Football European Conference League Final: ACF Fiorentina – West Ham United, June 7, 2023, Prague. Tomáš Souček from West Ham with the cup for the winner of the competition.
Prague – Footballer Tomáš Souček enjoyed the most emotional celebrations of his career after Wednesday's triumph in the European Conference League final with West Ham. The captain of the Czech national team enjoyed a triumphant ride on an open bus in London in front of 80,000 to 100,000 fans and, among other things, sang the club song in front of the fans. To the delight of his family, he shed his beard after the victorious final and is now concentrating on the last event of the season – the upcoming matches of the national team in the Faroe Islands and Montenegro.
“The celebrations were incredible. I honestly didn't expect it to be this big. Already here in Eden, the North Stand full of West Ham fans, it was amazing. Then the next day we were going back to London. I honestly thought a little bit about going there. When I'm in Prague, if I want to go back to London. But I wanted to go, I knew that the fans were waiting for it. I didn't expect that 80 to 100 thousand people would come,” Souček, who today received the trophy for the winner of the Zlatý poll, told journalists ball for the best Czech player of the season.
“We had about a two-hour ride in an open-top bus, we sang, the crowds of fans went with us. Then we went on stage, where we stayed for another hour or two. Unbelievable, my greatest experience with the fans. I still feel euphoric about it now I remember,” added Souček.
According to him, the celebrations with West Ham surpassed those after winning the title with Slavia. “It was probably more emotional. With Slavia, we also enjoyed it with the fans on the pitch and in the stadium, we had a stage there. It was comparable and very similar. But the second day here was unforgettable. You can see how it is for the West fans Fuck religion,” said the 28-year-old midfielder.
He himself sang to the supporters. “Before the final, I posted (on social media) how I celebrated with the Slavia fans, I sang into the microphone in front of the north stand. At West Ham, everyone saw it, so they said I had to sing here too. They gave me a microphone, I was a little nervous , but I sang 'West Ham are massive everywhere we go' in front of all the fans. It was amazing,” Souček said.
“What is different compared to the Czech Republic is that we have a lot of dancers in the dressing room – the French, the English can do it too. They invite me too, it's not a very good idea, but we enjoy it. The form of celebration is perhaps a little different, but any kind of celebration is great. I'm not completely a good singer, but probably still at a better level than a dancer. Everyone laughs, that's how it should be, we're on the same page,” declared Souček.
He didn't sleep much during the celebration. “It was difficult. We left the stadium at about two in the morning. Then we went to the hotel with our partners and families. We didn't sleep much and the next day there was a bus trip to London. I wanted to go to sleep after the match, but how was I pumped with adrenaline and emotions, I couldn't do it. I tried to sleep for about 30 minutes and after a while I went to breakfast,” recounted Souček.
After the final, he shaved. “Even before the semi-final, I was thinking that last time we couldn't make it to the semi-final (of the European League). So I thought to myself: Come on, you beard. When we advanced, we had to keep it to the end. They weren't completely happy at home, but behind the cup and the medal are worth it. It was another ritual that I held and the next day it went down,” said Souček.
The co-owner of West Ham and the owner of Sparta Daniel Křetínský, who visited the stadium of rival Slavia for the first time during the final, also rejoiced at the triumph. “I told him that now he has the best memories of Slavia. He was in Eden once and now he has the cup. Light jabs are correct. I too am glad that Sparta exists. He must also be glad that Slavia exists, that we have each other ” said Soucek. “He was excited, he enjoyed coming there. He was at the celebration afterward, he shook hands with every player,” Souček said.
By winning the Conference League trophy, West Ham lifted their spirits after a long struggle for survival in the Premier League, finishing in 14th place. “The season was very up and down. We had a lot of new arrivals, we couldn't play and we had losses at the beginning. After the World Cup we had a good time to play, we had a training session. We started, saved ourselves and got into form for Conference League. At the end of the average season, we turned the trophies into one of the best in recent years. We are going into the next one with the understanding that we want something big again,” declared Souček.
In the next season, he may no longer be there fellow midfielder Declan Rice, who could join Arsenal. “There has been talk of him leaving for two years. Now is the best chance, but I wish him the best, he deserves it. He has become a leader from a young man, he has written down the history of West Ham. I would miss him on the pitch, we have a lot they played together. But departures are part of football. There will be some changes, but I hope not on a large scale, so that we don't have to play again for a long time.”
At the end of the season, he still has the third match of the European Championship qualifiers waiting for him with the national team Faroe Islands and subsequent preparation in Montenegro. “The season was really difficult. I look forward to the end of the season, to be with my family. But I have the strength. I take the national team as the last step, we need three points to qualify with the Faroe Islands. We have to be careful, the match in Moldova (0:0) is a warning . I already have in my head what else could be done. The main thing now is to advance to the Euros, especially since Germany is next to us,” Souček added.