Cole's dream day!

Carlton Cole could not keep the smile off his face after his goal helped West Ham United to gain promotion back to the Barclays Premier League.

On his first start at Wembley, Cole put the Hammers in front against Blackpool at Wembley, only for the Tangerines to equalise through Tom Ince's goal just after half-time.

However, the No9 and his team-mates retained their belief and held off Blackpool before Cole's strong run and poked shot hit goalkeeper Michael Gilks and rebounded to Ricardo Vaz Te, who finished high into the net with just three minutes remaining.

Afterwards, Cole told West Ham TV of his happiness at firing the Hammers back to where they belong.

"I'll take a goal and an assist!" he said. "There was a bit of pressure on me in this league because everyone thought I'd walk it in this league but it's not been easy - it's been a hard league.

"It's credit to English football because the difference between the top tier and the second tier, there is not a lot in it. We had a hard season but it's all been worth it now. Everybody has worked so hard and we got the job done today.

"I've made one start at Wembley and got one goal. It's a good feeling and hopefully it keeps on coming."

Cole has played at the Home of Football for England previously and spent season after season in the Premier League, but the No9 said his feeling after scoring and winning promotion at Wembley was something that had never been rivalled.

The 28-year-old also spoke of his role as a senior professional and a leader inside the West Ham dressing room - a role he relishes and will continue to relish next season in the Premier League.

"This is the top! It's one of the best feelings of my life. To be a part of this is brilliant. I'm nurturing them through and I want to be an example to the young boys and I just need to keep on doing it!"