Cole and co take West Ham back into Premier League

West Ham United secured an immediate return to the Premier League after winning the Wembley play-off against Blackpool. An edgy match was decided by Ricardo Vaz Te’s 87th minute winner.

Although West Ham had beaten Blackpool home and away in the Championship, the northern side held their own in the play-off. West Ham took the lead in the first-half from an excellent Carlton Cole goal. Soon after the break, Blackpool levelled the match through Thomas Ince, son of the former West Ham star Paul.

"I told you it was going to be difficult," a relieved West Ham manager Sam Allardyce said after the game. "Blackpool were equally as good as us today but it's about taking your chances and never more so than on a day like today. Funnily enough in 49 games this season that's the first time we've won a game in the last few minutes."

Carlton Cole was one of West Ham’s heroes. The former England striker made a difficult decision to stay at the club after relegation last season, rather than seek a move to another Premier League club, and was rewarded for his faith.

"I feel elated right now, so proud to be a Hammer," he said. "It’s been immense, and it’s so great to do it at Wembley. I was so dejected last year. It’s a great feeling to go back up and show we can still compete at the top level. To be a Premier League player with West Ham once again is unbelievable."

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