David Moyes has called on West Ham to cap their “really special” Europa League run by beating Eintracht Frankfurt to reach the club’s first major European final for 46 years.
Moyes’ side host Frankfurt in the semi-final first leg on Thursday in a repeat of the Hammers’ last appearance in the last four of a European competition.
Back in 1976, Trevor Brooking, Billy Bonds and company defeated Frankfurt 4-3 on aggregate to seal a place in the Cup Winners’ Cup final, where they were beaten by Anderlecht.
Moyes’ men are on the verge of emulating that famous run, with opponents from Croatia, Belgium, Austria, Spain and France vanquished on route to the last four.
Since returning for a second spell as West Ham manager in 2019, Moyes has transformed the team from relegation strugglers into a group who have genuine hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League by winning the Europa League.
It is an unexpected opportunity the Scot wants his players to seize when Frankfurt visit the sold-out London Stadium.
“I honestly thought if I could get it going, I’d have a team challenging. Is it by luck, by plan or design? Sometimes you need a bit of all of them,” Moyes told reporters on Wednesday.
“To bring West Ham from where they’ve been to where we are today is huge. To get to the semi-final of a European competition and give ourselves a real chance of getting to a final is something really special.”
Frankfurt, currently ninth in the Bundesliga, enjoyed a shock quarter-final win against Barcelona, with over 30,000 fans supporting them at the Camp Nou.
The Germans will be well represented in east London, but Moyes has called on Hammers fans to raise the roof as their team chase a first major European title since the 1965 Cup Winners’ Cup.
“It’s really special that two teams with a history, maybe not a recent history, are back together in Europe,” he said.
“Frankfurt, who I would consider a big name in German football, with incredible support. When I heard they took 30,000 to Barcelona, I thought, ‘Wow’.
“West Ham, we’ve now got a really good stadium, a fantastic crowd, and I hope we can show what we’ve got as well.
“When you become a manager, one of the biggest things is you want to make sure the supporters are getting a decent level of football.
“You want to give them something back. On top of that, from our point of view, there’s been a much better togetherness between the supporters and the players.”