West Ham are back in the Premier League after defeating Blackpool 2-1 at Wembley today in the npower Championship play-off final.
Ian Holloway’s Blackpool had much the better of the opening exchanges, with Matt Phillips missing two chances, but it was West Ham who took the lead after Carlton Cole nicely controlled Matt Taylor’s pass and slotted the ball past Matt Gilks in the 34th minute.
Thomas Ince, son of former West Ham midfielder Paul and booed by the Hammers fans, equalised for Blackpool early in the second half after getting on the end of a cross-field pass and squeezing past Winston Reid to guide the ball into the net.
But with the game seemingly headed to extra time Vaz Te scored with three minutes remaining as the Hammers’ first visit to Wembley since 1981 secured promotion to the Barclays Premier League.
It will be a long summer for Blackpool manager Ian Holloway as he saw his side miss enough really chances to win the game.
Stephen Dobbie’s shot was kept out by a combination of West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green and the near post before Matt Phillips twice squandered glorious opportunities to put the Seasiders ahead.
But for Big Sam Allardyce this was a win of redemption. Allardyce was not the number one choice of West ham fans to take over the club at the start of the season. He took a look of criticism from Hammers fans for the way that his team played this season and by not getting automatic promotion, forcing them into the playoffs where they knocked out Cardiff City in the semi-finals.
But he was hired with to do one thing. And that was to get West Ham back in the Premier League at the first opportunity. And he delivered.
I am not a fan of Allardyce or his style of football. I think he blames the players for defeats and takes all the credit for wins. Plus I don’t like his long ball philosophy. But he knows how to get teams into the Premier League (he too Bolton up) and when he gets there, he knows how to keep teams there.