When Jesse Lingard fired home the volley that gave Manchester Utd the FA Cup on Saturday, planners in the West Ham think-tank grabbed their year planners, markers and a fistful of Post-It notes.
Because, although fortune had smiled on the club – with qualification for the Europa League thanks to the Red Devils’ 2-1 win over Crystal Palace – the logistics of the new stadium became immediately problematic.
No longer in command of their fate, West Ham have to rub along with other users of the Olympic Stadium – and there’s the small matter of the “official” opening game.
The challenge looks like this. The first legs of the Europa League take place on July 28 and August 4. It is unlikely the stadium will be ready on July 28 because on July 22 there are the London Anniversary Games and it takes seven days to convert from athletics to football.
In that scenario, and West Ham face a home tie in the first leg, they may seek to play at a different location.
And if the toss of the coin gives them the home tie on August 4, it puts a dent in the “official” curtain-raiser – a planned showpiece match with Juventus three days later.
However, these logistical headaches are a small matter compared to the prospect of European football in the first year of the new stadium, which was only a theoretical possibility until Manchester Utd grabbed their first significant silverware since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.
New manager Slaven Bilic seemingly threw aside last year’s Europa League competition as he grappled with the team – but this year the club hierarchy has signalled West Ham will give it a go – with the ultimate prize a place in the Champions League.
Co-chairman David Gold told the club’s website : “There was so much hanging on [the FA Cup final] for West Ham fans and we were all left celebrating as we are back in Europe for the second consecutive year.
“As we prepare for the big move into the new stadium this is another exciting challenge for the football club.
“Liverpool showed it is possible to go all the way and they were very unlucky to lose in the final. We should take this competition seriously and we are good enough to win it.
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“It will also be another great opportunity for our young players to get European experience and a number of them showed their quality when we played in the early rounds last summer.
“We will also have new signings coming into the squad who will also make the squad stronger and it will be another great opportunity for us to challenge for major silverware and a Champions League position.”