Former Hull City striker Jarrod Bowen is West Ham's Europa Conference League final hero
The Hammers won 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.
Yes, it may be only Europe’s third-tier competition, the one treated as an unwanted distraction by Tottenham, among others, in its inaugural form last season.
But this is West Ham. The West Ham who routinely see relegation as an occupational hazard. The West Ham who made a song and dance of leaving their old stadium and an almighty hash of moving into the new one. The West Ham who had to go begging to their former manager to save them from the drop, 18 months after they got rid of him when he had done just that.
Just nine weeks ago that same manager watched as the away fans unfurled a ‘Moyes Out’ banner during a scratchy 1-0 win over Fulham, which likely saved his job.
Now David 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.
And what a 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 Hammers have given their fans, 5,000 of whom were – officially at least – in attendance and the 20,000-or so who just wanted to be in Prague, the ride of their lives. A campaign that began in August and has taken in trips to Denmark (twice), Belgium, Romania, Cyprus, Belgium again, and the Netherlands, finally culminated in a glory night in the Czech capital.
After Said Benrahma scored a penalty, Fiorentina equalised just four minutes later through Giacomo Bonaventura, only for former Hull striker Bowen broke through in the 90th minute to fire home.
Bowen told BT Sport: “You always say you want to score in the last minute and to do it here in front of these fans, I thought I was going to cry.
“I’m so happy. We haven’t had the best season, myself included, but to do it tonight. I’m over the moon.
“I think in my position you make that run 10 times you might get that ball once. As soon as you get it you’ve got to put it away.
“Never [have I felt like this in my life]. This is the biggest game of my career. The emotion, there was time for one more chance. I’m just so happy. I’m over the moon.
“I’m thinking of the party tonight. Listen to it. Listen.”