Can Pellegrini Land Hammers First Major Trophy in 37 Years?
Author: ExWHUEmployee. Published: 4 January 2019 at 10:02am
West Ham’s last major domestic trophy came way back in 1981. At the time, they were riding high having won the FA Cup and secured promotion from the second tier the year before. That trio of triumphs was the club’s best period since 1964-66 when they landed the FA Cup, the League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup in the space of three seasons.
There have been some good moments since – the 1999 Intertoto Cup win under Harry Redknapp and the trip to the 2006 FA Cup final being the most recent examples – but Hammers fans have not seen their club lift a major trophy of any kind in 37 years. The big question right now is: can Manuel Pellegrini break that trend?
The Chilean boss has a history of delivering silverware. He won six trophies during his time coaching in South America and bagged three more in charge of Manchester City. When he hasn’t won trophies, he has often overachieved: He guided Villarreal to the Champions League semi-finals and second place in La Liga, where he also led Malaga to a record-breaking fourth-place finish. And despite failing to win a trophy at Real Madrid, he led the club to their highest ever points finish at the time and was up against one of the greatest Barcelona sides ever seen.
After a period of great upheaval, the club was crying out for some calm reassurance and Pellegrini certainly brings that. His measured approach may not fit the stereotype of modern football where the demand for results is instant but he has a way of transcending such kneejerk attitudes. Even after losing his first four league games in charge, there was never a sense of any pressure building. Instead, there was feeling that a transition was in process and patience was needed.
That patience is starting to be rewarded with an upturn in results, but there is clearly a long way to go. One way a coach can buy themselves time to implement their long-term plan is to win a trophy and such an occurrence would be welcome at West Ham. After making a positive start in the League Cup, the Hammers now face Tottenham Hotspur with a quarter-final place up for grabs. The Irons are currently 20/1 to win the trophy in the bet365 football betting odds, but there is reason to believe they can make it to the last eight at least.
With a place in the top four and a Champions League campaign to focus on, Spurs are likely to rest key players for that clash. This could pave the way for West Ham to build on their strong start and reach the last eight. Progressing in the cup competitions will aid Pellegrini’s quest to bring a ‘big club’ mentality to the London Stadium. And bringing European football to Stratford would bring them a step closer to that status.
Considering the last man to take West Ham close to a trophy was Alan Pardew, there is no reason think a coach with Pellegrini’s pedigree cannot go one further, either in this campaign or the next.