Captain's Blog: Thanks to fans

As a squad we started off this season with a target of 60 points, estimating that could possibly get us into the UEFA Cup spots and because we had set that as our goal it became the goal of the fans and the club so to come up short is disappointing. However, this season can be best summed up by the phrase 'what if'.

I have never in my time in football seen a club experience the number and nature of injuries that we have this year. Without making excuses we are talking about long-term injuries to key players brought in as big summer signings, to replace players that had left, who would have undoubtedly earned us at least ten more points to have got us to our original target.

As a result I am extremely proud of the efforts of everybody at the club and, in particular the players that have been fit and played, for their strength of character and the adversity they have shown in very tough times.

I thank the loyal support of our fans both home and away. I speak for all the players and the staff at the training ground by saying we totally sympathise with the frustration they have felt in some of the games and we understand their passion that can sometimes come across as frustration - which we have felt as well. But we know this just goes to show how much you care about the club and we would rather have one of the most passionate and vocal set of supporters in the Premier League than fans we don't hear.

A lot of thanks has to go to the efforts by everyone involved with West Ham for the money and support we have given various charities over the season and I am not just talking about the players and fans who have donated generously but the people behind the scenes who co-ordinate the various charitable activities we do. It is very rewarding to hear the feedback we get about not just how much valuable money we have raised but also the priceless awareness we generate for these brilliant causes.

CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT THE RACIAL EQUALITY STANDARD

Let's not forget there is still one game to go, one which we are confident we can win and I ask the fans for one more effort in pushing us to the finish line to claim that tenth spot and end this campaign on a high and of course to make sure our bitter rivals don't get bragging rights through the summer.

I welcome Aston Villa's staff, players and fans and in particular old friends Marlon Harewood and Nigel Reo-Coker who both gave a lot to this club in their time here. Martin O'Neill is a very respected manager and has a great passion for the game so will be also be gearing his team up to finish on a high note but there is no way we intend letting them spoil our plans to do the same.

It has been a great honour to lead West Ham United this season. Although frustrating on the field I have given it my all for the good of the club and I look forward to a more successful season next year. Finally from everyone at the training ground we would like to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer. Once again thank you for all your support and I look forward to seeing you in season 2008/09.

Lucas Neill signature

Lucas Neill