Joe Cole urges West Ham to use European glory as a springboard

‘All other clubs should aspire to this’: Joe Cole urges West Ham to use their Europa Conference League glory as a ‘springboard’ for more success as he reflects on ‘beautiful scenes’ after last-gasp victory over Fiorentina

  • West Ham won the Europa Conference League after beating Fiorentina in Prague
  • The dramatic 2-1 triumph was the Hammers’ first European final win since 1965 
  • Joe Cole believes the club must now use their glory to push on for more success 

Joe Cole has urged West Ham to use their Europa Conference League triumph as a springboard for further success, insisting ‘all other clubs should aspire to this’. 

For the first time since 1965, Hammers supporters were able to wildly celebrate winning a European trophy, with Said Benrahma and Jarrod Bowen having netted in their dramatic 2-1 victory over Fiorentina in Prague.

Bowen’s winning goal came with 90 minutes of the clock after the forward was released in behind and finished with aplomb beyond goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano, sparking jubilant scenes inside the West Ham technical area and the stands.

And Cole, who began his career with the club and enjoyed two separate spells, wasted no time in calling for his former side to continue striving for more.

Speaking on BT Sport post-match, he said: ‘This is a moment, not just for West Ham fans. All other clubs should aspire to this. 

Joe Cole has urged West Ham to use their Europa Conference League win as a springboard

Jarrod Bowen’s winner against Fiorentina secured the club a first European trophy since 1965

Cole, a Hammers academy graduate, believes other sides should aspire for similar successes

‘There are so many clubs like West Ham who haven’t been able to touch the heights of the Premier League or the Champions League. 

‘But this competition has given these players this. This can be a springboard. I want this to be a springboard for the club. I want this to be something that David Sullivan and Karren Brady look around and they see what this is. 

‘This is what it’s all about. I won things in my career and was a very lucky boy. 

‘Let me tell you, I played 700-odd games, you remember moments like this and you can smile. These are beautiful scenes.’ 

Declan Rice lifting the trophy in what may be his final game for the club ensured he emulated legends Bobby Moore and Billy Bonds in captaining them to glory. 

Memorably, Moore skippered West Ham to the 1965 European Cup Winners’ Cup while Bonds led them to the FA Cup in 1975 and 1980.

Bowen was played through on 90 minutes and kept his cool to slot past Pietro Terracciano

Declan Rice lifting the trophy ensured he emulated club greats Bobby Moore and Billy Bonds

The victory also meant that West Ham guaranteed a spot in next season’s Europa League

Cole made a similar comparison when waxing lyrical about Rice.

‘Rice is a special player, an absolutely special player, a special character,’ he added.

‘He stands on the shoulders now with Billy Bonds and Bobby Moore. I can say that.’ 

Cole then added: ‘I knew when I spoke to him. Forget the playing ability and what he can do on the pitch, his personality, I knew he would become a leader. 

‘He’s been here for four, five years ago now and he’s written his name down in the history of this football club. Like I said, he stands next to the great Bobby Moore and Billy Bonds. Fair play to him, I’m so pleased for him.’ 

The victory also sealed West Ham a spot in next season’s Europa League, guaranteeing them continental action for the third year running, a first for the club.

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