Fan blogger Joe Difford reflects on a memorable 2015/16 season…
What a season it has been at West Ham United. The 38 games seem to have gone from first whistle to last in the blink of an eye.
Slaven Bilic's arrival was never expected to have the immediate impact it did, and the football on show has been an absolute joy to watch almost every game.
So where do you start when talking about the best moments of our strongest league performance in Premier League history?
Dimitri Payet's physics-defying free kicks that managed to find their way into the top corner no matter how far away from goal or how many men are in the wall? James Collins' dramatic last-second blocks that cause the Boleyn Ground to erupt in a chant of 'One Ginger Pele'? Or perhaps seeing Mark Noble complete a 70 yard run to steal the ball off an attacker, before playing a long, accurate through ball to a forward?
The individual moments of greatness have been in abundance this season, and almost every player has done something special that won't be forgotten anytime soon.
As a team, we have picked up some spectacular results, especially against teams who almost always finish above us in the table. We went to Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool to take all three points. Tottenham's title hopes were taken away in our final ever clash at Upton Park and the last game in the ground saw us beat Manchester United in one of the most electrifying matches of football in history.
Euro 2016 and Roy Hodgson's England squad was subject of a great deal of discussion after he overlooked Noble, Michail Antonio, Andy Carroll and Aaron Cresswell, despite the quartet having the best season of their careers.
Antonio in particular has impressed, having had to wait patiently for an opportunity after joining from Nottingham Forest last summer. The wide man has had a part to play in over 15 goals, and has shown his versatility by filling in at right back. His crowning moment, a Simpsons inspired celebration that started a theme of dances every time he scored.
Farewell Boleyn. Arguably the toughest part of the season, having to say goodbye to our home of 112 years. It is difficult to accept the move, even with the magnificent Olympic Stadium awaiting our arrival, but having seen how we can perform with a top manager and a top squad makes you wonder what we could achieve with 60,000 Hammers cheering them on.
It has been a record breaking year for West Ham. We went on our longest home unbeaten run that stretched almost nine months, finished with a positive goal difference for the first time in Premier League history and accumulated our highest points total too, lifting us to seventhth in the league.
When the season started way back in August, many fans would have been happy with a top half finish, but Bilic kept us fighting for the top four until the final few weeks, and still we have a Europa League place and were unlucky not to make it to the FA Cup final.
This season has been one of many highs and few lows, something rare in recent years. Players have shone and some truly wonderful goals have been scored, and with the positive atmosphere around the club and the terraces, who knows how excellent next season will be.
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