West Ham players party in the street with their fans after their historic European trophy


West Ham United players danced in the streets last night as they returned to their hotel in the centre of Prague and received a hero’s welcome, joining jubilant West Ham fans celebrating their historic win in Prague. 

Last night supporters were in delirium after Jarrod Bowen’s 90th-minute winner saw them become Europa Conference League champions with a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina.

Thousands of fans who flocked to the Eden Arena in Prague partied late into the night in the Czech capital, while supporters back home gathered for jubilant celebrations outside the London Stadium.

As the team got off the bus at their hotel goalkeeper Alphonse Areola produced a portable music player and even manager David Moyes joined in the impromptu bop in front of two dozen happy fans after 2am early today.

And goalscorer Bowen was all smiles, laughing as his teammates danced to a song which affectionately celebrates his relationship with Dani Dyer, with whom he has recently had twins.

Players danced in the streets last night as they returned to their hotel in the centre of Prague and received a hero's welcome

Players danced in the streets last night as they returned to their hotel in the centre of Prague and received a hero’s welcome

Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola produced a portable music player and even manager David Moyes joined in the impromptu bop

Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola produced a portable music player and even manager David Moyes joined in the impromptu bop 

Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola produced a portable music player and players and fans joined in the unexpected party

Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola produced a portable music player and players and fans joined in the unexpected party 

The scene was in front of just two dozen happy fans after 2am early today

The scene was in front of just two dozen happy fans after 2am early today

Despite the early hour, the players looked in no mood to end their celebrations as they walked in the street, hugged and signed autographs for fans

Despite the early hour, the players looked in no mood to end their celebrations as they walked in the street, hugged and signed autographs for fans

Players posed for pictures, chatted and even signed shirts for fans who travelled more than 600 miles to see them play

Players posed for pictures, chatted and even signed shirts for fans who travelled more than 600 miles to see them play

Players were ushered inside as they greeted enraptured fans

Players were ushered inside as they greeted enraptured fans

Despite the early hour, the players looked in no mood to end their celebrations as they walked in the street, hugged and signed autographs for fans.

Because of the time, first choice goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski tried to quieten fans down in order not to wake other hotel guests up.

But his teammates wanted to get the party rocking and the fans joined in, along with manager Moyes.

Captain Declan Rice, who will on Thursday evening lead an open top bus celebration of the trophy win, was all smiles as he emerged from the team bus to their hotel.

He was followed by his predecessor as club captain, West Ham legend Mark Noble.

As soon as the goalkeeper played the song the players broke into a dance again.

They were soon joined by fans as well, and Brazilian star Lucas Paqueta signed one supporter’s West Ham shirt. Earlier, Paqueta had shown off his dance moves in the dressing room, in a clip posted on the team’s Twitter account.

One fan said: ‘I couldn’t get a ticket for the game, and I was just walking back to my hotel when I saw the coach.

Hammers fans celebrated with bright red flares in the centre of historic Prague

Hammers fans celebrated with bright red flares in the centre of historic Prague

Pictured: A woman wearing a West Ham jersey appears to lead a song, while a man behind her holds a flare

Pictured: A woman wearing a West Ham jersey appears to lead a song, while a man behind her holds a flare

Shocking scenes also saw supporters appearing to clash with police in Prague

Shocking scenes also saw supporters appearing to clash with police in Prague

Officers in riot gear stormed through a crowd leaving fans sprawling as they raced towards what appeared to be a West Ham fan weilding a glowing red pyrotechnic

Officers in riot gear stormed through a crowd leaving fans sprawling as they raced towards what appeared to be a West Ham fan weilding a glowing red pyrotechnic

The chaos left fans shocked - with one showing off a bloody elbow following the carnage

The chaos left fans shocked – with one showing off a bloody elbow following the carnage

‘I saw Said Banrahama through a coach window and he smiled at me, and then all the players emerged from nowhere.

‘That was like actually being at the match. What a great bunch of lads they are.’  

West Ham manager Moyes, 60, delighted supporters who had travelled more than 600 miles to cheer the Irons on as he strutted his stuff, celebrating the result both on and off the pitch.

In the run up to the big game the former Manchester United boss promised fans he would bring out his ‘dad dancing’ if they were victorious – and he didn’t disappoint as he joined crowds in the Czech capital.

But shocking scenes also saw supporters appearing to clash with police in the city. 

One video showed Prague officers in riot gear storming through a crowd leaving fans sprawling as they raced towards what appeared to be a West Ham fan wielding a glowing red pyrotechnic.

The chaos left fans shocked – with one showing off a bloody elbow following the carnage. 

Fans of West Ham United celebrate in the fanzone at Letna, Prague

Fans of West Ham United celebrate in the fanzone at Letna, Prague

West Ham fans celebrate their team's second goal as they watch Fiorentina and West Ham United play in the UEFA Europa Conference League football final in Prague

West Ham fans celebrate their team’s second goal as they watch Fiorentina and West Ham United play in the UEFA Europa Conference League football final in Prague

West Ham fans react as they celebrate winning against Fiorentina at the 4TheFans FanPark in east London

West Ham fans react as they celebrate winning against Fiorentina at the 4TheFans FanPark in east London

Fans raise their hands in joy as they join together in celebration at the Eden Arena, Prague

Fans raise their hands in joy as they join together in celebration at the Eden Arena, Prague

It came hours after supporters were blasted for throwing plastic pint glasses onto the pitch – with a vape pen thought to be thrown by an Irons supporter gashing the head of Fiorentina captain Cristiano Biraghi.

Crowds were seen dancing on the concourse of the old Olympic stadium, while packed-out bars rocked with joyous supporters. 

Ex-West Ham and England ace Trevor Sinclair was among those who took to the town – posting a raucous video of fans packed into a London venue last night. 

With fans screaming and dancing on tables, the pundit, 50, grinned at the camera as chaos unrolled behind him.  

After Benrahma’s second half penalty was cancelled out by Giacomo Bonaventura, Bowen – who had twins with girlfriend Dani Dyer just two weeks ago – latched onto Paqueta’s perfectly weighted through ball and calmly slotted beyond the reach of the Fiorentina goalkeeper.

West Ham were made to desperately hold on for eight gruelling minutes of stoppage time, but defended stoutly to secure their first European trophy since 1965. 

But as the full-time whistle finally arrived, David Moyes and his players rushed to their travelling fans to share the historic moment with their travelling fans.

It sparked euphoric celebrations both inside the stadium, where players danced on the pitch to music before and after Declan Rice lifted the trophy, as well as a giant party atmosphere in the East End.

A stunning breakaway goal by English forward Jarrod Bowen put them ahead - as the London team crashed to a 2-1 victory

A stunning breakaway goal by English forward Jarrod Bowen put them ahead – as the London team crashed to a 2-1 victory

A youngster whips out his phone as bubbles descend on the crowd - a reference to the team's historic song

A youngster whips out his phone as bubbles descend on the crowd – a reference to the team’s historic song

West Ham United fans celebrate full time at the Fan Zone in The Orbit Courtyard outside the London Stadium

West Ham United fans celebrate full time at the Fan Zone in The Orbit Courtyard outside the London Stadium

West Ham fans react to winning the cup at the Dubliner Pub in Prague

West Ham fans react to winning the cup at the Dubliner Pub in Prague

One bare-chested man pumps the air and a lady stands shell-shocked as West Ham United fans celebrate full time at the LDN East, London

One bare-chested man pumps the air and a lady stands shell-shocked as West Ham United fans celebrate full time at the LDN East, London

West Ham fans go wild as they celebrate the historic win at the 4TheFans FanPark in east London

West Ham fans go wild as they celebrate the historic win at the 4TheFans FanPark in east London

Fans immediately began belting out their iconic I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles anthem and hailed Bowen’s name as the winger wrote his name into the club’s folklore.

Speaking to BT Sport, Bowen said: ‘I obviously dreamed of scoring but to score the winner in the last minute – it’s what you always say. 

West Ham fans will visit old East End ‘manor’ as part of victory parade 

By Shekhar Bhatia in Prague 

West Ham will take a nostalgic trip back to their old East End ‘manor’ to parade their first European silverware for nearly half a century.

A major coming home party is planned for East London on Thursday evening to welcome the new Europa Conference League winners.

More than 100,000 people are expected to line the streets from the place where West Ham’s old ground, the Boleyn in Upton Park.

A specially-commissioned open top bus will carry the champions, travelling from the Hammers’ old home at Upton Park to a reception at Stratford Town Hall.

The historic victory over ACF Fiorentina in the UEFA Europa Conference League final has delivered the first European trophy to east London since the legendary West Ham team starring Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters and Alan Sealey won the Cup Winners’ Cup at Wembley in May 1965.

In the celebrations that followed that triumph, Moore and his team-mates greeted tens of thousands of supporters from the roof of their parade bus, before the captain held the trophy aloft from the balcony of East Ham Town Hall, standing alongside the Mayor of Newham.

‘And to do it in front of these fans – I thought I was going to cry.

‘I’m just happy. I can’t put it into words. We’ve had a dream – we haven’t had the best season, myself included.

‘But to do what we’ve done tonight for these fans – to give them this moment, I’m over the moon.’

After 58 years of hurt the team lifted their first European cup since before England won the World Cup.

Fans sang Queen’s We Are The Champions as Declan Rice held the cup. 

And manager David Moyes was seen dancing in celebration as his team finally secured the silverware.

The 60-year-old later said it was the best moment in his career.

Combative midfielder Rice, who covered every blade of grass in the pulsating final, said: ‘Honestly it means absolutely everything. The lads have been so on it. We’ve had a real belief. I’m not just happy for us, for the manager, but for the fans.

‘I’m also happy for (the backroom staff).’

On Bowen’s goal, he added: ‘I said when he ran through on goal, “this is your time”. As soon as you see it hit the back of the net, you don’t know what to do – I’m still in shock!

‘I absolutely love this club. They’ve made me one of their own. I’m just so, so happy.

And addressing comparisons to club greats like Sir Bobby Moore, he said: ‘Do you know what? To be even in that conversation is crazy. 

‘I’ve given the last six years playing my heart out for this club, and it’s not been easy.’

Joe Cole, working as a pundit on BT Sport, heaped praise on the West Ham captain following his performance.

He said: ‘Declan Rice is a special player, an absolutely special player. A special character. And he stands on the shoulders now with Billy Bonds and Bobby Moore. I can say that. I know how good a player he is.

‘I’ve watched him as a young kid when they kindly let me train with the youth team. I saw this young, spotty herbert in midfield running rings around me, and I was 36. I thought “It’s time for me to hang them up, Colely!” 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 26-year-old, who recently had a baby with girlfriend Dani Dyer, sprinted away top rapturous fans after writing his name into club folklore

 The 26-year-old, who recently had a baby with girlfriend Dani Dyer, sprinted away top rapturous fans after writing his name into club folklore

West Ham United players celebrate with their fans after winning the Europa Conference League final

West Ham United players celebrate with their fans after winning the Europa Conference League final

Bowen poses with his winners' medal in his mouth after scoring West Ham's 90th minute winner

Bowen poses with his winners’ medal in his mouth after scoring West Ham’s 90th minute winner

Pictured: Bowen celebrates with his fans and teammates after his winning goal

 Pictured: Bowen celebrates with his fans and teammates after his winning goal

The team lined up for pictures in front of their fans as the crows celebrated the historic moment

The team lined up for pictures in front of their fans as the crows celebrated the historic moment

West Ham United fans celebrate full time at the Fan Zone in The Orbit Courtyard outside the London Stadium

West Ham United fans celebrate full time at the Fan Zone in The Orbit Courtyard outside the London Stadium

A lady sings as she leans over the barriers at the Fan Zone in The Orbit Courtyard outside the London Stadium

A lady sings as she leans over the barriers at the Fan Zone in The Orbit Courtyard outside the London Stadium

Two young men lead the cheers as they stand out from the crowd at the Eden Arena, Prague

Two young men lead the cheers as they stand out from the crowd at the Eden Arena, Prague

West Ham fans celebrate the match's opening goal, after a penalty let the Irons sneak ahead

West Ham fans celebrate the match’s opening goal, after a penalty let the Irons sneak ahead

West Ham fans react after the opening goal in the Dubliner Pub in Prague

West Ham fans react after the opening goal in the Dubliner Pub in Prague

Among the crowds, West Ham hero Knollsy – the ‘Angel of Alkmaar’ who bravely defended the team’s supporters from Dutch thugs last month – was seen belting out Bubbles from the middle of packed crowds.

Chris Knoll, 58, became an international sensation last month after he fought off brutes who had intended to attack West Ham supporters, including the wives and girlfriends of the team at AK Alkmaar.

He arrived in Prague on Tuesday to cheers after he was given tickets to the final against  after MailOnline contacted West Ham United executives.

As the father of four disembarked from a train at Prague’s main railway station, he said: ‘I am actually here, and it feels incredible.

‘I just got mobbed by West Ham fans as I came off the train, and that means more to me than anything. I have to say it again, but I only did what would’ve been expected.

‘There were women and children and they could’ve been attacked. I acted instinctively, although I had a feeling there was something bad in the air before.’

Earlier in the match, Fiorentina’s captain suffered a gash to his head after he was hit by a vape pen apparently thrown by a West Ham fan – in shameful scenes just hours after a group of partying Irons supporters were violently ambushed and attacked. 

Italian ultras came at the Londoners with flares, chains, bottles and batons this afternoon, before the Europa Conference League final kicked off.

Fiorentina captain Cristiano Biraghi was treated for blood dripping down his neck after he was apparently hit by a vape pen while taking a corner in front of the Irons supporters.

Plastic pint glasses could be seen raining down on the 30-year-old, who was later wrapped in a matching purple bandage – as the London team were told to have a word with their fans.

The celebratory mood soured in central Prague soon after 3pm when Hammers fans drinking in a bar were attacked by the Italians clad in black clothing and masks.

Several West Ham fans suffered cuts and bruises as the missiles flew. Police in the Czech capital said three West Ham fans and one police officer were injured in the incident.

Fiorentina captain Cristiano Biraghi was treated for blood dripping down his neck after he was apparently hit by a vape pen while taking a corner in front of the Irons supporters

Fiorentina captain Cristiano Biraghi was treated for blood dripping down his neck after he was apparently hit by a vape pen while taking a corner in front of the Irons supporters

Plastic pint glasses could be seen raining down on the 30-year-old, who was later wrapped in a matching purple bandage

Plastic pint glasses could be seen raining down on the 30-year-old, who was later wrapped in a matching purple bandage

As the London team were told to have a word with their fans as commentators blasted the crowds

As the London team were told to have a word with their fans as commentators blasted the crowds

Cristiano Biraghi of Fiorentina claps towards West Ham United fans after having plastic pint glasses thrown at him

Cristiano Biraghi of Fiorentina claps towards West Ham United fans after having plastic pint glasses thrown at him

Nicolas Gonzalez of Fiorentina has plastic pint glasses thrown at him

Nicolas Gonzalez of Fiorentina has plastic pint glasses thrown at him 

A group of partying West Ham fans were violently set upon by Fiorentina ultras yesterday afternoon. Pictured: A video shows black-clad Italian football fans in Prague yesterday

A group of partying West Ham fans were violently set upon by Fiorentina ultras yesterday afternoon. Pictured: A video shows black-clad Italian football fans in Prague yesterday

Pictured: Fiorentina ultras are seen outside a bar in Prague yesterday as they attacked a group of West Ham fans in a bar in the Czech capital, ahead of the Europa Conference League final

Pictured: Fiorentina ultras are seen outside a bar in Prague yesterday as they attacked a group of West Ham fans in a bar in the Czech capital, ahead of the Europa Conference League final

Pictured: Debris was seen across the floor where Fiorentina ultras attacked a group of West Ham fans in Prague yesterday. Smoke is seen billowing from flares on the ground

Pictured: Debris was seen across the floor where Fiorentina ultras attacked a group of West Ham fans in Prague yesterday. Smoke is seen billowing from flares on the ground

Pictured: A video clip shows the Ultras running down a Prague street. Some could be seen carrying weapons in the video

Pictured: A video clip shows the Ultras running down a Prague street. Some could be seen carrying weapons in the video

Pictured: A video clip shows the Ultras running down a Prague street. Some could be seen carrying weapons in the video

Thirty Italians were arrested after the attacks, a few hours before the game kicked off. 

One video showed the thuggish fans of the Florence club throwing chairs at the West Ham supports sitting under the arches outside the bar ahead of the Premier League Club’s biggest European match in nearly half a century. Another clip showed the Ultras running down a Prague street carrying make-shift weapons.

As the police moved in to quell the violence, two stun grenades were launched into the Tekila Tekila bar in the city centre, causing loud bangs. Broken glass and a burnt-out chair littered the ground outside the bar after the attack.

Around 300 West Ham fans had been drinking happily, singing without causing any fear to police or locals when they were set upon by the Italian ultras.

As word went round the wider area that their fellow fans were being assaulted, Hammers fans moved towards the bar – and a group of riot police moved in to arrest the Fiorentina football fans causing chaos.

One West Ham fan who witnessed the scenes said: ‘They targeted a group and attacked them quite violently then ran off before anyone could react. It was completely unprovoked. They were all ultras dressed in black. It was pretty grim.’ 

Another eyewitness, retired plumber John Brownlie from Cambridge, said: ‘From nowhere about 100 men with chains, belts, bottles, and flares came round the street corner, and almost pushed over a lady and her baby in a pushchair.

Pictured: A photograph released by Prague police shows a number of Fiorentina Ultras detained and lying prone on a shop floor in the Czech capital

Pictured: A photograph released by Prague police shows a number of Fiorentina Ultras detained and lying prone on a shop floor in the Czech capital

Pictured: The Ultras can be seen descending on the cafe where West Ham fans were in a video filmed from across the street

Pictured: The Ultras can be seen descending on the cafe where West Ham fans were in a video filmed from across the street

Pictured: A line of police officers are seen in central Prague keeping the fans apart

Pictured: A line of police officers are seen in central Prague keeping the fans apart

Czech police lined up separating Fiorentina fans from West Ham United supporters

Czech police lined up separating Fiorentina fans from West Ham United supporters

Pictured: Riot police and other officers are seen running down the streets of Prague yesterday

Pictured: Riot police and other officers are seen running down the streets of Prague yesterday

Pictured: A group of black-clad Italian Ultras seen gathered in Prague yesterday

Pictured: A group of black-clad Italian Ultras seen gathered in Prague yesterday

Pictured: A group of black-clad Italian Ultras seen gathered in Prague yesterday

Pictured: A group of black-clad Italian Ultras seen gathered in Prague yesterday

Pictured: People stand near a chair that was set alight as Italian ultras attacked West Ham fans

Pictured: People stand near a chair that was set alight as Italian ultras attacked West Ham fans

Pictured: Riot police seen in central Prague yesterday ahead of the Europa Conference League final, surrounding a group of Fiorentina Ultras

Pictured: Riot police seen in central Prague yesterday ahead of the Europa Conference League final, surrounding a group of Fiorentina Ultras

Pictured: Fiorentina 'Ultras' led away by riot police in Prague yesterday

Pictured: Fiorentina ‘Ultras’ led away by riot police in Prague yesterday

‘The woman quickly was quickly rushed inside to the bar, with her child, but two stun grenades were thrown in there, and caused some fire damage,’ he added.

‘This caused a lot of us to come out of the bar to find out what was going on, and then they started attacking us, punching and kicking us. When they ran, which would’ve been probably a minute later, we ran after them but the police blocked us.

‘They were just cowards. West Ham fans didn’t do anything wrong. This was an ambush,’ Brownlie added.

Another West Ham fan, who did not want to be named, said ‘a large group’ of Italian fans attacked the bar.

‘About eight Italians walked past, swinging bands and chains,’ he said. ‘Five minutes later there was a big group that come down the road and attacked us.’

The man said five West Ham fans were injured ahead of the game kicking off.

He said: ‘Three of our mates (were injured), out of all of this lot there were five. Three of them were our mates. They’ve gone to hospital.’ He said that one of his friends was ‘quite badly’ injured with a ‘massive cut’ on his head.

A 17-year-old witness to the attack on West Ham fans said that Fiorentina fans came around the corner ‘trying to give it large’.

‘We were all standing here, just having a glass,’ he said. ‘And they all come around the corner, trying to give it large. We done nothing wrong.’ 

He said that the Italian fans had ‘chains and belt buckles’. 

Pictured: tables and chairs are seen scattered at a bar where Fiorentina ultras ran through

Pictured: tables and chairs are seen scattered at a bar where Fiorentina ultras ran through

Pictured: A police car is seen in Prague near to the bar where Italian ultras attacked West Ham fans ahead of the final

Pictured: A police car is seen in Prague near to the bar where Italian ultras attacked West Ham fans ahead of the final

Czech police separate Fiorentina fans from West Ham United supporters

Czech police separate Fiorentina fans from West Ham United supporters

Pictured: Fans of West Ham United gather to cheer for their team at Prague's Old Town Square ahead of the UEFA Europa Conference League

Pictured: Fans of West Ham United gather to cheer for their team at Prague’s Old Town Square ahead of the UEFA Europa Conference League

West Ham United fans showed their support from inside the stadium ahead of the match kicking off

West Ham United fans showed their support from inside the stadium ahead of the match kicking off

‘They were throwing flares and firecrackers,’ he said. 

‘They had chains and belt buckles and everything. They come here, try giving it, and then they ran down the road.’

Around 100 West Ham fans attempted to run towards the bar where their fellow fans were said to have been attacked but were kept at bay by around 50 police officers, some armed with automatic rifles and batons.

The ultras attempted to escape the police and ran through a busy paved shopping area. Some ran through the outside tables of a café where many people were dining, causing crockery, glasses and bottles to smash as tables were overturned.

Despite their efforts, they were rounded up and hemmed in outside a massage parlour. Women working within were seen peering through windows and taking pictures with their phones of the thugs.

MailOnline witnessed a group of suspected thugs being handcuffed and arrested before being led off through the crowds.

West Ham Fans showed their support as they cheered from the stands ahead of the game

West Ham Fans showed their support as they cheered from the stands ahead of the game

Another Hammers supporter appeared close to tears as he shouts for his team

Another Hammers supporter appeared close to tears as he shouts for his team

Crowds in the stands pump the air as they wait for the game to begin

Crowds in the stands pump the air as they wait for the game to begin

Irons fans cheer with arms outstretched as they hope for glory in the Czech capital

Irons fans cheer with arms outstretched as they hope for glory in the Czech capital

Fiorientina fans get ready for the match as they watch on from the stands

Fiorientina fans get ready for the match as they watch on from the stands

The Italian team's distinctive purple banners are out in force as they prepared for kick off

The Italian team’s distinctive purple banners are out in force as they prepared for kick off

As the final kicked off, many fans who travelled to Prague but were unable to get tickets would have been disappointed to see several hundred empty seats in the stadium

As the final kicked off, many fans who travelled to Prague but were unable to get tickets would have been disappointed to see several hundred empty seats in the stadium

There were plenty of red seats left open even as the game kicked off

There were plenty of red seats left open even as the game kicked off

Police using tannoys, speaking in Italian, warned the remaining Florentina fans and ultras who were gathering to leave the area immediately.

In a statement on Twitter, along with a photograph of a number of Italian fans in handcuffs on the floor of a shoeshop, Prague’s police forces confirmed that West Ham fans were attacked where in a bar by Fiorentina’s fans.

‘Italy fans attacked West Ham fans in a bar in Rytířská Street, injuring three. One policeman was also attacked,’ the statement said.

‘We have restricted the personal freedom of 16 people and we are currently investigating the whole incident. #policiepha’.

An investigation was ongoing and no more details were immediately provided.

It comes after similarly-cald hooligan supporters of AZ Alkmaar tried to get at West Ham players’ families in chaotic scenes at the end of the semi-final in Holland.

Riot police have been on standby in the hours ahead of tonight’s kick-off.

Earlier, one fan was detained by police for letting off an orange flair in the square, but later released after a ticking-off.

Czech authorities have ramped up security ahead of the Europa Conference League final

Czech authorities have ramped up security ahead of the Europa Conference League final

West Ham fan Sam Nicola (left) was among those soaking up the pre-match atmosphere

West Ham fan Sam Nicola (left) was among those soaking up the pre-match atmosphere

Fans have taken over Old Town Square with Czech authorities keeping a watchful eye

Fans have taken over Old Town Square with Czech authorities keeping a watchful eye 

More than 10,000 West Ham fans were gathering in the fan zone to watch the match on a giant screen.

Supporters of their Italian rival without tickets were led to a separate fan zone.

After days of rain, the sun came out and lifted the spirits of the thousands of fans in Prague’s Old Town Square as of pints were downed and bars were packed to the hilt.

But as the final kicked off, many fans who travelled to Prague but were unable to get tickets would have been disappointed to see several hundred empty seats in the stadium. 

Sam Nicola, 32, a London black cab driver who was wearing a claret and blue curly wig, said: ‘I woke up this morning and my whole body went into this state of anxiety.

‘I couldn’t talk and I keep thinking about what might happen. It is far worse than normal butterflies, believe me.

‘We just have to win, and I promised all my mates that I will wear this wig in my cab for a week if we do.’

West Ham fans cheer for their team at the Old Town Square ahead of the UEFA Europa Conference League 2022/23 final match between ACF Fiorentina and West Ham United FC in Prague, Czech Republic on June 7

West Ham fans cheer for their team at the Old Town Square ahead of the UEFA Europa Conference League 2022/23 final match between ACF Fiorentina and West Ham United FC in Prague, Czech Republic on June 7

Pictured: A West Ham fan waves an English flag in Prague's Old Town Square

Pictured: A West Ham fan waves an English flag in Prague’s Old Town Square 

His brother Jay, 35, who also wore a similar wig and drives a black cab, added: ‘ we have waited so long for this. But there was a lot of nerves.

‘But I believe we can do it. We will bring that trophy home. We will win 2-1.’

London dentist Aditi Tanna, 28, who wore a West Ham hat and shirt said: ‘It is so amazing being here with all these great West Ham fans. We have made many new friends.

‘My boyfriend Ajay and I came into Prague on a train from Vienna this morning and for four more Euros we were put into first class and given a class of Prosecco so that was a great way to start the day.

‘I feel it is getting better and better all the way to winning the cup tonight.

‘We don’t have tickets, but it is much more fun being here than watching it on TV from the sofa. ‘

Keilan Schemeri, 31, from Gibraltar whose father Joe is from London and a Hammer’s fan said: ‘It will be 3-1 to West Ham. We are going all the way.’

Former West Ham striker, Tony Cottee join supporters in the old town Square as a sign his name.

Lucas Paqueta of West Ham United tries to calm down West Ham United fans after plastic pint glasses were thrown

Lucas Paqueta of West Ham United tries to calm down West Ham United fans after plastic pint glasses were thrown

Nayef Aguerd joins his voice as players attempt to calm down their fans

Nayef Aguerd joins his voice as players attempt to calm down their fans

West Ham fans react as they watch tha game from a fan zone in Prague

West Ham fans react as they watch tha game from a fan zone in Prague

Fans chant their support for the Hammers from inside the Czech stadium

Fans chant their support for the Hammers from inside the Czech stadium

Actor and comedian James Corden, a lifelong West Ham fan, also flew into the Czech Republic and posed happily with supporters for photographs.

Folk hero Knollsy, who was dubbed the ‘Angel of Alkmaar’ after fighting off thugs out to attack West Ham fans last month, was mobbed by well-wishers as he walked through the square wearing a black West Ham shirt.

The final is West Ham’s first in Europe since 1976, and they are bidding to win their first trophy since the FA Cup 43 years ago.

Greg Robson, 59, from Manor Park, east London, told the PA news agency he has been a season ticket holder for 43 years.

‘First game was 1969, with my dad, sadly no longer with us,’ he said. ‘And I’ve had a season ticket since the age of 16. This is about my 43rd year now going home and away, following them abroad. I just love West Ham United.’

He said it felt ‘unbelievable’ to be in a European final.

‘I was just one when we first won it, 11 in ’76,’ he said. ‘So really, for me, this is the first time to actually go to one.’ He said he booked his flight to Prague before West Ham had even made the knockout stages.

‘We actually booked the flights when we were in the group stages,’ he said. ‘So it’s a gamble that paid off.’ He added that he will ‘party all night’ if the Hammers win.

The hammers dropped seven places in the Premier League table this year - finishing 14th

The hammers dropped seven places in the Premier League table this year – finishing 14th

West Ham fans look on during a match against Leicester City in August 2021, when they smashed the 2016 surprise winners 4-1

West Ham fans look on during a match against Leicester City in August 2021, when they smashed the 2016 surprise winners 4-1

Declan Rice snaps pictures with fans after a win against Leeds at the end of the season

Declan Rice snaps pictures with fans after a win against Leeds at the end of the season

West Ham celebrate with their fans after the final whistle, in October 2021

West Ham celebrate with their fans after the final whistle, in October 2021

‘Just party, party all night,’ he said. ‘I’ve got an early flight in the morning, but I might be missing that.’

Andrew Hall, 54, from Surrey, said: ‘If we’re celebrating I could be here for another week.’ He added that he had spent ‘probably £1,000’ on his trip to Prague, adding: ‘But it’s worth every penny.’

Steve Wick, 60, from Hertfordshire, said he had travelled for hours to make it to the Czech capital. ‘We drove 13 hours,’ he said. ‘We got the shuttle over from Folkestone and then drove through. So 13 hours door to door.’

He said it had been ‘years and years’ since the team had had any major success.

‘If we win this tonight it will be mega for the fans,’ he added. ‘It has been years and years since we’ve had any glory. And I think this is going to be it.’

Dan Lee from Romford said he had spent more than £1,000 on his trip to the final.

‘All in, over £1,000, but it’s what you do for West Ham,’ he said.

He added that being in a European final meant ‘everything’ to him.

‘Never did you think that little old West Ham would get this far,’ he said.



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