Carlton Cole: The Europa League is massive for West Ham fans to look forward to
Carlton Cole cannot wait to see his former side take to the European stage next month.
The striker, who played for the Club in their UEFA Cup first round tie against Palermo 15 years ago, was a keen observer of Friday morning’s group stage draw, which pitted the Hammers against Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb, Belgian cup winners Genk and Austrian Bundesliga runners-up Rapid Vienna.
The 37-year-old, now a coach in West Ham’s Academy, believes the feel-good factor in east London will help propel the team forward in this competition too, following their fantastic start to the season.
Back-to-back wins against Newcastle United and Leicester City – with eight goals scored in the process – have taken David Moyes’ men to the top of the Premier League table and Cole can’t wait to see a packed London Stadium cheer on the team in Europe too.
“We’ve got a great chance – everyone is in a positive, upbeat mood already at West Ham because we’ve won our first two Premier League games,” he said.
“Everybody is in a good place at the moment and wants to do well. We fully respect these teams, but the way we are right now in that good place, these are winnable games for us.
“I fancy us to do really well and hopefully we can get the fans to travel too.”
Speaking of those fans, Cole was thrilled to see 60,000 members of the Claret & Blue Army make a deafening atmosphere for Monday’s victory over Leicester and he is sure that backing will continue to spur on the players on the pitch.
“I would love to see the fans there both at home and away because they are our 12th man," he explained. "It would be brilliant to see them in the stadiums.
“I’d love that Vienna trip. If I’m doing any commentary on that trip I would love it! Vienna is a lovely city and the fans would love to be there as well, just to take it in, especially after the year we’ve had when we’ve not been able to travel and not had much to look forward to.
“This is massive for West Ham fans to look forward to.”