Junior Stanislas could be forgiven for still wearing a broad smile after signing off a memorable debut Barclays Premier League season with a final-day winner against relegated Middlesbrough.
The 19-year-old ended any hopes Boro had of beating the drop when his 58th-minute shot crept under the arms of goalkeeper Brad Jones to put the Hammers 2-1 up. It was the final word on a hugely positive campaign and summed up the club's optimism for the future.
"I don't know if it was a rocket or I hit it from 35 yards but it was nice for me to score and even better for the team to win to end the season on a high," said the south London-born player. "It was good football and a good strike but the goalkeeper probably should have done better with it but thankfully he didn't and it has gone in."
Stanislas, who was righly recognised for his progress this season with the Doris Bell most improved player award, has enjoyed a fantastic six months, going on loan to League One Southend United, where he starred in two FA Cup third round ties against Barclays Premier League side Chelsea, before returning to the Boleyn Ground in January.
Back at Chadwell Heath, the talented wideman impressed manager Gianfranco Zola, scoring on his full West Ham debut in the 2-0 home win over Sunderland on 4 April. He went on to make nine first-team appearances and, having made his mark, the youngster admitted he cannot wait for the 2009/10 season to start - when he could also represent England at the FIFA U20 World Cup in Egypt.
"Obviously I'm delighted," he added. "Going to Southend has probably helped me and I've come back and been training with the boys. They've made me feel welcome and I've been progressing and improving. It's been nice.
"I'm disappointed that the season has finished now, to be honest. Obviously the boys who have been playing all season need a break so it'll be nice for us all to come back next season."