Stuart Pearce says West Ham qualifying for Champions League would be perfect for English football

The former Hammers defender claims that the club breaking into the top four this season would be "utopia" for the whole country.

Former West Ham United defender Stuart Pearce has told the London Evening Standard that if the club were to finish in the top four of the Premier League and qualify for the Champions League, it would represent "utopia" for English football.

The Hammers are enjoying their best season in recent memory under the management of Slaven Bilic and currently sit fifth in the table, just a point behind Manchester City in the final Champions League qualifying spot.

The club's hugely impressive season has seen many pundits back them to qualify for Europe's foremost competition for the first time in their history, and former Premier League striker Jason Cundy said on Wednesday that the Irons deserve a top-four place over more established European competitors such as Manchester United.

Now, Pearce, who scored three goals in 50 appearances during two years with West Ham, has claimed that if the club can qualify for the Champions League and Leicester City can hold on to their lead to win the title, it will represent a perfect season for the Premier League.

The 53-year-old told the Standard: "Sam Allardyce put a good structure in place and Slaven [Bilic] has come in and galvanised the fans. I don't see too much stopping West Ham to be honest.

"It's been a really unusual season but what a wonderful season. If Leicester can win the League and West Ham can get in the Champions League I think that's utopia for English football.

"It will freshen English football up. It needs freshening - everyone who's got the money buys the trophies but that goes out the window if Leicester win the League and West Ham get in the Champions League."

The Hammers do not have great European pedigree, having never qualified for the European Cup in their history and reaching the UEFA Cup just twice.

They missed out on the chance to progress to the Europa League proper at the start of this season by losing in the third qualifying round to Romanian side Astra Giurgiu in early August.

However, they may not have a better chance in a long time of securing a first season in the Champions League as they look to take advantage of a faltering Manchester City and finish in fourth spot.

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