West Ham facing a dilemma over Europa League qualification

Europa League Final

West Ham United face a dilemma over their potential Europa League qualification should Manchester United beat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final.

The Hammers pulled the curtain down on their best ever Premier League season with an undeserved defeat at Stoke City on the final day, which saw European football slip through their fingers at the last hurdle.

Slaven Bilic's side have been magnificent and securing Europa League football after narrowly missing out on the Champions League places was the least their season warranted.

But their fate on that score now rests with the Red Devils, the side they beat 3-2 in the last ever game at the club's beloved Boleyn Ground before this summer's big move to the 60,000 seater Olympic Stadium.

Should Louis van Gaal's side beat the Eagles at Wembley on Saturday West Ham will enter the qualifying stages of the Europa League, where they started this season.

While the prospect of big European nights at the Olympic Stadium is enough to make the mouth water for most Hammers fans, there are a sizeable number who do not want their side to qualify for Europe's second tier competition.

Red Devils' advocate

Many argue they do not want to effectively become Manchester United fans for the day, a club with whom the Hammers have been competing all season long.

On the other hand, West Ham lost to the Old Trafford side in the quarter-final so could also say they lost to the eventual winners.

While many dream of playing a major European force, the reality in the Europa League is some long trips to the far reaches of the continent, an extra 20-odd matches if you go all the way and playing Thursday-Sunday every week.

The gruelling schedule is great for keeping big squads happy but has proved a problem to manage alongside a successful domestic campaign for Premier League teams in the past.

It actually seemed to benefit the Hammers having six extra games before the season had even begun last year.

But it could be argued it caught up with them in the winter when they suffered injuries to seven key first team starters all at the same time.

Quiet Sundays?

With many fans concerned about whether they can migrate their famous Upton Park atmosphere to the Olympic Stadium, playing on Sundays will not help in that regard.

On the other token, the Europa League is a viable route to Champions League football and a club with a stadium the size of West Ham's needs to be regularly competing overseas.

But what do West Ham fans really want, have your say in the poll below.

Do you want West Ham to qualify for Europe thanks to a Manchester United FA Cup win?
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