Carlton Cole has thanked West Ham United supporters for their loyal support as his seven-year stay at the Club comes to a close.

The popular striker will depart the Hammers when his contract expires at the end of June, ending an association that has spanned 237 appearances and 59 goals.

The Croydon-born player joined West Ham from Chelsea in 2006 and made an immediate impact by scoring on his debut. During his time at the Boleyn Ground, he also earned seven senior England caps and scored one of the goals that helped the Hammers to promotion in the 2012 npower Championship Play-Off final at Wembley.

Speaking exclusively to whufc.com, Cole said he had thoroughly enjoyed his time in east London.

"I have said that I didn't know what to expect when I arrived here, but I am glad I came here," said the No9. "I have met so many good and decent people and I also want to thank the West Ham fans for their support. I was always proud to play for West Ham United.

"I hope that they could see I always tried to give my all on the pitch for the team and whether we were home or away, they gave their backing. I am sad to be leaving but there is a new challenge ahead for me now."

Aside from helping Hammers gain promotion a year ago, Cole also finished as the Club's leading goalscorer in four consecutive seasons between 2008/09 and 2011/12. The striker was never less than 100 per cent committed every time he pulled on a claret and blue shirt.

"It was full of ups and downs, but I did try my best and will always remember my time here," added the 29-year-old. "I wish the club and the fans well for the new season and look forward to what lies ahead for me."

Carlton Cole