Amid worries over safety ahead of West Ham’s Europa League match against Olympiacos tomorrow night, David Moyes has appealed to fans, but he has also urged his players to “embrace and enjoy” the unfriendly environment in Greece.
After a player was hit by a fireworks during Sunday’s league match between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos, the match was called off in the middle of the game. Ahead of Thursday’s match, the Athens club sent out a note to supporters, cautioning that misbehavior could result in sanctions from Uefa.
Moyes is anxious for the game to go off without a hitch because West Ham was forced to play away in Freiburg without traveling supporters earlier this month as payback for unruly behavior during the previous season’s Europa Conference League final victory against Fiorentina in Prague.
The Scottish player remarked, “They’ve got great support here, fantastic enthusiasm, and it’s great to come to a football city where the football really matters.” You desire the passion and the environment, that’s what.
Yet, you also expect both Olympiacos and our supporters to behave well. This is a game. It is imperative that we have a successful evening and that everyone collaborates effectively.
You’re not doing anything to support your team, and that goes double for our fans. If you receive a ban, your team is kicked out of Europe, stadium sanctions, or anything similar, you are not doing your club any favors.
The goal for the Hammers is to maintain their perfect start to the group stage of this season and to add to their 17-game unbeaten streak in European competition.
That run dates back to May 2022, when Moyes’s team lost to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semifinal. Since then, the team has faced a variety of challenging situations, most notably the Conference League semifinal victory over AZ Alkmaar in the previous season, during which a group of visiting fans, including family members and friends of the players, were attacked by Dutch ultras.
When asked if his squad had any chance of quieting the home crowd, Moyes replied, “I think you just have to embrace it and enjoy it.” Large crowds are what football fans desire.
“What we’ve got to remember is football is a game. We are seeing so many things throughout the world right now. Remember we’re all here to enjoy a game of football.”