David Moyes handed his Europa Conference League winners’ medal to his father after ending West Ham’s 43-year wait for a trophy.
Jarrod Bowen’s dramatic last-minute goal sank Fiorentina 2-1 as the Hammers secured a first piece of silverware since 1980’s FA Cup, and a first European trophy since 1965, on a historic and emotional night in Prague.
Moyes’ dad, 87-year-old David Snr, has been on every step of West Ham’s European tour and joined his son on the pitch after the final whistle.
“He was the first one, I thought I should get it round his neck,” said the jubilant West Ham boss. “He’s watched a lot over the years and I hope he enjoyed it.”
West Ham led through a Said Benrahma penalty on the hour but were immediately pegged back by Giacomo Bonaventura’s strike.
But when Bowen chased Lucas Paqueta’s ball over the top, Moyes almost found himself going full Jose Mourinho.
“The moment he went through I was edging down the touchline,” he added. “If it was going to be anyone, I thought ‘this is the moment’.
“But I couldn’t do a full Mourinho knee slide as the grass was a bit dry and I’d have ended up on my belly.”
Moyes has written his name in West Ham folklore, joining Ron Greenwood and John Lyall as trophy-winning Hammers managers.
A place in next season’s Europa League means the club has qualified for Europe three campaigns in a row, for the first time.
“I actually think the last two years have been an incredible journey,” he said.
“It’s an incredible achievement to do so well in Europe, you look at some of the very good teams who find it a struggle. It’s great credit, we’ve turned a disappointing season into a super season.”
Bowen has come a long way from beginning his career at non-league Hereford, and he is planning to party.
“I’m so buzzing, all of us are just going to go mad I think,” he said. “You have to celebrate.
“When the final whistle went I just thought ‘this party is going to be crazy’.
“I’m just a little boy from Leominster who never thought I’d be talking like this. My family are crying and it just shows me how far I’ve come.”
It was a memorable way to sign off for Declan Rice, destined to leave this summer but with the legacy of becoming only the third captain, along with Bobby Moore and Billy Bonds, to lift silverware in the club’s 128-year history.
The England midfielder has a year left on his contract, and West Ham hold the option of another, but Arsenal are poised to firm up their interest in the coming days.
The only downside to West Ham’s big night was an object thrown from their end which left Cristiano Biraghi with a nasty cut on the back of his head, forcing referee Carlos Del Cerro Grande to briefly halt play while a message over the PA system implored the fans to stop throwing missiles.
The club “unreservedly condemned” the incident while a UEFA inquest will follow with charges likely.
It was a double cup disappointment for Fiorentina, who were only narrowly beaten 2-1 by Inter Milan in the Coppa Italia last month.
“We lost two finals playing really well, and it’s a shame,” said coach Vincenzo Italiano. “Tonight, I honestly didn’t imagine it could finish like this.”