By Renata Leite, FootballPredictions.NET, 22:31 22/11/2020
Updated at: 22:32 22/11/2020
The UEFA Champions League is the pinnacle of European football. English clubs have traditionally performed well within it, as Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea have all lifted the coveted ‘big ears’ trophy.
Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, Arsenal, and Manchester City have also reached the latter stages. Both clubs from North London came closest to tasting the ultimate in European glory, but fell at the final hurdle. Let's turn our focus to West Ham United and their history in this competition.
At the time of writing, West Ham have never competed in the UEFA Champions League. Despite their omission from European football’s elite competition, the club has tasted some success on the continent.
West Ham lifted the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965, and the Intertoto Cup in 1999. Most recently, the club reached the qualification rounds of the Europa League in 2015 and 2016 but failed to reach the group stages on both occasions.
Throughout the past few seasons, off-field turmoil has resulted in the Irons competing towards the bottom of the Premier League table, rather than for a European place. The club’s move to the London Olympic Stadium, now named the London Stadium, hasn’t been met with the reaction the current owners were hoping for.
As the performances on the pitch have faltered, owners GSB have been met with protests over their ownership of the club.
Cup Winners’ Cup Triumph In 1965
The Irons’ opening match in the competition came against the first Belgian club to feature, La Gantois. A 1-0 away victory was followed up by a below-par 1-1 draw at Upton Park, as West Ham progressed with a 2-1 aggregate victory.
On this day in 1965 West Ham won the European Cup Winners Cup Final at Wembley beating TSV 1860 Munich 2-0 in front of 97,974.— VINNYWHUFC (@vinnywhufc) May 19, 2020
Alan Sealey scored both goals in the greatest night in West Ham history.
Following their opening tie triumph, the Hammers were drawn against Sparta Prague from the Czech Republic. A professional performance saw them go into the away second-leg with a 2-0 advantage.
An early goal in the Czech Republic from Johnny Sissons looked to confirm their place in round three, but two late goals ensured a nervy finish to the match. The Irons did hold on however and set up a third-round tie with Swiss side Lausanne.
In the first leg played in Switzerland, European debutant Brian Dear opened the scoring, before Johnnie Byrne doubled their advantage. Lausanne did pull a goal back before full-time, which set up a thrilling tie in England.
Upton Park played host to a seven-goal thriller, as the hosts confirmed their place in the semi-finals with a 6-4 aggregate victory.
West Ham were once again victorious at home against their Spanish counterparts, Real Zaragoza. The Irons took a 2-1 victory into the final showdown in Spain, and they booked their place in the final at Wembley Stadium after a 1-1 draw.
Around 100,000 fans packed into the home of English football, to witness the final between West Ham and 1860 Munich.
The match has been described as West Ham’s “greatest moment”, as an Alan Sealey brace in the 69th and 71st minute secured a 2-0 victory for Ron Greenwood’s side.
Redknapp Guides The Hammers To The Intertoto Cup
Following their fifth-placed finish in the 1998/99 Premier League season, West Ham qualified for the Intertoto Cup across the following campaign.
In the lead up to the final, the Irons only conceded once across two, two-legged ties against Jokerit and Heerenveen respectively. Their opening match against the Finnish club ended in a 2-1 aggregate victory before they saw past the Eredivisie side 2-0 on aggregate.
In the two-legged final against Metz, the Ligue 1 club took an early advantage by beating West Ham at Upton Park, 1-0.
In the return leg at the Saint-Symphorien Stadium, goals from Trevor Sinclair, Frank Lampard, and Paulo Wanchope made sure the Hammers overturned the first-leg deficit with a 3-1 victory on the night.
As a result of their success, West Ham qualified for the UEFA Cup as one of the three winners of the competition.