Sunday 20 May 2012
West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce said the club's return to the Barclays Premier League "means everything".
The Hammers beat Blackpool 2-1 at Wembley in Saturday's Championship play-off final to seal a top-flight return at the first attempt.
Ricardo Vaz Te struck the vital goal three minutes from time to send the fans - who saw their club miss out on automatic promotion by two points - into raptures.
"I'm just delighted to be back in the Premier League. It means everything to me," said Allardyce.
"I'll look forward to the celebrations first before I start worrying about the Premier League"
- Sam Allardyce
The former Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United manager said: "I had been in the Premier League for 10 years or so.
"It was difficult at the start to turn this club around but we have come good at the end.
"I'll look forward to the celebrations first before I start worrying about the Premier League next year."
Carlton Cole, who scored the opening goal before Thomas Ince equalised for Blackpool, said he was delighted.
"I feel elated, I'm so proud to be a Hammer, it's brilliant," he said.
"I felt so dejected at the end of the season last year this is a great feeling just to go back up.
"Although we didn't win the league, this is another way to show we can still compete at the top level.
"The work we've put in throughout the season has been fantastic"
- Kevin Nolan
"To make the decision I did at the start of the season and stay with West Ham and to be a Premier League player with West Ham is the best feeling in the world."
Hammers captain Kevin Nolan said promotion was a just reward after the club's efforts during the campaign.
"The work we've put in throughout the season since day one has been fantastic," he said.
"This is the first step, it's about now, going and enjoying our summer and looking forward to being a Premier League player again."