I still cannot believe that our night in Prague happened. Even now the footage still seems surreal and I was there!
I’ve watched Bowen’s goal hundreds of times now, and I am finally accepting that it did happen and that the tears I shed that night were all legitimate. It was a day I will never forget and one no West Ham fan will. We have waited so long for this moment, 43 years to be precise, and no fan group deserves it more than us.
We follow this club home and away no matter what the occasion and always make ourselves heard. The victory parade afterwards was a real indicator of how massive we really are. Thousands packed the streets.
I had just touched down in the country and I got a call from my family saying they wanted to go down, and I am glad I did to experience what was a sea of claret and clue. The attendance was made even more impressive by the fact that many were still in Prague.
I don’t know the official number of people in Prague but everywhere we went all you could hear were chants of “irons”’and about Lucas Paqueta buying everyone’s car. I seemed to bump into so many people I knew out there including our very own editor David Blackmore stumbling out of a bar in the early hours.
It really was a surreal experience out there and one that I will never forget. What an amazing ending to a very strange season. Now if you had said to me, or any West Ham, we will finish 14th, it won’t be pretty but we will win the Conference League, I think we would have all taken it.
It was a legendary season in the club’s history, yet people are still calling for the manager’s head. I understand some of the calls, especially regarding negative tactics but it seems so ironic that the one time we win something some of our fans still want the manager gone.
When you look back, there were things they went against us early on like VAR decisions, missed penalties and injuries to our key players. Perhaps had fate been slightly kinder we would have not had the struggles in the league that we did.
This is why with the momentum of winning the Conference League and players settling to the club now, I believe we will have a much better league performance and hopefully enjoy another great European campaign! The inevitable departure of Declan Rice will bring challenges as it did when Mark Noble left.
But with the right recruitment, I do believe we can have another successful season. It’s been a memorable season for us too at the West Ham Way with lots of pre-match events and our first evening event the Sunday after Prague.
We had Martin Allen, Julian Dicks and George Parris in attendance in Benfleet and we will be looking to host them there more often. It will be an exciting summer for us at the West Ham Way too where we should be visiting Australia for the preseason tour as well as providing extensive coverage of the transfer window.