...By Judah Olanisebee for TDPel Media.
As West Ham United aims to reach their first European final in nearly half a century, an estimated 5,000 passionate Hammers fans are expected to make the journey to Holland.
West Ham will face AZ Alkmaar in the second leg of their Europa Conference League semi-final, holding a 2-1 lead from the first leg.
However, the club’s away allocation is limited to just 975 tickets at the 19,500-capacity AZ Stadion, leaving thousands of fans without official access.
Dutch authorities have issued warnings to those without tickets, urging them not to travel to the stadium.
To accommodate the significant number of supporters, local authorities are arranging buses to transport West Ham fans from the city center to the stadium and back to Alkmaar’s main train station after the match.
Many fans are expected to stay in Amsterdam, located 40km south of Alkmaar, and travel by train to the match.
In preparation for the crucial clash, West Ham were scheduled to train at Rush Green before flying to Holland.
Manager David Moyes is expected to provide an update on Michail Antonio’s fitness ahead of the match.
Antonio sustained a minor calf injury after scoring the winning goal in the first leg, causing him to sit out the recent game against Brentford as a precaution.
However, he is anticipated to be fit for the second leg, where West Ham aims to secure their first European final since their defeat in the 1976 Cup-Winners’ Cup against Anderlecht.
Considering the previous lineup changes made for the Brentford match, Moyes may opt to revert to his strongest starting eleven if Antonio is fit.
One potential change includes Angelo Ogbonna starting alongside Kurt Zouma, as Nayef Aguerd was deemed responsible for both goals conceded in the previous match.
The winner of the tie between West Ham and AZ Alkmaar will face either Basel or Fiorentina in the highly anticipated final.
The West Ham faithful will undoubtedly bring their unwavering support as they hope to witness their beloved club secure a historic European achievement.