Phil Parkes: ‘It’s been too long since we lifted a trophy – Now is the season to end our drought’

It would be nice at the end of the season to go one further and get to the Europa Conference Final and win it

It’s been over 40 years now since we last won something and the team we have right now is good enough to put that right.

Like last season, we’ve got three chances with the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa Conference. We are more than capable of winning one of those competitions.

I mean, let’s be realistic, we have no chance of winning the league as the gulf between the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool and the rest of the league seemingly gets bigger every season.

So it was pleasing to read recently that David Moyes wants to focus more on the cups this season. 

It would be nice at the end of the season, having got so nearly to a European final last season, to go one further and get to the Europa Conference Final and win it.

With all three cup competitions, it is not about consistency like the league is. You have to approach each game separately and go out to win it.

We have – like many other Premier League clubs – been guilty of not taking the cup competitions seriously, particularly during the Allardyce years.

Focus

You’ve just got to hope that the league form and results will take care of itself if your focus is also on these cup competitions.

We’ve got to try to be more consistent in picking up points and as always, avoid getting dragged into a relegation battle.

After two positive seasons where we’ve not had to look over our shoulders at all, it’s been great for the fans but I bet the players have been enjoying it too.

I’m just keeping everything crossed that we’re able to get off to a good start. 

We did it last year, scoring a lot of goals, and then we’ve just got to stick in there.

We dropped so many silly points at home last season. There were several games we should’ve won that we drew, and there were games we lost when we should’ve done better.

Hammered

What I will say though is that we didn’t get hammered by any side. We always gave teams a good game.

But this is going to feel like a very strange season with the break in the middle for the World Cup.

If you’re near the bottom, it could be a very welcome break. It gives you a chance to pause, regroup and go again.

I’m sure there were a few groans when the fixtures came out and it was revealed that Manchester City would be our first game of the season.

But I’m sure there were plenty of West Ham fans looking at this fixture as a good one to start off.

Man City will be thinking: ‘Oh no, not them again’ because they know they will be in for a tough opening game.

Forest

Then we’re coming up against newly-promoted Nottingham Forest, and I’m glad they are back in the top flight after so many years away.

As a club, they have great history and pedigree. There aren’t many sides in England who can say they have won the European cup twice.

They seem to have a good manager who seems to be able to get the best out of his players.

As we all know, sides that come up do tend to struggle a bit but I think Forest will fit in well.

With the style of football their manager likes to play, I think they will survive.

Back in my day, Forest was always a tough place to go, especially when Cloughie was their manager.

They had such a good side and the City Ground was also such a horrible place to go because it wasn’t a good pitch and it would turn into a mud heap when it rained.

‘Keeper

It’s going to be interesting to see who David Moyes picks as his goalkeeper for these opening games.

I was pleased that we permanently signed Areola because I don’t think he did anything wrong when he came into the side.

Fabianski is 37 now and he’ll know that if he has a wobble, Areola could replace him and that might be that.

I’m sure David has had a good look at both during pre-season and will take some time before deciding who will start.

I’m sure it’ll be Fabianski just because of the service he’s given West Ham over the years, but Areola will be snapping at his heels.

Flynn

Flynn Downes was a player I hadn’t heard of before we signed him but he looks as though he could be a good player for us.

Moyes did the same with Bowen, bringing him up from the Championship, and look how that turned out.

If we do qualify for the group stage of the Europa Conference, I really hope we’re able to add to our squad before the transfer window shuts because we do need back up.

I’m sure the players loved playing as many games as they did last season but as we all saw, it’s not physically possible.

We need a squad because players do need a rest if you are playing three games a week, and it’s important that we keep strengthening the team if we want to keep moving forward.

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