stronger teams, as of this season we’ve come up against Manchester United.
In recent seasons you can’t really complain that our cup runs haven’t gone as far due to our league form and final league position being much more important. With promotion last year number one of the ‘to-do’ list, I feel a long cup run would have tired the players and the sights of Wembley in cup games and not the Play-Off Final could have been a distraction.
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This I feel didn’t help the woeful Avram Grant in our relegation season. With our form in the Premier League under Grant nothing more than terrible, our cup form in the Carling Cup was brilliant, we all remember that 4-0 win against Manchester United. By the time we were knocked out of the semi-finals by Birmingham City in January, realistically most fans knew we were deemed for relegation. I know the Carling Cup final is during the season and not after like the FA Cup but I feel this also played a part in our downfall.
But then again, I can contradict myself with the 2005/6 squad under Pardew. Our first season back in the Premier League and we make the FA Cup final, losing to Liverpool on Penalties but also finish a respectable 9th.
Away from reminiscing of the recent past, are you a fan that wants the club to take the domestic cups seriously or hope for a good cup run or with our Premier League status not as concrete as it should be, would you rather the club focus on a successful season in the Premier League?
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