Westley delighted with Champions 'Milestone'

Terry Westley praised the team's character in seeing the job through
Academy director Terry Westley spoke of his delight at seeing the Development Squad lift the Barclays U21 Premier League Cup trophy, following their penalty shootout victory over Hull City.

Already leading 1-0 from the first leg, Westley’s charges put in a terrific performance at the KC Stadium, however they were pegged back right at the last as Hull equalised through Will Annan in the 93rd minute.

After a stalemate extra time period, the Hammers emerged champions netting all five of their penalties while Raphael Spiegel made the all-important save to win 5-3 on spot kicks.  

Speaking to WHTV after the final whistle, Westley said: “It’s great to win. At this level we usually talk about development, but tonight we really wanted to win.

“We took it right to the very end and overall I think we deserved to win. We have to credit to Hull because they more than gave us a game; they were good, hard to break down and had ability”

“Over the two games we created a lot of chances, and we really should have put the game to bed a lot sooner.”

Among jubilant scenes at the end and during the Champions ceremony, Westley highlighted his team’s spirit as the crucial factor: “To be pegged back right at the end and still come out on top is massive. We were dead on our feet out there toward the end.

“We showed great character and determination to come back and it’ll stand them in good stead for the future.”

In what has already been a successful season for the first team, Westley continued to praise the impressive number of Hammers who turned up for the match and sang their hearts out.

Westley beamed: “This club is unbelievable. Every you go, there are fans. The awards dinner last night, there was more than a 1,000. Now tonight, three hours away, midweek our fans were magnificent.
“We had 10,000 at the first leg, 35,000 in the Europa League qualifier, it really is staggering.”  

Having ended the season on a massive high, for some players and staff the biggest in their careers, Westley hopes the experience will benefit them in the long run.

He finished by saying: “This is a huge milestone, and a big learning curve for everyone involved. Right from the start of the journey in Exeter, everyone has come on a long way and we hope that progression continues.

“Liam coming in, the owners backing us up. The physios, the analysts, medical, the kit man, everyone can be very proud of themselves because it is a team effort.”