Mark Noble saluted the astonishing turnaround at West Ham under David Moyes as the club celebrated reaching the Europa League semi-finals.
The Hammers, battling to avoid relegation less than two years ago, are in the last four of a major European competition for the first time in 46 years after a stunning 3-0 win in Lyon.
Goals from Craig Dawson, Declan Rice and Jarrod Bowen secured a 4-1 aggregate triumph and a semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Veteran midfielder Noble, in his final season at West Ham after 18 years at the club, was sent on by manager Moyes for the final quarter-of-an-hour in France to help see the match out.
The club captain was in tears in the dressing room afterwards – but there is a growing feeling that Noble’s swansong could yet see him lifting West Ham’s first piece of major silverware since 1980 in Seville next month.
“It is so special to do what we’ve done,” said Noble. “We said since we entered the competition that we felt like we had enough to go this far. To get this result against a top, top side, it was so impressive.
“Now we’ll get ready for another game and a semi-final in a European competition. It is something West Ham fans dream about and they deserved it.
“The one thing I will say is that the fans have stuck by us through some tough times, and we have had some tough times in years gone by, but they fully deserved that. We’ve done this for them.
“The support we’ve had overseas and away, it’s not cheap, and from all the players we really do appreciate it. Now it looks like they’ll be booking flights for another round.
“My proudest thing is that this group of players work, and run, and fight for each other, and that is why we are where we are.”
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