From the Newsroom - Season Review

Mail on Sunday Chief Football Writer Rob Draper has nothing but praise for the job Slaven Bilic achieved last season

Rob Draper is the Chief Football Writer for the Mail on Sunday and has nothing but admiration for the job Slaven Bilic has performed at West Ham. He expects even bigger things when the Hammers move into the new Stadium and sees no reason why they cannot challenge for a Champions League place.

I am sure the majority of West Ham United supporters have enjoyed the incredible season that they have witnessed under Slaven Bilic and I am no different.

It has been a remarkable journey under the Croatian coach and we all knew that he was a charismatic individual and tactically very good from his successful time in charge of Croatia.

This was always going to be a really important year with it being the final ever season at the Boleyn Ground but they have made it one to remember.

The infrastructure is very good at the club and the board have got things right on the transfer front with some very good signings over the last two years.

It has not been a one-off with the signings of Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini and they were also very successful the year before with the arrivals of Aaron Cresswell and Cheikhou Kouyate.

Payet has turned out to be one of the buys of the season and it is very exciting to see with the club preparing for the move into the new Stadium.

When I look back at the season it has been a lot better than what I expected and even though they had to settle for seventh place, I think they can still be very happy with that they achieved.

You only have to look at the ticket sales for next season to see how big the club are becoming with 52,000 season-ticket holders and they should be going for the Champions League.

All eyes will be on Payet once again but he certainly didn't disappoint in his first season and other teams are probably kicking themselves that they didn't go for him.

He is clearly enjoying himself in England and no-one could have imagined he would become one of the top players in the Premier League in such a short space of time.

It brings back memories of when Gianfranco Zola first arrived in England and we had the first major wave of Spanish players like Juan Mata and David Silva who have that creative vision and can change a game.

Payet got off to a great start and has a passionate crowd behind him which he seems to feed off. He has kicked on and his confidence has now grown even higher.

There are other players like Michail Antonio who have come through and that is very encouraging to see. They have a good mix of players.

Aaron Cresswell has had another impressive season and he is unlucky not to have been included in the England squad for the Euro Finals. You can say the same about Mark Noble.

I am really intrigued to see how the team will perform at the new Stadium. This is certainly football in a new era with the move away from the Boleyn Ground.

With a major retail outlet just next door, the whole family can now come along to see the game and the fact there are over 50,000 season-ticket holders is extraordinary. They can be distinct as a Premier League club.

I am still digesting the fact that Leicester have won the title but it has shown that nothing is impossible in football.

There is no reason why West Ham United cannot break into the top four and get Champions League football. If they manage to do that, who knows what is possible after that. These are exciting times for the Hammers!

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily the opinions held by West Ham United