West Ham have confirmed that they will celebrate Wednesday evening’s Europa Conference League victory with an open-top bus parade on Thursday night.
The Hammers beat Fiorentina 2-1 at the Eden Arena in Prague after spending much of the match pinned back by the heavy-pressing Serie A side.
But Jarrod Bowen became the hero of the hour with his winner struck in the 90th minute to see the club lift their first European trophy in over 58 years.
Despite struggling in the Premier League, Wednesday’s triumph will enshrine the 2022-23 campaign in the club’s history books, and West Ham’s hierarchy are keen to commemorate the significant achievement.
The club confirmed that the parade is set to start at 7pm, and will take the players through the streets of east London from the Hammers’ old ground at Upton Park to Stratford Town Hall, where the players and coaching staff will be given a reception.
The route mimics that taken by the 1965 squad led by Sir Bobby Moore who won the European Cup Winners’ Cup – the club’s last major European trophy.
As in 1965, the players will be greeted by The Mayor of Newham – Rokhsana Fiaz – and captain Declan Rice will lift the trophy from the balcony in front of a mass of supporters.
Rice has drawn comparisions to a number of West Ham legends such as Sir Bobby and Billy Bonds after clinching the trophy in what could be his final appearance in claret and blue.
The England star’s future is as yet undecided, with clubs such as Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Chelsea are interested in winning the talented midfielder’s signature.
Mail Sport reported on Wednesday evening that ahead of kick-off, West Ham had painted a bus commemorating a potential win to ensure they weren’t caught out should David Moyes’ side beat the Coppa Italia finalists.
West Ham’s co-chairman David Sullivan shared his great pride at the club’s achievement alongside the parade’s announcement, but admitted that the victory came with one regret – that former chairman David Gold was not alive to watch his team’s seismic win.
Gold, who with Sullivan bought into the club in 2010, passed away in January of this year at the age of 86.
Sullivan said: ‘I could not be more proud of this magnificent football club. Proud of how far we have come over the last decade. Proud of the manager, the backroom team, and all the staff, who have done a fantastic job. And proud of all the players, from our amazing home-grown talent, to our brilliant international stars, who have given us a night and a triumph that will live forever.
‘But most of all, I want to pay tribute to the Hammers fans, the Claret and Blue Army, who have once again shown they are the best in the world. They have been incredible this season.
‘Packing out the London Stadium match after match, creating an atmosphere home and away that is second to none, and showing teams all over Europe how massive this Club is.’
The Europa Conference League is the third cup that the club has added to their overall trophy cabinet this season after their youth side beat Arsenal in the FA Cup Youth final in April, and won the U18 Premier League title.
Sullivan stressed that the club would seek to ‘build on this triumph’ next season.
‘But for now, it is time to celebrate. It will be fantastic to see Hammers fans from across London fill the streets to welcome our heroes back from Prague, and all our supporters over land and sea join the party on our Club channels,’ Sullivan added.
This trophy belongs to you, and it will be fantastic to all share in the moment.
‘Sadly of course, there is one man who will not be there, someone who did so much to help deliver this success to our Club, and – in all the joy and excitement of the victory – the one thing I missed was being able to turn to him, see his smile, and shake his hand. But I know how proud he would have been too. This is for you, DG (David Gold) – our dreams beginning to come true.’