West Ham coach David Moyes shows his medal after winning the Europa Conference League final soccer match between Fiorentina and West Ham at the Eden Arena in Prague, Wednesday, June 7, 2023. West Ham won 2-1.

David Moyes’ chaotic Conference League celebrations highlight the culmination of a wonderful career

After over a thousand games in professional football management, David Moyes has finally lifted a major trophy above his head with West Ham. And my goodness, don’t we know about it.

From the moment Jarrod Bowen slipped off the shoulder of Fiorentina’s last man late in the game in Prague, you could sense it. The bubbles were blowing, brother.

An eye of the needle pass from Lucas Paqueta, a finish with all the composure in the world from Bowen, a rampant West Ham end in complete frenzy and the Hammers’ technical area echoing the chaos. It was special.

That was it. That was the sucker punch. Fiorentina had done exceptionally well to quell the storm once inside the Eden Arena, pulling back level after West Ham took the lead from the penalty spot. But conceding on the cusp of injury time was just too much. This was West Ham’s moment. Moyes’ moment.

If it wasn’t Moyes’ moment during those 90 or so minutes, it most certainly was when that full-time whistle blew, just as much as it was West Ham’s. The man from Glasgow had finally done it. He’d won his first major honour, 25 years into his managerial career.

He’s seen it all, has Moyesy. A quiet yet commendable playing career finished in 1998, and saw Moyes roll straight into football management with Preston North End, the club he’d retired at.

Soon after, we’d be talking about the Scot as one of the most promising up-and-coming managers in the game, for his efforts with Everton throughout the 2000s. A steely look, a no-nonsense approach and a desire to stamp his authority. Old school, this lad.

But no amount of success with the Toffees would’ve ever prepared him for the opportunity he’d be handed in 2013; being hand-picked by Sir Alex Ferguson to replace him at Manchester United. And you could tell, because he fell flat on his face.

15 years or so of hard work from the dugout, entirely undone in about 10 months or so, Good going, Dave. Was fun while it lasted.

Except that wasn’t the full story. Moyes went from hot property to Mr. Misunderstood. A bit of an identity crisis followed in the form of a failed venture to Spain to manage Real Sociedad, but we won’t talk about that.

The reputation had been seemingly permanently damaged, with the Glaswegian only seemingly worthy of relegation-level jobs from here on in. After steering West Ham to safety in 2018 and leaving the club, you’d think his story in Stratford was complete. Nope. We now know that this was just the beginning.

A year later and Moyesy was back in the dance at the London Stadium. Probably not the most popular decision at the time, but the Irons knew he could do the job. Been through the ringer and back. At no point, though, did the appointment ever look like one that would see West Ham embark on two European tours and finish the second one by winning their first major trophy in 43 years.

“You don’t get many moments like this!” Proclaimed Moyes after the full-time whistle. Humble in victory. At least for now.

Wholesome content quickly surfaced of him celebrating with his father on the pitch. Medal around his neck, the whole shabang. Proper wholesome stuff. This is what it means. A whole life’s worth of work, boiled down into one moment.

Explains why he celebrated like an absolute nutter once the emotions calmed down. Moyes found himself dad dancing through the streets of Prague while his players sang and DJed their way to the hotel, Moyes one of the lads. And why wouldn’t he be? He’s the lad, now. The top boy.

Didn’t even have to wait for the street parades, either. Moyesy was on one in the dressing room, straight after the game. The man who cuts such a stern figure on the touchline was gone. In was the Glaswegian party animal.

Beer in hand, trophy secured, Moyes was on it. Out of the way, Lucas. Turn that Brazilian samba nonsense off. Proclaimers straight on the boombox. Let’s have it.

Amid the dad dancing – excellent form by the way – you can see how much it means to Moyes. 500 miles is quite fitting, especially with Moyes having taken over a thousand games to get here.

Beer in hand, he bloody well deserves all the flowers he’s getting, does Moyesy. Nobody would’ve ever thought he’d come back to lift a European trophy after the turmoil that was his spell at United. He’s been to the depths of hell and back for this.

To be the man to guide West Ham to that first major honour in over 40 years is an achievement that will forever be remembered, and ensures he goes down in their history as a legend. And rightly so. He’s not perfect, but he knows his stuff, does the lad. Old school. A pragmatist. A dying breed.

All that’s left now is to eagerly await Triple H’s next visit to England for the inevitable picture of him presenting Moyes and his West Ham side with a shiny, customised Universal Title. The real icing on the cake. Bow down to the kings.

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