West Ham United stand on the brink of their first European final for 46 years.

The mountain though, is looking that bit harder to climb, now, after losing the home leg 2-1.

Those of us old enough to remember will already be aware of the parallels.

Back in 1976, West Ham also drew Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-final of the then European Cup Winners Cup.

It was one of the great cup nights at the old Boleyn ground. West Ham ran out 3-1 winners on the night, so going through 4-3 on aggregate. The victory was inspired by a brilliant performance from Trevor Brooking, who scored two of the goals.

The 1976 cup run had been an up and down affair, with West Ham always playing away in the first leg. They drew those first legs against Reipa Lahti (2-2) and Ararat Yeravan (1-1) before winning the home legs 3-0 and 3-1 respectively.

The quarter-final against Den Haag though, saw West Ham lose the first leg in Holland before turning things round in the home leg, with a 3-1 win - going through on away goals.

Unfortunately, things unravelled in the final, with West Ham losing 4-2 against Belgium club Anderlecht, who were hosting, so had home advantage.

Another parallel that owners and supporters will no doubt be aware of was a failure in '76 to subsequently provide the funds for then manager John Lyall to strengthen his team

They were a good young side, made up of youth-team products like goalkeeper Mervyn Day and Kevin Lock and supplemented by some inspired bargain signings such as Billy Jennings (Watford), Alan Taylor (Rochdale) and Keith Robson (Newcastle).

The team won the FA Cup in 1975 and were riding high in the league until Christmas in the 75/76 season.

However, the loss in the Cup Winners Cup final came as a big blow. There were no new signings, the team struggled and were relegated in the 78/79 season.

There has been much debate this season about West Ham’s failure to make signings in January. Premier League form has suffered in recent weeks.

If they do come up short, many will point to the failure to strengthen the squad.

Let’s hope history does not repeat itself and Moyes’ team can go one step further and win the Europa League.

Then, that the club make signings in the summer, if Moyes’ brave footballing venture is to progress further.