Will West Ham live to regret their Romanian nightmare?
So, it’s actually happened. West Ham United have failed to reach the Europa League group-stages for the second consecutive season, once again at the hands of one supposedly inferior Romanian outfit by the name of FC Astra Giurgiu.
The Romanians were reportedly on the brink of financial ruin had they eventually failed to secure their place among the competition – with their manager supposedly undergoing a domestic touchline ban for illegal match betting practices, and their owner currently hauled up behind bars for the 2016/17 campaign – but with this latest victory over the Hammers, all is seemingly bright in the world of FC Astra.
Most West Ham fans have nonetheless been left completely embarrassed in the wake of such a shock result…
Morning! ☀ ⚽
What was the most embarrassing thing about West Ham's @EuropaLeague exit last night?
— Dream Team (@dreamteamfc) 26 August 2016
…and who can blame them after the Hammers board have already made a series of questionable promises in the run up to the new season?
So many mediocre players in this squad.
Yet the board reckon we were well prepared for Europe ????????
— West Ham News (@WHUFC_News) 25 August 2016
FC Astra seemingly deserve their fair share of praise after their hard efforts out on the pitch this week, but for the vast majority of West Ham players who were tasked with seeing their side successfully break into the Europa League group-stages, the reaction has been rather different…
We go into these matches too complacent with no passion. It's like the players think it is an instant win.
— Uber West Ham (@UberWestHam) 25 August 2016
Slaven Bilic has also been heavily criticised for overseeing such a nightmare scenario this early on into the new term…
I rate Bilic but he has a big habit of failing to win the matches we're expected to win. Poor against the crap PL last year now this.#whufc
— AllSportsView (@AllSportsView) 25 August 2016
…yet even in light of such a poor showing in the Europa League qualifying rounds this summer, the Croatian’s previous achievements down at Upton Park must not be forgotten in a hurry…
People need to realise this isn't a crisis – the same thing happened last year and we were fine.
Embarrassing? Yes. End of the world? No.
— West Ham Central (@WestHam_Central) 25 August 2016
Whilst some Hammers supporters nonetheless view this recent disappointment as a potential positive for their club in the long-run…
Who knows, maybe exiting the competition at this stage could turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Time will tell I suppose.
— West Ham Forum (@WestHam_Forum) 26 August 2016
…things simply couldn’t have gone all that much worse for West Ham last time out at the Olympic Stadium, and that's all most West Ham fans can really occupy themselves with at the minute…
Really embarrassing game. To go out two years on the trot to Astra is a joke.
— West Ham South West (@WHUSouthWest) 25 August 2016
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